credit card rewards http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/13635/all en-US How to Calculate the Value of Your Credit Card Rewards http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-calculate-the-value-of-your-credit-card-rewards <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-calculate-the-value-of-your-credit-card-rewards" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_buying_online.jpg" alt="Woman buying online" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Earning credit card rewards is a great way to offset the cost of purchases you already make. But it's worth calculating just how much those rewards are worth if you have to pay an annual fee on the credit card, or are trying to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-streamline-your-travel-rewards-strategy?ref=internal" target="_blank">streamline your rewards strategy</a> to focus on one or two cards that are most valuable for you.</p> <p>While it may seem easy to dismiss all credit cards that charge an annual fee, many <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-credit-cards-with-annual-fees?ref=internal" target="_blank">annual-fee credit cards</a> are well worth the price of the fee. The trick is to figure out the value of a card's rewards and benefits <em>for you</em>. When you know how much the card is worth to you, then it can be easier to decide whether to keep it. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-decide-if-an-annual-fee-credit-card-is-worth-it-for-you?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Decide if an Annual Fee Credit Card Is Worth It for You</a>)</p> <h2>How to calculate the value of rewards</h2> <p>Credit cards offer rewards in the form of points, miles, or cash back. The value of cash-back rewards are the easiest to calculate, and many <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-cash-back-credit-cards?ref=internal" target="_blank">cash-back credit card</a> issuers list the total cash-back rewards that you've earned during the last year on your statements or elsewhere in your online account.</p> <p>But it's more complex to calculate the value of the points or miles you've earned. To do so, you need to look at what you've been able to redeem them for in the past, or what you could redeem them for in the future. For example, you could look at the value of merchandise or gift card options available with a particular rewards program. Typically, these options will return a value of one cent per point, or perhaps less.</p> <p>In particular, merchandise awards often max out at a value of one cent per point or mile, and that's based on the product's full retail price. Since you can often find products discounted in some way, you should base your valuations on the best price that you can find, rather than the full manufacturer's suggested retail price. In fact, even gift cards are often available to buy at below face value.</p> <p>Next, you should subtract the value of the rewards you could have earned by paying for that purchase on a rewards card, rather than redeeming your points and miles for it.</p> <p>When it comes to awards you earn with <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-5-travel-reward-credit-cards?ref=internal" target="_blank">travel rewards credit cards</a>, the process is somewhat similar, but less exact. Usually the best you can do is to get a ballpark figure for the dollar value of points or miles you've cashed in previously. For instance, if you took an award flight to Hawaii in July, 2017, use Expedia or your favorite travel booking site to look up the price of flights in that same class of service in July, 2018. Do the same for any hotel stays you've used rewards for. If you haven't used any travel points yet, you could estimate their value by looking up the dollar price for a flight or hotel stay you'd like to take in the future using those points. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/which-credit-cards-have-the-best-travel-redemption-value?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Which Credit Cards Have the Best Travel Redemption Value?</a>)</p> <p>Again, the next step is to subtract the value of the credit card rewards you could have earned from your credit card, as well as any frequent flyer miles or hotel points that you could have received by paying for your flight or hotel room with a card instead of points or miles.</p> <h2>Estimating the value of your credit card perks</h2> <p>In addition to reward points or miles, many credit cards offer valuable benefits that can also be worth paying an annual fee for. For instance, some airline credit cards offer checked baggage fee waivers that can be very valuable, especially if you're traveling with family. However, they are only valuable to travelers who wouldn't have received that benefit any other way, such as by earning elite status with the airline.</p> <p>Other valuable benefits may include <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-credit-cards-with-free-airport-lounge-access?ref=internal" target="_blank">airport business lounge access</a>, and elite status with hotel or rental car programs, or credit toward elite status with an airline. Also, credit cards may offer <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/when-is-your-credit-cards-travel-insurance-good-enough?ref=internal" target="_blank">travel insurance</a> and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-surprising-reasons-to-always-use-your-credit-card?ref=internal" target="_blank">purchase protection policies</a>. If you have actually taken advantage of those perks, then you can add the estimated value of those benefits into your calculation. For instance, you could look up the price of travel insurance you would have had to pay for if you hadn't had the credit card perk.