How to maximize your credit card benefits?


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Whether you are about to purchase a new smartphone or book a vacation with one of your favorite credit cards it is very important that you look beyond just the rewards such as cash back, miles and points.   You shall understand what other benefits are offered by your card that can help you enhance your purchase experience.  Below are some of the tips that we have put together to enhance your experience.  

Learn about your credit card

Credit cards can be confusing even for the financially savvy folks.   Issuer banks  and credit unions intentionally advertise only what is beneficial to them.  For example, you will always see cash back, points and miles advertised because that encourages consumers to singup and use the card as often as possible.  More you use the card more money issuers and exchanges such as Amex, Discover, MasterCard and VISA make because they charge merchants a transaction fee for every transaction.   However your credit card may come with more than just the cash back, points or miles.  For example, your card may offer an extended warranty for new cell phones, home appliances or yard tools.  Similarly, you may get free rental car insurance or flight insurance.    Before making a purchase you should use evaluate each and every card you own against the potential purchase.  Our app can help you estimate the benefits you will get.  You can also refer to your benefits guide or call your bank to better understand the benefits.

Track Your Rewards

Tracking rewards can be tricky.  To maximize rewards you should understand what card to use and where.  You may get different cash back for different type purchases.  Therefore using the same card for every purchase may not be prudent.  You should also understand what are the limitations of these rewards.  For example, Discover's 5% cash back is good only for one category and the rewards are issued again a maximum of $1500 in purchases.  

Look for Exclusive Deals

Card issuers and exchanges offer exclusive deals to card members.  These deals are offered in almost every category including Automotive, Entertainment, Restaurants and Travel.

Redeem Your Rewards Regularly

Don't wait till end of the year to redeem your rewards unless it is required by the credit card agreement.  Redeem them monthly to reduce your monthly bill or just treat family.  If you have a miles or a points card - keep track of when the miles or points will expire and plan a redemption accordingly.

Watch out for Foreign Transaction Fees

While abroad you may be enticed to use a card because of the cash back or rewards you might get.  But be cognizant of the foreign transaction fees because they can cost you more than the rewards you will get.  

Rotate through Cards

Rotating through cards can not only help you maximize your benefits and rewards but also increase your credit score if you make timely payments.  

Last but not least use them responsibly. Do not borrow so much that you may end up missing payments and lose all your benefits and a good credit standing.