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How to manage my credit card rewards

Should you spend or save your rewards?

Updated

Managing your credit card rewards may seem complicated, especially if you have multiple credit cards. Still, it’s an exciting issue to tackle because it means you potentially have a lot of rewards to gain. Here are some ways to simplify your rewards management.

Should you save up rewards?

If you can earn enough points to redeem for a reward while keeping your credit card active, there’s no doubt you should save up your rewards.

But if you have a credit card you rarely use — say only for traveling abroad — saving up for rewards may be a poor choice. That’s because if unused, your card issuer may close your account for inactivity and you will lose all your points.

How to manage my rewards

If you find yourself hoarding credit card rewards, here’s how to manage them better:

  • Don’t miss out on deals. If you happen to find a deal you like, use your points. Waiting on better deals can result in hoarding even more rewards that may eventually expire.
  • Save up your rewards. As mentioned before, saving up your rewards for that one trip to Europe or Hawaii can be worth it if you can manage to earn enough before your rewards expire.
  • Invest your rewards. Cashback credit cards are ideal to get new investment cash. Instead of spending your cash rewards, consider investing it in a savings account.
  • Opt-in for automatic redemption. Some card providers allow you to automatically redeem your rewards as soon as you reach a certain threshold. This can keep your mind off your rewards.

Compare rewards credit cards

If you already own a rewards credit card, you may want to consider pairing it with another to get the most of your spending. For example, if you now earn flat rewards on all purchases, you can get a credit card with accelerated rewards on gas or dining. Another example of an optimal combination of cards is the Chase trifecta, which is pairing three Chase cards that each serve distinct purposes.

Name Product Welcome offer Rewards Annual fee Filter values
Citi® Double Cash Card
N/A
Up to 2% cash back on purchases (1% when you buy plus 1% as you pay)
$0
This one of the most valuable flat cashback cards. It comes with 2% cash back (1% when you buy plus 1% when you pay) and 18 months months to pay off transfers.
Citi Rewards+℠ Card
Earn 15,000 points after spending $1,000 in the first 3 months
Earn 2x points at supermarkets and gas stations on up to $6,000 annually, then 1x points after that and on all other purchases
$0
Get rewards on gas and groceries with no annual fee. Ideal for everyday use, it's the only card that rounds purchases up to the nearest 10 points.
Luxury Card Mastercard® Titanium Card™
N/A
1x points on all purchases with 2% point value when you redeem for airfare and 1% for cash back
$195
Enjoy unique excursions, privileged access to exclusive events and insider opportunities.
CardMatch™ from creditcards.com
See terms
See terms
See terms
Use the CardMatch tool to find cards you're likely to qualify for with your credit score, without a hard pull on your credit.
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months
5x points on Lyft, 2x points on travel and dining and 1x points on all other purchases
$95
This popular travel card's signup bonus is worth up to $750. Get even more value out of your travel, dining, and Lyft rewards by transferring them to miles.
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Bottom line

Managing your rewards may feel like a hassle, but there are some strategies, such as automatic redemption when you reach a certain amount, investing your rewards in a savings account or using your rewards as soon as you spot a deal. Other events like the coronavirus pandemic can also throw a wrench in your redemption plans, so plan out how you’ll use your rewards in an emergency as well.

If you already own a rewards credit card, you may want to consider applying for a second card to complement your first.

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