Cards (MP) After being inundated with Rewards Credit Cards offers year-after-year, my wife and I decided to take advantage of a few of these programs. But, a little research revealed that almost all credit card issuers offer rewards, so the issue is not whether you should get a rewards card, but what type of rewards card is best suited for you. But it can be a blurry marketplace, with various companies featuring cash back, points and other incentives to get your business. Then, you have to consider such basic factors as annual fees, interest rates, and other terms, making the decision can get pretty complicated.
Are credit cards rewards worth it?
At the time we wanted to up our investing game, so we made a decision to direct more money towards our then investment bank (now we’re with Charles Schwab). Anyway, we also opted for three “cash rewards” cards for spending on various items. The attraction for us was the ability to choose the credit cards that would reward us more. So, we decided to give it a try. On average, we earned about $15-20 per month just for using one card on items we were already purchasing. For example, if we used our rewards credit cards on food purchases, we might get 5% back. Or, if we used the card to buy, say –electronics, we’d get 2% back.
We agreed that if we could earn a few extra hundred dollars a year from credit cash rewards – it might be worth the effort. In addition, we also use another card for other purchases to earn even more money. But, be aware: “When considering a credit card rewards program, the most important issue is to put some thought into it,” says Scott Crawford, CEO of Debtgoal.com, and a former executive in HSBC’s credit card group. “You can look at something online or get an application in the mail that seems like the best thing ever, but if it doesn’t fit what you’re interested in, then it just won’t work for you. Like if you have an airline miles card, but if you don’t fly much, that isn’t a really good deal.”
What we earned on rewards credit cards in 2015?
Here’s a quick breakdown:
American Express: $35.81. We mainly use this card for purchases at Costco – and namely, their gas. By the way, if you use your AMEX at Costco, they maybe no longer accepting them in 2015.
Chase Freedom: $152.46. This is another strategic rewards credit cards program we use mainly for large purchases (to get extra reward cash) and on 5% items they have each month. Earn unlimited cash back. Also earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase – it’s automatic. Redeem for cash back – any amount, any time. There’s also a 0% intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers.† After that, 14.24%–23.24% variable APR.†
NBT Bank: $201.07. This is the card that is tied to our bank account and we get an extra 2-5% on certain specific categories each month. Since they offer an extra bonus for grocery items – we tend to use it for food buys.
For a total of: $389.34
Now, that’s quite a good deal for swiping your card here and there. Tell me how you use your rewards credit:
Use Credit Card Rewards Wisely – Money Crashers!
Best Way to Use Rewards – Lifehacker!