How to make the most of credit card rewards programs

TransUnion reports 166M credit cards users in the US
Published: Jun. 27, 2023 at 10:05 AM HST
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(InvestigateTV) — A recent Forbes Advisor survey reported that 36% of purchases are made with a credit card, many of which have rewards programs., a financial advice website, says credit card rewards programs can offer great perks and savings, but only if the benefits of using the rewards outweigh the costs, such as annual fees or any interest accrued on the account.

Nathan Grant, a senior finance industry analyst with MoneyTips, recommended consumers use rewards cards that directly fit into their lifestyle.

“It doesn’t matter what type of card. If it’s a rewards card or travel card, credit cards, in terms of building your credit, they’re all based on the same principles of, you know, being responsible card holder, paying on time, paying in full when you can or at least keeping your balances as low as possible,” Grant explained.

He said keep in mind that some reward cards have an annual fee. Consumers need to determine whether they will earn more in rewards than they pay in fees to make it worth it.

Grant also advised users to look at their card holder agreement. The agreement may offer additional rewards they don’t know about, such as offering free rental car insurance and others.

“So that could be things like travel upgrades, like priority boarding and free lounge access, things that you’d have to pay extra for might be included by using that certain form of payment,” he shared. “There’s sometimes a free subscription services for streaming services by using that card. So, you might be paying for a streaming service already, but there might be a credit card out there that you have in your wallet right now you didn’t realize you could get Disney+ for free by using this card.”

Grant said some credit cards even offer a free concierge service, which can help find affordable hotels when traveling.

MoneyTips has an online guide that explains rewards programs and the best ways to earn and redeem them.