I've earned this without paying any interest charges and by just spending the normal amount I spend each month.
I also plan on doing this many more times this year. In fact, we already have over 10 rewards credit cards between the two of us and we are looking for the next credit card that we want to use.
Some of the rewards credit cards I have used in the past few years include:
- Chase Sapphire Preferred – We each have this one and it has given us over $1,000 cash back.
- Southwest Cards – When we signed up, we received 2 free roundtrip flights per credit card.
- Chase Freedom – This is a great credit card that often has 5% cash back and it was one of the very first credit cards we signed up for the sign up bonus.
- Chase Ink Bold – This one gave me $875 as a sign up bonus and in rewards after just 3 months of normal use.
- REI – This only had a $100 sign up bonus but you also receive 5% back on all REI purchases and there is no annual fee. Stacking the 5% on top of the 10% we get for being REI members is a great deal!
While I love using credit cards to my advantage and earning credit card rewards, I know that many have no idea what this even is or how to take advantage of the current credit card offers that are out there. Occasionally when I break out my credit card to pay for something, someone will mention how I shouldn’t go into credit card debt, so I know there are many out there who don’t know how to use credit cards to their advantage.
Below are my tips for earning credit card rewards. Hopefully with the tips below you can learn how to use credit cards to your advantage and start earning credit card rewards.
Skip this whole post if you are not good with credit cards.
My very first tip is for you to stop reading this post right now if you know that you are not good at managing a credit card. The rewards that you could possibly earn are not worth the credit card debt you may rack up.
However, if you know that you can control your spending and not go into credit card debt, then continue reading.
I recommend you check out Personal Capital (a free service) if you are interested in gaining control of your financial situation. Personal Capital is very similar to Mint.com, but much better as it allows you to gain control of your investment and retirement accounts too. Personal Capital allows you to aggregate your financial accounts so that you can easily see your financial situation, cash flow, detailed graphs, and more. You can connect accounts such as your mortgage, bank accounts, credit card accounts, investment accounts, retirement accounts, and more, and it’s FREE.
Only spend what you normally would.
For some, it can be easy to charge extra purchases onto your credit card if you have the thought process that you will earn money by doing so.
However, that is a bad way to think about credit card rewards.
You should only place expenses on your credit card that you would normally make. If you are spending more than you normally would just to earn bonuses, then you may end up costing yourself money.
Related note: You can always check your credit score for free through Credit Sesame. There is no catch and it's a company I highly recommend!
Pay off your credit card balance in full each month.
The great thing about credit card rewards is that you DO NOT have to pay anything to earn credit card rewards if you do not want to.
You can get a credit card that has the annual fee waived (there are many of these out there!) and you do not have to pay interest as long as you pay your bill in full each month.
I have never paid a cent in credit card interest because I always pay before it is due.
Try to get the annual fee waived.
If you apply for a credit card that has an annual fee, I always recommend trying to get it waived. For some rewards credit cards there might be an annual fee but the card may be great enough to justify it though. You may want to weigh the pros and cons and see if it is worthwhile to you.
Sometimes the annual fee is waived the first year and sometimes it is not, but there is usually an annual fee the second year. You may be able to get it waived by simply calling up the credit card company. If that is not possible, then you may want to look into your options of possibly canceling the credit card entirely so that you do not have to pay the fee. Just remember that your credit score may drop. However, I have cancelled a few rewards credit cards and my credit score has not dropped.
Also, keep in mind that if you do have a rewards credit card that annual fees are usually collected immediately – not a year after you have been using the card. So, if you have a rewards credit card that has an annual fee that is not waived, you will be charged the annual fee the very first month that you have the credit card.
There are plenty of rewards credit cards that have no annual fee the first year, so I definitely recommend applying for those in the beginning to take advantage of them.
Evaluate the type of rewards credit card you want.
There are many different rewards credit cards floating around right now. There are some that are cash back, some that are great for travel, some that are great for gift cards, and so on.
You will also want to evaluate their redemption options to make sure that you are getting a good value when you finally do cash in your rewards points and you will also want to know if and when your points expire.
For me, I like cash back rewards cards. Travel rewards are great as well. I usually use my rewards points right away so I have no experience with them expiring.
Are you interested in earning credit card rewards? Why or why not? What's the next one we should get?
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