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2016 holiday card perks and rewards

A little planning before you shop can save you big

Summary

During the holidays, many card issuers offer bonus shopping rewards and special experiences

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2016 holiday card perks and rewards

 

With the holidays getting closer every day, you might be charging up a winter storm over the coming weeks. It just makes sense to get back a little – and sometimes a lot – whenever you use your credit cards.

Twinkly lights, wrapping paper, a trunk full of gifts – those are likely just the basics. Maybe you’re also trying to find a way to work travel into your holiday budget – either to visit family or to see the Rockettes at New York City’s Radio City Music Hall.

Gift-giving alone is expected to cost the average consumer $588.90 this year, according to a recent survey from the National Retail Federation. U.S. consumers are projected to spend an average total of $935.58 during the holiday shopping season.

That’s a lot of change.

“When you log in to your credit card account, make sure that you check the Offers/Promotions section,” says frugal living expert and author Lauren Greutman.

Greutman says that, just by looking at her Delta Air Lines American Express credit card account, she found a free year of ShopRunner – a perk that has helped her earn free shipping at hundreds of stores.

See Related:2017 Holiday Shopping Guide

At this time of year, some card issuers offer a holiday haul of cash back, extra points for special purchases, increased miles to make it easier to visit family or special experiences that might be better than any gift you could put under the tree or in the driveway.

If you’re putting your holidays on your cards, here is a sampling of the specials to help you get something back while you’re giving so much:

AMERICAN EXPRESS

 2x Membership Rewards points at select small businesses through Dec. 31, 2016. See participating merchants at the Shop Small Map. Double rewards can be earned on your first $100,000 in purchases, but your American Express card must be enrolled in the Membership Rewards program to qualify.

AmEx Offers: Cardholders select the holiday offers for dining, shopping and more, add the offers to their card and then get statement credits on their bills.

Membership Experiences: Cardholders can get pre-sale tickets for “Mariah Carey: All I Want for Christmas Is You,” American Express seating for “Moscow Ballet’s Great Russian Nutcracker” in San Antonio and more.

Free Uber rides: American Express cardholders can get two free Uber rides (up to $65 each) from 11 U.S. airports, Rides must be completed before Dec. 31.

BANK OF AMERICA
BankAmeriDeals: Bank of America cardholders can earn up to 15 percent cash back by choosing the holiday deals they want while logged online or via the new mobile app.

Exclusive experiences: St. Louis Cardinals fan Jeff Warden and his wife signed up for the Bank of America MLB Extra Bases MasterCard cashed in a huge chunk of points in 2015 to throw the first pitch at a Cardinals game (watch our video).

CHASE

5 percent cash back for Chase Freedom cardholders on the first $1,500 spent at department stores, wholesale clubs and drugstores through Dec. 31.

Ultimate Rewards shopping portal: Cardholders can earn 1 to 5x points on holiday deals that change frequently at retailers such as Macys.com, HomeDepot.com, BestBuy.com. and Sephora.com.

Gift card redemption options:Choose from retailers such as iTunes, Bed Bath & Beyond, Hyatt, and Outback Steakhouse with some $10 gift cards available for 1,000 points.

Exclusive events:Cardholders can redeem rewards for trips (including discounted tickets to see the “Christmas Spectacular starring the Radio City Rockettes”), private dinners with chefs and more.

VIP Lounges: Chase and United Airlines are teaming up for VIP Lounges for MileagePlus members at two shopping malls in San Francisco and Short Hills, New Jersey, two of the airlines’ largest hub cities. From Nov. 25 through Dec. 24, MileagePlus card members can take a break from holiday shopping with free refreshments, gift wrapping, Wi-Fi and more.

CITI
Holiday Catalog: Cardholders have eight different ways to redeem ThankYou points – shop at Amazon.com, book travel, share points with others, redeem points at LiveNation.com, redeem for gift cards, shop with points at BestBuy.com, or request a statement credit to cover an eligible purchase.

Citi Private Pass: Cardholders can get pre-sale and preferred tickets for concerts, sports events such as a New York Mets indoor batting cage practice experience and dining, theater and other experiences.

DISCOVER
Double first-year cash back or miles for new cardholders who have signed up for the promotion. 

5 percent cash back at Amazon.com, department stores and Sam’s Club through Dec. 31, 2016, with Discover it and Discover More cards.

Discover Deals: Shopping portal enables cardholders to earn up to 5 percent back at popular retailers like Walmart.com, Macys.com, Groupon.com and Apple.

NAVY FEDERAL CREDIT UNION
Seasonal Surprises Catalog: At the NFCU Rewards Redemption website, cardholders can find daily deals on merchandise and gift cards discounted as much as 37 percent off through Nov. 23, 2016. Also get NFCU Awards cards for 10 percent off Nov. 22.

Member Mall: Shopping portal includes up to 15 percent cash back per dollar spent during the holiday season, special offers, free shipping and weekly deals.

USAA
MemberShop: Earn rewards credits by using the shopping portal to purchase items at stores including Home Depot, Macy’s, the Apple Store and Overstock.com.

WELLS FARGO
Earn More Mall: Cardholders can earn up to 10 percent on every purchase at thousands of local, national and online retailers.

As your gift-buying ramps up, before you head to the mall – or online to your favorite retailer websites – check your card issuer’s website for holiday offers.

