- Credit card points and cash back are easy ways to save money.
- A few simple tips can add up to a lot more credit card rewards.
- Getting bonuses and looking for new cards frequently have helped me the most.
I'm a rewards enthusiast, but you don't have to be if you want to earn more credit card points.
Ever since I got my first rewards credit card, I've been obsessed with earning points. If credit card points could help me travel for free and save on other expenses, then I wanted to earn as many as possible.
So far, I've earned well over one million points, and I haven't had to overspend to do it. All I've needed were a few good strategies to help maximize my rewards. They work whether you're interested in travel points or cash back, and if you use them regularly, they can save you a lot of money.
1. I earn lots of sign-up bonuses
A big chunk of the points I earn come from sign-up bonuses. These are incentives card issuers offer to attract new customers, and they're usually the most high-value credit card perks. For example, a typical sign-up bonus offer would be "earn 50,000 points when you spend $3,000 in the first three months."
It's almost always much faster to earn points through sign-up bonuses than through a card's purchase rewards. Even if you're earning 2 points per $1 everywhere, that's still $25,000 in spending to get 50,000 points. With the right bonus offer, it takes a fraction of the time and money.
2. I use credit cards with different bonus categories
I want to earn as much back as possible on my everyday expenses, so I have multiple credit cards, each with different bonus categories. That way, I can earn extra points on groceries, dining, gas, rideshare services, and lots of other expenses.
This might seem like a lot of work. To be honest, it does make the checkout process a bit trickier. But you don't need to juggle half-a-dozen different credit cards. You could earn bonuses in quite a few expense categories with two or three rewards credit cards.
3. I look for new credit cards regularly
New credit card offers are available all the time. I like to check for cards with valuable sign-up bonuses or other benefits often to see if there's an opportunity to score more points.
I realize this is easier for me than it is for most. Since I'm a writer who covers credit cards, I stay up to date on offers as part of the job. However, you don't need to constantly review credit card offers. If you check out the best credit cards and maybe some recent card news every three to six months, you should spot some great deals.
4. I simplify where I can
It might be surprising to learn that I never actually have that many credit cards that I'm using regularly. I carry three credit cards in my wallet that I use for my everyday spending -- going out to restaurants, entertainment, grabbing something at the store, etc. I know these cards pretty well, so I can always figure out which one to use depending on the type of purchase.
I also have some cards for specific expenses saved in online accounts. For example, I have an Prime Visa that I only use with Amazon, and a hotel card I use with that specific hotel chain. I don't need to think about where to use these, because they're just for very specific purchases.
5. I keep my goals in mind
What has helped me the most isn't bonuses or any particular credit card. From the very beginning, I've always focused on why I'm spending time trying to earn more points. That has definitely helped motivate me to use credit cards to my advantage.
In my case, I loved the idea of being able to save money on travel. I always thought it would be exciting to fly to another country in business class or stay in a luxurious hotel without shelling out thousands of dollars. Thanks to my travel credit cards, I've been able to do that, and it was well worth the effort. I still enjoy
Credit cards have their risks, but when you use them well, they're a great way to save money. I've saved well over $20,000 through all the credit card points I've earned. If you try some of the strategies that have worked for me, you'll be able to get more rewards on your normal spending.
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