Getting the Most Rewards from a Credit Card
“How can I get the most rewards from a credit card?”
Whether you’re looking for a rewards credit card that pays you back in cash, travel miles, gift cards or points, there are several ways to ensure you get the most for your money.
Earn big‑time cash back that never expires.
Earn rewards at the places you already spend
You naturally want a rewards credit card that gives you the highest rewards in the categories where you spend. If you drive often, you may benefit most from a gas rewards credit card. Likewise, if you fly a few times a year, you’ll potentially benefit from a travel rewards credit card.
Your best choice for a rewards credit card is one that gives you rewards, travel credit or points on your everyday purchases—and gives you the highest and the best rewards in the categories where you already spend. Ideally, you want a credit card that gives you top rewards, redemption options you really want, and offers a great all-around value.
Want to earn even more rewards?
See what discounts, promotions or extra rewards are available when you shop affiliated partners. Many rewards credit cards have online shopping portals that provide you with extra rewards from popular retailers.
“Taking advantage of exclusive deals for cardmembers can really add up,” says Maureen Powers, Vice President of Rewards for Discover. “Before making an online purchase, cardholders should check to see if extra rewards are available when purchasing through their credit card’s rewards portal for even greater savings.”
Consider paying your cable or phone payments, car insurance and other recurring bills using your rewards credit card to earn rewards on your everyday purchases and payments.
Get the best value when you redeem rewards, too.
In addition to earning top rewards, you also want to be smart about redeeming your credit card rewards:
- See if there is an expiration date, limits or restrictions for using your rewards. If your rewards expire, make sure you will be able to accrue enough rewards to redeem before these rewards expire. (This might mean concentrating your purchases on one card, rather than across several cards.)
- Some rewards credit cards provide extra rewards when you redeem for gift cards from retail partners. For instance, a $20 reward could get you a $25, $30 or $40 gift card from a retailer you use.
- Find out the redemption levels or reward increments. For instance, can you redeem once you’ve reached a certain amount or are your rewards sent to you at year-end?
Get Cash Back on Gas and Restaurants with Discover it® Chrome.
“Many credit cards on the market offer rewards on spending, but some go above and beyond by offering value-added redemption options on those rewards,” says Powers. “At Discover, we not only want cardmembers to be rewarded for their spending, we want them to be able to spend their rewards in a way that is best for them. For instance, Discover cardmembers can redeem their cash back for cash, gift cards to top retailers, or to pay at checkout at Amazon.com.1“
Some tips to get the best value from a rewards card.
A low interest rate and no annual fee can improve the value of your rewards credit card. Look for rewards cards with no fees for same-day payments online or by phone, no rewards redemption fees, and services that help you avoid overlimit and late fees.
Keep finance charges low by carrying as low a balance as possible.
Limit the number of rewards credit cards you have —build bigger reward balances across one or two rewards cards.
Finally, consider the APR offer and duration. Ideally you’d like to find a low or 0% APR offer with a longer intro period. If you’re looking to transfer a balance from a card with a high APR, check out the balance transfer rate. Find out the length of the intro APR, and what the APR will be after the intro period is over.