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How To Game Credit Card Rewards

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The Game Credit Companies Want You To Play

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Miss or late on a payment or forget to cancel a service, they dock you points. Use too much of your credit, they dock you points. If you havent had credit long enough, they dock you points. Too many people checking your credit, they dock you points.

The name of their game is getting your credit score lower so they can justify a higher interest rate.

But a higher rate means little if you dont carry a balance.

So how do they get you to carry a balance? Well, they give you a limit thats far above what you need and they entice you to hit that limit. Then they convince you to spend more by giving you cash-back bonuses and travel miles.

Those credit card rewards arent rewards at all. Theyre paid for by people paying interest on their balances. Credit card companies arent being generous with their rewards, you are.

Credit Cards Not Recommended

Some credit cards look good at first glance, but can be extremely terrible cards. All different kinds of Store Credit Cards are in this category . Credit cards with Capital One and US Bank are also considered to be in this category. We strongly recommend applying for the cards listed above if your credit history is less than 2 years. If you already have most of these cards, then you can tailor your applications more based on your own demands and considerations.

Tips To Beat The Credit Card Companies

Jason Steele|

Modified date: Mar. 27, 2019

Like most casinos, credit card issuers are always very profitable. But unlike visitors to a casino, its always possible to beat the house when you use your credit card the right way.

Some of the tricks are fairly simple, or obvious, while others take a certain amount of clever planning.

Here are seven ways that you can beat the credit card companies at their own game.

Whats Ahead:

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Want To Maximize The Cash Back Or Miles You Earn From Your Credit Card Take A Cue From The Rewards Wizardspeople Who Have Scored Big Even As The Game Has Gotten Tougher To Master

For their honeymoon in 2012, Daraius Dubash and his wife flew first-class to Paris, where they perched for seven nights in a five-star hotel on the Rue de la Paix. The sticker price for their grand escape was $32,000. But the Austin couple paid only about $2,000, thanks to their savvy use of credit card rewards.

Shaun Eli also reaps big rewards. Rather than miles, though, the Pelham, N.Y., comedian collects cash back. Last year Eli charged $20,000 and earned $500 for an impressive 2.5% return .

Dubash and Eli are rewards-card wizards. They are among a select group of autodidacts who have made a hobbysome, even a careerout of mastering this complicated game. They seek out the most lucrative cards, devise strategies to boost their loot, and charge every last expense. As a result they consistently score free travel or fat bucks, feats all the more awesome when you consider how much the rules have changed since they started playing.

Maximizing your take in this new climate takes work. Even if youre not willing to invest the time and effort that the pros do, you can still benefit from their wisdom. Money asked Dubash, Eli, and others to share a few easy plays for the average charger. You never knowyou may just find yourself in Paris next spring.

Dont Get Taken Down By Penalties

How do credit card points work?

No matter how you play the game, card companies will try to get more money out of you in terms of fees. The most common types of fees are late fees, over limit fees, balance transfer fees, and fees on cash advances. Each time you get hit with one of these, think of it as a ten-yard penalty, immediately knocking you further from your goal. All that progress you made paying interest or accumulating rewards can go right out the window with a few penalty fees, so do everything you can to stay within your limits and pay your bills on time. Try things like signing up for auto-pay, or setting reminder alerts for yourself. Avoid cash advances altogether since they rarely make financial sense, and if youre contemplating moving to another card, use a balance transfer calculator to make sure the fees dont outweigh the benefits.

To make the game even more interesting, banks can decide to bring on bigger defenders when you get hit with a penalty as well. Even with the latest CARD Act regulations in effect, banks can still raise your interest rates to add insult to injury. The combined effect of penalty rates and penalty fees is a double whammy that you should do everything in your power to avoid.

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American Express Gold Card: Best For Dining Rewards At Restaurants

Welcome offer: Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new card within the first six months, although you may be targeted for up to 75,000 bonus points through the CardMatch tool .

Rewards rate: Earn 4x dining at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets 3x on flights booked directly through airlines or on Amex Travel 1x on all other purchases.

Annual fee: $250

Who should apply: With the Amex Gold, youre getting a great 8% return on restaurant and U.S. supermarket spending and a solid 6% return on airfare. The Amex Gold is a nice middle ground between the top-tier The Platinum Card® from American Express and a lower-value beginner card, such as The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express. The information for the Amex EveryDay card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Youre getting perks, such as a dining credit and up to $120 in Uber Cash annually in the U.S. each calendar year , plus a rewards structure that focuses on common spending categories besides just travel all without the massive $695 annual fee that comes with the Amex Platinum card. If you want an Amex card that makes it easy to earn Membership Rewards on everyday expenses such as dining at restaurants and groceries at U.S. supermarkets, this is definitely a card to consider. Enrollment required for select benefits.

