How to Maximize Your Credit Card Rewards

Written By
Julija A.
July 07,2023

An estimated 180 million people in the US have credit cards. If you use your cards wisely, you can take advantage of rewards schemes. In this helpful guide, we’ll help you figure out how to maximize credit card rewards. 

Tips to Maximize Credit Card Rewards

If you have a credit card that offers access to points, cashback, or air miles, or you’re thinking about applying for such a card, here are some useful tips to help you earn reward points and make the best use of credit card points:

Find the Right Credit Card

To achieve reward points, you need to use the right card at the right time. If you already have credit cards, take a moment to look through your wallet and evaluate what each card offers and ask yourself if you are currently benefiting from the available perks. 

If the rewards are not useful to you or you’re more interested in different types of rewards, it may be possible to switch to a different financial product offered by your card provider. Contact the issuer and ask about incentives that would be more suitable for you.

Another option is to browse products offered by other lenders. You may find that some credit card companies have rewards schemes that better meet your requirements. 

If you are considering applying for a new credit card and want to earn reward points, take some time to compare products and read up on rewards schemes and incentives for new customers. Look for perks that are relevant to your needs.

There are different credit card rewards available. And if there isn’t much separating the cards when it comes to interest rates and balance transfer options, the rewards on offer will help you decide which card to choose. 

Analyze Your Spending Habits

It is always wise to have a credit card strategy to help you maximize credit card rewards. As a customer, you want to make sure that you make the most of your credit card rewards. You should aim to choose and use cards that benefit you financially.

If you love to travel, for example, or move around a lot for work, it’s a good idea to look for a credit card that offers air miles or cashback offers you can claim on travel expenses.

If you spend a lot on groceries or clothing, for example, use cards that enable you to earn points or claim cashback on these items. Set a weekly or monthly budget and analyze your statements to get a better sense of your spending habits. 

Use Credit Cards for Specific Items

One effective way to maximize the earning potential of rewards credit cards is to adapt usage to the items you buy. If you have more than one credit card, you may find that some offer more benefits when used for purchases of certain products.

Some credit cards offer great rewards systems for groceries, for example, while others may reward you for streaming subscriptions. Another strategy is to pair your cards and use them for different spending categories in which they offer the most generous rewards. 

Capitalize on Welcome Bonuses

Many companies will go all-out to impress new customers and offer incentives and deals that are not available to existing clients. If you are applying for a new credit card, look out for new cardholder bonuses.

Compare offers from different credit card providers and see which deals suit you best. A welcome bonus can help you boost your rewards balance once you start spending on your card. 

Before you apply for a credit card and start thinking about how you’re going to spend your new customer bonus, make sure you read the terms and conditions carefully.

There may be minimum spending requirements or a timeframe in which you have to spend a certain amount to access your bonus. 

Sign Up for News and Updates

Credit card companies want customers to spend money and make use of rewards and bonuses. Many offer time-limited deals and incentives, which apply to specific products. To stay up to date on the latest offers, sign up for updates and make sure you check the terms of the agreement.

It is important to focus on offers that are relevant to your lifestyle. Aim to capitalize on rewards that are available on products you usually buy. 

Check for Retention Offers

If you already have a credit card and are thinking about switching to a different provider and canceling your existing card, it’s beneficial to contact the card provider and check if you are eligible for any available retention offers.

Your credit card company may offer you better rewards to keep you as a customer, or you may be able to combine rewards to get more out of your points. If you’re not satisfied with the offer, compare deals from other providers.

If your existing card isn’t costing you anything, it may be better to keep the account open to maintain good credit history. This will help improve your credit rating. 

Keep Track of Your Rewards

When was the last time you checked your points or logged into your account to see how many travel miles you have earned? Life can get hectic, and it’s very easy to lose track of how many points you’ve accrued, especially if you have more than one reward card.

Check your rewards accounts, make sure you know how to use your points, and look for ways to add extra value to your reward points. Tracking your credit card points is an excellent way to ensure that you make the most of time-limited offers and eliminate the risk of losing points that have an expiry date. 

Check Out Combined Rewards

Customers with multiple credit cards from the same issuer can often combine rewards or points. This is a simple way of maximizing credit card points.

Generally, if you have more than one card issued by American Express, for example, you can add your points from those cards to enjoy a bigger or better reward. 

Make Sure you Understand How to Use Your Points

Many people use their credit cards regularly without giving too much thought to rewards and points or the miles they’re earning. If this scenario sounds familiar, you’re missing out.

Track your rewards, check expiry dates and make sure you understand how to use your points or redeem rewards, such as air miles. All this should be clearly outlined on the card issuer website. If you have questions, contact the issuer. 

Pay Off Your Credit Cards

Credit card purchases earn rewards, but they can also get you into trouble if you start to spend more than you can afford. Try to pay off your credit cards in full and avoid carrying a balance to improve your credit score and make the most of your rewards.

While your credit card points strategy should enable you to maximize credit card rewards, it should also ensure that you regulate spending and stick to a budget. If you clear your balance, you can earn points without worrying about paying interest. Paying off credit cards will also boost your credit score.


What is the smartest way to use a credit card that has rewards?


If your credit card offers rewards, it’s important to read the terms and conditions and choose the right card. Look out for updates from your card issuer to stay informed about the latest deals and rewards, and choose cards that have rewards categories relevant to your spending. Make sure you track your points and that you understand how and when to use them. It’s often beneficial to use certain cards for specific products to make the most of the rewards programs.

Can reward points be converted to cash?


Some credit card companies allow customers to convert rewards points to cash, but this is not always the case. Check with your card issuer and read the terms and conditions.

How long do credit card points last?


One of the most important things to keep in mind when thinking about how to maximize credit card rewards is to check when the points you earned expire. Some companies run time-limited offers, and some require customers to redeem points within a certain period of time. Check with your card provider to make sure that you don’t miss out.

About author

Albert Einstein is said to have identified compound interest as mankind’s greatest invention. That story’s probably apocryphal, but it conveys a deep truth about the power of fiscal policy to change the world along with our daily lives. Civilization became possible only when Sumerians of the Bronze Age invented money. Today, economic issues influence every aspect of daily life. My job at Fortunly is an opportunity to analyze government policies and banking practices, sharing the results of my research in articles that can help you make better, smarter decisions for yourself and your family.

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