You may be able to save big, book a once-in-a-lifetime experience, or find something special – at less than full price – for the ones you love.

 

Credit card holiday promotions and perks
Credit Card and PromotionWho is Eligible?DetailsDatesNotes and Limitations
Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express and Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express offering 10x points at Amazon.comNew cardholders who sign up under this promotionEarn 10 percent back on your first $2,000 spent on Amazon.com purchases with the Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express or Blue Cash Everyday Card from American Express.Promotion good through 1/11/17 and lasts for six monthsThis offer is good for six months after account opening and available for new cardmembers only. Bonus cash is capped at $200.
American Express Shop Small MapAll American Express cardholdersEarn 2x American Express Membership Rewards points for each dollar spent at businesses on the Shop Small Map.Dec. 31, 2016Double rewards are earned on your first $100,000 in purchases, but your American Express card must be enrolled in the Membership Rewards program to qualify.
American Express OffersAll American Express cardholdersEarn extra points or cash back at online retailers like HomeDepot.com, Macys.com, and Target.com.OngoingLearn more at AmExOffers.com.
American Express Membership ExperiencesAll American Express cardholdersGet tickets for events such as Broadway shows, select NBA games and concerts across the U.S.OngoingLearn more at Amex Membership Experiences.
Bank of America offers BankAmeriDeals and Exclusive ExperiencesBank of America credit card customersEarn up to 15 percent back by shopping through the BankAmeriDeals portal.OngoingLearn more at BankAmeriDeals.

Watch Creditcards.com’s video on exclusive experiences.

Capital One cardholders’ charity donationsCapital One cardholdersWhen cardholders donate to charities at the No Hassle Giving Site, Capital One covers the transaction fees.Cardholders can choose from over 1.2 million public charities in the U.S. via Network for Good.OngoingVisit Capital One’s No Hassle Giving Site for details.
Capital One Quicksilver + UberCapital One Quicksilver and QuicksilverOne cardholdersCardholders can get $15 in Uber credits after using their cards to pay for nine rides.Through March 2017Visit Uber + Quicksilver for details.
Capital One Venture + HotelTonightCapital One Venture and VentureOne cardholdersCardholders get 10 percent off hotel rates at HotelTonight.Through January 2017Visit HotelTonight + Venture for details.
Chase Freedom 5x pointsChase Freedom cardholdersEarn 5x points on your first $1,500 spent at department stores, wholesale clubs and drugstores during the fourth quarter of 2016.Dec. 31, 2016You must register your card to qualify. The 5x points offer is limited to your first $1,500 spent in special categories.
Chase Ultimate Rewards Shopping DealAll Chase cardholdersClick through the Chase shopping portal to earn an extra 1-20 points for each dollar spent at select retailers.OngoingLog into your Chase Ultimate Rewards account to learn more.
Chase Exclusive EventsChase Sapphire Preferred cardholdersCardholders can redeem rewards for trips, discounted tickets, private dinners with chefs and more.OngoingFind upcoming events on the Chase website.
Chase Gift CardsAll Chase customersRedeem your points for gift cards to popular online retailers.OngoingLog into your Chase Ultimate Rewards account to find out more.
Citi Holiday CatalogAll Citi ThankYou membersUse points to shop at Amazon.com, book travel, share points with others, or redeem points at LiveNation.com. You can also redeem for gift cards, shop with points at BestBuy.com, or request a statement credit to cover an eligible purchase.Dec. 31, 2016Visit the Holiday Catalog for details.
Citi Private PassCiti credit and debit card customersCardholders can score pre-sale and preferred tickets for concerts, sports events and experience, dining, theater shows and more.OngoingVisit Private Pass for details.
Discover it and Discover More 5x pointsNew and existing Discover it and Discover More cardholdersEarn 5 percent back on your first $1,500 spent at Amazon.com, department stores, and Sam’s Club with these cards.Dec. 31, 2016You must register your card to qualify.
Discover Double Your Miles PromotionNew Discover it and Discover it Miles cardholdersEarn double rewards after your first 12 months as a cardholder.Ongoing but may end at any time.Visit the Discover website to learn more.
Discover Deals Shopping PortalAll Discover cardholdersUse the Discover Deals shopping portal to earn up to 5 percent back at popular retailers like Walmart.com, Macys.com, Groupon.com and Apple.com.Ongoing with promotions changing dailyClick Discover Deals to learn more.
Navy Federal Credit Union Seasonal Surprises CatalogNCFU MembersFind daily deals on merchandise and gift cards discounted as much as 37 percent off through Nov. 23, 2016. Also get NFCU Awards cards for 10 percent off on Nov. 22.Through NovemberThe NFCU Rewards Redemption website has details.
Navy Federal Credit Union MemberMallNFCU MembersGet up to 15 percent cash back per dollar spent during the holiday season, special offers, free shipping and weekly deals.Dec. 31, 2016Explore the Member Mall for details.
USAA MemberShopUSAA membersEarn extra rewards when you shop at participating stores such as Home Depot, Macy’s, the Apple Store and Overstock.com.OngoingVisit MemberShop for details.
Wells Fargo’s Earn More MallWells Fargo cardholdersCardholders can earn up to 10 percent on every purchase at thousands of local, national and online retailers.OngoingVisit Earn More Mall for details.

 

See related: 9 tips for sticking to a holiday budgetA plan now will avoid winter holiday debt

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Published: October 10, 2016

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