</p> <p>Finally, many premium travel reward credit cards now come with annual statement credits toward travel reservations, airline fees, and the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-credit-cards-that-offer-tsa-pre-check-and-global-entry-reimbursement?ref=internal" target="_blank">application fees for Global Entry and TSA Precheck</a>. It's fairly easy to add up the value of these benefits and include them in your calculation. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/travel-perks-you-didnt-know-your-credit-card-had?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Travel Perks You Didn't Know Your Credit Card Had</a>)</p> <h2>Figuring out how much the credit card is worth</h2> <p>Once you have an accurate estimate of the value of a card's rewards and benefits, then you can subtract that amount from its annual fee to determine its net benefit to you. However, just because the card's benefits outweigh its annual fee, doesn't mean that the card is worth keeping. You have to judge the card based on its net benefits compared to the value of a similar <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-credit-cards-with-no-annual-fees?ref=internal" target="_blank">card that doesn't have an annual fee</a>, as well as other competing cards that do have annual fees.</p> <p>Finally, you have to look at how you use the card. If you're in the habit of carrying a balance on your card, then you are paying interest charges each month. In that case, your first priority should be to pay off your debt and avoid interest charges. Forget about earning rewards until that's done.</p> <p>To save money on interest charges while paying off your debt, you can use a card that doesn't offer rewards, which will almost always have a lower interest rate than similar cards that have rewards. You might even want to transfer your balance to a card with a promotional <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-0-balance-transfer-credit-cards?ref=internal" target="_blank">0% balance transfer APR</a>.</p> <p>When you take the time to calculate all of the costs and benefits of your reward cards, then you can decide if the card is worth keeping and where it fits into your overall rewards-earning strategy.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fhow-to-calculate-the-value-of-your-credit-card-rewards&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FHow%2520to%2520Calculate%2520the%2520Value%2520of%2520Your%2520Credit%2520Card%2520Rewards.jpg&amp;description=How%20to%20Calculate%20the%20Value%20of%20Your%20Credit%20Card%20Rewards"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/How%20to%20Calculate%20the%20Value%20of%20Your%20Credit%20Card%20Rewards.jpg" alt="How to Calculate the Value of Your Credit Card Rewards" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/jason-steele">Jason Steele</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-calculate-the-value-of-your-credit-card-rewards">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-5-travel-reward-credit-cards">The Best Travel Reward Credit Cards</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-things-to-consider-before-making-a-big-purchase-for-rewards-points">6 Things to Consider Before Making a Big Purchase for Rewards Points</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-credit-cards-for-hotel-deals-and-rewards">The Best Credit Cards for Hotel Deals and Rewards</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-ease-into-credit-card-rewards-after-debt-repayment">How to Ease into Credit Card Rewards After Debt Repayment</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-credit-card-reward-tips-many-people-dont-follow">7 Credit Card Reward Tips Many People Don&#039;t Follow</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Credit Cards calculating rewards credit card rewards credit card tips rewards and points travel points travel rewards Thu, 05 Apr 2018 08:30:10 +0000 Jason Steele 2124620 at http://www.wisebread.com How Professional Award Bookers Can Get You Free Rewards Flights http://www.wisebread.com/how-professional-award-bookers-can-get-you-free-rewards-flights <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-professional-award-bookers-can-get-you-free-rewards-flights" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/young_traveler_doing_selfie_in_the_international_airport.jpg" alt="Young traveler doing selfie in the international airport" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Racking up airline points by flying or using <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-5-travel-reward-credit-cards?ref=internal" target="_blank">travel rewards credit cards</a> is fairly easy, but redeeming them for award flights can be more challenging. It can be hard to find available award seats using the airline's search functions, and it takes time to pore over multiple partner airlines' websites and consider different routing options.</p> <p>Thankfully, there are services that can help you get the most value out of your reward points and miles. For a fee, you can hire a professional award booker to find and book your award, saving you not only time, but sometimes points worth hundreds of dollars.</p> <h2>The challenges of award booking</h2> <p>When you have reward points or miles with a single airline, at first it might seem like a straightforward process to redeem those miles for an award flight. When in fact, it can be difficult, confusing, and time consuming. First, you might try to use the airline's website. However, these websites may not show most of the airline's partner award flights.