logo
CNBC.COM
CNBC Select may receive an affiliate commission when you click on the links for products from our partners. Click here to read our full advertiser disclosure.

Best credit cards for Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping of 2019

Getty Images

Holiday shopping is about to reach its peak with Black Friday and Cyber Monday fast approaching. In fact, 60% of holiday shoppers reported that they plan to shop on Thanksgiving Day, Black Friday or Cyber Monday, according to the Visa Business & Economic Insights holiday survey.

If you're one of the many shoppers hitting the stores or browsing the internet for gifts, using the right credit card is key to earning generous rewards and exclusive discounts. Nearly two in five (37%) Americans plan to buy more than 10 gifts for their family and friends this holiday season, with an average purchase of 18 gifts, according to American Express' Membership Rewards holiday shopping survey. That leaves plenty of room to maximize rewards on gift purchases.

Here are CNBC Select's picks for the top credit cards for Black Friday and Cyber Monday 2019 shopping:

Best for department stores

Chase Freedom®

  • Rewards

    5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate (then 1%), 1% cash back on all other purchases

  • Welcome bonus

    $150 cash back after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening

  • Annual fee

    $0

  • Intro APR

    0% for the first 15 months on purchases and balance transfers

  • Regular APR

    16.49% to 25.24% variable on purchases and balance transfers

  • Balance transfer fee

    3% intro balance transfer fee when you transfer a balance during the first 60 days your account is open, with a $5 minimum. After, 5% ($5 minimum).

  • Foreign transaction fee

    3%

  • See our methodology, terms apply.

Pros

  • No annual fee
  • Long intro 0% APR period for purchases and balance transfers
  • Rewards can be transferred to a Chase Ultimate Rewards card
  • Generous welcome bonus
  • Opportunity to earn up to 5% cash back in select categories upon activation

Cons

  • Bonus categories must be activated each quarter
  • Cash-back program limits 5% cash-back earnings to $1,500 a quarter
  • 3% fee charged on foreign transactions
  • Estimated rewards earned after 1 year: $373
  • Estimated rewards earned after 5 years: $1,263

Rewards totals incorporate the cash back earned from the welcome bonus

  • Estimated rewards earned after 1 year: $373
  • Estimated rewards earned after 5 years: $1,263

Rewards totals incorporate the cash back earned from the welcome bonus

read more
Learn More
Information about the Chase Freedom® Card has been collected independently by CNBC and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of the card prior to publication.

Who's this for? Holiday shoppers who like do most of their buying at department stores will want to check out the Chase Freedom®. The card offers 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate (then 1%) and 1% cash back on all other purchases.

Chase releases a cash-back calendar with new categories each quarter. The bonus categories for the remainder of 2019 include department stores and purchases made using PayPal and Chase Pay. Eligible department stores include Bloomingdales, Nordstrom and Macys. You can view the full list of participating stores.

The Chase Freedom® has no annual fee and offers a competitive 0% APR for the first 15 months on purchases and balance transfers (then 16.74% to 25.49% variable APR). This allows you to pay for gifts over time without incurring interest.

Best for Amazon, Target and Walmart

Discover it® Cash Back

  • Rewards

    5% cash back at different places each quarter after you activate bonus categories (on up to $1,500 in purchases, then 1%). Plus, unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases.

  • Welcome bonus

    At the end of your first year, Discover automatically matches all the cash back you earned

  • Annual fee

    $0

  • Intro APR

    0% for the first 14 months on purchases and balance transfers

  • Regular APR

    13.49% to 24.49% variable on purchases and balance transfers

  • Balance transfer fee

    3% intro balance transfer fee, up to 5% fee on future balance transfers (see terms)*

  • Foreign transaction fee

    None

  • *See our methodology, terms apply.

Pros

  • Cash-back program
  • No annual fee
  • No fee charged on purchases made outside the U.S.
  • Generous welcome bonus

Cons

  • Bonus categories must be activated each quarter
  • Cash-back program limits 5% cash-back earnings to $1,500 a quarter
  • Fee charged on balance transfers
  • Estimated rewards earned after 1 year: $436
  • Estimated rewards earned after 5 years: $1,505

Rewards totals incorporate the cash back earned from the welcome bonus

  • Estimated rewards earned after 1 year: $436
  • Estimated rewards earned after 5 years: $1,505

Rewards totals incorporate the cash back earned from the welcome bonus

read more
Apply Now
On Discover's secure site

Who's this for? If you do most of your shopping online at retailers like Amazon, Target and Walmart, you'll want to consider the Discover it® Cash Back. Cardholders earn 5% cash back at different places each quarter after you activate bonus categories (on up to $1,500 in purchases, then 1%). Plus, unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases.

