Racking Up Credit Rewards

Rotating Categories

Many cash back credit cards offer quarterly bonus rewards. These cards offer 5% cash back rewards on purchases made within certain categories that rotate quarterly (every three months). For example, you may receive 5% cash back on department store purchases one quarter and 5% cash back on grocery purchases in another quarter. Not all quarterly bonus rewards are earned automatically. You may have to enroll via the card issuer’s website or smartphone app to receive rewards in the 5% categories. If you choose not to enroll, purchases in those categories will continue to earn rewards at the regular rate, which is typically 1%.

For Example:

Everyday Cash Back Cards

Everyday cash back credit cards offer cash back rewards on every day purchases such as gasoline, groceries and department stores. Typically these cards will offer a bonus of 3% or 2% cash back at grocery stores, gas stations and department stores, and 1% cash back on all other purchases. These cards are ideal for those who don’t want the hassle of managing quarterly rotating categories.

Air Miles and Travel Rewards Cards

If you are a frequent traveler, look for an air miles rewards card that has a bonus program that offers double points for purchases, or offers large blocks of points for fulfilling certain requirements.

Air miles rewards cards are usually tracked as points that you can cash in for future travel purchases, or redeem them for past travel purchases made with the card. Each ticket will hold a certain point value (usually in the hundreds) that requires thousands of points in order to redeem, so you need to rack up a significant number of points or miles, to get a free plane ticket. Also be sure to keep your preferred airline in mind. Some cards are only for specific airline purchases, while general travel rewards cards will allow you to fly with any airline, and may even be teamed up with an online travel agency.

Rewards cards that feature travel rewards are similar to air miles, but they cover hotel fees, cruises, and more. You might be able to use your points on package deals through your credit card company, or you can redeem them for a hotel stay, car rental, airline ticket, cruise, or even a train ticket.

Credit cards often come with travel benefits and features that can make travel more convenient. Some of the more elite travel cards offer things like private jet access, hotel burglary insurance, free access to golf courses world-wide, and even a private consultant. Below are a few of the travel perks that come with elite travel rewards cards.

Free Airport Lounge Access

Most cards that offer this service only allow cardholders to access the lounge, once or twice per year, but you can expect to receive complimentary snacks, Wi-Fi, couches, and other services.