Consumer Watch: Maximizing your credit card rewards

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by Andy Treinen

WHAS11.com

Posted on July 17, 2012 at 4:38 PM

Updated Tuesday, Jul 17 at 4:42 PM

(WHAS11) -- Credit cards that have airline miles or other rewards attached can make a consumer feel like they're getting a bonus every time they shop, but most users aren't maximizing their card's potential. Good Morning Kentuckiana’s Andy Treinen gets expert tips to help you earn those extra miles, in Tuesday's Consumer Watch. 

What consumer doesn't love a bonus? That's one reason offers for credit cards with loyalty rewards have become more popular.

Brian Kelly of thepointsguy.com says maximizing these programs  takes more strategy than a swipe of the card at the grocery store or gas pump. No matter how great a sign-up bonus might look, he advises doing some homework first.

“It may be a bit annoying to do some research and see what credit card is best for you and your spending, but once you get a really tight strategy in place, you'll be amazed how quickly those free flights, free hotels, they can really add up,” said Kelly.

Some of Kelly's other tips:

  • Take advantage of airline's or credit card's online shopping portals to accumulate extra rewards with each purchase.
  • Regularly seek out promotions that can earn extra points. 
  • Use an online mileage manager to keep track of multiple cards.
  • Pay off the balance in full each month. Otherwise, interest paid can negate the rewards received. 

Points and miles may be like currency, but they aren't an investment. Rules and fees can change at any time. It may be helpful to keep a goal in mind so you keeping earning and using those rewards for a family vacation or a first-class ticket.

If you have a consumer problem you’d like us to look into send an e-mail to consumerwatch@whas11.com.

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