The Discover cash-back calendar for the rest of 2019 includes Amazon.com, Target and Walmart.com as bonus categories.

This card has no annual fee and a unique welcome bonus where Discover automatically matches all the cash back you earned at the end of your first year. It also offers a competitive 0% APR for the first 14 months on purchases and balance transfers (then 13.49% to 24.49% variable APR)

Best for wholesale clubs

Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi

  • Rewards

    4% cash back on eligible gas for the first $7,000 per year (then 1%); 3% cash back on restaurants and eligible travel purchases; 2% cash back on all purchases from Costco and Costco.com; 1% cash back on all other purchases

  • Welcome bonus

    No current offer

  • Annual fee

    $0, Costco membership required

  • Intro APR

    N/A for purchases and balance transfers

  • Regular APR

    16.74% variable on purchases and balance transfers

  • Balance transfer fee

    Either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater

  • Foreign transaction fee

    None

  • See our methodology, terms apply.

Pros

  • Generous gas rewards
  • No fee charged on purchases made outside the U.S.

Cons

  • Costco membership is required
  • Rewards are distributed once a year and can only be redeemed at U.S. Costco Warehouses
  • No welcome bonus, so you can’t maximize rewards during the first few months of card opening
  • Estimated rewards earned after 1 year: $261
  • Estimated rewards earned after 5 years: $1,307
  • Estimated rewards earned after 1 year: $261
  • Estimated rewards earned after 5 years: $1,307
read more
Learn More
Information about the Costco Anywhere Visa® Card has been collected independently by CNBC and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of the card prior to publication.

Who's this for? Loyal fans of Costco may want to open a Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi to use when holiday shopping this year. Cardholders enjoy many perks, such as a robust rewards program and no fees charged on purchases made abroad.

You can earn 4% cash back on eligible purchases at Costco gas stations for the first $7,000 per year, then 1% (ideal for those road-tripping it this holiday season); 3% cash back on restaurants and eligible travel purchases; 2% cash back on all purchases from Costco and Costco.com; 1% cash back on all other purchases.

There is no annual fee, but a Costco membership is required, which starts at $60 for Gold Star and Business levels, then doubles in price to $120 for Gold Star Executive and Business Executive members.

Best for general shopping

Citi® Double Cash Card

  • Rewards

    2% cash back: 1% on all purchases and an additional 1% after you pay your credit card bill

  • Welcome bonus

    No current offer

  • Annual fee

    $0

  • Intro APR

    0% for the first 18 months on balance transfers; N/A for purchases

  • Regular APR

    15.49% to 25.49% variable on purchases and balance transfers

  • Balance transfer fee

    Either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater

  • Foreign transaction fee

    3%

  • Credit needed

    Excellent/Good

  • See our methodology, terms apply.

Pros

  • 2% cash back on all purchases
  • Simple cash-back program that doesn't require activation or spending caps
  • One of the longest intro periods for balance transfers at 18 months

Cons

  • No welcome bonus, so you can’t maximize rewards during the first few months of card opening
  • Minimum cash-back redemption of $25
  • 3% fee charged on purchases made outside the U.S.
  • Estimated rewards earned after 1 year: $437
  • Estimated rewards earned after 5 years: $2,185
  • Estimated rewards earned after 1 year: $437
  • Estimated rewards earned after 5 years: $2,185
read more
Apply Now
On Citi's secure site

Who's this for? If you plan on shopping at a variety of stores this holiday season, a flat-rate cash-back card can be a simple way to earn competitive cash-back rewards on everything you buy. The Citi® Double Cash Card is a straightforward card that continues to offer one of the best flat-rate cash-back programs since it launched in 2014. Cardholders earn 2% cash back on all purchases — 1% when you make a purchase and an additional 1% when you pay your credit card bill.

