best credit cards for holiday shopping

The Best Credit Cards for the Holiday Season

A Season of Opportunity

When it comes to heightened spending tendencies and habits, the holiday season is arguably second to none. Whether you’re shopping for gifts, travel or various household needs during the holiday time, it is imperative to take advantage of the rewards and opportunities that are out there. By avoiding credit cards, you are more or less leaving free money on the table that could be earned back during holiday shopping.

Now, with that said, let me be clear – do not use credit cards to run up a spending limit or create bad habits. This article purely focuses on the variety of credit cards that can be used to your advantage during the holiday season; this does not mean spending out of your financial means or purchasing more gifts than you otherwise would’ve. View these cards as a means of getting some money and rewards in return for the money that you otherwise would have spent during the holiday season.

Below, I will cover a few different cards, each of which is the best at its own niche. This coverage will include general card details, the pros and cons of each as well as the justification behind selecting this card for the particular niche. In terms of the holiday season, one of the below cards should fit the diverse needs of every reader differently; know your circumstances and select the best option that fits!

Best Card for Amazon: Prime Visa

The Prime Visa card is my favorite option for those who regularly shop on both Amazon and Whole Foods. Realistically, this card is the best bet for those who will do most of their holiday shopping on Amazon – plus, the Whole Foods rewards are an added benefit for shoppers who go there!

You May Also Like:



  • No annual fee.
  • $100 Amazon gift card upon approval.
  • 5% back on Amazon and Whole Foods purchases.
  • No international fees.


  • Prime membership is required.
  • 5% back on groceries only applies to Amazon.com and Whole Foods.
  • Excellent or Good credit is required.

Based on the above information, it is obvious that this card has both positive and negative attributes; however, it is by far the best Amazon-focused card. On the one hand, this card does not have an annual fee, rewards the applicant with a $100 Amazon gift card and offers 5% back on all purchases on Amazon.com and Whole Foods. The largest selling point on this card, for me, comes in the form of that percentage back on all purchases – 5% back on holiday purchases can very quickly add up and result in a huge return to the applicant!

On the contrary, though, this card does have some downside. The first hurdle comes from the fact that the applicant needs to have a Prime membership – if you do not have one, you will need to purchase one. The only other downside hinges on the fact that the 5% back on purchases only applies to Amazon.com and Whole Foods purchases; if you are someone who will do a significant portion of holiday shopping elsewhere, this card might not be the right option for you.

Best for Diversity: Chase Freedom Flex

The Chase Freedom Flex card is the best option for diversity. This card is most suited for those who will consciously make an effort to maximize their rewards and benefits, as the Chase Freedom Flex has rotating categories each quarter that yield higher rewards and returns. This card is great for cardholders who are willing to spend quite a bit of time maximizing their rewards.


  • No annual fee.
  • $200 sign-up bonus.
  • 0% intro APR for first 15 months.
  • Opportunity to earn up to 5% cash back in select categories.


  • Bonus categories must be activated each quarter.
  • Maximizing rewards means diversifying the spending category.
  • Not necessarily “holiday” focused.

This card has a handful of pros and cons and is ultimately the best option for diverse spenders willing to spend some time maximizing their rewards and returns. With no annual fee, a $200 sign-up bonus, 0% intro APR for the first 15 months and the opportunity to earn up to 5% cash back in select categories, the Chase Freedom Flex provides the cardholder with the opportunity to maximize their rewards. Again, the 5% cash back is an exceptional benefit; although this requires spending in specific categories.

The downside to this card, though, largely revolves around the fact that the bonus reward categories must be activated each quarter. Plus, these “categories” require the spender to maximize their rewards by diversifying their spending category every quarter. This card is not necessarily solely focused on the holiday season, which can be seen as both a positive and negative – for those looking to continue using their new card beyond the holiday season, it is probably worth applying!

Best for General Shopping/Spending: Wells Fargo Active Cash Card

The Wells Fargo Active Cash Card is the best general shopping and spending card. Of the three cards mentioned in this article, I would argue that this is the most well-rounded and flexible card for applicants. For the holiday season, this card is likely the best option for an “average” or “normal” shopper.


  • No annual fee.
  • Unlimited 2% cash rewards.
  • $200 welcome bonus.
  • 0% intro APR for 15 months.


  • 3% fee on foreign transactions.
  • Excellent/good credit is required.
  • No higher rewards in any category.

The Wells Fargo Active Cash Card is the best for flexible use mainly because of its lack of an annual fee, $200 welcome bonus and unlimited 2% cash rewards on all spending. On the other hand, spenders can expect a 3% fee on foreign transactions and will not be able to maximize their rewards through specific spending categories.

For individuals looking to go with more easy-to-follow credit cards to earn some rewards and cash back during the holiday season, the Wells Fargo Active Cash Card is the best option. If you’re looking for more targeted opportunities or the ability to maximize your rewards during the holiday season, I would consider one of the other two cards covered above!