Get the Most Credit Card Rewards Possible This Holiday Season

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Olha Povozniuk /

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We’re entering the holiday shopping season once again, and it’s time to ask — before you buy any gifts — whether you can get more out of your spending this year.

A solid credit card rewards program could mean amazing things for you in 2022, whether it’s a free flight or hotel room for your next vacation or simply padding out your next gift budget.

A number of new and great rewards card offers are worth a look right now. Here are our top cards:

Chase Freedom Unlimited

Why we like it: With no annual fee to worry about, the Chase Freedom Unlimited card is a top-tier choice for grocery or general cash-back rewards, offering at least 1.5% cash back on every purchase and more in certain categories. You also earn an extra 1.5% cash back on every purchase on up to $20,000 spent in the first year. For example, that extra 1.5% would boost the 5% cash back normally available for travel up to 6.5%.

What to know:

Chase Freedom Unlimited
  • 5% cash back on travel-related purchases through Chase.
  • 3% cash back on dining at restaurants and on drugstore purchases.
  • 1.5% cash back on every other purchase.
  • No expiration on cash-back rewards.
  • 0% introductory APR on purchases for 15 months, then a variable rate of 17.24% to 25.99%.
  • No annual fee.

Note: This card has a foreign transaction fee, so plan accordingly for international travel.

Capital One Venture

Why we like it: An early spending bonus offer of 75,000 miles when you spend $4,000 within the first three months is worth $750 in travel.

What to know:

Capital One Venture
Capital One
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 in the first three months of membership.
  • Earn 5 miles per dollar on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel.
  • Earn 2 miles per dollar on every other purchase with no annual cap or expiration.
  • Get up to a $100 credit on Global Entry or TSA PreCheck.
  • $95 annual fee.

Note: This card has a $95 annual fee. The Capital One VentureOne card does not, but doesn’t have the same early spending bonus offer and offers a lower rate of return.

Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Plus

Why we like it: This is a pretty low bar to clear for a great bonus offer — just spend $1,000 in the first three months and earn 50,000 points!

What to know:

Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Plus
  • Earn 50,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 in the first three months.
  • Get 3,000 bonus points each year for your cardholder anniversary.
  • Get 2 points per $1 spent on Southwest flights.
  • Get 2 points per $1 spent on transit and commuting.
  • Get 2 points per $1 spent on internet, cable, phone service, and certain streaming purchases.
  • Get 1 point per $1 spent on other purchases.
  • $69 annual fee.

Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express

Why we like it: This card currently offers an amazing introductory bonus of 150,000 points and a free night award when you make $5,000 in purchases within the first three months.

What to know:

Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express
American Express
  • 6X points at participating Marriott Bonvoy hotels.
  • 3X points at U.S. restaurants and flights booked directly with airlines.
  • 2X points on other eligible purchases.
  • Up to $300 in statement credits each year for eligible purchases at participating Marriott Bonvoy hotels.
  • Free night at a participating hotel each year after your card anniversary.
  • Up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or $85 credit for TSA PreCheck for easier airport access.
  • Priority Pass Select airport lounge access.
  • $450 annual fee. (See rates and fees)

Note: There are no foreign transaction fees associated with this card.

Whatever you need in a credit card — whether it’s a balance transfer, reward points, cash back or a low interest rate — you can find it with our credit card search tool. Click here to search for the plastic that best fits your needs.

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