[Update: Some offers mentioned below have expired. For current terms and conditions, please see card agreements. Disclosure: Cards from our partners are mentioned below. Citibank advertises on Credit.com, but that results in no preferential editorial treatment.]
Credit card rewards programs offer people the opportunity to actually make money off of purchases. But responsible spenders should know there are several ways to maximize cash back, points or miles. This includes knowing where to look for special offers, how to earn extra points per dollar and when to charge a high-ticket item.
Keep in mind, these strategies only really work if you pay off balances in full each week since the annual percentage rates associated with rewards card tend to be on the high side. Having said that, if you’re not prone to carrying balances, check out these nine ways to earn extra credit card rewards.
1. Map out purchases according to 5% bonus categories
Image: Iain Farrell
Many cash back credit cards feature revolving 5% categories that allow cardholders to net extra points on varying purchases throughout the course of the year. To maximize rewards, Scott Bilker, founder of DebtSmart.com, who happens to have 50 credit cards, suggests planning big purchases around the schedule posted on an issuer’s website.
“There’s always a matter of planning,” he says. For example, Citi Dividend Platinum Select cardholders would net the most points back on certain home improvement projects if they waited until Spring/Summer to make them. The issuer is featuring 5% cash back at Home Depot and on select home and garden furnishings through June 30.