More sales may take place online this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but the significance of the Black Friday shopping event hasn’t changed. No matter what happens between now and then, millions of shoppers will be at stores or on their computers and mobile devices to scoop up the best deals just like any other year, and those who prepare ahead of time stand to save the most.
If you’re hoping to maximize your holiday shopping this year, then you should make sure to read sales circulars to find out about doorbusters and compare pricing for top items across several different retailers.
Another important strategy involves picking up the right credit card for Black Friday and Cyber Monday. With the right rewards credit card, you can earn rewards on your holiday shopping bill and gain valuable consumer protections that can help you save money, hassle and stress.
Best credit cards to use on Black Friday 2020
The best Black Friday credit card deals help you earn cash back or flexible rewards for each dollar you spend. Some offer generous sign-up or welcome bonuses to consumers who can meet a minimum spending requirement within the first few months, and the best cards come with no annual fee.
With that being said, you’ll want to compare cards based on the rewards they offer, the stores that give you bonus points and the consumer protections you’ll receive. Here are Bankrate’s top Black Friday credit card offers:
Chase Freedom FlexSM: Best for PayPal and Walmart
The Chase Freedom Flex doesn’t charge an annual fee, yet you’ll earn 5 percent back on up to $1,500 spent in quarterly bonus categories (then 1 percent, activation required), 5 percent back on travel booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards, 3 percent back on drugstore purchases and dining and 1 percent back on everything else. You also get the chance to earn 5 percent back on the first $12,000 you spend on eligible grocery store purchases in your first year, and you can earn a $200 cash bonus when you spend $500 on your card within three months of account opening.
For the final quarter of 2020 (October through December), the Chase Freedom 5 percent back category includes Walmart and PayPal purchases. This makes the Chase Freedom Flex ideal for holiday shopping at Walmart or with the millions of retailers that accept PayPal as payment.
As a final bonus with this card, you’ll get an introductory 0 percent APR on purchases for 15 months, followed by a variable APR of 14.99 percent to 23.74 percent. This introductory offer can help you avoid interest on your holiday purchases for more than a year.
Purchases you make with this card will also qualify for purchase protection against damage or theft. You can also qualify for extended warranties on eligible items you purchase that come with a manufacturer’s warranty.
Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express: Best for Amazon and 0 percent APR
The Blue Cash Everyday has some intriguing benefits for Black Friday shoppers this year. First off, you can earn 20 percent back on Amazon.com purchases made for the first six months, up to $200. Meanwhile, you can earn a $100 welcome bonus when you spend $1,000 on your card within six months of account opening.
There’s no annual fee, and regular rewards categories include 3 percent back on the first $6,000 spent at U.S. supermarkets each year (then 1 percent back), 2 percent back at U.S. gas stations and select U.S. department stores and 1 percent back on all other purchases.
Cardmembers also qualify for an introductory 0 percent APR on purchases for 15 months, followed by a variable APR of 13.99 percent to 23.99 percent.
Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card: Best for Amazon Shoppers
The Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature is for Amazon Prime members, so you have to have a paid membership to get this card. However, you’ll get a $70 Amazon gift card if your application is approved. You’ll also earn 5 percent back at Amazon.com and Whole Foods Market, 2 percent back at restaurants, gas stations and drugstores and 1 percent back on all other purchases.
There’s no separate annual fee for this card, yet you’ll get benefits like purchase protection, extended warranties and no foreign transaction fees.
Discover it® Cash Back: Best for Amazon, Target and Walmart
The Discover it Cash Back doesn’t charge an annual fee, yet you’ll earn 5 percent cash back after activation on up to $1,500 spent in quarterly bonus categories (then 1 percent) and 1 percent back on other purchases. Discover will also match all the rewards you earn at the end of your first year (so $200 in rewards would turn into $400 in rewards, and $400 in rewards would turn into $800 in rewards and so on).
For the final quarter of 2020 (October through December), the 5 percent Discover bonus category includes purchases made with Amazon.com, Target.com and Walmart.com. That makes this card perfect for holiday shoppers who plan to buy gifts with these online retailers through the end of 2020.
Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card: Best for flexible travel points
The Capital One Venture gives you the chance to earn 100,000 bonus miles when you spend $20,000 on purchases in the first 12 months from account opening. If you can’t quite reach that threshold, you can still earn 50,000 miles if you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first three months.
