If you have a good credit score, it's smart to think about how to get more value from your credit cards. Credit card rewards are a popular option, as they're one of the most valuable features card issuers offer. In this guide, you'll learn everything you need to know to maximize your credit card rewards.
Maximizing your credit card rewards is achieved through using your rewards card on all your spending and paying the bill in full every month
Here are a few guidelines to make the most of your rewards credit card:
To qualify for the rewards cards with the most benefits, you'll generally need good or excellent credit. If you need help raising your credit score, you can learn how in our credit score guide.
Chase has the best credit card rewards program because it has several quality travel partners and it offers the best rates when you use points for cash travel bookings.
Here's how you can use Chase Ultimate Rewards points to save big on travel:
The Chase Ultimate Rewards program ranks at the top, but there are a couple of other great rewards programs you may want to check out.
American Express also offers quite a few travel partners in its popular rewards program. You can transfer American Express Membership Rewards points to over 20 different partners. That includes domestic airlines, international airlines, and hotels. The Membership Rewards program provides so many options that American Express rewards credit cards work well if you like to shop around for the best travel rewards deals.
Citi is another card issuer to consider as you shop for rewards credit cards. It has over a dozen travel partners where you can send your Citi ThankYou points. Most of these travel partners are international airlines. If there are any international frequent flyer programs you like, Citi rewards credit cards could be just what you need.
Bank of America rewards credit cards are ideal if you already use its banking or investment services. Through the Bank of America Preferred Rewards program, you can get bonuses of 25% to 75% on all your credit card rewards. To qualify, you need to meet minimum balance requirements that start at $20,000.
Unlike the card issuers above, Bank of America doesn't offer transfers to travel partners. Instead, it offers cash back rewards and fixed-rate travel redemptions depending on which of its cards you have.
Credit card rewards programs are generally the better option if you travel multiple times per year. The top rewards programs give you ways to redeem points for a high value when you use them to book travel. Transferring points to travel partners, in particular, is one of the smartest ways to maximize credit card rewards.
Cash back is the better choice if you aren't a frequent traveler. It's also the way to go if you want the simpler credit card rewards option. There can be a learning curve to credit card rewards programs as you figure out how to best use your points. With cash back, you don't need to deal with that. Cash back credit cards are easy to use and can work for anyone.
The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card offers the best rewards. It earns Chase Ultimate Rewards points, which you can transfer to airline and hotel partners or use to book travel in cash. This Chase credit card also has a big sign-up bonus and a reasonable $95 annual fee.
Points are typically the best type of credit card rewards, because they have the most potential value. This is especially true with Chase, American Express, and Citi points. All three credit card companies allow you to transfer points to travel partners, which can get you more value than any other type of redemption.
To make the most of your rewards credit card, use it for every purchase so you earn as many credit card rewards as you can. Make sure you follow a budget so that you don't overspend, and pay off your credit card bill in full every month to avoid interest charges.
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