Reward enthusiasts normally focus on signing up for a new credit card to earn bonuses. But some people who do not have the desire or the time to sign up for new credit cards once they become available. When you have multiple cards, you have to continuously monitor their respective fees and rewards programs. Not everyone has the passion nor time to do this.
If you are not inclined to get numerous credit cards, you can focus on one or two and maximize the rewards you will receive. There are numerous rewards you can take advantage of and take advantage of the benefits these cards offer.
You just have to understand how these rewards and bonuses work. It is also essential to recognize any opportunities to earn additional points when you use the card while you shop. Here are some things to consider to take advantage of the rewards program of your credit card.
Check the bills you can pay using your card
Since points are awarded for every dollar spent when using your card, it is important to maximize the amount you spend so you can get more points for your purchases. You can start by checking if the monthly bill you are paying can be settled using your credit card.
You may want to see if the bills you pay through a debit card or check can be paid using your credit card. This is important since you may not be notified if you can do this without any additional fee. These bills may not be all the same, but you can use your credit card in paying the following bills:
- Internet and Cable TV
- Utility bills
- Cell phone
- Lawn care
- Medical Bills
- Health Insurance
- Home and auto insurance
- Student loans and college tuition
Take into account the bills you are already paying using your credit card. There may be instances when you get more benefits if you use your credit card in paying some uncommon expenses.
You should also consider other bills that you can pay using the card in addition to other daily expenses. These daily expenses include groceries, bus fare, gas, eating out, and other miscellaneous expenses. You should try to use your rewards card in paying for expenses whether online or in person.
Check the bonus categories of your rewards card
You should also check the different bonus categories on your bonus card. This is important if you only have a card or two offering various bonus categories. It will allow you to know which credit card to use for a particular bill so you can get the most bonus points each time you pay.
For instance, your travel card may earn you three times more points for travel and dining expenses. On the other hand, another card allows you to earn six times more points for grocery expenses. Due to this, you may want to use the travel card for travel and dining expenses and the second card for groceries. Since there are instances when the cards only earn minimal points, you should ensure you are using the right card when you make purchases to maximize the points you earn.
Use the auto-pay system for some bills
Many of us use an auto-pay system for regular bills we need to pay each month. These bills include utility bills, gym membership, and Hulu or Netflix subscriptions. At this point, you should ensure you set up your credit card rather than your debit card to pay for these bills. This allows you to earn points each time the bill is paid.
Take advantage of shopping portals as well as dining clubs
Shopping portals are available for frequent flyer programs and hotel loyalty programs. These are available in many rewards programs to allow you to earn more points for each purchase. Some airlines also offer shopping portals, including United, American, and Delta.
In addition, dining clubs are also available through some programs, such as Delta and Southwest. They allow you to earn more points or miles for grabbing a bite to eat at participating restaurants. These clubs are free and easy to join. Due to this, you may want to take advantage of these clubs since you will be eating out anyway whenever you travel.
Earning points for average families
Some people may not be aware that an average family can take advantage of rewards without having to sign up for a new card. For instance, a family of four may have two rewards cards owned by two adults. These cards can earn them the following:
- Two-percent cashback bonus for a cashback card
- Three-percent bonus on travel and dining expenses for a travel credit card
- Six-percent cashback on groceries of up to $6,000 for the year using a rewards card
Statistics from the Bureau of Labor shows the amount an average family earned in 2017. The data also showed the rewards the family will earn over 12 months basing on the average expenses.
- Food expenses at home: $261.78 (6 percent of $4,363)
- Eating out: $100.95 (3 percent of $3,365)
- Fuel, utilities, and services: $76.72 (2 percent of $3,836)
- Household expenses: $28.24 (2 percent of $1,412)
- Household supplies: $45.30 (6 percent of $755)
- Personal care products: $45.72 (6 percent of $762)
- Education: $29.82 (2 percent of $1,491)
- Healthcare: $98.56 (2 percent of $4,928)
- Entertainment: $64.06 (2 percent of $3,203)
- Furniture and equipment: $39.74 (2 percent of $1,987)
- Apparel and other items: $36.66 (2 percent of $1,833)
- Gasoline and oil expenses: $39.36 (2 percent of $1,968)
- Other auto expenses: $56.84 (2 percent of $2,842)
- Total rewards earned: $923.75
Earnings of at least $900 is a lot for one year, but you can still earn more. These are just some expenses an average family will incur. There are actually more expenses to take into account. Earnings will increase if there are other expenses to a family will incur each month. These expenses include daycare and rent.
Things to Consider
When you want to maximize the rewards you get from using your credit card for expenses, it is important to take into account some pitfalls you may encounter. The following are some things to consider if you are looking to get more rewards and cashbacks when you use your card.
Credit card fees
Many credit card bills do not require a fee. But some merchants, vendors, and service providers require a fee when you use your credit card to pay. These fees are normally collected on bills like insurance, rent, cable, internet, and utilities. It is important to check if the bill you will pay does not have a fee when you use your credit card to pay it.
Annual fees are normally collected for some rewards cards. You should check if the fees are worth it since they depend on your spending and the rewards you get. You should take into account these and see if they are worth it. Some rewards cards do not require annual fee if you are not keen on paying them.
While using your credit card for daily expenses may make life simpler for you, you should also ensure it will not affect your budget. You should limit these payments to expenses you already included in your budget. This will allow you to easily monitor your expenses and stay within your budget.
If you are unable to pay for your purchases, you should avoid using the credit card just to get the rewards. You should consider the interest you will pay just to get the reward. It may even be bigger than the reward you will receive. In these instances, it is better for you to use cash or a debit card so you can avoid incurring debt or expenses you are unable to pay.