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Optimizing Your Credit Card Rewards

By Edited Jul 16, 2015 0 0

For those with solid money management skills, acquiring one or more rewards cards can provide some additional income. The important thing to consider before you go this route, is to be honest with yourself on whether you have the discipline to pay you monthly credit card bill every time. If not, the fees and interest associated with owning a card will neglect any rewards that you might earn, and potentially put you in a worse situation.

However, if you have good credit and are a responsible spender, you should consider adding the following cards to your wallet. The trick is to acquire multiple cards that can complement one another depending on the situation you find yourself in. In other words, you should get reward cards that generously reward the areas you spend most money within, instead of using the same card for all transactions.

Groceries

Considering that groceries are a big expense in most people’s budget, signing up for a card that provide higher than average rewards is a smart move. Take for example the American Express Blue Cash® card which provides 3% cash for every purchase in grocery stores or Bank of America Cash Rewards® card which provides 2% cash back. Over time, earning 3% cash back can really pay off compared to earning 1 point for each dollar spent. If your grocery spending is particularly high, consider the American Express Blue Cash Preferred® rewards card which provides 6% cash back at grocery stores. This card does come with a $75 annual fee, so you should calculate whether the added 3% cash back would amount to more than the $75 fee on an annual basis. As always, be sure to check which stores apply for the added cash on your reward card. Oftentimes warehouses like Costco or Wal-Mart does not qualify.

Gas

Unless you live in the big city where you have the benefit of public transportation, odds are that you drive to work daily and spend a considerable amount at the pump. With gas prices soaring lately, families in particular are feeling the pinch. However, there are rewards cards that can provide some relief. Cards to consider are PenFed® Platinum cash rewards card which provides 5% at the pump and does not have an annual fee. Other cards to consider is the Bank of America® Cash Rewards card which provides 3% cash back. If you have already acquired the the American Express® Blue Cash Preferred rewards card for your grocery purchases, this card also provide 3% cash back at the pump(remember the $75 annual fee however).

Gas

Restaurants

Compared to other nations, Americans eat out quite frequently. If you find yourself going to either fast food or sit-down restaurants on a weekly basis, consider getting yourself a card that provide higher than average rewards for this kind of transaction. The Citi Forward® card provides 5 points for every dollar spent at restaurants. Depending on what you redeem the points for, this equals a 3.5%-5% cash back. If you eat out multiple times a week, this reward can quickly add up. An added bonus by having the Citi Forward® card is that it also provides you with 5 points per dollar spent on entertainment such as going to the movies. 

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