</p> <p>For example, the American Airlines AAdvantage program only allows you to redeem miles online for flights on American and seven of its partners. That leaves over a dozen other airline partners that you can only call to book, including Cathay Pacific, Japan Airlines, LATAM, and Etihad Airways. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-get-more-value-out-of-american-airlines-miles?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Get More Value Out of American Airlines Miles</a>)</p> <p>But even if the airline claims to show all partner awards, its website might not actually display what you are looking for. For example, some airlines will only show itineraries with a certain number of connections. If your itinerary requires you to make more connections than the website will display, then you will be unable to book your award online.</p> <p>And if you do call the airline to get help with award booking, you will often reach indifferent customer service agents who may have little training and even less incentive to spend time on the phone helping you redeem your points and miles.</p> <p>This task becomes exponentially more complex when you're trying to redeem reward points in a flexible program that allows transfers to multiple airline partners. For example, one credit card rewards program lets you transfer your points to miles with nine different airline programs, while another has 16 different transfer partners. The Starwood Preferred Guest program has over 30 airline transfer partners. When you consider that each one of these frequent flyer programs can have over a dozen redemption partners, the award travel possibilities are overwhelming.</p> <p>Finally, booking an award flight can be extremely time consuming. I've been seriously collecting points and miles for more than 10 years, and have redeemed my miles for dozens of award flights for myself, my family, and my friends. I've also researched and written hundreds of articles on credit card rewards and award travel.</p> <p>And yet when I have to book an award, I can spend hours searching various websites, piecing flights together, and calling the airlines to book them. If it takes someone like me that long to book an award flight, imagine what it's like for the average traveler.</p> <h2>How award booking companies work</h2> <p>I have several friends who offer award booking services, and they have two advantages that I lack. They have access to numerous programs and websites that help to automate airline award searching. Sometimes these programs grant special access to the airline reservation systems and can return far more accurate and comprehensive results than the airlines' consumer facing websites do. Other services simply query multiple airline websites and aggregate the results in a more helpful format. Some of these services are available to the general public, but for a fee, that's rarely worth it for most occasional award travelers.</p> <p>In addition, professional award bookers have invaluable experience that they can draw on. These are hard-core travel geeks who have memorized airline award charts and flight routes, and instinctively know how to redeem the fewest points for the best flights. Many award bookers even know how to instruct airline customer service representatives to use their systems to book awards that the agents weren't trained to do.</p> <h2>How to work with an award booking company</h2> <p>To get started with an award booking company, you will typically have to fill out a form or have a telephone consultation in which you list the points and miles you have, where you are trying to go, and the dates you are willing to travel. Award booking companies are great, but they are not miracle workers. Therefore, you'll have the best results when you can specify a range of possible dates, and you'll do even better if you offer alternate departure airports or destinations.</p> <p>To have the award booking service ticket your itinerary, you will also have to give them your frequent flyer numbers and login information. Once you submit your information, you can expect the process to take at least a day or two before you are presented with proposed itineraries for your approval.</p> <p>Most award booking companies charge clients only when they are able to find an acceptable itinerary. The prices vary but you can usually expect to pay between $100 and $200 per person. For example, Gary Leff runs <a href="http://bookyouraward.com" target="_blank">Book Your Award</a> and charges $185 per person. He got started in the business in 2009 after getting many reader questions about award booking on his travel blog, View From The Wing. His service has since been written about in Condé Nast Traveler, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, USA Today, and many other publications.</p> <p>Leff specializes in helping people secure premium cabin international award seats, which are often the most valuable use of your points and miles. &quot;Digging into the minutiae of airline partners and frequent flyer program rules isn't for everyone,&quot; Leff says. &quot;And you can't always just enter where you're starting from and where you're going and get all of the options for your trip from your frequent flyer program's website.