Annual fee: $95

How Credit Cards Work

The idea behind credit cards is simple: When you use a credit card, you are borrowing money to pay for something. Later on, you must repay what your borrowed. If you take time to pay it back , you’ll be charged interest. The whole credit cards industry rests on this basic premise.

A basic credit card transaction works like this:

  • You use your card. When it comes time to pay for something, you use your card at the cash register by running it through a card reader .

  • The purchase is authorized. The card reader contacts your credit card company to make sure the card is valid for the purchase amount. Assuming everything is OK, the transaction is authorized.

  • The merchant gets paid. The bank that issued your credit card sends money for the purchase to the merchant where the transaction took place.

  • You pay. The transaction shows up on your credit card statement, and you repay the bank for the purchase.

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    Is It Better To Get Cash Back Or Points

    Cash back is flexible and easy to redeem. Points or miles dangle the possibility of a paid-for vacation and, sometimes, a higher reward value per dollar spent. Nowadays, some cards let you redeem rewards for cash or travel at the same value. If you dont want to work at it, cash back is the easy decision.

    How To Boost Your Points

    How to Use Credit Card Reward Points

    As long as you have a card that rewards the spending you do most, youre one step ahead of the game. But, there are ways you can boost your points-earning potential, so you can get the most out of your card.

    Rewards cards generally reward big spenders. But, of course, that spend needs to be paid off. Theres no point spending more than you can afford simply to earn points. As weve already said, any interest you pay out would be far more than the rewards you get back.

    If you cant afford to be a big spender, you may still be able to maximise your spending by using your card more. Whether its your morning coffee or your next overseas trip, using your card could let you earn more points day-to-day, which should add up over time.

    Find out if you can earn bonus points for using the card at partner retailers. If possible, use your card to pay your bills and service subscriptions, your tax payments, and even your rent. Add family members to the account so they can earn points on their spending too.

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    Maximize Your Grace Period

    A credit cards grace period is the time between when your statement closes and when your payment is duetypically 21 to 25 days. When you pay your balance in full before your due date, then you can avoid interest charges. This grace period can amount to a free loan from the credit card issuers, and youll want to make the most of it.

    For example, if you make a large purchase at the beginning of your statement period, then youll have 51 to 55 days before the payment is due. This can equate to a free loan for nearly two months.

    As long as youre aware of how this works, and when your cards statement period ends, you can postpone a large charge until the next statement period to have the longest possible time to pay off your charges without incurring interest.

    General Purpose Travel Cards

    These cards earn points linked to a specific bank or issuer like Chase or American Express. The points earned are then transferable to a selection of airlines, hotel, car hire and other brands depending on the partnerships of each bank or issuer. If youre loyal to one specific airline or hotel, its worth researching the transfer partners of cards before applying. This gives the ultimate freedom when deciding how youd like to redeem your points, as your points dont already belong to an airline or hotel brand.

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    What You Wont Get Rewards Points On

    Knowing what purchases you wont earn rewards points on is pretty important, especially as these change from card to card. You may want to check the small print on your card to find out what spending is excluded from points-earning.

    Depending on the card, you may not earn points on cash advances, BPAY payments, gambling transactions, foreign currencies, and government spending, such as ATO payments.

    How To Make A Gamestop Credit Card Payment By Phone

    What are Rewards Credit Cards? Everything You Need to Know

    You have the option to make your GameStop credit card payment by phone. Heres how:

  • Say or enter your credit card number or the primary cardholders Social Security number, followed by the pound sign.
  • Follow the prompts to complete the payment.
  • If you dont have your account number or Social Security number, the phone system will automatically reroute your call to a GameStop credit card representative for assistance.

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    College Student Credit Cards

    These cards are designed specifically for college students who are just getting started with credit. The application process takes into account the fact that young people are unlikely to have a long credit history or a high-paying job. Be aware, though, that simply being a college student is not enough on its own to qualify. See our best college student credit cards of 2021.

