Summer is the season for traveling, graduations, weddings and maybe even a few home improvement projects. And while you’re having all that summer fun, the expenses can add up pretty easily.

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Fortunately, there are several credit card rewards programs geared especially toward summer purchases, and you may not be taking advantage of them yet. Read on to find out how to enjoy summer savings on the season’s biggest ticket items.

Summer Savings on Travel

Road trip, anyone? About three-quarters of Americans are estimated to take a road trip sometime in 2017, with the majority of them traveling during the summer months.

If you’re one of them, your fuel expenses can take a big bite out of your bank account. So be sure to earn rewards by choosing a credit card that gives you cash back, such as the Discover it® Chrome Gas & Restaurant Card, which offers 2% cash back on gas and restaurant purchases, on up to $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter.

“Gas is a huge expense for the road-tripping crowd, especially if you’ve rented a larger vehicle for your family,” says Kristin McGrath, editor of CreditCardForum. “Probably avoid the co-branded gas rewards cards — those are usually tied to specific fueling stations, which gives you less flexibility in where you pull over. Instead, consider a generic cash back card that offers gas as a bonus category. It’ll be nice to return back home with some extra cash back sitting in your account.”

Same goes for airplane travel, cruises, hotels and car rentals — explore which cards offer you allow you to redeem for travel purchases as statement credits1, such as the Discover it Miles Travel Credit Card.

Speaking of car rentals, don’t overlook the little-known perks offered by your credit card like car rental insurance coverage and roadside assistance, says Matthew Goldman, Bankrate chief product officer and founder of Wallaby, a personal finance tool.

“Most credit cards offer secondary rental insurance. This means that it will only pay for the cost of certain damages not covered by your regular car insurance policy,” he says. “A few cards do offer primary rental coverage, as well. What’s not covered: liability and injuries, so you’ll have to rely on your own auto insurance to take care of that.”

Summer Rewards on Home Projects

Looking to add a deck, finish your basement or maybe install that in-ground pool you’ve been dreaming of? Summer is the season for upgrading your digs, and credit card rewards can help soften the ding to your budget.

TopCashback‘s personal finance expert Natasha Rachel Smith recommends opening a card with a low or zero percent intro APR to help finance these home improvement projects. “Extend your budget for making home repairs, updates and improvements by opening a credit card that offers financing so you don’t pay interest on your purchases from six months to two years,” she says. “This will allow you to make any summer improvements while paying it off monthly and not accruing interest.”

Another summer savings recommendation is to use any credit card rewards toward purchasing gift cards at the home improvement stores you will be frequenting. Some cards offer additional savings rewards for purchasing these gift cards up front, and every little bit helps when it comes to major projects. For example, the Discover Cashback Bonus program allows cardholders to use their rewards to order big brand gift cards and eCertificates, including Lowe’s, Ace Hardware and HomeGoods, that have extra value added to them.

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Saving on Back-to-School Shopping

Before you know it, summer will be winding down, and you might be eyeing that back-to-school shopping list for your kids, whether it’s school supplies or gear for college.

“If there’s one way to save that is super underutilized, it’s credit card online shopping portals and deals programs,” says McGrath. “Just by virtue of having a credit card, you can get instant discounts or extra rewards if you shop at the company’s partners.”

So before you journey to that big box store, click through your card’s portal or discount program to see if you might be able to shave a little off your total price. Discover cardmembers can shop through Discover Deals to save money at major retailers and earn extra Cashback Bonus.

“You can get a discount right off the bat, or extra rewards points you can use for fun stuff later,” says McGrath. “It’s an extra step, but it can get you 5 or 10% off, and that’s huge for anyone who wants to save on big ticket items.”


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