&quot;</p> <p>Ari Charlestein runs <a href="http://www.awardmagic.com" target="_blank">Award Magic</a>, which charges $179 per person for one-way and round-trip awards, and $279 per person for multi-destination and round-the-world awards. When Charlestein was in college, he met someone who flew to Australia each year in business class with miles. He recalls thinking, <em>You're telling me these miles that my parents wasted to go skiing in Colorado, we could have used to fly to Australia in business class?</em> When he told his friends and family that he could help them book award flights, and they told their friends, he started doing this on the side, and later went full-time.</p> <p>Typically, his clients reach out to him through his website and schedule a phone call. He then goes through every possible routing and airline, looking for the best combination. For example, he could help you use credit card points to transfer to Virgin Atlantic to redeem for a flight operated by Japan's ANA airline.</p> <h2>Should you use an award booking company?</h2> <p>For most travelers, it makes sense to at least try to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/maximize-the-value-of-your-airline-miles-and-points?ref=internal" target="_blank">book an award yourself</a>, especially if it's a simple itinerary. There are lots of tips and tools to help you along the way. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-tricks-to-making-the-most-of-your-reward-miles?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Tips to Making the Most of Your Reward Miles</a>)</p> <p>But once you've tried and failed to find award space at the lowest mileage levels, and you are feeling overwhelmed, then it might be the time to seek professional help. This is especially true if you're looking for an international flight in a premium cabin, or if you'd like to make multiple stops on your trip. By paying an award booking service a few hundred dollars, you can save the time and aggravation necessary to book an award trip that might be worth thousands.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fhow-professional-award-bookers-can-get-you-free-rewards-flights&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FHow%2520Professional%2520Award%2520Bookers%2520Can%2520Get%2520You%2520Free%2520Rewards%2520Flights.jpg&amp;description=How%20Professional%20Award%20Bookers%20Can%20Get%20You%20Free%20Rewards%20Flights"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/How%20Professional%20Award%20Bookers%20Can%20Get%20You%20Free%20Rewards%20Flights.jpg" alt="How Professional Award Bookers Can Get You Free Rewards Flights" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/jason-steele">Jason Steele</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-professional-award-bookers-can-get-you-free-rewards-flights">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-travel-splurges-that-are-worth-every-penny">5 Travel Splurges That Are Worth Every Penny</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-pitfalls-when-chasing-travel-rewards">6 Pitfalls When Chasing Travel Rewards</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-5-travel-reward-credit-cards">The Best Travel Reward Credit Cards</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-tools-that-help-you-find-free-award-flights">4 Tools That Help You Find Free Award Flights</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-first-class-airlines-that-are-dripping-with-luxury">3 First Class Airlines That Are Dripping With Luxury</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Shopping Travel award bookers credit card rewards flight booking travel budget travel rewards travel tips Tue, 03 Apr 2018 08:30:13 +0000 Jason Steele 2124242 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Things to Consider Before Making a Big Purchase for Rewards Points http://www.wisebread.com/6-things-to-consider-before-making-a-big-purchase-for-rewards-points <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-things-to-consider-before-making-a-big-purchase-for-rewards-points" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/smiling_woman_with_credit_card_and_laptop.jpg" alt="Smiling woman with credit card and laptop" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>It can be thrilling to chase credit card rewards. When you use a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-5-travel-reward-credit-cards?ref=internal" target="_blank">travel rewards credit card</a>, you earn points and miles that you can redeem for a free trip. And when you use <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-cash-back-credit-cards?ref=internal" target="_blank">cash back cards</a>, you're essentially earning a nice little refund on your purchases.</p> <p>Making big purchases on your credit card is one way to rack up points quickly. A home remodel or wedding can cost tens of thousands of dollars, and as long as you're not spending extra just to rack up rewards, using a rewards credit card can be a way to defray those large costs.</p> <p>This strategy can be more complex than you think, however. Here are six things to think about before making a large purchase for rewards.</p> <h2>1. Will the merchant accept credit cards?</h2> <p>Before you can even consider using your credit card to make a large purchase, you have to find out if the store or vendor will even accept them. Every time a merchant accepts a credit card, it must pay the processor a merchant fee of about 2% to 3% of the transaction. Understandably, this makes many companies hesitant to accept credit cards, especially for their largest sales.</p> <p>For example, home improvement contractors often won't accept credit cards because they know that the merchant fees will directly impact their bottom line. You may, however, be able to work out a deal where you can, for instance, buy some of the project supplies with your credit card from a home improvement store. It never hurts to ask. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-credit-cards-to-use-for-a-home-renovation?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Best Credit Cards for a Home Renovation</a>)</p> <p>Some car dealers might also have policies preventing you from using your credit card to pay for a vehicle, while others may allow you to use your credit card for a certain percentage of the transaction and use cash or other financing for the rest of the sale. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/should-you-buy-a-car-with-a-credit-card?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Should You Buy a Car With a Credit Card?</a>)</p> <p>Finally, double check that the merchant is part of your rewards card's payment network. For example, some merchants don't accept <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/american-express-credit-card-offers-applications-reviews?ref=internal" target="_blank">American Express</a>.</p> <h2>2. Will the company impose a surcharge to use your credit card?</h2> <p>Some companies are happy to accept credit cards for large transactions, but they will impose a surcharge that will cost you more than any rewards that you might earn. For example, it's not uncommon for companies to impose a 3% to 5% surcharge on credit card transactions, and bury that information in the fine print of the agreement. And conveniently for the companies that do this, their surcharges are often in excess of their credit card processing fees, allowing them to make a profit.</p> <p>Thankfully, there are 10 states where it's actually illegal to add a surcharge to a credit card transaction. If you are doing business in California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Kansas, Maine, Massachusetts, New York, Oklahoma, or Texas, and a merchant is adding a surcharge to credit card transactions, you might want to inform them that the practice is illegal. If you are polite about it, the merchant may reconsider its surcharge and let you pay for your purchase with a credit card at no additional cost. Just be aware that the government and publicly regulated utilities are often exempt from the laws prohibiting credit card surcharges.</p> <h2>3. Does the company offer a cash discount?</h2> <p>Most states allow merchants to offer a cash discount on the advertised price instead of imposing a credit card surcharge. And even if a cash discount is not expressly advertised, you might be able to negotiate one before using your credit card, especially if it's for a large purchase. If the value of your discount is greater than the rewards you could earn, then it can be better to use cash.</p> <h2>4. Will the card issuer approve the charge?</h2> <p>Once you've figured out that the merchant will accept your credit card, you should double check that your card issuer will authorize the charge. Not only do you need to have a large enough line of available credit, but even if you do, a card issuer might flag an unusually large purchase as potentially fraudulent. For these reasons, it's a good idea to inform your card issuer in advance of a large charge, so they can make a note in their systems to expect it.</p> <p>And if you would like to make a purchase in excess of your current credit limit, you may be able to do so if you call your card issuer. It may grant you a credit limit increase, or, if you've got more than one credit card from that issuer, it may be willing to move a portion of your credit limit from one card to another.</p> <h2>5. Will you be able to avoid interest by paying your balance in full?</h2> <p>Whether your purchase is large or small, it only makes sense to chase rewards when you can avoid interest charges by paying your entire statement balance in full. When you're incurring interest on your debts, then your first priority should be to save money while paying it off.</p> <p>Rewards cards tend to impose higher interest rates than cards that don't offer rewards. So if you know you'll need to run a balance to pay off your large purchase, your best strategy is to use a card with a low interest rate or a card with <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-credit-cards-with-0-apr-for-purchases?ref=internal" target="_blank">0% APR on new purchases</a> for a promotional period. These cards tend to offer skimpier rewards, if any, but the interest you'll save should more than make up for the lack of rewards. Forget about rewards until you're in a place to pay off your balance in full every month. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/fastest-way-to-pay-off-10000-in-credit-card-debt?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Fastest Way to Pay Off $10,000 in Credit Card Debt</a>)</p> <p>Other options are to delay the purchase until you have saved up enough money to pay for it without incurring debt, or seek other low-interest forms of finance.</p> <h2>6. How will this purchase affect your credit?</h2> <p>A large portion of your credit score is determined by your <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-one-ratio-is-the-key-to-a-good-credit-score?ref=internal" target="_blank">credit utilization ratio</a> &mdash; the amount of debt you have compared to how much credit you have available. Even when you pay off your statement balance in full, that balance is reported to the major consumer credit bureaus as debt for the month, and that can have a temporary impact on your credit score.