    Points Miles And Cash Back

    Credit card rewards come in a few different forms. There are airline miles you can redeem for flights on a specific airline or its partners. There are also hotel points you can use for award stays. Some cards earn cash back you can use to shave a few dollars off your monthly statement. Finally, some credit card issuers such as American Express and Chase have their own types of points you can either transfer to different airlines and hotels, or redeem for cash back on travel and other expenses. Read up on the type of points or miles your credit cards earn and all the ways you can put them to use.

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    What Credit Card Has Best Rewards

    NerdWallets Best Rewards Credit Cards of December 2020Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card: Best for Travel rewards no annual fee.Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card: Best for Cash back dining and entertainment.Capital One Spark Cash for Business: Best for Small business cash back.

    Which Are The Most Popular Credit Card Rewards Programs

    How I started with Credit Card Rewards

    There are more than a dozen credit card rewards programs out there, from airline and hotel loyalty programs to issuer programs. Each month, TPG publishes our monthly rewards valuations that outline how much each point or mile currency is worth in our eyes, but each program has its advantages and disadvantages. The three largest issuer rewards programs offer flexible points, a wide range of credit card options to earn points and a solid list of transfer partners.

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    Is Prestige For You

    Fancy having a black card in your wallet? Want to pamper yourself with platinum perks? Platinum and black cards also known as prestige cards are known for their extravagant extras, providing cardholders with features that make life a little more pleasing.

    These cards can also offer a higher earn rate and higher points caps, allowing cardholders to earn more back on their spending. Sounds good, right? Of course, there is a trade-off here. While these cards offer a higher points-earning potential, they generally have a much larger annual fee.

    Aside from meeting the eligibility criteria, if you want a card like this, you will have to think about whether the points you will earn are worth more than that higher annual fee.

    Dont Get A Rewards Credit Card If

    • You carry a balance: The interest youll be charged will wipe out any value you get from your rewards.
    • Youre always late: Your interest rate may jump to an obnoxious level AND youll lose the privilege of your grace period wiping out the value of your rewards.
    • You consistently go over your credit limit: Youll be charged an over limit fee of $29 or so, making the points you earned from going over your limit worthless.

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    Playing The Game To Rack Up Airline Miles Credit Card Rewards Can Pay Off For Savvy Travelers

    FILE – In this July 1, 2021, file photo, people travel through Salt Lake City International Airport in Salt Lake City. Americans enjoying newfound liberty are expected to travel and gather for cookouts, fireworks and family reunions over the Fourth of July weekend in numbers not seen since pre-pandemic days.

    For the last year or so, travelers preoccupation with airline miles and credit card points was on hold. So was most international travel just scrapped.

    But banks and airlines have ramped up their campaigns as parts of the world are reopening to travelers. That means there are more bonus miles, more features and even some cash-back statement credits for travelers who want to play the game.

    Not all cards are created equal, nor is there one perfect card for all travelers. But banks and airlines want to seize the opportunity to capture new travelers as flying picks up during the summer.

    If you live in Alaska and you fly on Alaska Airlines, Bank of Americas co-branded Visa card should be first on your list. Theres a $75 annual fee for the card, but right now theres a $100 statement credit when you charge at least $2,000 within three months. Travelers also receive 40,000 bonus miles as well as a $121 companion fare. The companion fare comes in handy for peak-season or holiday travel to sun spots like Hawaii, Mexico, Costa Rica or Belize.

    Easy Way To Meet The Minimum Spend Requirement

    Best Rewards Credit Cards To Keep (2018.10 Update)

    Ever want to take advantage of a huge limited-time credit card welcome bonus offer, but youre not sure what youre going to spend your money on to meet the $1,000 minimum spend threshold? A nice work around is to spend the minimum on a gift card at a grocery store you frequent or at a place like Amazon where you can then use the funds available on the card throughout the year.

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    Ways To Play The Credit Card Rewards Game

    People cash in big time on credit card rewards, and you can too. Find out how to do it.

    Welcome to the wild world of credit card rewards, a place where terms like churning and mileage runs are a regular part of the conversation. Its not for the faint of heart, the disorganized or the undisciplined.

    However, if you get a kick out of strategy games, you might enjoy it.

    The basics of gaming the credit card rewards system are below, but this article is not the final word on the subject. Entire blogs such as The Points Guy and Million Mile Secrets are dedicated to rewards.

    Whats more, you should NOT try these strategies unless youre able to pay off your credit card bill each month on time. Paying interest negates your rewards, and carrying a balance is a good way to dig yourself into a financial hole.

    But if you are responsible with your spending, the credit card rewards game can be lucrative. Ready to learn more about winning the game? Here we go.

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