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Regular credit cards are commonly used to make purchases, improve credit scores, and manage finances. However, most credit cards available on the market today also offer rewards programs. You might find yourself asking, are these rewards worth it? And do you really get more value from a rewards credit card than a regular credit card?
While regular credit cards are a reliable tool, every purchase you make simply adds to your balance without providing additional benefits. If you’d like to get more out of your credit card, maybe it’s time to consider a rewards credit card.
This article will walk you through the benefits that reward credit cards offer, how to choose the right one, and how to get the most out of your rewards once you start earning them.So why should you consider using a rewards credit card instead of a regular credit card? Let’s examine the benefits first.
Benefits Of Using A Rewards Credit Card
Cashback rewards allow you to earn a percentage of your purchase back in the form of cash. For example, a credit card may offer 1% cashback on all purchases. This means that if you spend $1,000, you will earn $10 in cashback rewards.
Most cashback rewards are tiered, meaning you earn a higher percentage of cashback on certain types of purchases, depending on your card’s focus. For example, a gas credit card may offer 4% cashback on gas purchases, but 1% for everything else.
If you love to travel, a rewards credit card can be a game-changer. Travel-focused reward credit cards offer points that can be redeemed for flights, hotels and rental cards. They also offer exclusive access to airport lounges or give you major discounts if you book your flights and accommodation with them.
Points and loyalty programs:
Many credit cards offer points-based rewards programs. With these, you gain points instead of cash back for every dollar spent. For example, X5 points for every dollar spent. Points can be redeemed for a certain range of products and services and can be great if you have specific goals in mind. For example, if you’d like to get regular discounts on groceries, you can redeem points and get gift cards or coupons in return.
Additional perks and benefits:
These vary considerably, but examples of additional perks and benefits include:
Travel insurance. This covers cancellations, missing baggage and medical emergencies abroad.
Extended warranties. This extends an existing manufacturer’s warranty further.
Purchase protection. This helps you get replacements or refunds if your purchase is damaged or stolen (given that you used your card to buy it).
Concierge services. These assist you with making reservations or arranging dinner plans while you’re travelling. These tend to come with more exclusive rewards cards, however.
These perks provide you with peace of mind and can improve your standard of living. In the long run, they can also save you money by eliminating the need to pay for specific insurance or services separately.
How To Choose The Right Rewards Credit Card
Now that you have a rough overview of the benefits rewards cards offer, you may be wondering how to choose the right one for you. It can be challenging to narrow down your options, so here are some factors to consider to make your decision easier:
Rewards structure: Consider the types of rewards offered and how they align with your spending habits and goals. If you spend a lot on groceries and gas, a credit card that offers higher cashback rewards in these categories may be a good choice. If you travel frequently, a credit card that offers travel rewards and partnerships with airlines and hotels may be more beneficial.
Annual fees: Some rewards credit cards have annual fees, while others do not. Annual fees can range from $50 to $500+. Consider whether the benefits of the card outweigh the cost of the annual fee. If you plan to use the card frequently and take advantage of the rewards and perks, the annual fee may be worth it. However, if you don’t anticipate using the card enough to justify the fee, you may want to look for a no-annual-fee option.
Interest rates and fees: You don’t pay interest fees if you pay off your balance fully each month. However, if you do tend to carry a balance, look for competitive interest rates and low balance transfer fees or foreign transaction fees.
Credit card issuer: Consider the reputation and customer service of the credit card issuer.
Sign-up bonuses: Many rewards credit cards offer sign-up bonuses to attract new cardholders. These often include thousands of bonus reward points if you spend a certain amount in a specified time. This can be a major draw, so consider if you would utilize the sign-up bonus.
By considering these factors and doing your research, you can choose a rewards credit card that aligns with your spending habits, goals, and financial needs.
Tips For Maximizing Rewards On Your Credit Card
Once you decide on your rewards card, you may want to get started earning your benefits right away. Here are some tips to help you get started:
Familiarize yourself with the rewards. Understand how to earn them, how to redeem them, and what restrictions apply so you can make careful and informed spending decisions.
Avoid overspending. Rewards can be exciting, but you lose out on their benefits as soon as you can no longer pay back your balance each month.
Pay attention to bonus categories. Most rewards credit cards offer bonus categories where you earn a bit more cashback or points than for everything else, such as gas, groceries or travel. Take advantage of these bonuses whenever possible.
Keep an eye out for promotions. Rewards credit cards occasionally offer promotions and special offers, such as earning double the points for shopping at a specific retail outlet.
Don’t carry a balance. Rewards credit cards tend to have higher interest rates than regular credit cards. Therefore it’s even more important that you pay off your balance each month, or interest fees will eat into your rewards savings.
Use your rewards strategically. When it’s time to redeem your rewards, consider how you would get the most value. Often you can decide if you’d rather redeem your rewards for cashback, statement credits, merchandise or travel perks. Look for redemption options that offer the highest value per point or dollar and choose the option that aligns with your goals.
By following these tips, you can maximize the rewards you earn on your credit card and make the most of your financial journey.
Depending on your financial goals, a rewards credit card could open up multiple saving opportunities, and help elevate your standard of living. This article examined the additional benefits that come with rewards credit cards, and how you can use them in your everyday life to get the most value for every dollar you spend. Why settle for a regular credit card? With a rewards credit card in your wallet, you’ll be well on your way to a rewarding financial future.