Nowadays, almost all credit cards have some sort of reward you can earn when you use your card. With so many to choose from, picking the right one can be quite a challenge.
These tips will help you find a rewards credit card that fits you best.
The first thing you need to do is ask yourself two questions: “What do I want out of a card?” and “Where do I use my credit cards the most?” These questions will help you narrow down your choices.
Some people already know what they want. For example, if you just want a card that offers cash back or saves you money on gas, you can start to search for a card that offers great cash-back programs or big savings on gas.
If you’re not sure what type of rewards program is best for you, then ask yourself where you use your credit card the most. This will help you get the most out of your rewards. If you travel frequently for business, an airline or hotel rewards card can help you earn free flights or upgraded hotel rooms. If you spend a good chunk of money each month at a specific retailer, opening up a credit card from that store can save you money or help you earn free merchandise.
Once you have a general idea of the type of card you want, you can start shopping around and comparing the different choices.
As you look for a card, pay close attention to the following:
You can earn rewards in a number of different ways. One of the most common is to get a certain number of points for each dollar you spend. Compare the number of points you can earn with your card with the amount of points it takes to redeem them and decide if it’s attainable.
You should also look for things like bonus points for signing up, which can put you closer to redeeming a reward. For example, Southwest’s airline rewards card, the Visa Rapid Rewards card, you get 25,000 points (enough for a round-trip flight) just for signing up, as well as 6,000 points on your signup anniversary each year.
Make sure it’s easy to redeem rewards. Some credit cards, like the Capital One Quicksilver, are very user-friendly, allowing you to redeem your cash for any amount at any time. Other cards, like the Citi ThankYou, lets you automatically put points towards debt like your mortgage or student loans instead of cashing them in for points or merchandise.
Airlines rewards can be a little trickier to redeem if you’re not careful. Some cards have blackout dates of the most popular travel times or place expiration dates on unused points, so make sure you choose a card that lets you redeem your points for any date and has a reasonable expiration of points, if any.
Many reward credit cards have fees, but many of them waive these fees your first year. Before you sign up for a rewards card, make sure the benefits and rewards will outweigh the fees. The Visa Black Card, for example, continually gets poor reviews for its hefty $495 annual fee and lack of benefits that compensate for it. The Chase Freedom Visa, on the other hand, has no annual fee and attractive cash-back rewards.
Rewards credit cards can be a great way to earn money and other perks for using your credit card. These tips will help you find a rewards program that best fits you and your needs.