Savvy consumers know that it pays to use rewards-based credit cards ― as long as the balance is paid in full and on time every month. By using a rewards credit card for everyday purchases, rewards can add up and be used instead of cash to cover premier benefits like:
- Taking unique trips
- Purchasing brand-name merchandise, gift cards, or cash back
- Gifting your rewards to family and friends, or
- Turning rewards into donations for causes you care about
Earning rewards and perks
It’s easy to enjoy valuable rewards rather than spending your own money on travel or other luxuries ― simply do a little research and find the rewards program that fits your lifestyle. If you enjoy dining out, find a card that awards double or triple points on restaurant charges. If you travel frequently, look for a card that offers airline and hotel rewards.
In addition to the valuable rewards you can earn, be sure you’re aware of all of the other perks most credit cards offer, like:
- Travel and emergency assistance
- Roadside assistance
- Trip cancellation/interruption insurance
- Auto rental collision damage waivers
- Personal identity theft protection
- Extended warranty protection
Some cards also offer additional travel benefits such as no foreign currency conversion fees, access to complimentary 24-hour, 7-day-a-week concierge service, discounts on rental cars, and exclusive offers on unique travel experiences.
Look for lower rates with special credit card promotions
Another advantage of strong credit is it may help you be eligible for special credit card promotions with a 0% APR introductory rate. You can use the card to make a large purchase, pay for a major expense, or transfer high-interest-rate balances ― and pay no interest charges during the introductory period. Of course, it’s only interest-free borrowing if you pay off the balance in full before the end of the introductory period.
Be sure to read the terms of the offer carefully, so you know if there are any balance transfer fees, and if the same interest-free period applies to both purchases and balance transfers.
If you have an introductory rate, calculate the monthly payment needed to repay the balance by the end of the introductory period. Set up automatic payments to ensure your balance is paid off before the regular rate begins.