How to Maximize Your Credit Card Rewards and Rebates

If you’re an avid credit card user, you’ll be happy to know that, by simply using it, you’re getting a lot more mileage out of your card. Many banks offer rewards and rebates programs, which is a good way to incentivize cardholders to continue using their credit cards.

Different banks like Capital One, Standard Chartered and others have varying rewards and rebates programs, as it can come in the form of points, rebates, or discounts.

  • Points are earned for purchases that can then be exchanged for vouchers for goods or services.
  • Rebates or cash backs are earned depending on how much you charge to your credit card.
  • Discounts are applied at the point of purchase when using your credit card.

But are you really getting the most out of your credit card’s rewards and rebates program? Are you earning points that you will never use? Are you not getting rebates because you only earn rebates at specific stores or products? Here are some tips on how to maximize your credit card rewards and rebates:

Get a credit card that supports your interests and lifestyle – Your credit card may have the awesome reward of giving you travel miles for your spending – but what if you don’t have time or inclination for travelling? What if, for instance, you prefer dining or retail therapy? In which case, you would be better off with a card that gives you rebates or discounts for shopping and/or dining. When picking a card, ask yourself: does the reward appeal to you or match your lifestyle? Do the points, discounts, and rebates apply to stores, products, or services that you patronize?

Limit your credit cards – It is never a good idea to have multiple cards (at most, two credit cards are recommended). You may be tempted to spread your purchases across the cards and thereby dilute the rewards or rebate value of your purchases. If you run your purchases through a single card, you can hit rewards and rebate target values much faster.

Compare rewards and don’t hesitate to cancel less rewarding cards – You’ve found a credit card that offers 1% rebate for grocery and happily apply for it. Later you find another credit card offers 1.5% rebate with the same terms. You are by no means restricted to your first card and can cancel it and get the other card.   

Read the fine print – Rewards and rebates have specific terms and conditions. Some of the things to look out for: How many points you are getting for your purchases? Is your rebate only applicable if you charge a certain value? Is there a limit to the rebate value? As an example, you earn a 1.5% rebate if you charge more than $300 per month, but your credit card bill never reaches $300. If this is the case, then it’s a good idea to get a different credit card that offers a lower ceiling for rebates.

Know when points expire – Points do have expiry dates. Keep track of their expiry dates and use them beforehand so that you do not waste them.

Rewards and rebates are a cardholder’s privilege that makes utilizing the credit card beneficial and profitable. However, credit card issuers do have the right to change the terms and conditions for the rewards and rebates program. If you find that the changes are substantially not in your favor, you can start the process of looking for a new, more rewarding credit card.

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