When it comes to rewards credit cards, there are so many to choose from that you might not know where to start. These cards offer different reward percentages on different purchases with different redemption options. Ugh. As an initial matter, figuring out how you will use the card most will help you pick the best card for you. For example, if you are a big spender when it comes to gas, then a gas rewards card would be ideal for you. But that’s just the start.
Understand How The Rewards Program Works
First and foremost, you need to understand how the program works. Many of the programs have limitations and caps on how much you can earn, and you should know this before you decide to participate. Some cards, for example, might offer 5% cash back and might advertise as such. This sounds great until you realize you have to spend $10,000 before you start earning the 5%. If you are someone who rarely uses your card, it might take you a long time before you start seeing that 5%. Other cards might have a cap on how much cash back you can earn or the rewards might expire. In addition, some programs reserve the right to “change the rules” if you are late on a payment or exceed your credit limit.
Seek Out Cards with Double or Triple Point Offers
If you’re earning just 1 point for every $1 your spending, you can probably do better. Take for instance the American Express® Premier Rewards Gold Card triple points on airfare, double points on gasoline at U.S. stand-alone gas stations, and double points at U.S. stand-alone supermarkets. It’s been said that some cards are scaling back on their rewards programs, but the Amex card proves there are ways to earn more. Look for cards that offer these type of points and you will rack up points a lot faster.
Use The Affiliate Programs To Your Advantage
Many credit cards have a virtual shopping mall that give you extra rewards and discounts when you shop there. It is an online store that consists of a variety of the popular stores that the card company has partnered up with. As an incentive to get you to shop there, some cards will give anywhere from 5% to 20% cash back rewards for using their online store, and even additional discounts depending on which store your shopping. When looking for a card that works for you, be sure to see who the companies are that the card company is affiliated with. Look for companies that you already do a lot of shopping at.
Save Up Your Points – Resist the Urge To Spend Them
Try to resist the urge to spend your points as soon as you earn them so you can get more bang for your buck. If you spend your points as soon as you rack them up, you might be missing out on a better reward. This is because card issuers usually have a tiered rewards program, and the more points you have the greater the rewards. The Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express is an example of a card that has a tiered rewards program with more points earning you stays at better hotels.
Use A Business Card
If you own a business it might be to your advantage to have a business credit. Often the business cards offer higher rewards on business purchases and tailor the card to business products. For example the CitiBusiness ThankYouSM Card Earn 3 ThankYou® points for every $1 you spend on eligible purchases in rotating business categories. Business cards are also known for raising the cap for rewards on their business cards. Business credit cards also typically offer tremendous benefits such as 0% introductory rates, cash back, gas rebates and other rewards. For small and home based companies, a business credit card can also be a convenient way to keep your business expenses separate from personal expenses.
Look For Cards With Sign Up Bonus Offers
Many cards offer an extra sign up bonus as an incentive to apply for their card. The bonus is usually either points for their rewards program or a cash back offer. There are some cards out there that offer $50 to $150 cash back after you make your first purchase. Other travel rewards cards lits members 10,000 points after your first purchase or a free flight.
Pay Your Bills with Your Credit Card
Consider paying your bills with your credit card so you can take advantage of the rewards program offered by the issuer. Since your going to pay those bills anyway, you might as well earn points for the dollars you are spending. This is something to consider especially if you are not a big spender and you’re basically passing up free money. If you are a big spender, than this is one way you can maximize your rewards program. The more you spend, the more rewards your going to earn. It’s that simple!
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