How To Maximize Your Credit Card Rewards

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How To Maximize Your Credit Card Rewards Powered By Docstoc
					Presented by Daniel Toriola
Credit cards are very useful for those people who can manage their finances properly. Nowadays even airlines offer credit cards to their clients. However, credit cards are not to be used to purchase something you cannot afford. Click here to know more

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How To Maximize Your Credit Card Rewards By Joseph Kenny

Been sucked in to the lure of a “rewards” credit card only to get burned in the end by high interest rates and a less than stellar return when it came time to cash in those points? You’re not alone. For credit card companies, acquiring customers is big business, and most cards today offer some kind of incentive for running up the charges on your plastic. If you’re not careful, and use your card at will just to collect a few measly points, you could get stung. But by following a few simple rules, you can turn the tables on the credit cards companies and use that “rewards” card to your advantage. What to choose? Most likely, your mailbox is full of pre-approved offers for new and exciting credit cards. In fact, in 2005 over 6 billion unsolicited credit card applications were mailed. The average person received approximately 72 offers. If you’re in the market for a new card, it’s important to weigh your options carefully. Most credit cards today offer some kind of rewards, but which one is right for you? Take a look at your lifestyle and spending habits. Would you benefit from a points-based rewards card, an air mileage card, or one that offers cash back on purchases? Points-based cards usually give you one point for every dollar charged. When you accumulate enough, the credit card company will usually have a shopping portal set up, where you can redeem your points on a variety of products (e.g., electronics, gas cards, travel, etc.). Problem is, most items in the catalogue are ludicrously overpriced, though it’s better than nothing. Air mileage cards offer great benefits to the frequent flier, but in today’s airline industry, who’s to say how much fees will be raised by the time you’re ready to redeem? With cash back cards, there’s most likely a set amount you’ll need to charge annually before you reap any benefits, so make sure you read the fine print before you sign up. Take Advantage Quite simply, offering incentive-laden cards are a way for credit card companies to get you to sign up. Rarely are the rewards worth the interest rates you’ll pay if you carry a monthly balance. But therein lies the rub—pay off your credit card every month and put those rewards to work. Here’s how: Charge
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as much as you can on your rewards card. We know, it goes against everything you were ever taught about using a credit card. Let us explain. If your collectors allow it, charge every bill you have to your credit card instead of using a debit card or writing a check. Then, pay that balance off immediately to avoid incurring an interest fee. You’ll collect big rewards points fast, and it’ll be just like paying cash. Be disciplined about it though, even one month of letting those charges sit on your card can be a killer when the fee kicks in. Another idea: instead of having separate credit card accounts for you and your spouse, ask for an increase in your credit limit and a companion card for one account. The more you both swipe the plastic, the quicker you’ll accumulate rewards points. Off the beaten path As rewards cards have become more prevalent, credit card companies have come up with new incentives to make their cards more desirable to consumers. Many cards have a system that provides extra rewards points to customers who shop with certain vendors. Some will even offer coupons where you can save big shopping with certain companies while still earning extra points. It might take a little more effort, but it will certainly rack up the rewards points at a vigorous pace. Joe Kenny writes for the UK personal finance sites and also

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Credit Cards and Travelling By Tom Tessin

A common question among the avid traveler is “Will a credit card actually benefit me when I travel a lot?” I can sum this all up in one word and it’s “yes” but you have to have the right card and you need to use it properly before you can actually take advantage of it. Before you just start swiping any credit card out there, there are some things you should know about your card before you use it. You need the right card – Before you start swiping that card, make sure that you have a “travel based credit card”. If you don’t have a card that’s travel based, you’re probably not getting the rewards you deserve. Sure, there are cash back cards out there that will give you 1-2% back on everything but there are travel cards out there that will give you 5% back. If you want to maximize your rewards on travel, look into this niche based card. Other than that, sure you may save but how much will you save? Use it properly – if you don’t use your card the right way, you’re not going to take advantage of the rewards and let me explain. Let’s say your interest rate is 13% and you have a $500 balance. Let’s say you only pay off $250 for that month. Now, you’re going to have that APR tacked onto that leftover $250. In the long haul, you’re going to pay more toward that interest rate than you would the rewards. It’s important that you pay your card off in full each month and never miss a payment. This way, you won’t have to worry about any fees at all. Watch your rewards – This one goes alongside with picking out the right card. If you’re getting a card where you only get 5 times the points on airline A and you fly airline B all the time, I think you picked out the wrong card. You’re going to want to pick out the card where you can maximize on airline B. This is why it’s important to be loyal to an airline. When you find yourself loyal to an airline, you’re going to get more rewards and some high perks like boarding early, getting gifts or even getting upgrades on your next flight. Airlines love it when people continue to fly their airlines only. It’s not hard to pick out the right card. Usually when someone asks me about a travel card, I will tell them to look for an airline that offers a card that they fly through. While I think it’s important to be loyal to an airline, I can understand why some people want to find a cheap flight and they don’t care about loyalty. What they don’t understand is that in the long run, the gifts and rewards might outbalance the savings that they have occurred just by going the cheap route. The next time you fly, try out a card. If you like it, keep using it, if not, just shred and cancel, it’s that easy! Read great articles like this and find more of Tom's work all on his travel blog at

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