There is no limit to the amount of cash back you can earn and you don't have to worry about activating bonus categories. Cash back can be redeemed for a statement credit or direct deposit.

This card is also a good choice for debt consolidation. There's a 0% APR for the first 18 months on balance transfers (then 15.49% to 25.49% variable APR). Just make sure you transfer balances within four months from account opening. There is a 3% balance transfer fee (minimum $5), which can be outweighed by the amount you save on interest. (See more on how to make the most of a balance transfer.)

Best for travel

Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card

  • Rewards

    5X miles on hotel and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel℠, 2X miles per dollar on every other purchase, plus 10X miles on thousands of hotels on hotels.com/venture (through January 2020)

  • Welcome bonus

    50,000 bonus miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening

  • Annual fee

    $0 first year, then $95

  • Intro APR

    N/A for purchases and balance transfers

  • Regular APR

    17.49% to 24.74% variable on purchases and balance transfers

  • Balance transfer fee

    3% for promotional APR offers; none for balances transferred at regular APR

  • Foreign transaction fee

    None

  • Credit needed

    Excellent/Good

  • See our methodology, terms apply.

Pros

  • Annual fee is waived the first year
  • 10X miles at hotels.com/venture through January 2020
  • Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee credit up to $100 every 4 years

Cons

  • No introductory APR
  • There’s a $95 annual fee after the first year
  • Estimated rewards earned after 1 year: $988
  • Estimated rewards earned after 5 years: $2,805

*Rewards totals incorporate the miles earned from the welcome bonus. When we calculated the first year returns for the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card, we assumed the cardholder would spend $572 a year on hotel rooms booked via hotels.com/venture. Since the 10X miles offer is only valid through January 2020, we assumed 5X miles for hotel purchases for years 2 through 5. You may earn a higher or lower return depending on your travel spending habits.

  • Estimated rewards earned after 1 year: $988
  • Estimated rewards earned after 5 years: $2,805

*Rewards totals incorporate the miles earned from the welcome bonus. When we calculated the first year returns for the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card, we assumed the cardholder would spend $572 a year on hotel rooms booked via hotels.com/venture. Since the 10X miles offer is only valid through January 2020, we assumed 5X miles for hotel purchases for years 2 through 5. You may earn a higher or lower return depending on your travel spending habits.

read more
Learn More
Information about the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card has been collected independently by CNBC and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of the card prior to publication.

Who's this for? If you want to take advantage of travel deals, now is a good time to sign up for a travel credit card. The Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card offers the best rewards rate on select hotel purchases: Earn 10X miles per $1 spent on thousands of hotel bookings on hotels.com/venture through January 2020 (so if you spend $500 on the site, you earn 5,000 miles). If you're looking to take a trip before the end of the year, this is a great way to maximize the amount of miles you can earn.

This card also earns 5X miles on hotel and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel℠ and 2X miles per dollar spent on all other spending, which is a great flat rate. While Venture does come with a $95 annual fee, it's waived during the first year. And $95 is low compared to some other rewards cards, with some annual fees up to $550.

In addition to rewards, every four years cardholders receive a credit for a Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application, up to $100. If you travel often, this is a great perk that can save you time and money.

This card charges no foreign transaction fees and comes with a bunch of additional travel perks, such as travel accident insurance, 24-hour travel assistance services and an auto rental collision damage waiver.

Best for entertainment

Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card

  • Rewards

    4% cash back on dining and entertainment, 2% at grocery stores and 1% on all other purchases

  • Welcome bonus

    Earn a one-time $300 cash bonus once you spend $3,000 on purchases within the first three months from account opening

  • Annual fee

    $95, waived the first year

  • Intro APR

    0% for the first 12 months on purchases; N/A on balance transfers

  • Regular APR

    16.24% to 25.24% variable on purchases and balance transfers

  • Balance transfer fee

    3% for promotional APR offers; none for balances transferred at regular APR

  • Foreign transaction fee

    None

  • Credit needed

    Excellent/Good

  • See our methodology, terms apply.

Pros

  • Unlimited 4% cash back on entertainment purchases
  • 8% cash back on all Vivid Seats ticket purchases through May 31, 2020
  • Free Postmates Unlimited membership through December 2019
  • Ability to redeem rewards at any amount, unlike some other cards with $25 minimums
  • No fee charged on purchases made outside the U.S.

