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How to choose the best rewards credit card for you?

Each rewards credit card on the market is perfect for different people. The task is finding the card that will reward you with the rewards you want. Here are a few questions to help you find the rewards credit card perfect for you:

  • Is there an annual fee? If so, how much? It is not uncommon for rewards card to carry annual fees, especially airline rewards credit cards. Annual fees range from $0 to over $100. You need to ask yourself how many reward points you think you will earn in one year and compare that to the annual fee. For example, if you are researching an airline rewards card with an annual fee of $100 and only plan on earning 5,000 reward miles per year, then it may take you up to 5 years to earn a 25,000 mile reward ticket. Is a free ticket within the continental US worth $500 in annual fees? Conversely, if you plan on earning 60,000 miles per year on your airline rewards card, then you'll have earned enough for a round-trip reward ticket to Asia for only $100 in annual fees.
  • How many points/miles do I earn per $1 in charges made to the card? Be sure you know how reward points/miles earned are calculated. Many cards offer higher dollar to points/miles ratios for an introductory period. For instance, a card may offer you 10 points per $1 for the first 12 months of card membership. In this case, make sure you know how many points you will earn after the introductory period has ended. Another form of point calculation is determined based on where you make your purchases. Many credit cards offer higher points per dollar when you make purchases at gas stations, drug stores, restaurants, supermarkets, etc. You want to find the credit card that will reward you for all the things you normally do.
  • How many points/miles are needed to redeem a reward? The points to dollar ratio is only effective when comparing cards when you know how many points are needed to redeem rewards. One card may offer you 10 points per $1, but require you to have 100,000 points to redeem a reward. Whereas another card may offer you 1 point per $1, but allow you to redeem the same rewards for as low as 2,500 points. This factor is important especially when researching airline miles reward cards.
  • Any blackout dates? Another important factor when it comes to researching airline rewards cards is if there are any blackout dates. What good is earning rewards if you can almost never use them?
  • Do points expire? Make sure you know whether points have an expiration date. Most reward cards will not expire your points unless your account has been inactive for a long period of time, such as 3 years.

Finding the best reward card for you becomes a lot easier when you know annual fees, points to dollar ratios, how to redeem rewards, and if your points will ever expire.