Did you know 82% of Australian consumers belong to a customer loyalty or rewards card scheme? How can you make the most of it? With a bit of planning and foresight, you can make the most of your rewards cards to justify the extra you’ll be spending on fees and interest rates compared to standard or “classic” credit cards.
Use your credit card as a charge card
It’s easy to rack up lots of transactions on your credit card to gain as many rewards points as possible. However, it’s even easier letting the transactions go unpaid past the interest free period, accruing interest charges. You should use your credit card more like a charge card. A charge card is like a credit card, with one crucial difference. You have to pay your charge card bill in full at the end of the month or quarter. So with that in mind, use your rewards credit card for almost everything you can, but pay off the monthly bill in full when it arrives – or within the interest free period (usually 55 days.)
Select the cards with the highest points to value ratio
The exchange rate of your chosen card should be the most generous when it comes to dollars for points. Picking a card with low rates of exchange is just wasting money. Many cards may give you 1 point for $1. However, this doesn’t show the whole picture. What is one point worth? Perhaps a $100 gift certificate may cost you 1,000 points – ten times the face value of the certificate itself. Look for rewards programs that offer more value per point, so you aren’t spending lots to get little in return.
Spend up when bonus points are on offer
If you hold out on purchases until sales or stocktakes, adjust your strategy to take in “bonus points” offers or double points periods instead. This will give you more points for purchasing an item you had your heart set on in the first place. Airlines offer this, usually during off-peak periods. If you’re fine with that, it might net you a cheaper holiday next time around.
Look for cards with lots of partner outlets
A rewards card that only gives you points at certain retailers isn’t much use if you have to physically go in every time to rack up points. Instead, look for rewards cards that give you points at many retailers or shops, including banks. Some rewards cards award points for any type of eligible transaction (e.g., not for cash advances), which you should also think about when selecting a rewards credit card.