Your credit card is surely one of your best friends this holiday season. And not just because it gets you cool stuff.

Your credit card can protect you, help you save money and potentially score you special deals and rewards. So here are the five most important things to know about using your credit card this holiday season.

Price protection

What’s price protection? Basically-it’s a miracle. Price protection saves you from spending more than you have to on a given purchase. If you buy a gift and the price drops, or if you find the same item for less at another store, your credit card company will pay you the difference.

According to, one of the smartest ways to use this feature to your advantage is with big purchases like appliances and furniture. Large purchases naturally lend themselves to bigger savings opportunities and will be more worth the time and energy you spend researching prices.

A few examples of price protection cards on the market are (

  • CITI® Double Cash Card
  • Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
  • Discover it® – Cashback Match™

Return protection

Not quite sure if they’ll like the gift? No worries.

Most credit cards offer return protection. Return protection gives you more time to return or exchange the gift you bought-even if the store where you bought it doesn’t have a return policy.

If you do return a product using this feature, there is a chance you’ll have to pick up the tab on the shipping charges. Still, return protection is not a bad tool to have at your disposal. After all, returns are just part of the holidays.

A few examples of credit cards with return protection are:

  • Citi® Double Cash Card
  • Chase Freedom®

Extended warranty

When you’re checking out with a big holiday purchase, it can be tempting to agree to the expensive extended warranty. But you may want to consider another option.

Before you start shopping, check to see if your credit card offers free, extended warranty coverage. Most credit cards do. Generally, this nets out to about a year of extra coverage under the same conditions as the original warranty. If you have a card that offers this coverage, using it for your holiday shopping can be a great way to save.

Responsible charging

The best way to get the most out of your credit cards, while staying out of debt, is to spend responsibly.

While it can be a good idea to sign up for a holiday credit card that offers rewards or discounts with a wide range of retailers, don’t sign up for every one that’s offered. Perks and rewards are great, but not if they bust your budget or ruin your credit score.

Don’t spend money you don’t have. If you do, make sure you can afford to pay it off within a month. And one more thing: keep an eye on your account to make sure all of your charges are really yours.

Cash back portals

Much of your holiday shopping will probably be done online-and for good reason. It’s quick, easy and you never have to leave your house. And packages are delivered and pre-wrapped. Doesn’t seem like it could get much better, right? Well, it can!

Shopping with rebate sites, called cash back portals, can save you some serious money. The best part about using these online portals is that they’re really no different than if you were shopping without them-except, of course, that you’re getting cash back. All you have to do is visit CashBackMonitor to find the best portal for the retailer of your choice.

So be sure to use these five credit card tips to maximize your holiday shopping. We’re hoping it will maximize your happiness, too.