Three Point Stance

Three important, sometimes hidden things to know about rewards credit cards

Rewards can make a credit card worth its weight in gold. If you can max out the benefits offered, and pay off your balance each month, it’s almost like you’re getting paid to use the card. However, just remember to mind the fine print. Here are three important things — sometimes hidden in the fine print — that you should know about rewards credit cards.

1. Hitting The Spend

The spend refers to the minimum amount some rewards credit cards ask you to shell out before your benefits kick in. For example, a card will shout from the rooftops about its 10,000 bonus point offer, but then quietly mention that in order to get that, you’ll need to spend $5,000 within the first 3 months. Make sure you will comfortably hit the minimum spend of the rewards card before signing up. If hitting the spend means spending more than you typically would, it’s likely a bad idea.

2. Rotating Rewards

Does the card offer the same rewards, all the time? If not, that’s fine. As long as you spend in the categories that will end up earning you some benefits. If you spend a ton on groceries, you want a card that offers cash back (or whatever) on that category most or all of the time. If you spend some on groceries, gas and clothing retailers, it might make more sense to find a card that rotates its reward categories.

3. Expiring Points

As USA Today reports, some rewards credit cards place a time limit on your points. If you fail to cash them in, poof! They’re expired. Make sure you’re able to use the points you accumulate. If you struggle to do so, find a different card that doesn’t have expiring rewards points.

Chris O'Shea

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