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Use the best credit cards for Black Friday and Cyber Monday to earn the most rewards on your holiday spending, whether you prefer cash back or flexible points

Best Buy Black Friday 2020 deals
Black Friday and Cyber Monday shoppers can earn big rewards by using the right credit cards.
Crystal Cox/Business Insider

This article is brought to you by the Personal Finance Insider team. It has not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of the issuers listed. Some of the offers you see on the page are from our partners like Citi and American Express, but our coverage is always independent. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page.

This page includes information about the Discover it® Cash Back, which is currently not available on Business Insider and may be out of date.

The best credit cards for Black Friday and Cyber Monday 2020:

  • Please note: while the offers mentioned below are accurate at the time of publication, they're subject to change at any time and may have changed, or may no longer be available.
  • Best for online shopping: Most Citi cards
  • Best for Walmart and PayPal: Chase Freedom Flex℠
  • Best for electronics: Discover it® Cash Back
  • Best for office supply stores: Ink Business Cash® Credit Card
  • Best for department stores: U.S. Bank Cash+™ Visa Signature® Card
  • Best for US supermarkets: Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express
  • Best for drugstores: Chase Freedom Unlimited®
  • Best for cash back everywhere: Citi® Double Cash Card
  • Best if you want to choose a bonus category: Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card
  • Best for purchase protection: The Platinum Card® from American Express

The busiest shopping season of the year is here, and Black Friday and Cyber Monday will be a lot different this time around. Instead of braving the early-morning crowds at the mall, many of us are taking our bargain hunting online — and that opens up more opportunities to earn the most rewards for our holiday spending

Deciding on the best rewards credit card for your purchase can seem daunting, with many cards offering extra rewards in the same bonus categories. You'll find that a lot of the cards for Black Friday deals and Cyber Monday shopping also appear on our list of the best cards for online shopping, for example.

Often, the choice that makes the most sense for you will depend on the type of rewards you like to earn, limited-time promotions you're eligible for, and even benefits like extended warranty and purchase protection.

You might even be working toward meeting a minimum spending requirement to earn the welcome bonus on a new credit card, and if that's the case, using that card for your holiday purchases is probably the smartest choice.

We're focused here on the rewards and perks that come with each card. These cards won't be worth it if you're paying interest or late fees. When using a credit card, it's important to pay your balance in full each month, make payments on time, and only spend what you can afford to pay.

 

 

Most Citi cards

5% cash back on online shoppingOn up to $500 in spending per card through November 30
Chase Freedom Flex℠5% cash back at Walmart and PayPalOn up to $1.5K in combined purchases when you activate
Discover it® Cash Back5% cash back at Best Buy, Amazon, Walmart.com, and Target.comOn up to $1.5K in combined purchases (then 1%) until December 31 when you activate
Ink Business Cash® Credit Card5% cash back at office supply stores5% on up to $25K in combined purchases at office supply stores and on on internet, cable, and phone services
U.S. Bank Cash+™ Visa Signature® Card5% cash back at department storesOn up to $2K in combined spending (then 1%) when you choose this category and one other each
Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express6% cash back at US supermarketsOn up to $6k each year (then 1%)
Chase Freedom Unlimited®3% cash back at drugstores and restaurants1.5% back on all other purchases
Citi® Double Cash CardUp to 2% cash back on all purchases1% back when you buy and another 1% back when you pay your bill
Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card3% back in a category of your choosingPlus 2% back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs on a combined $2,500 in spending each quarter
The Platinum Card® from American ExpressPurchase protection and extended warrantyNew cardholders get 10x points at US supermarkets and US gas stations on up to $15K in combined spending in the first 6 months of account opening (then 1x)

5% cash back for online shopping with most Citi cards

Most Citi personal and small-business cardholders can earn 5% cash back when they use their card for online shopping between November 24 and November 30. Enrollment is required at citi.com/giving, and you'll earn the bonus on up to $500 in online purchases per card (accounts that were opened after October 23 don't qualify).

This is on top of the rewards you'd already earn, whether it's Citi ThankYou points with a card like the Citi Premier® Card or American Airlines miles with the CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® Mastercard®. 

5% cash back at Walmart and PayPal

The Chase Freedom Flex℠ 5% rotating bonus categories for the last quarter of 2020 are Walmart and PayPal. Once you activate the bonus, you'll earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined spending (then 1%) when you activate the bonus.

That's a great cash-back rate on its own, but if you also have the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, Chase Sapphire Reserve®, or Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card, you can combine your Chase Ultimate Rewards points then open up more opportunities to redeem, including transferring points to Chase's airline and hotel partners

Until December 31, the Discover it® Cash Back offers 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases (then 1%) when you activate the bonus at Best Buy (newly added), Target.com, Walmart.com, and Amazon — all retailers that typically offer deep Black Friday and Cyber Monday discounts on electronics like televisions, computers, and cell phones.

For new cardholders, Discover will match all the rewards you've earned after the first 12 months, effectively earning you 10% back on these purchases. 

