Retailers used to save their best holiday deals for Black Friday and the four weeks or so between Thanksgiving and Christmas. But no more. Amazon, for one, started its Black Friday countdown on November 1, and many other online and brick-and-mortar stores are launching similar campaigns, eager to capture shoppers’ attention (and dollars).
Using your credit card will allow you to take advantage of these early holiday deals even if you don’t have the cash immediately handy. When you see a bargain price on an item that’s on your gift list, you can use your credit card to snatch it up immediately. You don’t have to worry that the item will be gone before you can cash your next paycheck. You can get gifts wrapped up early while stretching your gift-giving budget.
This is a good time to check with your credit card company to see if they’re offering any special deals during the holiday season. If you have a rewards card, you may be able to earn extra points or additional cash back on your gift purchases when you shop at specific retailers or certain categories of stores.
Consider applying for a store or organization-affiliated card to earn some extra perks. Is your whole family football crazy? With the NFL Extra Points Credit Card you can get two points for every dollar spent at NFL team stores or at NFLShop.com, including tickets, apparel and other team accessories. Use your card for $500 in purchases (anywhere, not just at NFL shops) within the first 90 days, you can earn 10,000 bonus points. That’s enough for a $100 cash back credit on your account, and a great way to keep your holiday expenses under control this year.
Amex is offering money back on purchases made at certain online retailers. Spend $10 or more at Petco.com (online only) and you get $5 back; spend $100 at store.sony.com and get $25 back. That extra cash can help you pay for another gift, or buy something special for yourself.
If you agree that “there’s no place like home for the holidays” be sure to search for any travel-related discounts or deals offered through your credit card. Some travel credit cards offer one free bag per person on certain airlines (a real cost savings when you’re traveling with a big group) or access to special lounges where you can go to escape the crowds thronging the airports.
If you like to use the holiday time for a resort getaway, you might want to consider a MasterCard World or World Elite Card. This will give you special perks at more than 800 luxury resorts and hotels around the world—daily breakfast for two, room upgrades (if available) and other special touches that will make your stay special.
Credit cards can be a convenience during the months of November and December, but they can save you money as well. Check with your credit card company today to make sure that you’re not missing out on any great holiday deals.