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How to Make the Most of Your Credit Card Reward Points

By: iTHINK Financial | Feb 06, 2019

Get Rewarded for Spending

Credit cards are something that everyone should have because they can help you build your credit score, handle emergency expenses and even make money back. Earning while spending seems like a no-brainer, but so many of us aren’t capitalizing on potential rewards.

Whether you’re looking for your first card or a new card, it’s helpful to know how to get the most out of it. Check out these tips on how to maximize your card’s return.


Spend Some Time Looking for the Right Card

Picking a credit card is a process and shopping around will give you the most bang for your buck. Some cards are designed specifically for medical offices, veterinary locations and other clinical businesses, while others are specifically for students. It’s important to know exactly what you need in a credit card and start searching for that specifically.

There’s no need to take a shot in the dark and hope that you come across a card that matches your preferences. You can go online and compare cards to see which one fits your lifestyle, purchasing habits and goals.


Understand the Terms

Reading the terms of your credit card is a foolproof way to make sure that it’s the right choice for you. Whether you’re a student trying to spend as little as possible or trying to live comfortably in a one-income household, picking the right card can make all the difference to your situation.

Reading the terms should be a large part of the searching process, and it’ll let you know exactly how to earn points and what form the points will be in. Some cards give higher percentages of cash back on fuel purchases and some give rewards points for spending on airfare, so you should make sure that you’re going to be spending according to your card’s terms and earning more on your own terms.


Use More Than One Card

Sign-up bonuses are no myth. You can earn quick cash or a free international flight just by opening up a new account, but that isn’t the main reason you should be signing up for another card. Every card is a little different, and if you’re interested in one that will earn you a ton of miles, but you also like another one that offers cash back, you can magnify your rewards by having more than one card.

Having a few lines of open credit can be beneficial, as long as you don’t sign up for more cards than you need. It’s easier to earn rewards with a few trusted cards that you use often. Stick with those that are most important to you and give yourself a few months between opening each account to be sure that it’s the right choice for you.

Charge Your Card

It might go without saying, but the easiest way to earn rewards from your card is by using it. There’s no need to spend beyond your means if you just charge your regular purchases on your credit card. It’ll help you boost your credit score to get even better cards in the future.

If you pay for subscription services, link those accounts to your card. You also may be able to set-up recurring payments for monthly expenses like your cell phone bill or health insurance. This makes charging your card easier because you don’t have to think about remembering the payments, and you won’t ever have to worry about an overdraft fee in your checking account. Just be sure to check and see if any of your utility or other monthly expenses charge a fee for using a card for the payments and continue to check your statements to make sure everything is operating normally.


Pay Off Your Balance

If you made room for a purchase in your budget, you shouldn’t have to pay interest on it. It’s best to pay off your card in full whenever you can, but there may be times when you don’t have the cash on hand to do so.

Some cards offer incredibly low-interest rates or interest-free charges for a certain time period or dollar amount, so try to to pay your balance off when you can and remember to understand what the terms are if you can’t. The best way to stay out of debt is by always spending within your budget and treating your credit card with respect.  


Set a Goal for Your Rewards

Before you start spending, you need to think about what you actually plan on doing with your rewards. This will make it easier to figure out what you want your purchases to add up to and it will motivate you to keep expanding your rewards by charging your card the best way possible.

Whether you’re trying to make an extra mortgage payment, take a much-needed vacation or pay off your student loans faster, your credit card can be your best friend. As long as you have a good understanding of the terms and find a card that best suits you personally, achieving your goals can be as simple as swiping your card.

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