How Can I Quickly Earn Credit Card Rewards?

May 22, 2013, Written By Lynn Oldshue
How Can I Quickly Earn Credit Card Rewards?

If you want to get the most out of your credit cards, you need to choose a card that has a good rewards program. These programs give you money back on everything you purchase with your credit card. If you are already in a rewards program, you might be anxious to start building up those benefits.

How can I quickly earn credit card rewards? The guide below will give you tips on racking up your rewards as quickly as possible.

Pay Off Your Credit Card On Time Every Month

This is the most important tip when it comes to earning rewards. Rewards are only profitable if you pay off your balance in full every month. If not, any rewards you earn will be more than eaten up by the high interest penalties you will pay on your balance. In addition, your monthly payments must be made on time. In many cases, the monthly rewards you earn are forfeited if your payment is late.

Use the Card Right When You Get It

A number of rewards credit cards have introductory bonuses on your first purchase, or they will issue lucrative bonus rewards if you spend a certain amount of money in a designated period of time. For instance, the Gold Delta SkyMiles® Business Credit Card from American Express offers 30,000 bonus miles if you spend $1,000 or more in the first three months as a cardholder. Cash back and travel rewards cards offer similar benefits for initial usage. Look at your card’s terms and see what you need to do to get this introductory bonus. Then, make sure you spend enough on the card to earn it.

Check Your Card’s Rewards Schedule

Some credit cards offer the same rewards points throughout the year, while others offer bonuses in revolving categories during certain periods. For example, the Discover It card offers 1% cash back on all purchases all year, but it also offers 5% cash back on certain purchases each quarter. For the second quarter of 2013, the offer is for home improvement stores. If you spend money at Lowe’s or Home Depot from now until the end of June, you receive 5% of your money back on your Discover card. Look over your card’s terms to see if additional bonuses are offered on revolving categories. In addition, it is important to see if you are automatically enrolled in these programs or if you need to sign up each quarter. If you can adjust your spending patterns to that schedule, you may be able to enhance the rewards you earn.

Know The Purchases That Qualify

You need to understand what purchases qualify for a reward. There is no sense in using a card for your utility bills if you only earn rewards at gas stations and grocery stores. There are many credit cards on the market that offer rewards no matter where you shop, but others require specific shopping to earn benefits.

Keep Using Your Credit Card

Once you know what kind of purchases you should put on your card, use it regularly. If you are lucky enough to have a general rewards card, you should spend as much as you can on your card, as long as you can pay it off in full each month. Even if you have the money in the bank to pay for something, charge the transaction on your credit card. Then, wait for the charge to show up on your account and pay for it with the money in the bank. As long as you monitor your spending and your available balances, you should be able to avoid interest and fees on your credit card. Using and paying off your card like this will also help your credit score, and it will allow you to increase your credit limit in the future.

Be Aware of Limits and Expiration Dates

With some credit cards, your rewards are limited to a certain amount of earnings. This is especially true when bonus rewards are offered. There are also a few cards that have rewards that expire after a period of time. Learn the limitations of your rewards by reading the terms of your card.

Follow the tips above, and you will quickly earn credit card rewards.

The information contained within this article was accurate as of May 22, 2013. For up-to-date
information on any of the terms, cards or offers mentioned above, visit the issuer's website.

About Lynn Oldshue

Lynn Oldshue has written personal finance stories for for twelve years. She majored in public relations at Mississippi State University.
View all posts by Lynn Oldshue