If you’re like a lot of people, you have a credit card that gives you reward points you can redeem toward travel. You probably assume this works in a straightforward manner, and most of the time, it does. However, there are plenty that people just do not realize about their rewards, and knowing these fine print items can make these rewards even more powerful.
1 Choose When You Apply
Most credit cards that offer travel rewards include welcome bonuses, such as a certain amount of points if you put a certain amount of money on the card within a specified time frame. However, those bonuses change over time. Therefore, it is worth your while to take the time to research to find out what the pattern of the card is. You may be able to get a better bonus by waiting a few months. Some cards may run a special promotion from time to time in which they offer much higher bonuses.
2 You Can Maximize Your Points
Not all points are created equal. There are probably certain categories you can spend in and earn more points per dollar. In addition, there may be preferred partners that you can earn more points by using. There are sites online, such as Cash Back Monitor and Evreward, that will find the best deal for you. As an example, you might get a certain number of points from going into a store. However, you might get awarded two or three times more if you visit the store’s online site through an airline’s portal and make a purchase online. Whatever combination is the most advantageous, these sites can determine it for you.
3 Check Your Fees
There are two kinds of fees you should be aware of. Credit cards often come with annual fees that people generally pay without thinking about. What many people don’t realize is that these fees are often negotiable. You can call the company and ask them to lower your annual fee. The other type of fee to watch out for is the foreign transaction fee. Many cards that come with rewards waive this fee, but there are few that notably do not, knowing their customers are frequent travelers. This means that if you travel abroad or even make a purchase from another country using foreign currency and use your card, you could be charged an additional fee of around 3%. Be sure you know all the terms and conditions.
4 Rewards and the Cardholder’s Death
Your credit card rewards don’t necessarily die with the cardholder. Most people don’t know this because the agreements usually state that on the death of the cardholder, the points are no longer valid. However, in practice, companies often take a more compassionate approach. They may redeem the points for cash even if the agreement says they have no cash value. However, you may want to use them in a different way since they will almost always have more value if you transfer them and use them for hotels or airlines instead.