Right Now: The End of the Year is the Best Time to Get a New Credit Card

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If you’re not yet thinking about your finances and credit card rewards potential for next year, you should be.

Many people don’t start thinking about next year’s financial goals until January. But this is a novice mistake. November and December are actually the best months for you to apply for a new rewards earning credit card. Why’s that, you ask?

Here are 6 credit-savvy reasons you want to consider applying for next year’s new card now:

1. Holiday Shopping

The most obvious reason to get a new credit card in the last quarter of the calendar year is that holiday shopping is an easy way to meet a minimum spend. Whether you’re shopping for holiday gifts, groceries for holiday meals or parties, or paying for travel to enjoy (or avoid) the holidays, there’s a very good chance you’ll be spending more in the Thanksgiving to New Years window, than you will in the weeks after January 1.  Spending on a new card now means you’ll be getting your shopping done and earning a big signup bonus you can use towards your 2018 travel goals! Win, Win.

ProTip: If you want to shop right away and don’t want to wait a week or more for your new card to arrive, request the bank to expedite your new credit card. Once approved for the card, the process is as easy as calling the bank and letting them know that you’d like to have your card overnighted so you can spend money now!

2. Year End Charitable Giving (and Tax Deductions)

Planning to make an end of the year contribution to your favorite non-profit? Charitable giving is a big expense for many during this season. No matter if you’re giving because you’re touched by the holiday spirit, or if you’re coming in at the wire for an end-of-year tax write off, most non-profit organizations are in the practice of accepting online donations by credit card.  You can beat the IRS, do good, and put a chunk in a minimum spend to stock up on award points for next year. Win, Win, Win.

3. Holiday Travel

If you’re traveling during the holidays and don’t already have a co-branded credit card for your airline of choice, applying for one before the holidays will save you money and sanity by granting you priority boarding, and free checked bags for your whole family. You may even want to consider a card that will give you club lounge access.

The Delta Gold SkyMiles Business credit card from our partner American Express for example allows you to check your first bag free on every Delta flight – that’s a holiday travel savings of up to $200 per round trip for a family of four.  There’s never a better time to have some airline benefits than when you’re in an airport during the holiday rush.

4. Double up on Calendar Year Bonuses

While some credit cards offer annual bonuses once every twelve months based on the date you applied for the card, there are a few unicorn credit cards that give you bonuses based on the calendar year. That means if you get the card in November or December, you can get the bonus for 2017, then you can double up by getting the bonus again in 2018.

ProTip: The American Express Platinum card offers a calendar year bonus on their $200 partner airline credit. Get the card before the end of the year, and you are eligible to get the partner airline credit this year and next. For a card that has an annual fee of $550, the double dip on the calendar year bonus really offsets the cost!

5. Position your Bonus Points to Arrive in the New Year

If you get a brand new card right now and meet your minimum spend within 90 days, you’re right on target for your bonus points to arrive in the new year. While this isn’t important for everyone, it is important if you’re using a card that is earning qualifying miles or dollar, or any benefit that resets at the end of a calendar year.

ProTip: If you want to qualify for the Southwest Companion Pass, you’ll want to get the Southwest Rapid Rewards Credit Card and plan your minimum spend shopping so the points you’re getting from your signup and spending bonuses land in your Rapid Rewards account in January.  This is important because once you get 110k points in the new year you will qualify for your 2018 companion pass. The right timing allows you to earn the pass in the beginning of the year, making it valid for all the rest of 2018 AND 2019!

6. Make all the Months for Qualifying Spending Count

If you’re looking at a card with an annual benefit that is based on qualified spending over the period of a calendar year, you’ll want to be sure you’ve got that card teed up for charging come January 1 (note: some cards will count December transactions billed in January for spending within the new year). The Starwood Preferred Guest Business Card from American Express for example, grants complimentary SPG gold status to card members who spend 30k within a calendar year. This qualified spending resets every year on January 1. Get it now so all your spending for the year counts!

What are you waiting for? Time is flying by!