5% cash back at office supply stores

Small-business owners often wait for Black Friday and Cyber Monday to purchase equipment and electronics — and if you can find a deal at office supply stores like Staples, the Ink Business Cash® Credit Card can get you an even better deal.

You'll earn 5% cash back at office supply stores (and on internet, cable, and phone services) on up to $25,000 in combined spending per year (then 1%). Similar to the Chase Freedom Flex℠, your rewards could be worth even more if you also have the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, Chase Sapphire Reserve®, or Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card. 

5% cash back at department stores

The U.S. Bank Cash+™ Visa Signature® Card is unique in that you can pick two categories each quarter to earn 5% back on up to $2,000 in combined spending (then 1%). Department stores are one of the choices, so if you have this card and plan to shop at retailers like Macy's or JC Penney, it's a solid choice.

6% cash back at US supermarkets

Whether you're stocking up on holiday groceries or picking up gifts for your foodie friends at U.S. supermarkets, the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express is a solid choice if you prefer cash back. You'll earn 6% back on up to $6,000 at U.S. supermarkets each year (then 1%).

There's another contender in this category, but only new cardholders can get in on the deal. The Platinum Card® from American Express is currently offering 10x Amex Membership Rewards points at U.S. supermarkets and U.S. gas stations on up to $15,000 in combined spending in the first six months of account opening (then 1x). 

3% cash back at drugstores

The Chase Freedom Unlimited® earns 3% cash back at drugstores (and restaurants) and 1.5% cash back on all other purchases, with no spending cap. (The Chase Freedom Flex℠ covers these categories as well). 

 

2% cash back everywhere

If you prefer an all-purpose, flat rate cash-back card without having to track different categories, the Citi® Double Cash Card is an easy win. You'll earn 2% cash back (1% when you buy, and 1% when you pay) on all purchases, making the card ideal for spending that doesn't fall into typical bonus categories as well.

3% cash back in a category you choose

For even more flexibility, the Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card lets you pick a 3% cash-back category from their list, which includes online shopping, drug stores, home improvement and furnishings, dining, travel, and gas. You'll earn 3% cash back on up to $2,000 in combined spending with the card's 2% cash-back categories (wholesale clubs and grocery stores) each quarter, then 1% back.

Purchase protection and extended warranty

American Express cards are known for their solid purchase protections and extended warranty, and The Platinum Card® from American Express offers some of the best benefits. Before you make any expensive purchases, it's best to weigh the earning rate against the protections the card provides.

In this case, The Platinum Card® from American Express doesn't earn bonus points in most popular holiday shopping categories, but getting the peace of mind from the extra protection you'll get can offset the additional rewards you might earn with a different card.

Tips to boost your Black Friday and Cyber Monday rewards

Use a shopping portal

If you're shopping from home, be sure to check online shopping portals before making a purchase to see if there are opportunities for bonus rewards. These will stack on top of the earnings from your rewards credit card.

For example, if you have a Chase Ultimate Rewards credit card, check the Chase portal to earn extra points per dollar at popular retailers like Macys.com, Walmart.com, and BestBuy.com.

Most major US airlines have their own online shopping portal, so if you prefer earning airline miles it's worth checking your favorite, such as:

Check for limited-time bonus offers

Many issuers offer limited-time bonus spending categories, especially in relation to the pandemic. It's also worth checking your Amex and Chase accounts to see if you can activate any Chase Offers or Amex Offers that apply to your purchase. 

For example, some cardholders have found an Amex Offer to earn 8 bonus Amex Membership Rewards points per dollar at Amazon (up to 3,000 points) on their card up to December 31. These offers are targeted, so there's no guarantee you'll get a particular offer, and you do have to enroll your card to receive any bonuses you qualify for.

Don't forget to activate promotions and bonuses

Some cards require activation or enrollment before you can earn extra rewards in certain categories. Be sure to activate bonuses on cards like the Chase Freedom Flex℠ and Discover it® Cash Back to ensure you're earning the most rewards. 

The same is true for limited-time promotions. Along with Citi's promotion to earn 5% back on online shopping, there's also a Chase promotion to earn 3x or 5x at Amazon and grocery stores through the end of the year with select co-branded credit cards, but you'll have to activate if you're eligible.

Jasmin Baron is an associate editor at Personal Finance Insider, where she helps readers maximize rewards and find the best credit cards to fit their lifestyles. Before joining Business Insider, she was a senior editor at The Points Guy and Million Mile Secrets, covering credit cards, loyalty programs, and all things travel.

Disclosure: This post is brought to you by the Personal Finance Insider team. We occasionally highlight financial products and services that can help you make smarter decisions with your money. We do not give investment advice or encourage you to adopt a certain investment strategy. What you decide to do with your money is up to you. If you take action based on one of our recommendations, we get a small share of the revenue from our commerce partners. This does not influence whether we feature a financial product or service. We operate independently from our advertising sales team.

Get the latest Bank of America stock price here.

For rates and fees of The Platinum Card® from American Express, please click here.

For rates and fees of The Platinum Card® from American Express, please click here.

For rates and fees of the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express, please click here.

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