Read This to Maximize Your Rewards and Cash Back This Holiday Season

By Lynn Truong. Last updated 21 November 2014. 1 comment

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Tis the season for shopping, and for most of us that means swiping some plastic. Did you know that choosing the right credit card for your purchases is more important than ever during the holiday season? This is when you spend more than you usually do, which means that you can rack up more rewards than you normally would. Does your go-to credit card offer bonus points for grocery shopping? At department stores? For gas? It's time to find out!

Here's a step to step guide on organizing your credit cards so you are armed with the one that will help carry the budget burden. (See our picks for the best credit cards for the holidays)

1. Review Your Credit Card Terms

Do you even know which credit card offers cash back and which one only offers points for travel redemption? Take out your credit cards, and go into your card's rewards terms. Write down what each card offers. (See also: How to Get 5% Cash Back on Holiday Purchases)

2. Compare Against Your Gift List

Now that you know which cards offer what rewards, look at your gift list to see if your cards offer rewards for the purchases you are planning to make. Consider other purchases you might need to make, too, like travel arrangements or extra grocery shopping for all the people staying at your place for a week.

3. Choose Cards Based on Bonus Rewards

Use the credit card that offers bonus rewards on purchases. For example, use the 3% cash back on groceries credit card when you buy groceries. Use the card that gives you double points on travel purchases when you reserve your flight to your in-laws'. (See also: 5 Best Travel Rewards Credit Cards)

4. Use Their Shopping Portals

Look at your list again. Are there any stores that you can buy your gifts at that are partnered with your credit card's shopping portal? Many card issuers have their own shopping portals where they give bonus rewards if you shop through there. The shopping experience is the same — you just have to go to their portal first, then click through to the store you want. Some cards offer up to 20% cash back if you shop via their portal (and use their card).

5. Look for Bonuses

After you've figured out which cards offer bonus rewards for the purchases you need, it's time to decide which card to use for the rest of the purchases. Most cards offer 1% cash back or 1 point for other purchases, and you might think that means it doesn't matter which card you use for them, but you'd be wrong. Some cards offer bonus rewards on your rewards. So if you racked up 5000 points in a year, a card might offer an extra 10% on top of that, so you'd get an additional 500 points. You'd want to use that card for all your other purchases.

6. Get Protection for Your Purchases

One final thing to consider when choosing the credit card for your holiday purchases are the additional benefits a credit card may offer. These benefits often include extended warranty, price protection, purchase protection, and return protection. When it comes to holiday shopping, these perks may be worth more than any extra rewards or cash back. (See also: 11 Ways Your Credit Card Will Save You Money While Holiday Shopping)

Do you try to maximize your rewards during holiday shopping? Please share your tips and tricks in comments!

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Guest's picture

I'm using these tips thank you!