Maximizing Your Returns From Credit Card Reward Programs

by : Ann Wilson

Copyright (c) 2008 Ann Wilson

Okay, so you've applied for a rewards credit card. Now what? How can you maximize your returns for your reward credit card?

If you've chosen the right reward credit card, then you should have no problem in earning points more quickly. Consider what type of reward credit card you have and see if it matches your spending habits. If not, then it's not yet too late to make a switch. If you're still planning about getting a reward credit card, then take your time in choosing the one that is most appropriate for your needs and lifestyle.

Choose your rewards credit card well

How do you normally use your credit card? Do you usually use it to pay for your monthly expenses such as groceries and utility bills? Does a large amount of your budget go to your car maintenance and gas expenses? Or do you travel a lot and spend more on hotel accommodations, car rentals and plane tickets? Based on your lifestyle, you can choose whether a cash-back credit card, a gas rewards credit card, or a travel rewards credit card will be best for you.

Check your credit report

Reward credit cards with the best deals are only offered for those who have excellent credit rating. Check your credit report and see if there are some steps you can do to improve your credit.

Take Advantage of the 0% Introductory Offer

Whichever rewards credit card you choose, there is usually a 0% introductory offer that you can avail off. The best ones are those that give a 0% APR on both purchases and balance transfers for a whole period of 12 months. Most reward credit cards come with a high interest rate so if you choose the one with 0% APR on purchases and balance transfer for a whole year, that would be a great savings and convenience on your part. There are credit cards that give a reasonable interest rate even after the introductory period expires and that's the reward credit card you want to have.

Ask for additional cards

Some reward credit cards give additional cards for other members of the family or even friends of the card holder. The points earned from additional cards still go to the main card holder so you get to earn more rewards at a shorter time.

Pay off your monthly balances on time

Even if you intend to earn as much points as you can, don't use your credit card for purchases if you know that you can't make your monthly payment on time. Unless you're still within the 0% introductory period, then you can afford to incur a remaining balance and pay it off for the next month. Remember that reward credit cards have higher rates and if you often incur a monthly balance, the amount you pay for your interest may be worth way more than the value of the rewards you actually get.

Use your credit cards to pay your utilities

If your credit card gives you a point for general purchases, then take advantage of it and use your card to pay your telephone bills, electricity and cable. Since you really have to pay for these bills one way or another, why not use your card and collect points at the same time instead of paying in cash?