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5 Best Rewards Cards For Holiday Shopping

Stocks in this article: SBUX AMZN CVS IHG

CVS ExtraCare Rewards
Health and beauty aid shops have about a third of the loyalty plan membership of other specialty retailers and wouldn't have even that much if programs by Rite-Aid (RAD - Get Report) and Walgreens hadn't boosted their ranks 33% since 2008 to 98 million.

Despite those new options and that big bump, the best program is still CVS' (CVS) original ExtraCare recipe. ExtraCare cardholders get 2% back on just about every purchase (little exceptions such as alcohol, postage stamps and lottery tickets apply) and can rack up rewards just by paying for their prescriptions (except in New York, New Jersey and Louisiana).

CVS caps their prescription-based rewards at $50 a year, but that's still a substantial rewards sum. It can't be used on medications, but it can be applied immediately on just about anything else CVS carries thanks to coupon printers set up around the store.

Quarterly payouts can be as little as $2 to $4, but that comes in handy when finding stocking stuffers at a store built for customers who are just popping in for a few little things here and there.

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