This card also grants you a flat 2X miles for each dollar you spend, which you can redeem for any travel purchase charged to your card at a rate of 1 cent per point. You can also redeem points for transfers to Capital One airline and hotel partners or for purchases made through PayPal or Amazon. A $95 annual fee applies, but you do get up to a $100 credit toward Global Entry or TSA Precheck membership when you pay with your card.
Tips for choosing a credit card for Black Friday shopping
The best credit card for Black Friday or Cyber Monday can vary from one person to the next. However, the right card for you depends on your spending style, where you plan to shop and whether you want to pay down your balance right away or spread your payments out over time.
These tips can help you find the right credit card and make the most of Black Friday credit card deals.
Figure out the type of rewards you want to earn
First, you should know that not all cards offer the same type of rewards. Some cash back credit cards only let you redeem points for statement credits or a check in the mail, while others let you cash in your rewards for merchandise, gift cards, travel and more. Make sure to research credit card rewards programs to find an option that offers what you want the most.
Look for welcome bonuses you can earn, and consider pursuing more than one
Also, consider which cards offer the most generous bonus offers and potentially pursue more than one. If one cash back credit card lets you earn a bonus for spending just $500 within three months of account opening, for example, you may be able to sign up for a second card and use your holiday shopping bill to double up on welcome bonuses.
Consider cards with an intro 0 percent APR
Since credit cards charge high APRs, they tend to be an expensive borrowing option for the long haul. If you want to pay down your balance slowly over time, consider a rewards credit card that offers an introductory 0 percent APR on purchases for a year or longer.
How to maximize your credit card rewards on Black Friday
Once you make sure you have the right credit card for in-person and online shopping on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, there are a few steps you can take to boost your rewards haul. These tips can help you earn more points and miles on your holiday shopping bill this year.
Earn more rewards with shopping portals
If you plan to do the bulk of your shopping online, make sure you’re considering shopping portals as part of your strategy. Some credit card issuers offer their own shopping portals, such as Chase Ultimate Rewards, but many airlines have shopping portals, as well. As a last resort, if your credit card doesn’t have a shopping portal, you can also rack up more rewards with a cash back portal like Rakuten or TopCashBack.
All shopping portals work similarly. All you have to do is log into your account and choose among participating retailers. If you “click through” the portal before you make a purchase with a participating store, you’ll earn bonus points or miles depending on the program.
Just keep in mind that shopping portal offers are extended on top of the rewards you earn with your credit card. In that sense, credit card shopping portals let you “double-dip” on your rewards.
Look out for extended warranties and purchase protection
As you compare credit card offers, keep in mind that some of the best cash back credit cards offer purchase protection against damage or theft. This means that, if an item you buy with your credit card is damaged or stolen within a specific period of time (usually 90 to 120 days), you can get reimbursed for repairs or replacement costs. Limits for purchase protection vary from card to card, but this coverage may be good for up to $500 per claim and up to $50,000 per account.
Extended warranties that apply to items with a manufacturer’s warranty can also be helpful around the holidays, and that’s especially true if you plan to make expensive purchases for yourself, like new appliances for your kitchen or a new laptop computer. This benefit will add more time to the manufacturer’s warranty your item comes with already, thus lengthening the amount of time you can qualify for repair or replacement.
Consider cards with guaranteed returns
While none of the credit cards we’re suggesting for Black Friday offer this benefit, some premium credit cards offer guaranteed returns. This means that, if the retailer will not accept your item back within a specific period of time, you can get guaranteed returns for your item as well as your money back.
The Chase Sapphire Reserve® is a popular travel credit card that offers this perk. With Chase Sapphire Reserve guaranteed returns protection, you can be reimbursed for eligible items the store won’t take back within 90 days of purchase. Coverage is good for up to $500 per item with a cap of $1,000 per year.
The bottom line
Whether you’re having a Walmart Black Friday or you plan to spend the entire holiday weekend on Amazon.com, the best rewards credit cards can help you get more bang for your buck. Not only can earn rewards for each dollar you spend, but you can also maximize your points or miles with welcome bonuses.
As if you need more incentive, some credit cards also come with important consumer protections that can help you save money if items you purchase are stolen or damaged, or if they break down for a year or longer after the item’s manufacturer’s warranty runs out. Make sure to compare all the top credit cards on the market today in terms of their rewards and their benefits before you decide.