Cons

  • $95 annual fee after the first year
  • Cable, digital streaming and membership services are excluded from the 4% cash-back rate
  • No introductory 0% financing offers for purchases or balance transfers
  • Estimated rewards earned after 1 year: $766
  • Estimated rewards earned after 5 years: $2,251

Rewards totals incorporate the cash back earned from the welcome bonus

  • Estimated rewards earned after 1 year: $766
  • Estimated rewards earned after 5 years: $2,251

Rewards totals incorporate the cash back earned from the welcome bonus

read more
Learn More
Information about the Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card has been collected independently by CNBC and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of the card prior to publication.

Who's this for? If you prefer to give the gift of experiences, an entertainment rewards card can provide valuable rewards in this category. Sports fans, movie buffs and adventure seekers will all find a common reason to like the Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card: unlimited 4% cash back on entertainment purchases. Compared to other rewards cards, this is the highest unlimited rewards rate on entertainment spending, whether you're buying movie tickets, taking a family trip to the zoo or spending the evening bowling with friends.

Through May 31, 2020, cardholders who buy tickets through Vivid Seats, a ticket resale site, can take advantage of 8% cash back.

Cardholders can also benefit from exclusive access to entertainment events, such as the iHeartRadio Music Festival and the Capital One JamFest.

Beyond entertainment perks, there's also 4% cash back on dining, 2% at grocery stores and 1% on all other purchases. And you can benefit from a free Postmates Unlimited membership through December 2019, which gets you free delivery on orders over $15.

This card does come with a $95 annual fee, but it's waived during the first year from account opening and can be offset by the cash back you earn.

Best welcome bonus

TD Cash Credit Card

  • Rewards

    3% cash back on dining, 2% on groceries and 1% on everything else

  • Welcome bonus

    Earn $200 cash back when you spend $500 within 90 days after account opening

  • Annual fee

    $0

  • Intro APR

    0% for the first 12 billing cycles on balance transfers; N/A for purchases

  • Regular APR

    14.74% to 24.74% variable on purchases and balance transfers

  • Balance transfer fee

    3%, $5 minimum

  • Foreign transaction fee

    None

  • See our methodology, terms apply.

Pros

  • No annual fee
  • Low spending requirement to earn the welcome bonus
  • 3% cash back on dining
  • No foreign transaction fees

Cons

  • No special financing on new purchases
  • Few additional cardholder perks beyond rewards
  • Estimated rewards earned after 1 year: $536
  • Estimated rewards earned after 5 years: $1,880

*Rewards totals incorporate the cash back earned from the welcome bonus

  • Estimated rewards earned after 1 year: $536
  • Estimated rewards earned after 5 years: $1,880

*Rewards totals incorporate the cash back earned from the welcome bonus

read more
Learn More
Information about the TD Cash Credit Card has been collected independently by CNBC and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of the card prior to publication.

Who's this for? The TD Cash Credit Card has the best welcome bonus of all the cards we reviewed: Earn $200 cash back when you spend $500 within 90 days after account opening. This is worth an effective 40% cash back. The spending requirement is significantly lower than other cards that may require you to spend up to $5,000 to earn the same bonus. If you're looking to spend more than usual during the holiday season, this can be a good time to take advantage of a generous welcome bonus (though it's still important to pay your cards on time and in full).

This card's cash-back program is geared toward foodies, with 3% cash back on dining, 2% on groceries and 1% on everything else.

Beyond rewards, the TD Cash Credit Card is pretty basic. You won't receive any noteworthy additional perks like some of the other cards on this list, but you can benefit from no annual fee and no foreign transaction fees.

Rewards can be redeemed for a statement credit or direct deposit into a checking or savings account once you accumulate at least $25.

Best for intro 0% APR period

Amex EveryDay® Credit Card

  • Rewards

    2X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1X), 1X Membership Rewards® points per dollar spent on all other purchases

  • Welcome bonus

    Earn 10,000 Membership Rewards® points after you make $1,000 in purchases in your first 3 months

  • Annual fee

    $0

  • Intro APR

    0% for the first 15 months on purchases and balance transfers

  • Regular APR

    14.49% to 25.49% variable APR

  • Balance transfer fee

    $0

  • Foreign transaction fee

    2.7%

  • Credit needed

    Excellent/Good

  • See rates and fees and our methodology, terms apply.