</p> <p>If you have an excellent credit score and a large amount of available credit, then you shouldn't expect much of an impact. But if you have a limited amount of credit, then consuming it with a large purchase could cause your credit score to drop dramatically. One way to avoid this is to make a large payment before your statement period ends. Doing this will reduce your statement balance and its impact on your credit score.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F6-things-to-consider-before-making-a-big-purchase-for-rewards-points&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F6%2520Things%2520to%2520Consider%2520Before%2520Making%2520a%2520Big%2520Purchase%2520for%2520Rewards%2520Points.jpg&amp;description=6%20Things%20to%20Consider%20Before%20Making%20a%20Big%20Purchase%20for%20Rewards%20Points"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/6%20Things%20to%20Consider%20Before%20Making%20a%20Big%20Purchase%20for%20Rewards%20Points.jpg" alt="6 Things to Consider Before Making a Big Purchase for Rewards Points" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/jason-steele">Jason Steele</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-things-to-consider-before-making-a-big-purchase-for-rewards-points">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-store-card-pitfalls-to-watch-out-for">5 Store Card Pitfalls to Watch Out for</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-5-credit-cards-for-groceries">The Best Credit Cards for Groceries</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/2-minute-guide-how-to-use-balance-transfers-to-pay-off-credit-card-debt">2-Minute Guide: How to Use Balance Transfers to Pay Off Credit Card Debt</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-calculate-the-value-of-your-credit-card-rewards">How to Calculate the Value of Your Credit Card Rewards</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-ease-into-credit-card-rewards-after-debt-repayment">How to Ease into Credit Card Rewards After Debt Repayment</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Credit Cards Shopping credit card debt credit card rewards credit card tips earning points and rewards shopping tips Thu, 29 Mar 2018 09:30:21 +0000 Jason Steele 2123634 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Ease into Credit Card Rewards After Debt Repayment http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-ease-into-credit-card-rewards-after-debt-repayment <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-ease-into-credit-card-rewards-after-debt-repayment" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/shop_while_at_home_on_the_sofa.jpg" alt="Shop while at home on the sofa" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Imagine you've just paid off a boatload of debt after months, or years, of struggle. Now that you're finally debt-free, you have extra cash to spend each month and your credit score is higher than ever.</p> <p>With that in mind, you may think you're ready to use credit cards again. Thanks to the array of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-5-travel-reward-credit-cards?ref=internal" target="_blank">travel rewards</a> and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-cash-back-credit-cards?ref=internal" target="_blank">cash-back offers</a> available, you may even be itching to start earning rewards for each dollar you spend. And why not? You're debt-free and have a much better grasp on your spending now. Plus, paying off debt has helped you develop the discipline to avoid letting your spending get out of hand.</p> <p>While it's great to feel confident, many financial advisers say you should probably still err on the side of caution to avoid any more credit mishaps. It's true you may be ready for credit cards, but there are still precautions you'll want to take right away, they say.</p> <p>As you ease back into credit card use, here are some steps you should take.</p> <h2>Review your spending frequently &mdash; especially at first</h2> <p>Wealth adviser and certified financial planner Brian Behl of Bronfman Rothschild says one of the best steps you can take as you get started is reviewing your spending often. &quot;Every few days or at least weekly&quot; at a minimum is what Behl suggests, although you can tailor this advice to your lifestyle and needs.</p> <p>By reviewing your spending at least once a week, you can check to see if using a credit card has brought on any of your old habits. For example, you can make sure you're not using credit as an excuse to splurge, and that everything you've purchased can be paid off immediately when your credit card bill becomes due.</p> <h2>Make frequent payments</h2> <p>Behl also suggests making more than one payment each month. If you have access to your account online, you can usually make payments from your checking account instantly without sending a check. This allows you to keep your balance from accumulating and lets you maintain a low <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-one-ratio-is-the-key-to-a-good-credit-score?ref=internal" target="_blank">credit utilization ratio</a>.</p> <p>By making frequent payments, Behl says you can stay on top of your spending, take advantage of credit card rewards, and avoid credit card debt. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-simple-ways-to-never-make-a-late-credit-card-payment?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Simple Ways to Never Make a Late Credit Card Payment</a>)</p> <h2>Use credit cards as part of a monthly spending plan</h2> <p>Financial adviser Matt Adams of MoneyMethods.com suggests you use credit cards as part of a monthly spending plan if you want to make the most of rewards without falling back into debt. Yes, this means dealing with the dreaded &quot;b-word&quot; (budget), but it doesn't have to be bad news.