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Maximizing Your Credit Card Rewards in a Rotating World

Written by Nickel - 4 Comments

Maximizing Your Credit Card Rewards in a Rotating World

Ever since reward card issuers started moving to rotating reward categories, it’s gotten harder to make the most of your credit card rewards. With that in mind, I wanted to offer a few tips for maximizing your rewards.

Carry multiple cards

Since most issuers are offering their highest rewards in different categories each quarter, it can pay to carry multiple cards. Take a look at some cash back rewards cards.

Be sure to opt-in

For starters, be sure to opt-in to the new categories on a quarterly basis. In the past, I’ve set up text alerts via Google Calendar to make sure I don’t forget, but with Chase’s introduction of auto-enrollment, I’m hoping that might soon become a thing of the past.

Label your cards

Once you’ve opted in, you still have to remember which card to use where. This can be extra tricky if your spouse doesn’t geek out about credit cards rewards like you do. A handy trick that I’ve found has been to write the categories in the upper right corner of each card with a fine-point Sharpie. It comes right off with a bit of alcohol when the categories change.

Look for redemption bonuses

And finally, be on the lookout for redemption bonuses. As I’ve noted, Chase has recently started offering 10-20% bonuses if you redeem your rewards for gift cards at select stores. Assuming these promos line up with your shopping habits, you can easily grab an extra $10-$20 for every $100 in rewards that you’ve earned.

Don’t forget to cash in

And finally… Don’t forget to redeem your rewards! While some cards will automatically apply your rewards as a statement credit, most require some sort of action on your part. Here again, it can help to set a text reminder to go in an clean out your account every six or twelve months.

Published on March 19th, 2012
Modified on March 26th, 2013 - 4 Comments
Filed under: Credit Cards

About the author: is the founder and editor-in-chief of this site. He's a thirty-something family man who has been writing about personal finance since 2005, and guess what? He's on Twitter!

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4 Responses to “Maximizing Your Credit Card Rewards in a Rotating World”

  1. 1
    Thad P @ thadthoughts.com Says:

    The ideas of labels for your cards is brilliant. Remembering which one to use when can be challenging when you have a number of cards in your wallet.

  2. 2
    Steve Says:

    Are these rotating categories worth the effort? Some I’ve seen have been limited to e.g. an extra $20 per quarter. I guess all else being equal, a card that is 1% on everything and 3-5% on some things is strictly better than a card that is only 1% on everything without the bonus quarters.

  3. 3
    Steve Says:

    That is one thing great about the Citi Preferred card. It offers 6% on groceries and 3% on gas and department stores. You just cannot beat it and you don’t have to have multiple credit cards.

  4. 4
    PB @ EconomicallyHumble.com Says:

    Not a bad idea… though I’m likely the only one in the house that would do this. Currently, we use on rewards card and love the airline miles.

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