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Choosing a Rewards Credit Card

Swipe for Cashback, Points, Travel and More

There are many options when it comes to choosing a new credit card. For some people, they want a card that lets them buy with ease and get something extra in return. A survey from Experian found nearly half of Americans who plan to apply for a credit card are looking for a rewards card. Before you apply for the first card you find, you should know there isn’t a one-size-fits-all rewards credit card. Each credit card comes with its own rewards system and ways to redeem earnings you accumulate with your purchases.

Types of Rewards Cards

Rewards cards typically come in three categories:

  • Cash Back
  • Travel Miles
  • Points

The most popular rewards card allows cash back on purchases. These cards usually offer at least 1% back on everything you buy, with many offering a higher percentage for purchases like gas and groceries. Some rewards programs will give you more control and allow you to choose the spending category you want to receive the highest cash back for.

For people who travel frequently, finding a travel rewards card can have big benefits. Some airlines and hotels have their own credit cards which help you earn points toward flights or hotel stays for every dollar you spend on everyday purchases.

You can also find rewards cards that offer points for your purchases. These cards typically calculate points the same way cash back cards and travel cards do. With points cards, there are specific items you can redeem your points for, like cash, gift cards or travel. The U Rewards Visa Signature Credit Card from United Federal Credit Union gives card owners triple points for groceries, double points for gas, and one point for every dollar they spend on other purchases.

Redeeming Your Points

As soon as you start using your rewards card, you’ll start earning points or cash back. Depending on the card, there are different ways you’ll be able to redeem your benefits. The best time to use your rewards points depends on a few factors: how much your points are worth, what you’re using them for, and how you can make the most of what you earned.

Before you let your benefits sit too long without redeeming them, make sure you check your card’s fine print. Some programs put an expiration date on rewards, and if you don’t use them in time, you’ll lose your hard-earned rewards.

Bottom Line

Rewards credit cards are a great option to get something extra in return for your purchases. Before you apply for one, make sure you do your research and find the program offering the perks that best fit your lifestyle. Once you start making purchases, don’t forget to cash in on those rewards.