Credit card reward programs are an excellent way to earn free cash and merchandise. The program concept is basic, simply use your credit card and earn points redeemable for hotels, gift cards, cash and more. Granted, reward programs aren’t for everyone. But if you want a credit card that offers a few incentives or perks, a rewards credit card is worth consideration.
If you decide to take advantage of credit card rewards, here are a few tips to maximize your rewards earnings.
Choose the right credit card. Reward programs differ, and to get the most out of your credit card, you need to find a rewards program that suits your needs. For example, it’s pointless to apply for a travel rewards credit card if you never travel. Don’t assume that every program is the same. Compare different credit cards and familiarize yourself with their programs.
Use the credit card for everyday purchases. The more you use your credit card, the more points you can earn. Even if you’re not a big credit card user, pulling out your card for everyday purchases can quickly maximize your earnings. Whether you’re going to the gas station or grabbing lunch, let your credit card be your main form of payment. This way, you earn points on a daily basis and you’re able to take advantage of more rewards. But don’t overdo it. Be sure to pay off your charges at the end of each month to avoid debt.
Take advantage of promotions. Credit card reward programs typically offer 1% cash back or 1 point per every dollar that you spend. However, many reward programs offer temporarily incentives wherein you can earn double points or a higher cash back percentage on certain purchases. Keep an eye on these incentives. For example, the Chase Freedom Visa offers 1% cash back on purchases everyday, but periodically offers 5% cash back on rotating categories like gas, restaurants and grocery stores.
Stick with one credit card. Every credit card in your wallet may be a rewards credit card, and you may use each credit card on a regular basis. If you want to take advantage of credit card reward programs, it’s best to stick with one card. When you spread your reward earnings over several cards, it can take awhile to earn enough redeemable points. But if you use one credit card for all your purchases, you’ll earn points and cash back at a faster rate.
Don’t let points expire. Some credit card reward programs, such as the program offered by the Capital One Cash Rewards card, feature points that never expire. But not all programs work the same, and if you don’t pay close attention, you can lose some of your points. Know the details of your rewards program and keep track of your rewards. Some credit card companies will send a courtesy letter when points are about to expire. To avoid losing your points, get into a routine of redeeming points every three to six months.