It can feel like you’re getting something for free every time you swipe your rewards credit card. You can redeem points you earn during the year for cash back, a statement credit, gift cards, merchandise or travel.
But did you know that your card company offers other ways to accelerate your rewards earnings?
Simply choosing the right card for each purchase can mean more rewards. You can get earn more by knowing the ins and outs of your cards, paying attention to promotional offers and expanding your money relationship with your card company.
Here are five ways to get even more back from your everyday spending.
Pick the right card
If you have more than one cash back card in your wallet, choose the one that earns the most for each type of purchase. When at the supermarket checkout, choose the one that rewards grocery purchases the most. The same goes for purchases you make at the pump, in a restaurant, and at the mall. It pays to use the right card.
In some cases, your credit card may rotate which type of spending gets accelerated cash back, often reflecting seasonal spending patterns. For example, you may earn accelerated rewards on home improvement purchases during the spring. Keep track of these rotating rewards categories and don’t forget to register your card each quarter to get those accelerated earnings.
To help you keep track of multiple cards and their cash back, use the Wallaby app to figure out which card is the most rewarding for each purchase. Or go low-tech and stick a Post-it to your card identifying its highest rewards categories.
Credit card companies charge a fee every time you use your card for a purchase at a store or restaurant. The more you use your card, the more money these companies make. That’s why some card companies give a rewards bonus to those who use their cards more often. For example, some American Express cardholders can get 20% more in rewards if they make 20 or more purchases with their card in one billing cycle.
Even if your card company doesn’t offer a boost for more purchases, it still pays to put as many transactions on your card to earn more cash back. Pay monthly recurring bills with your card – as long as you have no trouble paying off the balance in full each month. And make sure these transactions don’t incur an extra fee for credit card payments. Otherwise, that negates the rewards you get back.
Look for bonus offers
Credit card companies often offer promotional bonuses, especially when you sign up for a new card. You can earn tens of thousands of rewards by spending a minimum amount on your card in the first months after opening.
Your card may also offer seasonal promotions to reward spending during specific holidays like Mother’s Day or Christmas. Other cards will provide an anniversary bonus or match your first-year rewards, such as Discover’s Cashback Match.
Use online shopping portals
Most credit card companies provide online shopping portals where you can shop everyday retailers like Macy’s and Old Navy. When you make a purchase through the portal, you earn more extra rewards points than you would at the store or through the retailer’s own site. This can be especially rewarding during the holidays when your spending spikes.
Open another financial account
Most credit card companies offer a lot more than just credit cards. They want your business in other ways, too. That’s why many banks will give you extra rewards if you open a checking or savings account or take out a loan or mortgage. Others will reward you for meeting a certain minimum threshold across all account balances.
For example, Bank of America offers its preferred rewards, which offers three tiers of extra rewards. If you qualify for BofA’s gold tier, you earn 25% in rewards on your credit card purchases. Platinum tier cardholders earn 50% more.