How to Get More Out of Your Reward Card Programs
If you are careful and know how to keep your eyes open, reward cards can be an awesome way to get free stuff.
However, there can be traps too. After all, the credit card and customer loyalty card companies are working against you, trying to get you to spend more than they give you in rewards.
But used strategically and with purpose, you can make your reward cards work for you! How can you get the most out of your rewards programs?
Pay Credit Cards Off Every Month
Rewards on credit cards are given to you based on how much you spend, not how much balance you still owe. You should try to pay off your rewards credit card every month rather than carrying a balance.
Reward cards usually charge a higher interest rate than cards that don’t offer rewards. This results in if you’re carrying a balance, the interest rate you have to pay on your credit card will often cancel out any rewards you’ll earn from the card. That doesn’t make sense does it? So make sure to pay off your credit card balance every month if at all possible.
And if you’ve been carrying over a balance month after month, try to reduce your spending on the card until you can reduce the balance. But more about that another time.
Choose the Right Kind of Rewards Card
There are several different kinds of rewards cards you can choose from. You can get straight cash back, air miles or get some sort of product or merchandise.
Here are some rewards cards that you may be familiar with:
- Shoppers Drug Mart Optimum Points Card
- PC Plus Points Card
- Air Miles Card
- RBC Visa Rewards Card
- Canadian Tire Money Card
- and even a buy 7, get 1 coffee free loyalty card from McDonald’s Restaurants
Most people find that cash reward cards offer the greatest flexibility. That being said, if you travel often, air mile cards often pay the highest when it comes to rewards per dollar spent.
Which Cards Are Best For What?
However, if you struggle with Food Security Issues, then accumulating points on cards such as the Shoppers Drug Mart Optimum Points Card and the PC Plus Points Card will help you. Points on both of these cards can be redeemed to buy food. Barry and I right now can redeem our Shoppers Optimum Points card for $85 for free food or other items. One year we used our points to buy Christmas presents for our grandchildren.
If you are in need of things such as kitchen small appliances or dishes, you can cash in your points on your Canadian Tire Money Card to purchase items like that.
Air Miles Cards are useful if you travel. However, Barry and I have no use for this type of card as we do not even have a passport. This card is generally useless to those struggling with poverty issues.
Barry and I have to use credit cards to make sure that Free Stuff 4 Daily Needs has the equipment and supplies needed to provide humanitarian aid to the community. As well, not having enough income from Free Stuff 4 Daily Needs to provide us with a wage, we have to resort to using credit cards for paying basic monthly bills including our groceries.
The only up side to our Credit Card use is that we can use our accumulated rewards points to get credit vouchers. We were able to pay down our Line of Credit bill by $400 this year. However, our interest charges on our Credit Cards every month is much more than that. So it is not entirely a win-win situation with the monthly high interest charges.
And don’t forget the FREE coffee loyalty card from Mcdonald’s Restaurants
Be Careful Of The Words “Up To”
One common phrase you’ll find in credit card advertisements is “up to.”
What does it mean when a credit card company says you’ll get cash back “up to” 1%?
That probably means you’re not going to get 1%.
Make sure that when you’re looking at credit cards, you know exactly what the conditions are to win rewards. If there’s a tiered system, figure out what tier you’d realistically fall under.
Add Up The Points And Get Free Stuff
Figuring out the world of rewards cards can take a bit of effort in the beginning. But once you have a system up and running for accumulating points without spending anything out of pocket, you’ll essentially be getting free stuff for the rest of your life.
What kind of rewards cards do you currently have? Have you ever cashed the points in? What were you able to get with those points?
Are there any other kinds of points cards that you could get?
If used wisely, these rewards cards can help you to fight back against:
- Food Security Issues
- struggles to access daily items such as dishes
- pay down debt by accessing credit vouchers
- or more
How will you use your rewards cards? Now you have some ideas on how to get more out of your card reward programs.