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1 Credit Card Tip Always to Follow

By Nathan Hamilton – Jul 3, 2017 at 4:24AM

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And it warrants repeating.

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In the previously recorded video segment below, The Motley Fool analysts Michael Douglass and Nathan Hamilton answer a user-submitted question about redeeming points for cash-back or travel rewards. And with credit card sign-up bonuses getting bigger, knowing which redemption option gets you the most value is crucial. Tune in to learn why cash-back redemptions on a travel card may not be in your best interest.

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Michael Douglass: Janaya asks, "My credit card has a cash reward or flight points. I got the card for flight points, but someone said I get more cash back. How can I figure this out?" That is a great question. Frankly it's confusing a lot of the time. To be honest, when I have looked through my credit card rewards, I usually had to do a fair bit of math to figure out which ways work best.

Nathan Hamilton: Yeah, it depends on the card that you have. The first step that I would mention is, call your issuer, because they're going to walk you through the details of it. But generally speaking with travel points cards, you're going to get the most yield for your points redeeming it for travel. Many times, when you redeem for cash back or statement credit against everyday purchases, you're going to be penalized with a very low conversion rate. Many times, if you look at it, travel points can be worth about $0.01 per point or more. There are some cards on the market, when you redeem those points for cash, you're getting about 0.5 point per point or per $1 or less for the conversion. So, it doesn't make sense for most people in those scenarios to redeem for that option. But definitely call your issuer. It depends on the card you have. Every issuer is different and it varies by card offer, and there's so many details. But it can definitely be confusing.

Douglass: Yeah. I will say, for me personally, my credit card gives double points for travel, which is their way of saying half points for everything else. [laughs] But it took me a little while to figure that out, and I did have to call them. It was fortunately a very quick and easy conversation, maybe five minutes, after the hold, of course, to get that sorted out. They also had a calculator to help me figure out that they directed me to online that was also helpful. So, there will be some resources. But first step, easy thing to do, just call the issuer. It's kind of on them to help explain this stuff.

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