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This article was last updated Jan 31, 2019. Terms and conditions may have changed. For the most accurate information, please consult the issuer website.
Valentine’s Day is fast approaching, and last-minute shoppers may be scrambling to get their significant other a gift. Whether it’s flowers, chocolates, jewelry or a fancy meal, the costs of celebrating Valentine’s Day can add up. In fact, the National Retail Federation’s annual survey found that 55% of Americans are expected to celebrate Valentine’s Day this year, spending an average of $143.56 each, for a nationwide total of $19.6 billion.
If you’re trying to find the perfect gift for your partner without breaking the bank, consider taking a closer look at what your credit card has to offer. Benefits may include discounts, special financing, or helpful rewards redemption options that can be used to your advantage.
We’ll review the various ways you can use your credit card to save this Valentine’s Day.
Redeem cash back or points card rewards
Cashback and rewards cards allow you to redeem cash back, points and miles in a variety of ways that can help you save on Valentine’s Day festivities. If you have a cashback card, consider redeeming any cash back for a statement credit to reduce the cost of your bill. Just know, minimum redemption amounts typically start at $25 and you’ll still be required to make your minimum payment since cashback redemptions don’t count towards minimum payments.
If you have a travel rewards card, you can redeem points or miles for flights or hotel stays or merchandise. And, for most cashback and rewards cards, you can exchange your rewards cache for gift cards to restaurants, stores, and online merchants that can help you save on dining out or purchasing a gift. For example, redeeming cash back or points for a gift card to Bloomingdale’s or Macy’s can help cover the cost of a gift.
Note: Redeeming points from a rewards card for a statement credit isn’t recommended since the value of one point is often less than a penny. Generally, gift cards provide the most direct value with one point worth one cent, while travel can maximize the worth of points when transferred to frequent flyer or hotel loyalty programs.
Consider special financing offers
If you plan on purchasing a high-priced item, such as jewelry, consider using intro 0% APR cards. These cards can provide up to 15 months of interest-free financing, so you can pay off a necklace or pair of earrings over several months.
We recommend avoiding store cards that offer intro 0% APR periods since they often hit you with deferred interest, which is all the interest accrued during the special financing period if your balance is not paid in full by the time the promotional deal expires. Plus, the interest rates on most store cards are upwards of 25%, making them extra costly if you don’t have a quick payoff plan.
Check out exclusive cardmember offers and deals
American Express®, Bank of America®, and Chase offer select cardholders the chance to save substantially at participating retailers, such as department stores, online merchants, and restaurants, through exclusive discounts with their programs — Amex Offers, BankAmeriDeals®, or Chase Offers.
If you’re planning on buying a bottle of wine or a bouquet of flowers, or taking your significant other out for a romantic meal, there may be an offer that can help offset that cost. And, sometimes the available offers overlap between programs, so if you have a card in each program, you can maximize statement credits. For example, last year Amex Offers and Chase Offers both had deals for spending at Starbucks. Once you earned the offer on an Amex card, you could switch to paying for Starbucks purchases with a Chase card and earn the Chase offer.
How do cardmember offers and deals work?
Offers and deals first require you to “add” them to your card. Then, they typically work in one of two ways:
- Lump sum statement credit. You’ll need to spend a certain amount to receive a lump sum statement credit. For example, there’s a current Amex Offer for $15 back when you spend $50 at 1800Flowers.com (valid through 3/31/19). Terms apply.
- Percentage of your purchase back as a statement credit. There’s no minimum spending requirement for these offers, but there is a maximum amount of cash back you can receive. For example, Chase Offers has 10% back at Shari’s Berries with a maximum of $10 back through 3/4/19. Terms apply.
Note: Offers and deals may be targeted by location or spending habits. You may not receive the same offers mentioned above.
Use annual travel and dining credits
Many of the best rewards and travel cards offer annual credits for travel-related expenses, such as airline fees, hotel stays, cruise lines and more. If you plan on traveling for Valentine’s Day and have an eligible card such as the Chase Sapphire Reserve® or The Platinum Card® from American Express, check out the terms of your card benefits for the details of your annual credit. Take note, Amex cards require you to select an airline before you can use the airline fee credit. This can be done anytime after account opening, but after you’ve selected an airline, it can only be changed once a year in January.
Another benefit you may receive is a dining credit. This is offered with the American Express® Gold Card. Cardholders can receive a $10 dining credit each month, for a total of $120 a year after you activate the benefit. The dining credit can be used at select restaurants and online food ordering services: Grubhub, Seamless, Boxed, The Cheesecake Factory, Ruth’s Chris Steak House and participating Shake Shack locations. If you want to treat your partner to a steak dinner at Ruth’s Chris Steak House, the $10 monthly credit can help offset the bill.
If you plan on shopping for someone special this Valentine’s Day, using a credit card can help you save money and make your celebrations more enjoyable. Credit cards offer several rewards redemption options that can make purchasing gifts cheaper, as well as annual credits that can lower the cost of travel, and special financing to pay for high-cost items. Plus, check out exclusive cardmember offers and deals before you purchase flowers or chocolates, since your card may offer discounts on those purchases via statement credits.
Terms apply to American Express credit card offers. See americanexpress.com for more information.