Credit Card Reward Programs - What You Should Know

by : Leo Chu

In today's world, it's almost essential to have at least one credit card. Hotels and rental cars, large purchases, emergencies and even for identification purposes - you need a credit card. Why not have one that rewards you for your purchases? With so many credit card companies and so many different offers, it's easier than ever for consumers to take advantage of reward programs. Here are a few tips on finding the right credit card for you - and how to get the maximum benefit from it.

Find the Right Rewards Program

There are a lot of credit card offers available today. You probably get a lot sent to you in the mail. If you are looking into finding the right rewards program for your needs, you should hold on to those offers to compare with others. The Internet is also a great tool to find and compare credit card offers quickly and easily. There are so many rewards programs that with a little bit of research you should be able to find the one that is right for your needs.

When looking into credit cards with rewards, make sure you think about what rewards would give you the greatest benefit. Some cards simply give you cash back for your purchases. This is a great reward if you don't have a particular need such as merchandise or airline miles. With gas prices increasing, gas reward cards may be a good way to maximize your rewards. Make sure that you compare several different credit card offers before choosing one. Many rewards offers are very tempting, but don't get distracted by offers that aren't suited to your financial needs. For example, if you fly frequently, but don't plan on using your card for any large purchases, airline mileage rewards won't do you much good as you will be waiting a while for that free flight. A cash back or gas rewards cards may benefit you more.

Investigate Advantages and Disadvantages

Okay, so you've found a credit card rewards program that sounds great ' just the right reward for your needs. But have you read the fine print? Don't stop after finding the right rewards ' make sure all the other details of the credit card suit you as well. You may get the cash back reward you were looking for, but if you have to pay a higher interest rate or a pricey annual percentage rate ' it may not be worth it. Do your research and find a reward program with all around good benefits. Also, be careful if you are getting in on an introductory rate. A credit card that offers the rewards you want with a 0% interest rate for the first year may sound perfect, but make sure whatever interest rate it goes up to after the introductory period is something that you can live with. Also, look into the limitations and restrictions of your rewards program to make sure that you can take full advantage of the benefits.

Use Wisely

Once you have found the right card with the right program for you, make sure you manage it well. If you rack up the purchases and are always carrying a balance, chances are the interest you are paying negates any kind of reward you will receive. Closely examine your statement when it is sent to you and keep track of your rewards. There may be limitations to your rewards such as when you can use them and there may even be an expiration date to use them by. Don't let your rewards go to waste!