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Credit Card Strategies: How to Maximize Rewards
Finding a credit card that offers the best rewards for your spending habits can save you lots of money. However, it can be hard to decide which card to use and how to maximize your credit card rewards. To help make the process easier, we have done a deep dive into the world of credit card rewards. Now that the research is done, its time for us to share our rewards strategies.
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Understanding Credit Card Rewards
Credit card rewards are benefits that cardholders earn when they make purchases. The most common type of reward is cash-back credit card rewards. Other reward types include points, miles, and gifts. Let’s look into the different reward types now since it is uncommon that one card will offer every type, and you’ll want to get an idea of which type will most benefit you before you start comparing cards.
Different Types of Credit Card Rewards
There are a number of different types of credit card rewards. Let’s cover the most common now:
- Cash-back rewards are the most popular type of credit card reward. Cardholders can earn up to 10% cash back on certain purchases, depending on the card. Some cards also offer bonus cash back for particular categories of purchases, such as groceries, gas, or dining. Generally speaking, cards with high percentages make you choose a category to offer cash back on and have other limits, like the total amount you can get cash back on. So you’ll want to keep your spending habits in mind when looking at the fine print.
- Points rewards are another common type of credit card reward. Points can be redeemed for merchandise, gift cards, travel, and more. Some cards also offer bonus points for particular categories of purchases or for going over certain amounts. Although cash-back might be tempting for its simplicity, points rewards give a better value in terms of pure dollar value.
- Another common type of reward is Miles. Miles are a type of points reward that can be redeemed for free flights and hotel stays. Cards that offer miles rewards usually provide bonus miles for particular categories of purchases, just like points cards. Miles rewards tend to offer some of the best value of any card, but the drawback is that you are limited to spending your points on specific types of travel expenses.
- Our last category is Gift rewards. Gift rewards are the least common reward type. Gift rewards are another type of point system. This point type can be redeemed for items such as electronics, appliances, and jewelry. Although the dollar amount might seem comparable, these tend to be the least favorable rewards. It is rare to look for a card based solely on these.
Comparing Credit Card Rewards
When comparing credit card rewards, it is important to consider the type of rewards offered, the rewards rate, and any restrictions or limitations. Cash back rewards typically offer the highest rewards rate, but points and miles rewards can be more valuable if they are used to purchase flights or hotel stays.
It is also important to consider any restrictions or limitations, such as annual fees, limits on rewards earned, or expiration dates.
It is also important to consider your own habits. If you travel a lot, you might save more in travel expenses with the Chase Ultimate Rewardscard than you would get in cash back with the same dollar amount back on a Chase Cash Back card. Meanwhile the 10% cash back deal from SavorOne Rewards from Capital One might save you the most if the majority of your spending is on dining and Ubers.
Which Credit Card Type to Pick
If you want to keep life simple, look for cards that offer something like a flat 1.5% back. If you know what categories you are likely to spend the most in, you can go for those 3%, 5%, or even 5%+ credit cards. Meanwhile, if you travel frequently, you are likely to get the best bang for your buck out of points programs and travel rewards.
With that said, if you really want to maximize your rewards, you’ll need some more detailed strategies. Let’s discuss those now.
Strategies for Maximizing Credit Card Rewards
To maximize credit card rewards, it is important to select the right card for your needs and use it strategically. Here are a few tips for getting the most out of your rewards:
- Choose the right card. Consider the type of rewards you want and the categories you shop in most often. Then, select a card that offers the best rewards for those categories.
- Use the card for all of your purchases. This will help you earn rewards faster.
- Take advantage of bonus rewards. Some cards offer bonus rewards for particular categories, such as groceries or gas. If you shop in those categories, use that card to maximize the rewards.
- Pay off your balance each month. To avoid interest charges, pay off the balance in full each month.
- Redeem rewards regularly. Don’t let rewards expire. Redeem them regularly to get the most value out of them.
- Pay special attention to dollar limits and fine print.
Tips for Choosing Credit Cards
When choosing a credit card, it is important to select one that best meets your needs. Here are a few tips to help you choose the right card:
- Compare rewards and fees. Make sure the rewards are worth more than the fees.
- Read the fine print. Make sure you understand the terms and conditions, including any restrictions or limitations on rewards. Also, make sure your card will reward ALL your spending.
- Consider the interest rate. Consider the interest rate if you plan to carry a balance.
- Look for special offers. Many cards offer sign-up bonuses and other incentives.
- Consider big purchases in the future, like remodeling. Will you still get the most bang out of a given card?
- Consider if you should have more than one card to cover all your needs or if focusing on one card will give you the best benefit.
Choosing the right credit card is an important decision. With so many options and reward types, it can be overwhelming. Our guide has outlined the different types of rewards, strategies for maximizing rewards, and tips for choosing a card. By taking the time to understand the different types of rewards and strategies, you can find the right card for your needs.