How to Find The Ideal Rewards Program for Your Needs?

When you are looking for a new credit card it can be confusing to identify the ideal rewards program. You can simplify the process by listing your personal needs and thinking about how you plan to use the new credit account.

If you love to travel, you may look for airline miles reward cards. By using your card for daily expenses and regular purchases, you can accumulate tens of thousands of air miles to use on your next vacation.

Airline miles rewards are not always limited to air travel. Some banks allow the rewards to be used for cruises, discount rental cars and hotel reservations, too.

When evaluating airline miles rewards offers, consider the foreign transaction fee if you are planning overseas travel and be certain you understand any special requirements for using the miles.

Such terms may require making reservations through the credit lender's site or using only certain airlines or flying on approved days of the week.

Cash Back Rewards

One of the best rewards programs today is the cash back benefit. This is especially popular with families who use credit cards for groceries, gas and other everyday purchases.

Buying food and supplies for a large family is expensive today. Cash back rewards are appealing for such a family. Most of the offers are not limited to certain grocery merchants although that is one point you will want to be clear on before applying for a new account.

This account will allow you to shop the weekly specials for the best prices and at the same time you can earn a percentage of each purchase charged as a cash back bonus.

Most cash back options allow the consumer to collect his reward when it reaches a certain dollar requirement. This is most often a threshold of $50 in cash back earned and may be automatically applied to the account balance each time it reaches that qualification limit.

Some lenders will issue a check for the cash back earned on the account while others will only apply it to the credit card balance. Either way, this is a reward that saves actual dollars for the consumer.

Merchant Discount Rewards Programs

For many years, leading retail chains offered their own branded credit cards. These credit accounts could be used only for that merchant but often had a wide appeal. They were easy to qualify for and could be used in the stores or for mail order purchases.

The advent of internet shopping as well as the maturing of the business of issuing credit cards led retailers to close their own credit departments. Today, branded credit cards are provided for the merchant by leading lenders such as Citi and Chase.

These credit accounts carry a MasterCard or Visa logo and can be used for any merchant location where those logos are accepted. The bonus is that rewards offered are higher when the card is used at the specific merchant's stores.

The downside of obtaining a credit card designated for a specific retail chain is the APR charged. This interest is almost always higher than for a standard credit card.

This may not be important to you if you pay your credit cards off each month or if the reward offered for shopping at that merchant's locations are significant for you.

If you buy most of your items at Sears locations and the Sears branded card provides a significant bonus for those purchases, this would be a good account to use.

However, if there are no rewards to balance the APR and fees on such an account you would save money by finding the ideal rewards program that is not merchant specific.

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Summary

The best rewards credit card is the one that provides air miles, cash back or discounts that suit the way you use credit. You can build significant savings with rewards credit cards only if they fit your needs and buying habits.