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What to Avoid in a Credit Card Rewards Program

Selecting a credit card rewards program can be a challenge. With so many cards options to choose from, it is important to be aware of what to avoid when choosing a card with a rewards program.

Avoid letting your rewards go to waste. Billions of dollars in rewards go to waste every year. Avoid letting rewards sit for long periods of time, as they become less valuable over time as the price of goods and services rise. Choose a rewards card that lets your redeem often so these awards maintain their maximum value and do not go to waste. The rewards should be easy to redeem increasing your opportunities to redeem your rewards often. Look for options to track, browse and spend your rewards online instead of having to rely on complicated phone or mailing systems.

Avoid cards that have expiration dates for their rewards. If you save your reward points for a big ticket item, it would be unfortunate to find that your rewards have expired. You should also avoid cards that charge for reward redemption. Your rewards should be a free bonus of using your card.

Avoid limited time offers. These might seem great at first and then the benefits quickly plummet. Check what the rewards are after the promotional period ends. When picking a credit card rewards program you should select a card that will benefit you in the long run. Changing cards frequently can damage your credit score.

It is recommended that the majority of consumers should avoid cards with extremely high interest rates or annual fees, but there are a few exceptions. One, if you do not carry a month to month balance on your credit card, then interests rates do not need to factor in your decision. Another exception would be if you are a big credit card spender and the rewards will outweigh the cost of the annual fee. Again, this looking at current spending and bill paying habits will help decide if you need to avoid cards like these.

Since the interest rates are high, it is also important to avoid carrying a high balance on your credit card. To receive the full benefits of a rewards program, pay off a large majority (or all) of the balance each month. Otherwise, you will spend more on the cost of interest than you will receive in rewards.

Be careful when choosing a rewards program and read the fine print. Keeping these tips in mind will help you find a card that won't have you falling victim to extra fees, program restrictions and complicated reward programs.

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