Credit card rewards can be tantalizingly alluring, yet don’t always result in cold hard cash. Instead, rewards might take the form of points, merchandise or travel perks.
Credit card rewards can be earned by meeting initial spending requirements, transferring points between cards, and more. Selecting the optimal rewards card depends on your spending habits and budget.
Credit card sign-up bonuses are rewards offered to new cardholders to encourage them to make purchases using their cards, often including cash back, points, airline miles merchandise or travel perks. Credit card issuers generally place restrictions on earning these bonuses so as to prevent credit card churning – the practice of opening and closing multiple cards repeatedly to achieve the bonus – which would lead to abuse of these incentives by opening and closing several cards repeatedly for the purpose of earning these bonuses.
Before applying for any card, carefully evaluate its spending requirement and interest rates/annual fees as this could significantly eat into your budget. Avoid spending beyond your means in order to meet this threshold as doing so could nullify any monetary benefits of rewards offered by it.
Points per dollar
Many credit card companies provide lucrative initial bonuses to well-qualified new customers in the form of cash back, travel miles or gift cards. But these rewards only become worth your while if they help reduce daily spending – otherwise they may tempt you into overspending to take advantage of these offers.
An effective strategy is to select a rewards credit card that suits your spending habits, offering bonus points in categories you frequently spend money on without incurring additional fees or interest charges. Be strategic about redemption options to maximize value. If an airline flight redemption option exists alongside cash redemption, consider going with that instead as it could prove more worthwhile than cash redemption options.
Fixed or rotating categories
Many rewards credit cards provide either a flat rate of earnings, while others feature rotating categories that change on a monthly or quarterly basis. Some even come equipped with spend limits after which your rewards diminish considerably; to maximize the value of these cards, be mindful of when bonus categories come up but avoid overspending as this may prevent future bonuses being earned in full. To maximize value and avoid incurring unexpected debt at month’s end.
Credit cards that offer rotating category bonuses provide enhanced rewards on purchases such as gas, groceries and dining; however, these cards require more attention than flat rate cards to manage effectively and may not be appropriate for people who won’t use them regularly.
When selecting a credit card, it’s essential that you understand all its features. Beyond rewards programs and welcome bonuses, many cards also provide features like return protection to help make sure your purchases go as smoothly as possible.
Credit card return protection allows you to receive reimbursement if the store refuses to accept an item you purchased. To qualify for this benefit, you will typically require both the original receipt and documentation that accompanied your purchase; some policies exclude consumable items while others limit how much can be claimed per transaction.
Make sure that you are getting the most from your card by reviewing its terms for return protection and fine print details. Also consider cards offering extended warranty protection or purchase protection as additional safeguards.
Referral bonuses from credit cards can provide a substantial boost to your points, miles or cash back rewards. They’re typically earned when someone you refer gets approved for and uses their new credit card within its first few months – you can find out if your card offers such incentives by logging in and visiting its refer-a-friend page.
Referral bonuses are easy and quick to obtain; simply share the credit card application link you receive from your card issuer with those you wish to refer and use your link when applying and being approved for credit cards. Referral bonuses may be subject to taxes, so prioritizing their claim may be wiser depending on which card issuer it comes from. The value of referral bonuses varies by card issuer.