Ever since the Discover Credit Card first started offering cash back on purchases credit card issuers have been beating each other’s brains out to get your business. Credit card rewards now come in all shapes and sizes, and some credit cards can get you to those rewards faster than others. Whether it’s air fare, theater tickets or anything else you’re after, there is probably a reward credit card available that can help you get it free.
Here are a few tips to keep in mind when shopping for the right rewards credit card for you:
* Do you maintain a balance on your credit cards? If you aren’t in the habit of paying the complete balance due on your cards every month, then you seriously need to consider whether a reward card is the right thing for you. It doesn’t take much of an outstanding balance at all for interest to outstrip any rewards that you might gain through credit card rewards. Look instead for a low interest credit card.
* Check the points. Know how much you need for a card reward before you commit on the card. For example the number of points needed for a round trip coach ticket varies across different credit cards. Make sure that you get the best deal that you can find.
* Check the expiration date on those points! Rewards points that never expire are getting more and more popular, but some cards still offer points that expire after a period of time. Depending upon how fast you earn points, it may take you some time to earn points for high-end rewards, so as you shop for a rewards card look at their policy on point expiration. Try to find a card that offers points that never expire.
* Make sure you know which purchases optimize your points. Cards vary on the types of purchases that can lead to award points. Some American Express cards offer double points on purchases of groceries and gasoline. Read the fine print in your agreement and make sure you understand how to maximize your points – you could reel in receipt of a reward by months.
* Pay household bills with your credit card. This one is huge for me. I pay for gasoline, groceries, electricity, heating oil, cable TV and water all with my credit card. If you get used to paying as many bills as possible with your credit card (and then transferring the money from your checking account to your credit card) bill payment gets easier, the credit card balance won’t get away from you, and you’ll earn points faster than ever.
* Maximize sign-up bonuses. Many reward cards will offer bonus points just for signing up, or for the first purchase with your new card. Try to choose a card that offers the most up-front points – often they can get you half-way to your first reward.
With my big family, paying household bills allows me to qualify for credit card rewards once every two or three months. This is huge, because I go for air travel, and credit card awards afford me the opportunity to travel at times when I wouldn’t if I had to purchase a ticket. For me, that’s worth more than the money. Try it – optimize your rewards credit cards, use them whenever you can, and it’ll work for you too.
Author: Michelle LefeauxThis author has published 3 articles so far.