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Getting the most rewards from a credit card

Getting the most rewards from a credit card

Jun 5, 2015

“How can I get the most credit card rewards possible?”

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 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 don’t have a car, for instance, you won’t want a gas rewards credit card. Likewise, if you don’t travel more than a few times a year, a travel or miles card might not get you the biggest credit card rewards.

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.

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.

If you run a business, you may benefit from a business rewards credit card that offers higher rewards on business purchases. Many business rewards credit cards have a higher rewards cap. For instance, rather than earning double points on gas purchases up to $2,500, you could earn double points on up to $5,000 in gas purchases annually and incremental rewards after that cap has been reached.

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?

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.

Discover card believes that consumers should be armed with the information they need to help them make informed credit decisions.

Legal Disclaimer: The articles and information provided herein are for informational purposes only and are not intended as a substitute for professional advice.

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