</p> <p>Try writing out a budget for the month, then make sure you never charge more on that card than you would if you were paying in cash, says Adams. Also, &quot;make certain it is never an amount that can't be paid off each month. If you don't keep close track of it, that credit card balance can get overwhelming very quickly.&quot; (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-budget-when-youre-no-longer-broke?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Budget When You're No Longer Broke</a>)</p> <p>Adams says that, even though he is a financial adviser, he still tracks his spending and compares it to his budget at least once a week. This way, he can earn travel rewards points good for airfare or hotels while making sure his spending isn't getting out of hand.</p> <p>&quot;If you are diligent and pay close attention to it, the rewards may very well be worth the trouble,&quot; he says. After all, who doesn't love a free vacation?</p> <h2>Use credit for fixed bills only</h2> <p>Shane Sullivan, a certified financial planner and founder of the blog Wealth Over 50, offers this strategy for people who want to ease into credit use slowly: Try paying only recurring bills with credit and use cash or debit for everything else.</p> <p>Recurring bills include any bills you pay monthly &mdash; for example, utility bills, cable subscriptions, day care, and your gym membership. Very often, you can even set these bills up to be charged to your card automatically. From there, you can set up automatic payments so your credit card bills are paid once a month from your checking account.</p> <p>Sullivan says he uses this strategy to maximize rewards while avoiding debt problems in his home. &quot;For example, our day care is $1,000 per month and it is automatically charged to our credit card where we earn points used to take a family vacation,&quot; he says. &quot;However, I also set up a monthly bill pay to automatically send $1,000 per month to pay off the card.&quot;</p> <p>For this strategy to work, Sullivan says you need to make sure you don't carry your credit card around in your wallet. If you want to benefit from your recurring expenses without worrying about getting into trouble, then you have to make sure you're not using your card for regular spending.</p> <p>&quot;Stick it in a drawer, give it to your spouse, or cut it up,&quot; he says. &quot;If you carry the card, you'll use the card &mdash; so don't carry it.&quot;</p> <h2>Hold off on rewards if you're not certain</h2> <p>Finally, if all of this sounds overwhelming or the mere thought of using credit has you nervous, don't forget that you don't have to jump in.</p> <p>Jon Luskin, a certified financial planner based in San Diego, says that, for many people, the risk of getting back into debt is simply too great. Sure, you may be able to earn 2% back on your purchases, but what happens if you wind up paying 24% APR on those purchases for years?</p> <p>Sign-up bonuses can make the initial rewards sweeter, but Luskin says it's still a terrible deal when you're stuck paying credit card interest for an unknown period of time.</p> <p>So pursue credit card rewards if you're determined to do it responsibly, but don't forget there's nothing wrong with <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/is-an-all-cash-diet-right-for-you?ref=internal" target="_blank">skipping credit altogether</a>. The rewards may be tempting, but the risks are downright scary.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fhow-to-ease-into-credit-card-rewards-after-debt-repayment&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FHow%2520to%2520Ease%2520into%2520Credit%2520Card%2520Rewards%2520After%2520Debt%2520Repayment.jpg&amp;description=How%20to%20Ease%20into%20Credit%20Card%20Rewards%20After%20Debt%20Repayment"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/How%20to%20Ease%20into%20Credit%20Card%20Rewards%20After%20Debt%20Repayment.jpg" alt="How to Ease into Credit Card Rewards After Debt Repayment" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/holly-johnson">Holly Johnson</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-ease-into-credit-card-rewards-after-debt-repayment">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-calculate-the-value-of-your-credit-card-rewards">How to Calculate the Value of Your Credit Card Rewards</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-things-to-consider-before-making-a-big-purchase-for-rewards-points">6 Things to Consider Before Making a Big Purchase for Rewards Points</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/re-age-your-credit-card-debt-to-protect-your-credit-score">Re-Age Your Credit Card Debt to Protect Your Credit Score</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/2-minute-guide-how-to-use-balance-transfers-to-pay-off-credit-card-debt">2-Minute Guide: How to Use Balance Transfers to Pay Off Credit Card Debt</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-reduce-the-costs-of-a-cash-advance">How to Reduce the Costs of a Cash Advance</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Credit Cards Debt Management credit card rewards credit card tips debt tips managing debt saving money Fri, 23 Mar 2018 09:30:18 +0000 Holly Johnson 2122414 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Rack Up Extra Rewards Points by Buying Gift Cards http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-rack-up-extra-rewards-points-by-buying-gift-cards <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-rack-up-extra-rewards-points-by-buying-gift-cards" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/businesspeople_exchanging_visiting_card.jpg" alt="Businesspeople Exchanging Visiting Card" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>When you're out of ideas for buying a present, a gift card can be an easy way out. Not only are gift cards available for use at most major retailers, but they're easy to find. You can buy gift cards while doing your other shopping at supermarkets, office supply stores, and drugstores. And if you're trying to maximize the amount of credit card rewards you earn, buying gift cards can be an important tool in your arsenal.