Getting the Most from Credit Card Rewards


With nearly every bank, retail store and travel outfit advertising its own credit card, how do you decide which loyalty reward programs to choose? And, once you’ve chosen, how do you take advantage of all of the perks and benefits you possibly can? We know how. And our “How to Get the Most Out of Your Credit Card Rewards” infographic will set you on the right track. Here are a few quick tips for getting started:

Follow the money.

The best credit card reward programs for you will strengthen your connection to retailers with which you already spend the most money. Earning rewards where you already spend will bolster your ability to rack up points quickly and increase the likelihood that the rewards you earn are ones you will use.

Spend the rewards you earn.

Many card holders miss out on benefits and cash savings by failing to use their rewards. Keep track of where you have points and look for creative ways to spend them, even if you only have a few. Most programs now offer options for redeeming points for minor rewards.

Don’t participate in too many programs.

Having too many credit cards or participating in too many rewards programs will hinder your ability to consolidate points and become eligible for the best rewards. Limit what’s in your wallet to two or three programs that will let you earn significant points.

Choose programs that offer bonus points.

Some credit card programs offer bonus points at signup, double- and triple-point shopping days, and other promotions that allow you to accumulate points faster than usual. Choosing programs that help you earn more points, faster will maximize your rewards.

Pay for everything on your card.

Especially if you have a card that doesn’t compound interest daily, earn points by using your card as much as possible and pay off the balance before charges or penalties accrue. This is better than paying in cash because it earns a reward at no financial cost to you.

Don’t spend more just because you have credit.

Having a new way to pay for purchases shouldn’t prompt you to buy more. Perks related to credit card reward programs should be treated as extras—icing on the cake.