7 tips to maximize your rewards on Black Friday

Woman paying waitress with smart card

Every November in the United States ushers in the holiday shopping season. Arguably the busiest and biggest day for shopping deals and holiday spending occurs on Black Friday – the day after Thanksgiving.

With so many special offers and sales taking place on Black Friday, it’s also prime time to leverage your rewards credit cards to get the most value for your money spent. Playing it smartly can help you win big as you spend big. 

Here’s how you can maximize credit card points and rewards on Black Friday.

Shop your categories.

Not only do many credit cards offer higher cashback bonuses for certain shopping categories like gas stations and grocery stores, but several include special category bonuses for the fourth quarter, from October through December. To maximize your cash back rewards during Q4, pay attention to your credit card’s special quarterly categories.

For example, starting in October, Chase Freedom offers 5X points value for select categories throughout Q4. These bonus categories include department stores, PayPal, and Chase Pay. A few of the major retailers that are included in the department stores category are Kohls, Macy’s, Nordstrom, and Aliexpress. You can earn 5 percent back on up to $1,500 in qualifying purchases during the quarter, netting you a savings of 7,500 Chase points or $75.

Discover’s cashback calendar shows that its Q4 bonus categories include 5 percent cash back rewards on purchases at Amazon.com, Target, and Walmart.com. Like Chase, you max out your rewards for the quarter once you reach $1,500 in qualifying spending. 

Utilize online shopping portals.

Sometimes you can save more by going through shopping portals, rather than shopping straight from a retailer’s website. You can score cashback rewards on sites like Ebates, and you may find better travel rewards by searching for your favorite airline’s shopping portal. Platforms like Cashback Monitor can help you see all of the current cashback offers currently available across many categories, including flights, hotels, and more.

Buy gift cards at grocery stores.

Many cards feature the highest cashback bonuses for gas stations and grocery stores. Most grocery stores now sell a variety of gift cards to well-known restaurants, department stores, and even vacation destinations. Take advantage of your credit card’s cashback bonus on grocery store purchases by loading up on gift cards for your favorite dining establishments and retailers. It’s like adding an additional 5 percent off to the many Black Friday deals you’ll already be claiming!

Take advantage of your credit card company’s extended warranty coverage.

‘Tis the season for large electronic purchases, and these purchases are often accompanied by high-priced, low-value extended warranties. Instead of spending money on a warranty through the retailer or brand, consider utilizing the extended warranty options available through your credit card company. For example, Chase offers an additional year warranty on eligible warranties of three years or fewer when the item was purchased via an eligible Chase credit card. The warranty covers up to $10,000 per claim.

Special credit card company offers

Some credit card companies provide special merchant offers for their credit card users. For example, both Chase and American Express feature merchant offer programs that allow cardholders to access exclusive sales and discounts from a variety of restaurants and retailers without the need for coupons or promo codes.

Use price protection

As you use your credit card for Black Friday shopping, utilize Price Protection to ensure you’re getting your items for the best price. Price protection policies are included with many credit card accounts and allow you to be refunded amounts on items that go on sale shortly after your purchase. The price drop doesn’t even have to occur at the same retailer for the purchase to qualify. Simply file a claim and wait for your refund!

New account welcome bonuses

Another great option for maximizing rewards during Black Friday is to open a new account with a lucrative welcome bonus. Many cards offer an account credit or cashback bonus once you spend a certain amount within a short time after opening your account. For instance, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card awards cardholders 60,000 bonus points if they spend $4,000 on the account within the first three months. This amounts to over $700 in travel purchases!

Now it’s time to shop!

From shopping in fourth-quarter categories for more cashback bonus points to buying retail and restaurant gift cards at grocery stores, there are so many ways to get more value for every dollar spent on your credit card. At the end of the day, however, it’s important to remember that your spending should remain under your specific budget. Don’t ever spend more than you can afford, no matter the reward offerings. Late payment penalties, high interest rates and dings to your credit can counteract any rewards benefits if you spend outside your budget. Be smart this Black Friday and utilize your credit cards efficiently to maximize your rewards during the holiday shopping season!