The Best Credit Cards to Use for the 2016 Holiday Season
There are exactly 19 shopping days left until Christmas, and whether you’re ahead of the game or behind on your shopping list, you may already be feeling some shopping lethargy. But don’t despair: depending on your preferred method of payment, you may be able to get rewarded for running around those stuffy, crowded malls.
We present to you five of RateSupermarket.ca’s 2016 Best of Finance credit card winners that can reward you on each dollar you spend and make your Christmas morning just a bit brighter.
If You’re a Student Coming Home for the Holidays
Card of choice: BMO SPC CashBack MasterCard
Let’s face it: the holidays can be stressful for anyone, but early December is an especially challenging time for a college or university student. Exam season can be mentally and physically taxing to say the least. And if money is tight and you’re looking for ways to cut costs, that’s no easy feat with Christmas just around the corner.
Lo and behold, there’s a card for that. The BMO SPC CashBack MasterCard earns you one per cent cash back on every $100 you spend, anywhere. According to our Best of Finance methodology, this can put an extra $200 in your wallet over a two-year period. While that $200 might not seem like a large number right now, every dollar helps when you’re living off campus or dealing with student loans. Another great bonus is that this card comes with a free SPC membership – a $10 value – that gives you 10 to 15 per cent off at participating retail stores – and there are many.
If You’re a Busy Parent Looking for a Getaway
Card of choice: Blue Sky Credit Card (from American Express)
You’ve worked hard all year and the daily grind is starting to get to you, but you haven’t had a chance to get away from it all. Start planning that hard-earned vacation in 2017 with the help of the Blue Sky Credit Card from American Express. It’s our pick for the highest-earning no-fee travel rewards credit card, bringing in 1.25 points on each dollar you spend. Cardholders can redeem points in increments of 7,500 (or $100) for eligible travel purchases. So the more Christmas gifts you pay for with plastic, the greater number of travel options you have. The best part is supplementary cards are free, meaning other members of your family can help pitch in towards your dream destination simply by using the card.
If You’re Driving to Visit Out-of-Town Relatives
Card of Choice: Scotia Momentum Visa Infinite
Driving long distances can be a great alternative to flying, but it can still take a bite out of your budget. That’s why it’s important to make even more out of your visits to grandma’s house by earning some cash back on the trip back and forth. Our top pick for gas rewards is the Scotia Momentum Visa Infinite Card which gives you four per cent cash back on all fuel purchases. Based on the everyday expenditures of the average Canadian, that can result in close to $120 back in your pocket over two years just from gas alone.
The Scotia Momentum Visa Infinite also gives you a significant amount of cash back on other purchases, but keep in mind that it has a $99 annual fee after the first year.
If You’re Cooking That Perfect Christmas Dinner
Card of choice: President’s Choice Financial World Elite MasterCard
Stocking up your fridge can be pricey this time of year, especially when families are entertaining more than usual. That’s where the President’s Choice Financial World Elite MasterCard comes in: a top-notch product that earned first place in our Best Grocery Rewards category.
This no-fee card earns you 30 PC Points for every dollar you spend on food and pharmacy items at Loblaws stores, as well as through PC Travel, and 10 PC Points per dollar everywhere else. You can also earn three cents cash back per litre of gas at Esso stations. All points can be redeemed at stores under the Loblaws umbrella, including Joe Fresh clothing stores. This can amount to close to $785 back in your wallet over a two-year period – plenty of nice dinners for next Christmas.
And If You Simply Love to Shop
Card of choice: Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card
Perhaps you feed off the energy of those crowded malls this time of year. Or your greatest joy is digging deep into your wallet to give your family and friends everything on their wish lists. But maybe it’s time to reward yourself, for a change. In that case, the Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card is the perfect way to do so. With no annual fee, this card earns you four per cent cash back in three chosen categories (for example: food, gas and pharmacy) for the first three months, and two per cent cash back thereafter. You’ll also earn one per cent cash back on everything else.
Note that in order to reap maximum benefits with this card, you will need to sign up for a Tangerine Savings Account. But we’re fans of these products as well, which carry no fee and competitive interest rates, and also don’t require you to have a minimum balance.
Earn Rewards and Be Merry!
Our 2016 Best of Finance picks are all solid choices for any season, but we all know that December is the true season of consumerism. However, we can’t stress enough how important it is to make at least your minimum monthly payments on time. In fact, you should always strive to pay your balance off in full every billing cycle. By doing so, you’re avoiding interest charges and truly reaping the benefits of each card. So set a reasonable shopping budget and enjoy the perks these cards offer!