The bedlam of Black Friday is behind us, Cyber Monday is here, and the holiday shopping crunch is officially on. The average American plans to spend about $806 on holiday gifts for the 2015 season, according to the National Retail Federation, and more than 121 million people will spend some of that online today.
But before you plow through your Christmas list on Amazon.com, check which credit card you’re using — because if you have the Chase Freedom® card, you can earn a whopping 10% cash back on purchases at some major online retailers — including Amazon, Zappos, Diapers.com, and Audible — for the duration of 2015. That amounts to a free $80 refund on the average holiday gift budget.
Here’s how it works: The Chase Freedom® card — a no-annual-fee, cash-back rewards card — offers “bonus categories” that rotate each quarter. Normally, they dole out 5% cash back on your first $1,500 spent within a bonus category (versus 1% cash back on everything else).
Now, this is important: Even if you have the Chase Freedom® card already, you’ll need to activate your card to take advantage of the quarterly bonus category (you can activate your card here).
Once your card is activated, earning 10% is as simple as using your Chase Freedom card for online purchases made through Dec. 31 2015 on Amazon, Zappos, Diapers.com, and Audible.
How Much Can I Earn?
If you’re one of those average Americans spending upwards of $800 on holiday gifts, and you bought them all online this year — avoiding the crowds and tempting impulse buys that plague the mall experience — you could score an easy $80 in cash back using the Chase Freedom® card.
However, the quarterly limit on bonus category spending is $1,500, which means you have the potential to earn up to $150 in cash back through this limited-time promotion. We don’t advocate buying junk you (or your kids) don’t need just to max out a 10% cash-back offer, but holiday shopping isn’t the only way to take advantage of this deal.
For example, if you have babies or small children, or expect to attend a baby shower anytime soon, it also makes sense to check out Diapers.com for special Cyber Monday and year-end deals.
Not only does the site offer discounts on diapers delivered directly to your doorstep, they also offer children’s clothing, baby formula, and baby gear like strollers and car seats. If you need to stock up on baby supplies anyway, buying them with your Chase Freedom® card to tap into the 10% cash-back offer is one way to save money in the process.
Another Strategy: Bulk Up on Ultimate Rewards Points
If you have the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card in addition to the Chase Freedom® card, you’re in even better shape. Since you can transfer points earned with your Chase Freedom® card to your Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, you can use these bonus points to score free hotel stays, flights, and more.
Ultimate Rewards points can be used to book travel through the Chase travel portal at a 20% discount, or transferred to a slew of popular hotel loyalty and frequent flyer programs at a 1:1 ratio. Partners include airlines such as British Airways, Southwest Airlines, United Airlines, Virgin Atlantic, and hotel chains like Hyatt, IHG, Ritz-Carlton, and Marriott.
If you don’t have the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card yet, there’s no better time to sign up. Simply use your Chase Freedom® card for all of your holiday shopping on Amazon to earn 10X points through Dec. 31, and then transfer those points to your Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card account when you’re ready to book your next trip.
If you’ve got the Chase Freedom® card and don’t have your holiday list knocked off yet, you could do worse than earning 10% cash back on the rest of your online shopping at Amazon.com or Zappos. After all, it’s hard to beat Christmas shopping in your pajamas.
Once you earn 10% cash back with your Chase Freedom® card, you can choose to take it as a statement credit to offset the cost of your gifts or to redeem your points for merchandise, travel, or gift cards. And if you have the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, you could instead parlay this 10% offer into valuable Ultimate Rewards points that can be transferred to popular frequent flyer and hotel loyalty programs at a 1:1 ratio.
Are you doing your holiday shopping online this year? What strategies are you using to earn cash back?
- Our Favorite Strategies for an Inexpensive Holiday Season
- 10 Heartfelt Holiday Gifts for People Who Don’t Need More Stuff
- Six Simple Gifts to Make Between Now and Christmas
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