A Guide to Using Credit Card Points

by Ann Wilson on August 28, 2008

To get the most from a reward credit card, a consumer needs to be alert and smart. It is important to remember that not all credit cards in the market are as rewarding as they promise to be. Furthermore, benefiting from a credit card with rewards depends on how you use it.

Here is a basic guide on how you can benefit more from your reward card and how to use your reward points more efficiently:

Don’t acquire too many cards. With so many appealing reward credit cards in the market, it could be tempting to apply for more than just one or two cards. However, opening too many accounts puts you at a greater risk of credit card debt. Furthermore, handling too many accounts also mean scattering your points on each of your cards which would make it more difficult for you to earn rewards.

Go with your favorite affiliates. Check out which reward credit cards are affiliated with merchants and establishments that you frequently shop with. More points are usually awarded if the purchase was made from the sponsored merchant or affiliate enabling you to rack up your rewards more quickly.

Be aware of the blackout date. Some cards impose blackout dates or expiration dates on collecting and claiming rewards. If you’re not aware of this, you may lose all those hard-earned points without even realizing it. Needless to say, the best reward credit cards are those with no blackout dates or limits since they give you more freedom on redeeming your rewards.

Charge large purchases to your reward credit card. Although smaller purchases do count, big purchases equal to bigger points as well. If you have plans to buy appliances or home furniture, consider charging it to your reward credit card. However, it’s important to have the ready cash so you can pay for these charges in full before your due date. Remember, pay off your balance in full and avoid the additional interest rates and penalty charges.

Understand the rules of the reward program. Make sure that you clearly understand all the rules of the card’s reward program even before you sign up for it. Thus, you can plan on how you can collect more points without compromising your budget. Pay special attention to the disclosures associated with your card. Avoid forfeiting your rewards by playing by the rules and steering clear from violations.

Always submit your payments on time. Be conscious about your payment schedules and see to it that you always submit your pay on time. Not only would you be able to avoid the interest and penalty charges, consistent and timely payment also protects your credit history from damage.

It is also worth noting that some credit cards may disqualify you from redeeming your rewards if you have current unpaid charges on your account or if you’re frequently late with your payments. Avoid these hassles by submitting your credit card payments on time at all times.

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