HomeBlogRewardsChoosing The Right Credit Card Rewards Program Can Put Extra Money In Your Pocket Just By Using Your Card On Things You Already Buy

How credit card rewards programs can work for you

Choosing The Right Credit Card Rewards Program Can Put Extra Money In Your Pocket Just By Using Your Card On Things You Already Buy

by / 0 Comments / Mar 01, 2015

The type of credit card rewards program you choose can make a big difference between lucrative benefits and uninspired savings. Get the facts and make the decision that puts money back in your pocket, offers you great travel incentives or helps reap other big rewards for your wallet.

These programs offer consumers three main types of rewards: Cash Back, Miles and Points. These categories are further broken down by the types of loyalty reward cards available, such as branded and co-branded cards, airline cards, travel cards, business cards and much more.

  • Miles
    Airline miles are the most well-known in this category. However, many airline miles credit cards now allow you to use your miles for other purchases as well. With some card issuers, the miles you earn may only be used for flying or travel-related expenses. Others allow you to redeem your miles the same way most points are used.
  • Points
    Rewards Points may be redeemed for merchandise, services, airline miles, other travel rewards and more. With many cards, points can be used like airline or travel miles. Points can also often be used in a similar manner to cash. However, points may be devalued by your credit card issuer.
  • Cash Back
    These cash rewards are offered as a percentage of the dollar amount on the purchases you make with your cash back rewards card. Card issuers stipulate which purchases are eligible. The standard in the industry is 1% on most purchases, although you can earn higher rates on specific purchasing categories with certain cards to earn top cash back. Many issuers pay your cash back as a credit against your bill, though with some you can request a check.

What Benefits are Important to You?

A big factor in your decision is your goal. Are you a traveler looking for an affordable vacation or free upgrades and perks on your trip? Are you a shopper who wants to get excellent deals on your purchases? Are you a consumer who just prefers cold hard cash? The answers to these questions will help direct you to the credit card rewards programs that will best meet your specific needs.

Popular Miles/Points Cards – Airline Credit Card Rewards Programs

Airline and travel rewards creditcards typically fall into the Miles or Points categories of Rewards cards. The reward miles/points offered with these cards can be extremely versatile or limited to a specific airline or rewards redemption system.

  • Versatile Miles/Points and Transferring
    There are a lot of great rewards cards out there that allow you to earn points or miles and then use them at a number of different airlines for flights and travel perks. The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card supports a 1 to 1 point transfer ratio to United, Korean Airlines, British Airways, Marriott, Hyatt, Priority club and Amtrak. American Express rewards cards let you convert your rewards points to Frequent Flyer miles and redeem them with close to 100 airlines. AmEx Membership Rewards points also transfer to five Frequent Guest programs so you can enjoy luxurious hotel stays worldwide.
  • Travel Payback Rewards
    These rewards allow you to earn redeemable miles/points towards your travel purchases on everything you buy. So, if you purchase an airline ticket for $265, a hotel room for $112 and rent a car for $89 with your Capital One Venture Card, you will earn 932 miles. You can then use your miles to offset a bit of the purchase price when you receive your card statement.
    In addition to earning extra miles on your purchases, some travel rewards credit cards also give you a percentage of your miles back when you redeem your miles for travel. Barclaycard Arrival allows you to earn 2 times the miles on all of your purchases, and when you pay for travel on your card, you earn 10% miles back when you redeem your miles for those travel purchases.
  • Airline Reward Perks
    As mentioned above, many travel rewards credit cards allow you to redeem your miles or points for non-travel related expense, such as merchandise and gift cards. For example, the American Airlines AAdvantage Card lets redeem your miles for magazine and newspaper subscriptions and gift cards.

Your Own Rewarding Experience

To get the most benefits and the best experience from your credit card rewards card, first identify your goal and then research the top cards in that category. Be it travel, shopping, or cash, there is a myriad of credit card rewards programs to choose from, and the benefits can be quite lucrative.

About the Author

Elizabeth Boyd is a financial writer and paralegal. She has written extensively for the financial and credit card market for several years and feels strongly about making consumers aware of their choices and rights.

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