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Make sure to maximize your credit card rewards

Thursday, June 07, 2012 at 5:17:27 PM

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If you have dealt with credit cards successfully in the past, you're probably looking for an account that will give you more benefits and make account use more affordable going forward.

Rewards credit cards are becoming extremely popular with many consumers and as a means of increasing the number of borrowers they have, many lenders are now increasing the value of these programs significantly. As a consequence, if you have good credit, you almost certainly have access to a number of very beneficial rewards credit card offers. But how do you know which is right for you and

which will give you the most benefits

?

It may take a little bit of work, but taking the time to figure out exactly which account works best for you will be helpful in the long run.

Think about your spending habits


How do you use your current credit cards? Do you use them to finance your everyday purchases or do you limit them to only when you buy certain things, like gas or groceries? This is important because many credit cards nowadays

incentivize certain types of spending

. If you really only use your card to buy gasoline, for example, you might be able to find one that gives you anywhere between 2 and 5 percent cash back for these purchases, and 1 percent cash back for everything else. The same is true of other cards and groceries, dining out, travel, and the like.

Combing through old statements will help you determine the areas in which you use your credit card the most, and therefore the most beneficial rewards program available to you.

What will it cost you in the end?


Another thing you'll need to know is that rewards cards typically aren't free. They usually come with an annual fee, which can be quite expensive depending on the program, and higher interest rates than no-frills credit card accounts that come with fewer perks.

Now, you should consider

how much these added charges will cost you

over the course of the year, taking into account your tendency to carry a balance over from one month to the next. Then think about how much your current spending habits will get you in rewards points, cash back, or miles. If the former number exceeds the latter, it might be prudent to find another offer instead.



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