Credit card reward programs are more popular than ever. In order to keep up with such high demand in a competitive market, credit card companies are coming up with new and more enticing offers every day. How do you know which one to choose?
Are you the type of credit card user who likes to travel and/or frequent a particular hotel or airline? If so, then a travel rewards credit card might be the right option for you. Typically, a travel rewards card allows you to earn points (sometimes referred to as miles, depending on the card) for every purchase you make on the card. Typically, cards offer a reward that is equal to 1% of your purchase, which means that for every $100 you spend, you will earn 1 point or mile. Some credit card companies offer even greater incentives, such as double points for specific types of purchases or bonus points when you open up an account. Before signing up, however, be sure to read the fine print. Many travel rewards cards have specific rules that apply to point redemption and may charge a hefty annual fee.
Don’t want the hassle that sometimes goes along with redeeming points on a travel rewards card? Consider a cash back rewards card. While not as thrilling as racking up points to take a trip to some far-off, exotic destination, cash back rewards cards may be better for individuals who aren’t frequent travelers and who tend to use credit cards for everyday purchases. Most cash back rewards cards offer a flat cash reward on general purchases. Others offer higher rewards for different spending categories (e.g., dining or entertainment purchases). Consider your credit card spending habits to determine which cash back rewards card would be appropriate for you.
Finally, it’s important to remember that rewards cards work best when you pay off your account balance each month. Be sure to charge only what you can afford to pay off and avoid spending over your budget just to earn more rewards. Otherwise, the unpaid balance you carry forward will create finance charges that may cancel out the value of any rewards you accumulate.
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