Credit Card Offers Tips
Read these 5 Credit Card Offers Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Financial Planning tips and hundreds of other topics.
What kind of travel rewards program is best for me?
One of the best things about travel rewards credit cards is that you can choose between cards that reward you with general travel benefits and cards that reward you by giving you travel rewards for specific hotel chains and airlines. The right program for you will depend on two things:
- The type of travel you normally do
- The kind of rewards travel you want to do
General travel reward programs provide:
- The benefit of choosing to travel to many different locations
- The reward of using one of many different airlines.
- The ability to choose any hotel chain.
More specific travel reward programs allow:
- The ability to ensure that you can reward your favorite brand with your business
- Consistency in knowing you can always use that brand. This is especially helpful to travelers with any kind of special need
- No surprising and disappointing provider choices
In general, you must book your trip in advance when you have either type of travel rewards credit card and your tickets will be non-refundable no matter which type of card you choose.
What is the best credit card rewards program?
There's no single best credit card rewards plan that fits the lives of all consumers. Instead, when searching for the best credit card rewards, you must consider your own life--your individual and family shopping patterns, your favorite stores, your favorite travel destinations, and your spending habits.
With so many different choices for rewards, there's no reason why you cannot find a rewards card that actually suits your lifestyle and gives you a reward that you love. To unearth the best deals for you and your family, try the following:
- Look for credit card offers at your favorite stores. If you love Starbucks, then finding a reward card that offers free Starbucks coffee as a reward is perfect. Because they're likely to offer rewards that you'll enjoy, always ask your favorite stores if there's a reward card that you can get through them.
- Look for credit cards with travel rewards that have few limitations. Otherwise, you may have blackout dates, advance ticketing requirements, and off-limits locales.
- Find credit cards with cash back rewards that offer the cash back from purchases made at stores you frequent. If you have to make a special trip to a store out of your way just to earn cash back, chances are you won't maximize your use of the program.
Is there anything I should know about my reward card?
As gas prices continue to climb, gas reward credit cards are gaining popularity. But consumers need to be careful, both of the offers they accept and of the way in which they use their cards.
- Understand the difference between a rebate and a reward. Gas reward credit cards give a reward you can use at many of your local gas stations. Gas rebate cards give you a small percentage of your gas purchases back in rebates and cash.
- Interest charged against your balance will often be greater than the value of your rewards. If you let your balance accrue and interest is charged at 15% or more, the interest charges will greatly outweigh any rewards you can possibly earn.
- Your introductory reward may be greater than your permanent reward. Often, gas reward credit cards will offer an extremely attractive introductory reward that reduces after the introductory period.
- Be sure to pay your bill on time. When you pay late, you'll be charged a late fee, and you may trigger an interest rate increase that really impacts your bill.
How can I get the best credit card rates?
One of the best ways to ensure that you receive low interest credit cards and credit card offers is to protect your credit rating. If you have a low credit score, you won't receive low interest credit cards. Here are some tips to help you keep your credit score high:
- Keep your credit card balances low. The closer your credit card balances are to your credit limit, the worse your credit score will get, so be sure to keep your balances low. When possible, you should pay your balance in full every month.
- Pay your bills on time. When you pay your bills late, it negatively affects your credit rating. So be sure to mail your bills well in advance of your due dates to give them enough time to get to their destinations. And remember, lateness penalties do not just apply to your credit cards--it can also hurt your credit to pay your mortgage, phone, hospital, and other bills late.
- Don't apply for a lot of new cards. The more credit you attempt to get, the more it pulls down your credit score.
Are there any reward programs that offer more responsible rewards?
Credit card companies are becoming more and more innovative with the rewards they offer customers. In order to appeal to their more responsible nature, credit card companies have gotten together with the college funding program Upromise to offer cash back rewards on purchases. The rewards are deposited directly into your child's college account in order to make sure that his or her dreams of a college education are fulfilled.
With this type of program, you can get rewards back from your grocery shopping, dining out, retail shopping, and online purchases. This makes spending money rewarding and useful in more ways than the simple accumulation of more stuff.
Before joining a program like this, make sure that the stores and other retail establishments you frequent are part of the plan so you don't have to change your spending and shopping habits in order to gain from the program. If you don't have children or if your children have already graduated college, you can donate your Upromise rewards to the accounts of your friends' or family members' college-bound children.