Are points really worth it?
Are rewards programs worth the hassle- or the cost? That depends on you, and the types of rewards you’re working towards. For instance, airline miles are notoriously difficult to redeem…blackout dates, limited seats, and inconvenient flight times are just a few of the challenges. In comparison, hotel and merchandise points are relatively easy to earn and redeem, as are cash back rebates.
The offers can be so tempting
You’re spending money, so why not get something in return? It’s a great option for consumers who love to travel, can be flexible and are organized enough to keep track of the offers and deadlines. Even better are the points that can be redeemed for cash. It sounds too good to be true, but is the opportunity for rewards worth some of the trade-offs? Should you even consider a higher interest rate or an annual fee in exchange for a seemingly lucrative points program?
The answer is in the details
The key is having a clear and detailed understanding of the rewards program. Many programs set minimum spending requirement each month before points can be earned while others have minimum redemption requirements. Miles might only be redeemed on one named airline. Big cash back advertisements may be for a limited time or restricted to specific shopping categories. Each program is different and unique so heed the small print.
There’s also the credit card terms to consider. If you’re not able to pay off your credit card balance each month, the cash back bonus won’t make a dent in the interest you’re accruing, and some credit card companies charge a hefty annual fee.
Maximizing your benefit
To get the most benefit from a rewards program, you should plan to use your credit card frequently. You should also have your debt management well under control and be able to avoid accumulating any revolving debt as a result.
Ask any group of people why they chose a given credit card, and a vast majority will say it’s the rewards that reeled them in. For some consumers, they work. For others, they sound too good not to work. Understanding the details and knowing your own spending habits are what will help you choose the card that best suits your needs.