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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.