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How to Use Credit Card Rewards to Pay for Holiday Gifts

How to redeem credit card rewards
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Before the holiday madness begins, take advantage of your credit card rewards to help manage your holiday budgets.

Take advantage of sign-up bonuses

If you haven't racked up many rewards points this year (or already spent them all … oops), it's not too late to get in on the holiday rewards game. Some major credit card issuers offer sign-up bonuses to attract new customers. You usually have to meet a spending minimum within a certain period of time. For example, you may need to spend at least $1,500 within 90 days to qualify for a $200 sign-up bonus. By putting all your expenses on your new credit card — and paying off the balance each month, of course — you can earn extra cash to put toward holiday gifts, in addition to whatever rewards you'll be earning for use later (ahem... summer travel-planning perhaps?).

Use cash back to pay yourself back

Another way to save money on holiday shopping is by taking all the cash back you earned and applying it to your credit card balance.1 This will reduce your balance when your holiday shopping bill arrives, which helps take the pressure off an already stressful time of year.

Start racking up rewards now

If you're a newcomer to the world of credit card rewards, don't feel left out. You can still take advantage of them to ease your budget and stay out of debt as you move into 2024. Pick out the right credit card for you and take advantage of all the holiday spending you have to do anyway by putting it on your new card. Come January, you should have a good amount of points available to reduce your credit card bill. But also research whether it's the right move to tap into perks.2 Additionally, see if it makes sense to put gift purchases on a credit card.3

Remember, credit card rewards aren't worth a dime if you use them as an excuse to spend more than you can afford. Rewards cards can be a useful tool or a debt trap, depending on how you use them. Be sure to use your rewards card strategically, so you can come out ahead entering 2024.

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Important disclosure information

This content is general in nature and does not constitute legal, tax, accounting, financial or investment advice. You are encouraged to consult with competent legal, tax, accounting, financial or investment professionals based on your specific circumstances. We do not make any warranties as to accuracy or completeness of this information, do not endorse any third-party companies, products, or services described here, and take no liability for your use of this information.

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  1. Statement credits apply toward the balance and do not replace a monthly payment, Synovus. Back
  2. Holly Johnson and Jasmin Baron, Business Insider, "Credit card rewards can save you money on holiday shopping, but you may be better off saving them for travel," published November 16, 2022, accessed November 9, 2023. Back
  3. Nora Dunn, NerdWallet "6 Reasons to Put Holiday Gifts on a Credit Card (Even If You Have the Cash)," published November 10, 2022, accessed November 9, 2023. Back

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