The other day we applied and were approved for a new credit card. Not that we needed it. Between us we already have several credit cards. No, our motivation was simply for the purpose of collecting the bonus credit card reward points.
Next year we are heading overseas again and with an extra family member and our eldest daughter now over the age of 2, it’s going to be even more expensive than previous holidays, therefore with more than a year up our sleeve to save, there is also plenty of time to utilise cut our costs at home.
Many credit cards have reward programs. These can either be in the form of credit card reward points related directly to the financial institution, or redeemable for cashback, vouchers and other rewards.
Alternatively, many cards are linked to frequent flyer reward programs.
These cards tend to come with larger annual fees and higher interest rates. Overall, they aren’t the best choice when it comes to managing credit cards and keeping costs down, unless you are able zero out your balance most of the time.
However these cards can be beneficial when it comes to earning bonuses, such as credit card reward points.
For example, in the case of our recent credit card approval, it was the 50,000 bonus frequent flyer points that got us in. And even then, only because the annual fee was waived for the first year. That will pretty much double our frequent flyer rewards points for this scheme and result in a heavily discounted reward flight to Europe for at least one of us.
Credit card rewards points are usually earned through spending with your credit card, but there are ways to build your reward points faster:
5 WAYS TO MAXIMISE YOUR CREDIT CARD REWARD POINTS
1. Sign Up Offers
Often credit card companies offer huge incentives for new credit card sign ups, which often come in the form of waived fees, 0% balance transfers and bonus credit card rewards points. Keep an eye out for these but be sure to check the terms and conditions. They usually have a minimum spend before you are eligible for the points.
2. Shop With Credit
As much as it drives me crazy lining up in store behind people who don’t carry cash, there are benefits with living on credit – so long as you are paying off your balance in full each month. Many credit card programs will earn you credit card rewards points through general use of your card, so the more you spend with your card, the more points you can earn.
3. Bonus Points
Sometimes you will see bonus shopping offers to earn you extra credit card rewards points, such as spending a certain amount in a particular store for a bonus 500 points, as an example. So long as these are items you would normally buy, you can earn yourself bonus credit card rewards points just by shopping.
4. Reward Partners
Many credit card programs also have reward partners, which may include accommodation and travel services, utilities and entertainment partners. By shopping with these reward partners, or signing up with the partnered utilities, you could be earning yourself extra points either on a use basis or every month when you pay your ongoing bills.
5. Track Expiry
In some cases, credit card reward points expire and go to waste before you get a chance to use them. Avoid this happening by keeping track of your credit card reward points and pending expiry. One great way to do this is using Award Wallet, which helps you keep track easily.
Tips for making the most of your credit card reward points:
- Look for bonus sign up offers and shopping points
- Be smart with your credit cards – don’t rack up excess interest by spending beyond your means as this will result in you losing money instead of gaining rewards
- Consider a goal before you sign up so you can maximise credit card reward points relevant to you
- Read the fine print on bonus reward points
- Consider cancelling high fee credit cards before the year is up if you no longer need them
Credit card rewards points can be a great way of getting a little something back from all the potential interest you may have paid through using credit cards, but you need to be careful managing your credit cards so they will work for you, and not the other way around.
What is the best thing you have spent credit card reward points on?