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5 ways to maximize credit card rewards

Here are the 5 best ways to make the most out of a rewards credit card.
Here are the 5 best ways to make the most out of a rewards credit card.
Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Cash back, loyalty points, gas rebates, free flights, hotel stays, entertainment, and more! These are just some of the rewards that credit cards offer nowadays. And although credit card rewards may seem easy enough, just being a holder of one of these cards does not guarantee any benefits. In fact, many consumers with rewards credit cards do not understand how their rewards program works and end up letting their rewards go to waste.

So, for consumers looking to make the most out of their credit card rewards, there are certain ways to get the biggest bang for their buck. Here are 5 easy ways to help maximize credit card rewards:

1. Read the fine print. Many cards offer great special promotions to get consumers to apply. However, read the fine print before getting a rewards credit card. Some cards have annual fees and high interest rates. Others have limits on the amount of rewards you can earn in a time period or expiration dates on points. Know what you are getting into before you sign up.

2. Register for revolving categories. Some cards offer cash back on revolving categories with member sign up. Although this seems simple enough, many cardholders forget to sign up and don’t receive the extra benefits. By simply registering, users get bumped up cash back rates at certain times of the year, like 5% back on summer gas purchases since it’s driving season.

3. Redeem your rewards on time. Some rewards expire, so it’s important to use the points before they go to waste. Other points and miles are devalued over time, so rewards may be worth much less at a later date. Be sure to redeem them to make the most out of them.

4. Shop through your card’s shopping portal. Check the credit card issuer’s online shopping portal. By shopping through a rewards portal, cardholders can earn up to 10x more cash back. Cardholders can buy appliances, clothing, electronics, and even travel through these sites. They can end up earning much more by shopping through the portal.

5. Be smart about how you redeem your rewards. There are many ways to redeem rewards: cash, travel, gift cards, or merchandise. Research the various options before redeeming rewards, but in general, it is best to redeem rewards on cash back cards for cash and travel cards for travel.

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