I feel like reward credit cards are all the rage right now. Well in my circle they are the rage anyway. I won’t lie, I felt like I had officially made the credit card clique when I got accepted for my first reward card. In retrospect my first reward card is my weakest reward card. However, I have decided against closing it the card because doing so would erase all of the positive payment history I have accumulated. I don’t want that to happen you you.
L, who doesn’t want their money working hard for them?
But seriously, it's 2015. If you are going to spend your money it should work for you. Click To TweetWell when you say it like that Tonya… sheesh, I want my money to work hard for me)
“Well when you say it like that Tonya… sheesh, I want my money to work hard for me.”
There are various reward card options available to consumers with good to excellent credit. They range from gasoline cards to airline cards and everything in between.
I am not an avid supporter of cash back cards. However I do have one in my possession because my Capital One Quicksilver card was converted into one. I prefer travel cards (shout out to Chase). I recently cashed in a few points and booked a room in Puerto Rico at the Courtyard Marriott for my trip next week for FREE.99. <<– Don’t get snippy here. I know I had to spend money to earn the points. The point is that I would have spent the money anyway.
Whether you are a pro credit card user or a you are a novice credit card user, here are five facts to consider before adding rewards cards to your credit portfolio.
#1 Credit Card Sign Up Bonuses are Invaluable. Shop Them Wisely
If you aren’t getting a receiving a sign-up bonus, you are on the short end of the stick. I do not sign up for a card that provides less than 30,000 points. If your credit is decent enough to apply for a rewards card, you become more attractive to lenders. Use this to your advantage and shop around. Sites like Nerd Wallet and The Points Guy offer awesome comparisons.
Credit card companies use bonuses and offers during the advertisement period to lure in new card users. I also look for perks such as a free-night , early check-in, free-checked bags, etc.
#2 Find a Reward Credit Card That Fits Your Needs
If you are afraid to fly, then an airline rewards card does almost nothing for you. If you want to take advantage of reward credit cards, then you need to get a card that will suit your lifestyle, not just because someone on the internet says it’s a good card. When considering a card, think about your lifestyle and your spending habits. Where do you spend the most? For example, if you spend more time on the road, then get a credit card that will allow you to get gasoline cheaper. When you actively use a card, the chances of earning reward points or cash back offers increase.
#3 Can You Handle a Rewards Card
Most reward cards require a hefty minimum spend to receive a bonus. I also take note of maximum spend amounts and any additional perks when comparing cards. For example, to receive my Chase Sapphire bonus points I had to spend $3,000. If a card has a minimum spend greater than $3,000, that is not the card for me right now. I’m uncomfortable with exceeding that amount. After all, I’m a rehabilitated over-spender.
I once saw a card with a $25,000 minimum spend.
Before you apply for a card, you need to ask yourself whether or not you have the will-power to pay the monthly balance. Many people fall into credit card debt under the guise of earning “rewards points.”
#4 What’s The Annual Fee?
As someone who just had two annual credit card fee bombs dropped onto her statement I want to tell you, be aware. Be very aware.
An annual fee for your card essentially means that, even if you didn’t charge a single thing for the entire year, you are still responsible to pay an annual fee to keep the account open.
Some cards have no annual fee ever and that’s awesome! I wasn’t looking for that when I signed up for my current cards but it’s something you should keep in mind.
#5 Interest rates can neutralize those rewards perks
I saved the best for last.
Interest rates. The other cost of having the card.
Rewards credit cards have a slightly higher interest rate. Listen to me very carefully, if you have poor spending habits & carry high balances, chances are that you will pay more in interest than what you would earn in rewards.
Go zero percent interest whenever you can and keep that balance low once the promo entrance period ends.
I hope this post makes your decision that much easier. Think I left something off? Lend a helping hand and share your tip below.