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Give it a bit of thought, are you taking the most advantage of your credit card rewards program that you can be? Here are some things to ask yourself in order to find out:
Do you really get the way your card’s rewards process works?
Gaining a thorough understanding of how the rewards program of your particular card works will require a little bit of work on your part. Start by visiting the card’s website and reading all of the available information on their rewards program. You can also review your past statements and other literature sent to you by your credit card company through the mail to see if that provides any additional details. Look for whether or not your rewards points have an expiration date – some do and some don’t, depending on the issuer. If you have any additional questions that you can’t find answers to, call up your credit card company and speak with a customer service representative.
If you are able to sit down and do this research prior to applying for a rewards credit card, which is ideal, make sure you take the time to compare the programs different cards have to offer. While some may be similar, no two are exactly alike.
Do you know exactly what your rewards are redeemable for?
You should get into the habit of checking out your rewards balance whenever you review your credit card account and go over your statement to monitor your spending and check for fraudulent activity. Begin to consider rewards as a way to meet your financial goals by identifying things that you would like to cash them in for – for example: a trip, a big ticket item or a gift card. After identifying what you want to “spend” them on, keep an eye on your rewards to monitor your progress as you near your goal.
Are the rewards offered a good fit for your lifestyle?
To ensure that you will utilize all of the rewards points you earn on your credit card, make sure that they are redeemable for goods and services that you already buy and use on a regular basis. Reward perks are not all that useful or helpful if they are for places that are out of your way or for items that you would not typically purchase. Likewise, you don’t want to alter the way you spend simply to rack up rewards.
Do you like what your credit card rewards program is offering you?
If you already have a rewards card and find that you simply don’t have much personal interest in the perks it avails to you, you could apply for a different card or you could use the rewards from the one you currently have to buy gifts for others or donate the items you get in exchange for your points to charity. Many programs offer gift cards as an option which can come in handy around the holidays or for last-minute gifts at other times throughout the year.
If you have a sizeable amount of debt, you should probably not focus on your rewards program until you pay it down and instead concentrate your energy on getting your outstanding balances to zero.