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7 Credit Card Reward Pitfalls to Watch Out For

Author: Maurie Backman | April 14, 2021

Messy pile of credit cards with a hundred dollar bill among them

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Manage and accrue your rewards wisely

There are many perks to using a credit card -- namely, the opportunity to get rewarded for the purchases you're already making. Credit card rewards can translate to cash back, gift cards, or statement credits, all of which can benefit you financially. Just make sure to avoid these reward-related blunders.

Our credit card expert uses this card, and it could earn you $1,148 (seriously)
As long as you pay them off each month, credit cards are a no-brainer for savvy Americans. They protect against fraud far better than debit cards, help raise your credit score, and can put hundreds (or thousands!) of dollars in rewards back in your pocket each year.

But with so many cards out there, you need to choose wisely. This top-rated card offers the ability to pay 0% interest on purchases until late 2021, has some of the most generous cash back rewards we’ve ever seen (up to 5%!), and somehow still sports a $0 annual fee.

That’s why our expert – who has reviewed hundreds of cards – signed up for this one personally. Click here to get free access to our expert’s top pick.

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Pair of hands paying cash to an outstretched hand

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1. Not racking up rewards when you're eligible

You may be surprised at how many merchants accept credit cards these days, and at how many different opportunities you have to use your cards. If you pay for too many purchases in cash, you'll miss the chance to rack up rewards for them. Therefore, don't assume you can't charge your preschool tuition, summer camp fees, or other expenses on a credit card. In some cases, you may be assessed an extra fee that makes cash a better choice, but it's always worth asking.

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Young woman writing in a notebook in front of computer

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2. Failing to track revolving reward categories

Some credit cards offer additional rewards in specific categories that change from quarter to quarter. Make a point to track those bonus categories so you don't miss out on opportunities to score some extra cash back.

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Woman covering face with her hands as she sits at laptop in office

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3. Letting rewards expire

Some credit card rewards have an end date. Pay attention to those timelines so you don't give up rewards you already earned.

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Woman on laptop smiles holding credit card near shopping bags.

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4. Spending extra just to get rewards

Scoring cash back for purchases you need to make is a good thing -- but overspending just to get rewards makes little sense. You shouldn't spend extra in the hopes of accruing rewards. This extends to credit card sign-up bonuses as well.

Our credit card expert uses this card, and it could earn you $1,148 (seriously)
As long as you pay them off each month, credit cards are a no-brainer for savvy Americans. They protect against fraud far better than debit cards, help raise your credit score, and can put hundreds (or thousands!) of dollars in rewards back in your pocket each year.

But with so many cards out there, you need to choose wisely. This top-rated card offers the ability to pay 0% interest on purchases until late 2021, has some of the most generous cash back rewards we’ve ever seen (up to 5%!), and somehow still sports a $0 annual fee.

That’s why our expert – who has reviewed hundreds of cards – signed up for this one personally. Click here to get free access to our expert’s top pick.

Previous

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Woman buying coffee using mobile app and credit card

Source: Getty Images

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5. Not accumulating enough rewards to make up for an annual fee

Some credit cards charge a yearly fee, and with a generous enough rewards program, that fee may be worth it. But if you're paying a large fee and aren't getting more rewards out of your card than you would with a no-fee card, then you're spending money for no reason.

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Rising stacks of coins with blocks atop spelling out DEBT

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6. Landing in debt in the course of getting rewards

Chasing credit card rewards may not only cause you to overspend -- it could actually result in costly debt. Be sure to stick to your budget, and let your needs dictate your spending more so than your desire to accumulate rewards.

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Smiling young woman holding credit card about to make purchase on mobile app

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7. Not exploring new reward opportunities

You may have a few credit cards with generous rewards programs. But that doesn't mean there's not a better card out there. It pays to keep tabs on new offers, because you may find a card that rewards you even more generously for your everyday purchases.

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Woman looking at computer and holding credit card

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Don't botch those rewards

Pursuing rewards strategically will help you reap the most benefits from your credit cards. Avoid these mistakes to make the most of your rewards.

Our credit card expert uses this card, and it could earn you $1,148 (seriously)
As long as you pay them off each month, credit cards are a no-brainer for savvy Americans. They protect against fraud far better than debit cards, help raise your credit score, and can put hundreds (or thousands!) of dollars in rewards back in your pocket each year.

But with so many cards out there, you need to choose wisely. This top-rated card offers the ability to pay 0% interest on purchases until late 2021, has some of the most generous cash back rewards we’ve ever seen (up to 5%!), and somehow still sports a $0 annual fee.

That’s why our expert – who has reviewed hundreds of cards – signed up for this one personally. Click here to get free access to our expert’s top pick.

Previous

Next