Shopping for a new rewards card takes more than just looking for the card that best meets your spending habits. You also need to take a look at fees and pay close attention to rules that could affect the amount of points you can rack up. Here are some questions you should ask so you can get the most out of your rewards card.
1. Are rewards transferable?
It will be important to know this answer if you decide to get divorced. Some couples place great value on their rewards and will fight to keep these benefits. Some credit card issuers will not divide points, so it may be up to you and your soon-to-be ex to estimate the value of the rewards and then substitute the value with an asset that is of equal value. You’ll also want to ask if your rewards can be transferred through a charitable donation. This is a great option if your rewards are about to expire but you don’t want to purchase something just for the sake of using your points.
2. Do rewards expire?
Don’t rack up a bunch of points and miles only to have them expire before you can use them. Once you familiarize yourself with the rules, you can make a plan for using your benefits before they run out. Also be aware that certain rewards cards also have special opportunities to earn double or triple rewards in certain categories during specific times of the year. You’ll want to jump on these deals when they’re available. Each issuer usually has a rewards calendar posted on their site.
3. Are there additional fees?
Some rewards cards come with costs in addition to the annual fee. You’ll want to find out if there are any hidden charges. Each issuer usually has a list of additional fees posted on their website. Make sure to take a look so you can compare programs. However, know that there are also no-fee rewards cards you may want to consider.
Also make sure to read all of the fine print in the credit card’s list of terms and conditions. You’ll be able to get most of your questions answered here. However, when in doubt, call your issuer’s representative and ask for the details of the rewards program you’re interested in.
4. What would cause me to lose my rewards?
Some credit card issuers will suspend your rewards if you miss a payment. So it would be in your best interest to stay on top of your payment schedule. You could also be out of luck if you decide to close your card. All of those points, miles, and other rewards will vanish once your account is shut down.
5. What is the sign-up bonus structure?
The sign-up bonus is not automatically granted. You’ll need to spend a certain amount within a specific period before you can cash in your reward. Investigate the details before you commit to the rewards program and find out how much you’ll have to spend and what the timeframe will be. Based on the answer, you may decide another card has a better sign-up deal.
In future posts, we’ll share all the information you need to choose the best rewards program. Check back for more articles and tips so you can keep more cash in your wallet.
More from Money & Career Cheat Sheet:
- 6 Ways to Earn More Credit Card Rewards
- The 5 Best Rewards Credit Cards for 2016
- Credit Card Rewards and Divorce: What You Should Know
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