Credit cards that offer rewards can be a good deal if you use them wisely. You may be able to earn enough airline miles to take a long-desired trip or earn a discount on all purchases made through a certain retailer. You may get cash back on everything you buy with a rewards credit card, or earn points that can be turned in for restaurant gift certificates, car rentals, hotel stays and more.
Deciding on a rewards credit card can be tough because there are a lot of appealing offers out there. The best bet is to get one that will provide the maximum benefits for your particular situation. If you have a large family, for example, you may want to use a rewards credit card that gives you a certain percentage back on your grocery purchases. If you get all your prescriptions through a certain drugstore, or frequently buy books through an online store, a rewards card may give you the opportunity to earn double or triple points on your purchases made at those merchants. Have travel plans? Look for the rewards credit cards that offer points good towards airline miles, hotel stays or car rentals. (After you review all the offers, you may even decide to get two cards and use them for specific purchases.)
All of the major card issuers --Capital One, Citi, Visa, Mastercard, Discover and American Express -- offer several versions of rewards credit cards. Capital One, for example, currently has four offers on the CreditCardXPO.com site, two that offer airline miles, one that's affiliated with the Orbitz.com travel site and another that's an MTV-branded card. The MTV card offers exclusive rewards to its cardholders, including MTV merchandise and tickets to MTV events and show tapings.
Some cards offer bonus points if you spend a certain amount of money within a set period. With the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, you earn 50,000 bonus points (worth $625) after you spend $3,000 in the first three months. Other cards offer tiered rewards for different purchases. The Sony Card from Capital One provides 5 points per $1 spent on Sony purchases, 3 points per $1 spent on dining out and movie purchases and 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.
Keep these tips in mind when you're considering which rewards credit cards you'd like to apply for:
Having a good rewards credit card is like being paid extra for spending money. But don't go overboard on that spending just because you're getting something back. Use these cards wisely and the one of the rewards you'll get is enjoying your bonus with a clear conscience.