Pros

  • 15 months of no interest on balance transfers
  • No balance transfer fee
  • No annual fee
  • Rewards program and welcome bonus, which is rare among no-fee balance transfer cards
  • 20% extra point bonus when you make 20 or more purchases in a billing period

Cons

  • 2.7% foreign transaction fee
  • Balances must be transferred within 60 days from account opening
  • Transfer timeline: Balances must be transferred within 60 days from account opening
  • Estimated total fees and interest on debt repayment: $369
  • Transfer timeline: Balances must be transferred within 60 days from account opening
  • Estimated total fees and interest on debt repayment: $369
read more
Learn More
Information about the Amex EveryDay® Credit Card has been collected independently by CNBC and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of the card prior to publication.

Who's this for? If you want to maximize savings with an interest-free financing period, consider a card that has no interest for over a year, such as the Amex EveryDay® Credit Card. You can benefit from no interest for the first 15 months on purchases and balance transfers (then 14.49% to 25.49% variable APR). This is a longer-than-average intro period, providing extra time for you to pay off gifts and other new purchases when you make sizeable, monthly payments toward your balance.

And unlike many balance transfer cards that charge a 3% to 5% fee per transfer, this card has no fee. If you transfer $5,000 to this card, you'd avoid a $150 fee that you'd pay if you had a card with a 3% balance transfer fee. All balance transfers must take place within the first 60 days from account opening to qualify for the introductory period.

This card also has no annual fee and a strong rewards program: Earn 2X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1X) and 1X Membership Rewards® points per dollar spent on all other purchases. And when you make 20 or more purchases in a billing period you receive 20% extra points.

Cardholders can also take advantage of premium Amex perks, including discounts at select merchants via Amex Offers, car rental loss and damage insurance, free two-day shipping at select online retailers with ShopRunner and cell phone protection.

Our methodology

To determine which cards offer the best value for shoppers during Black Friday or Cyber Monday, CNBC Select analyzed 234 of the most popular credit cards available in the U.S. We compared each card on a range of features, including rewards, welcome bonus, introductory and standard APR, balance transfer fee and foreign transaction fees, as well as factors such as required credit and customer reviews when available. We also considered additional perks, the application process and how easy it is for the consumer to redeem points.

We also estimated how much the average consumer would save over the course of a year, two years and five years, assuming they would attempt to maximize their rewards potential by earning all welcome bonuses offered and using the card for all applicable purchases. All rewards total estimations are net the annual fee. Our final picks are weighted heavily toward the highest five-year returns, since it's generally wise to hold onto a credit card for years. This method also avoids giving an unfair advantage to cards with large welcome bonuses.

CNBC Select teamed up with location intelligence firm Esri. The company's data development team provided the most up-to-date and comprehensive consumer spending data based on the 2018 Consumer Expenditure Surveys from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. You can read more about their methodology here.

Esri's data team created a sample annual budget of approximately $21,852 in retail spending. This budget is comprised of the most common spending categories, including groceries ($5,019), gas ($2,394), dining out ($3,365), travel ($2,154), utilities ($4,959) and general purchases ($3,961). General purchases include items such as housekeeping supplies, clothing, personal care products, prescription drugs and vitamins, and other vehicle expenses.

CNBC Select used this budget to estimate how much the average consumer would save over the course of a year, two years and five years, assuming they would attempt to maximize their rewards potential by earning all welcome bonuses offered and using the card for all applicable purchases. All rewards total estimations are net the annual fee.

It's important to note the value of a point or mile varies from card to card and based on how you redeem them. When we calculated the estimated returns, we assumed that cardholders are redeeming points/miles for a typical maximum value of 1 cent per point or mile. (Extreme optimizers might be able to achieve more value.)

Best Credit Cards for Black Friday and Cyber Monday 2019

Best for... Credit Card
Department storesChase Freedom®
Amazon, Target and WalmartDiscover it® Cash Back
Wholesale clubsCostco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi
General shoppingCiti® Double Cash Card
TravelCapital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card
EntertainmentCapital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card
Welcome bonusTD Cash Credit Card
Intro 0% APR periodAmex EveryDay® Credit Card
Editorial Note: Opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the CNBC Select editorial staff’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any third party.