5 Tips To Never Lose Out On Credit Card Rewards
What’s the difference between a cashback credit card and a rewards credit card? How about a travel credit card or shopping credit card?
If the different types of credit cards are confusing to you, then the chances are likely that you are not maximizing the use of your cards to their full potential.
Getting a credit card that suits your needs and lifestyle is the first step towards optimizing your card features and benefits, as well as mitigate the risks of accumulating credit card debts. Matching your needs with an appropriate credit card brings a lot of perks that most people take for granted. What many don’t know is that no matter how little or big these perks are, collectively they can work towards your advantage if utilized wisely.
A rewards credit card can be the perfect everyday credit card, because the more you use the card for your daily purchases such as groceries or shopping, the more points you’ll get back which you can use to cover some of your expenses or exchange for exciting gifts.
Tip #1: Choose the right rewards credit card for your lifestyle
Not all credit cards are created equal as different cards come with different benefits. The secret to getting the best one for you is to identify a card that suits your lifestyle and everyday spending.
Rewards credit cards are synonymous to “reward points” because that’s basically the point of having them (pun intended!). The beauty of reward credit cards is that it rewards you with points every time you make a purchase. The more you spend, the more points you’ll accumulate, which you can eventually exchange for products.
Depending on the bank, the number of points you’ll get per spend will vary. Some of the categories you can redeem from are smartphones, electronics, airfare, shopping and dining vouchers, and cash credits.
Here are some factors you must consider when you choose your rewards credit card:
The most important factor is to ensure the rewards credit card actually rewards you for the category you spend on the most. If you are a fitness buff, you should choose a card that rewards you for fitness or health-related spending. If you travel a lot, a card that rewards you on travel and overseas spending makes sense.
Tip # 2: Boost your rewards points
Just like how you look out for a good discount, you should also keep an eye out for opportunities to earn more rewards with your card, be it in points or other perks. Many banks offer welcome gifts when you sign within a certain period.
Other than welcome gifts, there are also a bunch of other useful freebies and perks that come with using a rewards card, like a concierge service that can help you book restaurants or event tickets, exclusive shopping opportunities, complimentary dish or drinks when you dine out, dedicated lounging areas in airports, and even welcome gifts for their new customers.
The best way to plan out your rewards points’ strategy is to identify your biggest spending category. If your credit card allows you to earn points when you pay certain bills, you can start making payment on your phone, television, and Internet services. This will help you rack your points easily and quickly.
Tip #3: Utilize your rewards points
Once you get the first step, accumulating points, down pat, it’s time to move on to the next step, utilizing your rewards points. There are three ways you can use your point
1. Redeem products, vouchers or even air miles
The easiest way to utilize your rewards points is to redeem products or vouchers directly from the bank. This is when good customer service offered by the bank makes a difference. The easier it is for you to make a redemption, the better off you are.
If you plan it right, you can even claim big ticket items for free by purchasing them with your rewards. If you can’t find the products you are looking for in your card’s redemption catalog, you can always redeem your points for a gift card or voucher from your favorite merchants.
2. Convert to cashback
Another way a rewards card can reward its cardholders is by providing cashback in a form of a credit on your card account. This feature is best if you shop in a store that you can use the credit to pay off purchases made on your card.
Tip #4: Accumulate your points, not your debts
Credit cards can be a delightful gift from heaven, but people tend to view them in a negative light due to the common horror stories of how they are abused and associated with poor financial habits.
The truth is, credit cards aren’t the problem. The real problem lies in a person’s spending habits and money management.
A rewards credit card is just like any other credit cards, where an outstanding balance will incur interest charges every month. Failing to manage this will result in your credit card snowballing to an insurmountable debt.
Carrying a balance will render your rewards points worthless because you aren’t getting the most out of the rewards and also end up paying a higher interest rate.
Neither missing a payment nor hoarding your points is a good idea. Missing a payment will result in a higher interest rate, and you will risk losing your points depending on the expiry period if any.
Tip #5: Dig deep into the fine print
Make sure you read the terms and conditions and understand exactly what rewards are being offered and how you would redeem them.
The key terms and conditions that you should keep an eye out for are the expiry period of your points. Most cards allow you to hold your points up to three years from the date of the transaction.
Another important point is to note the due date of your credit card. The due date does not necessarily fall on the end or the beginning of the month. This is usually stated in your credit card statement, hard copy or online. Failing to make payment on or before your due date will incur late penalty charges, and if you carry forward a balance, it will also incur interest charges.
Ticking all the boxes
The right rewards credit card for your lifestyle lets you earn your rewards and exchange a wide array of gifts, merchandise, or perks that can shave off extra costs on your expenses.
Now, go forth and make wise decisions when it comes to getting the best credit card that suits your needs!