The Best Credit Cards for Holiday Shopping

Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas, Happy Festivus. No matter what you celebrate this time of year, the opportunity to earn tens if not hundreds of thousands of credit card points and airline miles is here. Let’s be honest, we’re all going to spend more in the next 6 weeks than we will in the previous several months, so choosing the right credit cards is crucial to maximizing your earnings.

Here’s the best credit cards to use for this holiday season (and beyond).

You’re the Party Planner / Host

So you like to throw a party, eh? If you’re the kind of person that holds big gatherings at your house, chances are you’re going to be heading to the grocery store to pick up supplies. I’d also venture a guess that you’re going to be spending quite a bit at restaurants as well. There are some obvious choices here for you.

American Express Gold Card

The 4x earning at restaurants and grocery stores is a no-brainer. You’ll even earn $10/month back in credits at restaurants that you dine at. The cap for grocery stores is $25,000 a year, so unless you’re a super mega party planner, I doubt you’ll hit this limit!

Capital One Savor Card

The Capital One Savor offers unlimited 4% cash back on dining and entertainment and a 2% cash back at grocery stores. If you’re not in need of a bunch of airline miles and want straight cash, an uncomplicated earning structure of 2-4% is about as easy as it gets.

You’re Hitting the Road

Flying to go see grandma or staying in a lot of hotels? Perhaps an end of year road trip? Then travel/airline/hotel/gas rewards are going to be where you focus your attention.

Chase Sapphire Reserve and Chase Sapphire Preferred

Our two standard go-to cards, both Chase cards offer either 2 or 3x on all travel purchases with what is, in my opinion, the best Credit Card rewards program out there, Ultimate Rewards. You’re able to turn your points directly into hotels/flights or you can transfer to the airlines to top off balances you may need to get that free flight/stay.

Citi Premier / Prestige

Citi hasn’t got a lot of attention lately, but I’ve fell in love with the Citi Premier card as of late. It offers 3x on all things travel (including gas stations) and their partners in the Thank You Rewards program are solid. We’ve moved a large chunk of our spending over to here, and a 50k points sign up bonus is amazing as well.


You don’t have to admit it to anyone else here other than yourself, but you know who you are. You love some retail therapy. Black Friday and Cyber Monday are perfect for that, so why not get some extra rewards out of it while you’re at it? There aren’t many cards that offer a straight bonus on department stores or other places, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make out like a bandit.

Shopping at Kmart

Chase Freedom

Every quarter, Chase puts out new categories for a 5% (or 5x) earning, and for Q4 you can get your bonus at Department stores, PayPal, and wherever you use Chase Pay. The Department Store label is pretty wide arching, so you shouldn’t have much issue finding where to use that.

Discover It

Discover hasn’t got much press, but I really do love their card. It was the first card that I’ve had and they always come up with reasons to make me stay. In the fourth quarter of the year, you can get 5% cash back at, Target, and Walmart. You’re capped out at $1500 in spend (for a $75 reward) but if you’re really doing your due diligence at these stores, that should be hard to come by.

The best part on top of that? You’ll earn double cash back your first year, making this a no-brainer!

Business Owners

If you run a business, the last part of the year can be a crucial make or break time for you. Having access to credit to make sure that you get inventory and supplies for your clients is mandatory. There are a few cards that are our go-to cards for business owners, especially this time of year.

American Express Gold for Business

Do your business needs change every month? Having this card means that wherever you spend the majority of your money earns you 4x in those top two categories. Spend a lot on airfare? How about advertising? Each pay period you’ll earn 4x on whatever of the following categories you spend the most:

Airfare, Shipping, Restaurants, Advertising, Technology, Gas Stations

Depending on what your business needs, this could be a very lucrative card for you.

Ink Business Preferred

Chase Ink Preferred

The new cardmember bonus of 80,000 points is a huge draw for many with this card, but so is the flat 3x earning on some of the most popular categories for business owners:

Travel, Shipping, Internet/Telecommunications, Advertising

You’re capped out at $150,000 per year, but if you do cap it out, that’s almost a half million points a year! Unbelievable.

Now’s the perfect time to get a new card. Do any of these fit into your repertoire of credit cards this holiday season?

Author: Jon Nickel-D'Andrea

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