"Best Holiday Shopping  Credit Cards for 2013"With Christmas just around the corner and CardHub having recently released its Best Travel Credit Cards for Winter 2013 , the credit card comparison website today announced its list of 2013’s Best Credit Cards for Holiday Shopping .

$737.95. That is the amount, according to the National Retail Federation (NRF), that the average consumer will spend on gifts, greeting cards, and decor this holiday season. Despite representing a decrease from last year’s $752.24 average, we’re still left facing a hefty bill. It’s therefore important for consumers to understand that they can lower their tab by up to $625 simply by taking advantage of the right credit card offer – either by applying for a new card or leveraging an existing one.

Earning an Initial Rewards Bonus

Best Offer:Chase Sapphire Preferred Card – Provides 40,000 bonus points when you spend $3,000 during the first three months. That’s equal to $500 in travel or a $400 statement credit. It does not charge an annual fee during the first year ($95 thereafter).

Other Notable Offers: The HHonors Surpass Credit Card (60,000 bonus points = up to 12 free nights) and the BarclayCard Arrival Card (40,000 bonus points = $400 statement credit for travel-related purchases) also offer extremely lucrative rewards bonuses, but their rewards are more geared toward travel and are therefore less worthwhile than cash for the general population.

Commentary: “Ever since the Great Recession, credit card issuers have been aggressively offering rewards bonuses in order to garner the business of cardholders who maintained excellent credit throughout the financial downturn. The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card offers the best initial bonus on the market given both its impressive value and the flexibility afforded users through the option to redeem for statement credit. By using it for holiday spending, you’ll be able to either replenish your bank account soon thereafter or subsidize travel over spring break or summer vacation.”

Earning Rewards During the Holidays & Beyond

Best Offer: Blue Cash Preferred from American Express – Offers 6% cash back at supermarkets (up to a $6,000 annual limit), 3% at gas stations, 3% at department stores, and 1% on everything else.

The $150 initial bonus it provides cardholders who spend at least $1,000 during the first three months also serves to cancel out two years’ worth of the $75 annual fee this card charges.

Other Notable Offers: The Capital One Quicksilver Card offers 1.5% cash back on all purchases and a $100 initial bonus if you spend $500 during the first three months. Both the
Commentary:“the Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express is the best everyday rewards card for people who aren’t frequent travelers. It offers extremely attractive rewards in most people’s biggest spending categories, which means you can save on all of your shopping and automobile gas not only during the holidays when these costs might be inflated, but throughout the rest of the year as well.”

Avoiding Interest on Holiday Purchases

Best Offer: Citi Diamond Preferred Card – Offers 0% on new purchases for 18 months and has a regular rate between 11.99% and 21.99%, based on creditworthiness. It doesn’t charge an annual fee.

Other Notable Offers: The Bank of Hawaii Visa Signature Credit Card and the Citi Simplicity Card both offer 0% for 18 months without charging an annual fee as well.

Commentary: “We all want to make sure that our loved ones have the happiest possible holidays, and that often requires shelling out a few hundred dollars for gifts. If you don’t anticipate being able to foot the entire bill within the month, you might want to apply for a card that won’t start charging you interest for at least a year. The last thing you want is for your gift-giving tab to be inflated by a high interest rate that prevents you from swiftly getting out of your holiday debt. With that in mind, make sure to use a credit card calculator to craft a debt payoff plan that will enable you to pay off at least the vast majority of what you owe by the time your card’s intro rate period concludes.”

Best for Lowering the Cost of Debt

Best Offer:Slate Card from Chase – Offers 0% on balance transfers for 15 months and doesn’t charge a balance transfer fee or an annual fee. The savings you can derive from this card could even be enough to cover all of your holiday shopping expenses.

Other Notable Offers: None. The Slate Card is far and away the best balance transfer credit card available.

Commentary: “The average household has roughly $6,700 in credit card debt, and that figure is sure to rise during the expensive holiday shopping season. It’s therefore obvious that a 0% balance transfer offer can save many of us a lot of time and money paying down what we owe. The Slate Card is the best balance transfer credit card on the market in light of its long 0% intro period and lack of fees, which combined may provide savings of more than $1,000.

Best for Short-Term Discounts

Best Offer: JCPenney Card – Gives new cardholders 20% off apparel, shoes, handbags, and fashion jewelry and 10% off fine jewelry, watches, and home merchandise purchased the day of approval.

Other Notable Offers: The store credit cards from Gap, Ann Taylor, Lord & Taylor, Talbots, The Limited, Banana Republic, and Eddie Bauer all offer 15% off the day you open your card as well as a range of ongoing rewards.

Commentary: “Store cards are interesting in the sense that while they can only be used at the stores to which they are affiliated and are easier to get approved for than normal credit cards, they often provide very attractive initial discounts. When you can get up to 20% off purchases at a store like JCPenney, you’re therefore able to save on pretty much your entire holiday shopping list. The key to maximizing your savings is to plan all of your holiday purchases and make as many of them as possible on the same day you apply for the card.”

For great gift-giving ideas this holiday season check out the 2013 WE Magazine for Women Holiday Gift Giving Guide today!