CardRates.com Guide: Rewards Cards
Credit card companies are competing against each other for your business. They are offering more rewards in more different categories than ever before, and that’s great news for consumers who learn to make the most of their credit cards’ perks.
But most people still don’t take full advantage of their credit card reward points – a fact the credit card companies rely on. However, follow a few easy rules and you’ll take full advantage of the rewards system.
1. Make sure you have the right rewards cards
Decide what rewards are best suited to your lifestyle and choose only those cards. If you drive a lot for work, choose a gasoline rewards card. If you’re on a budget, pick one that gives you cash back or points toward staples like grocery store purchases.
2. Use the right card
Some cards offer better rewards for certain activities. Travel rewards cards or gasoline rewards cards are two examples. Maximize the benefits by using the right card at the right time.
3. Leverage the value of your points
Card companies will offer different ways to use the points you accumulate, so get the most out of them. Exchanging your points for cash is usually the least efficient use, while airline tickets, hotel stays and electronics gadgets offer a higher value.
4. Carry a balance
You can turn the tables by paying off your balance every month. You still get all of the rewards without having to pay up to get them.
5. Use them for everyday purchases
If you’re going to be spending the money anyway, you may as well get rewarded for it. Just make sure to budget the cash by sticking it aside for when the bill comes due. Remember rule number four!
6. Review your rewards cards periodically
You may find that one or more of them no longer benefits you. Shopping around for a replacement card every so often can lead to higher rewards overall.
7. Watch your expiration dates
Accumulating points is – well, pointless – if you don’t use them. Your card company should notify you before the points are due to expire, but proper planning will ensure you use them long before then.
Credit card rewards are a great way to earn a little something extra, as long as you know how to do it right. By following these seven tips, you’ll put yourself in the minority of folks who actually come out ahead with their reward cards. It takes a little effort, but the rewards are worth it.
Photo source: cedarsage.com
Editorial Note: Opinions expressed here are author's alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.