Credit card spending doesn't just have to be about getting a line of credit until your next payday. In fact, if you plan properly and get the right card for you, using your credit card can actually be an opportunity to save money and earn valuable perks and benefits.
Below we will talk you through 10 essential credit card hacks which will help you to start earning cash back, miles, and points for rewards programs quickly and with little effort required!
American Express® Gold Card
Best for Travel
1. Purchase Gift Cards at Grocery Stores and Gas Stations to Maximize Your Rewards Points
When you make your regular purchases at eligible grocery stores and gas stations, you can maximize your points collection by purchasing gift cards to use later.
If your card rewards 3x points for spending at a grocery store, you can buy a gift card for your tech or clothing purchases that don't qualify and still gain the rewards on these purchases.
However, you should always make sure that your credit card rewards gift card purchases by checking the terms and conditions before you try this.
You may also find that some stores will limit the number of gift cards you can buy with a credit or debit card or may charge a fee for each gift card purchase. So always check before you buy.
2. Plan Your Spending So you Hit Your Minimum Spending Requirements
One of the most effective ways to earn rewards on your credit card is to make sure that you hit the signup bonus requirements. A lot of card providers will set a minimum spending requirement for you to hit which is usually available for the first three or four months of your account opening.
You should make sure to plan your purchases so that you can hit these requirements if at all possible. If you have any large purchases planned, now may be the time to do it, you can also consider bulk buying goods you will need throughout the year or buying gifts for future holidays.
Make sure that you do not overspend and only use your credit bank account to make purchases you would be making later and don't overspend on items you wouldn't be buying regardless. The goal here is to save money, not spend extra!
3. Check Your Marketing Emails for Offers and Discounts
With so many marketing and cold emails hitting our inboxes each day, it is tempting to simply delete most of them without reading them. But if you are going to make the most of your credit card ownership, it is always worth checking emails from your credit card providers.
You may discover credit card offers that help you to save a lot of money on large purchases you were planning to make and some fantastic opportunities for earning cash back that you weren’t aware of.
You can set up filters in your inbox to help you to organize all the emails coming in each day and set up a special folder for messages coming in from your credit provider's email address. This way you can make sure you never miss a deal.
4. Keep Track of Rewards Points Categories and Retailers
Some credit card rewards programs have limited bonus categories that allow you to earn extra points based on shopping categories or certain merchants.
You should make sure to log in to your online account periodically to stay up to date with the current rewards partners and categories and where you will get the best rewards for your groceries and dining spending.
For example, it may pay to adjust where you buy your food and drink for a couple of months if you are trying to build up your rewards points to save money on a flight or hotel booking later that year.
5. Make Sure You Pick the Right Credit Card Rewards Program For You
The most beneficial credit card rewards program will differ depending on your lifestyle and how you like to spend your money. And you need to do your research to make sure that you have picked the right card for you.
Frequent travelers will benefit from credit cards which give them transferable points to spend on airline and other travel purchases. But, if you don't travel much, then this type of reward won't provide you with the best perks and benefits.
You should also check to make sure that the method for earning points fits in with your current spending habits. For example, If you don't spend a lot on travel, 5x points on travel purchases won't give you much opportunity to hit your rewards targets.
6. Can You Pay Your Bills and Subscriptions with Your Credit Cards?
You can use your credit card to pay off your monthly bills to earn more points and hit spending requirements without spending more than you need to. You should consider using your credit card to pay off some of the following bills:
Your monthly subscription boxes and online streaming costs.
Your internet, phone, and cable bills.
Insurance bills and other monthly spending with providers that allow credit card payments.
You can switch your bill payments from your checking account or savings account and then pay off your credit card with the money you usually use for this purpose.
7. Can You Use More Than One Credit Card to Maximise Rewards for Your Spending?
Before you apply for any new cards you should sit down and work out how much you are spending and what your main spending categories are.
For example, if you find you spend a substantial percentage of your money on a certain grocery retailer then you should find a card that will give you the best rewards for your spending.
However, you may also want to apply for a second no-annual-fee card which you can use to earn a base level of cashback rewards on general spending that isn't rewarded by your primary card.
You may also want to hold a secondary card that has no foreign transaction fees to use if you travel frequently.
8. Which Rewards Partners Can You Transfer Your Points To?
As well as earning the largest number of points on your everyday spending, you need to make sure that you are getting the best value on each and every point.
For example, you may find that your rewards points are more valuable if you transfer them to a partner airline or hotel chain where they will buy more. You may also be able to get 10-25% extra value on your points spending if you purchase travel through an online portal such as Chase Ultimate Rewards.
So, as well as thoroughly researching the best ways to earn your rewards points, it is essential that you know the best ways to spend them as well!
9. Can You Build Up More Points with an Authorized Card User?
Adding a trusted family member or partner as an authorized user when you apply for credit cards may help you to maximize your earning potential and ensure that you hit your minimum spend requirement.
Some cards may also reward you with extra bonus points just for adding an authorized user.
However, you should make sure that you are aware of the risks involved in terms of higher interest rates and lower credit scores if your authorized user overspends and pulls you into debt.
10. Build Up Your Credit Score for More Beneficial Interest Rates and Benefits
When it comes to building up the best rewards and bonuses on your spending, having a good credit score can only help. Your chances of qualifying for a high-rewards credit card will improve and the bottom line, basic cards tend to be more streamlined when it comes to reward-earning opportunities.
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