While credit card debt remains a major challenge in the United States, Americans nonetheless cherish their rewards cards. In fact, a recent LendingTree survey found that about 87% of credit card holders have at least one rewards card.
Despite the concerns many consumers have about credit card debt, it's easy to see why so many people still sign up for them. The various benefits they offer, including reimbursement for purchases and free travel, remain popular.
Ironically, many Americans focus on collecting the rewards but do not redeem them before the rewards expire. points.
Here are four great tips to make sure you get the most out of your credit card rewards points:
Go For The Cash
One of the best ways to make sure your reward points don't go to waste is to make them as liquid as possible. And nothing turns into cash better than, well, cash. Unlike other types of rewards points, which can offer discounted airfare or consumable items when you redeem them, cash back rewards basically save you money by refunding a percentage of your purchases, usually 2%.
If you have a cash back rewards card, you can use your rewards to purchase additional items or services. In many cases, your credit card company may transfer the cash earned to another account or mail you a check. You can also apply the cash back to your account credit card to pay next month's balance.
The tremendous flexibility of cash back rewards has made them one of the most popular types of credit cards. After all, who doesn't want to save money every time they spend on their card?
Choose the rewards you will actually use
Having a rewards card won't do you any good if you never have the opportunity or desire to use the benefits. If you want to get the most out of your credit card rewards program, make sure it aligns with your activities and interests.
For example, if you are a frequent traveler, you can take full advantage of a card linked to an airline or hotel that you use frequently.
Having a card aligned with your interests will help ensure that you use the points before they expire.
Use them frequently, but be careful
To take full advantage of the benefits of any type of rewards card you have, you should use it as often as possible. Doing so allows you to maximize the rewards you earn, which you can then redeem for something you really want.
You'll want to accumulate as many points as possible, but it shouldn't come at the expense of your financial health. It's important to make sure you use your card responsibly and have a plan to pay off your balance each month.
Obviously, it's no good taking advantage of the benefits of a credit card rewards program if you're only going to end up deep in debt. Accumulating interest charges that outweigh the rewards defeats the whole purpose.
Keep track of your rewards and points program
LendingTree discovered that about 70% of rewards credit cardholders are not taking advantage of the included benefits, such as cash back, points or miles. While most of these benefits will expire if left untouched, some companies have eliminated expiration dates altogether.
To make sure you make good use of those reward points, take the time to keep track of them. If possible, sign up for online banking and link your card. This way, you can know how many points you have and gauge when they expire. As an added benefit, you can also monitor your credit card balance and make convenient online payments.
You should also always monitor the terms and conditions of your rewards points, especially when you are required to sign updated terms. The more aware you are of your rewards program and your points, the more opportunities you will have to make the most of them.
Make the most of your rewards
To get the maximum benefits from your rewards card, follow the tips offered here. However, make sure that in your quest for extra rewards points, you don't let your credit card debt get out of control.
Strive to pay off your rewards cards in full each month or keep balances manageable.
No program of rewards credit cards are worth the burden of a high level of debt and interest charges that snowball. But when used correctly, you can get more out of every purchase.