</p> <h2>Buying gift cards at the right store</h2> <p>Since many different stores sell gift cards, buying a gift card can be an opportunity to earn additional rewards for your purchase. For example, some credit cards offer bonus rewards at grocery stores, which typically have large racks full of gift cards. Also, there are small-business credit cards that offer as many as five points per dollar spent at office supply stores, which can have a vast selection of gift cards.</p> <p>In fact, some credit card rewards enthusiasts will often buy gift cards for their own personal consumption, in order to earn bonus rewards for their purchases. For example, if you have a large home improvement project, you might choose to purchase Home Depot gift cards at an office supply store using a small-business credit card that offers you 5x points there.</p> <h2>Purchasing gift cards to meet a minimum spending requirement</h2> <p>Many credit cards offer extremely valuable welcome bonuses of points, miles, or cash back to new applicants. However, these offers usually require you to spend a specific amount, often several thousand dollars, within a limited time period &mdash; typically three months. If you are unable to meet that requirement through your normal spending, you could consider purchasing gift cards that you can use later. Of course, you shouldn't consider doing so unless you are able to avoid interest charges by paying off your entire statement balance in full.</p> <h2>Retail versus general purpose gift cards</h2> <p>When purchasing gift cards, you have two options. The first is to purchase a gift card for a specific retailer. These are sometimes called &quot;closed loop cards,&quot; because you can only use them at that retailer. Closed loop cards will not carry any additional fees, so a $100 gift card will only cost $100.00. On the other hand, these cards can only be used for purchases at a single store or restaurant.</p> <p>The other option is to purchase a general purpose gift card that allows you to make purchases at any retailer that participates in a payment network such as Visa, MasterCard, or American Express. These are known as &quot;open loop gift cards.&quot; While they offer additional flexibility, you'll have to pay fees to activate and use them, which can be as high as $8.95 per card. Furthermore, there are some retailers that won't allow you to purchase generic gift cards with your credit card.</p> <h2>Earning additional rewards from your gift card purchases</h2> <p>Beyond the rewards offered by your credit card issuer, it's also possible to earn additional rewards directly from a store. For example, some supermarkets will give you fuel points for all purchases including gift cards. These points will allow you to save money when purchasing gas from their fuel centers. And wholesale stores often give their members some amount of cash back for their annual purchases, which can include gift cards. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-credit-cards-to-use-at-costco?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Best Credit Cards to Use at Costco</a>)</p> <h2>Gift card reselling</h2> <p>Some hobbyists have found a way to earn credit card rewards by buying discounted gift cards and then reselling them. With these transactions, the buyer might take a small monetary loss, break even, or even make a very small profit, all while earning enough points, miles, or cash back from their credit cards to justify the purchase.</p> <p>However, this isn't an easy way to generate reward points or to earn money. Anyone who gets into this hobby should be extremely organized with their finances, and should never incur credit card debt in the process. The debt will negate any small value you gain from the rewards you earn. Also, there's no guarantee you can offload the gift cards, or that selling fees won't eat up any of those gains, either.</p> <p>Gift cards can make for good gifts, but there are a lot of other uses for them. By buying the right gift cards from the right retailer, you can possibly earn valuable rewards for your purchases.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fhow-to-rack-up-extra-rewards-points-by-buying-gift-cards&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FHow%2520to%2520Rack%2520Up%2520Extra%2520Rewards%2520Points%2520by%2520Buying%2520Gift%2520Cards.jpg&amp;description=How%20to%20Rack%20Up%20Extra%20Rewards%20Points%20by%20Buying%20Gift%20Cards"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/How%20to%20Rack%20Up%20Extra%20Rewards%20Points%20by%20Buying%20Gift%20Cards.jpg" alt="How to Rack Up Extra Rewards Points by Buying Gift Cards" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/jason-steele">Jason Steele</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-rack-up-extra-rewards-points-by-buying-gift-cards">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-you-should-sign-up-for-airline-rewards-even-if-you-dont-travel-much">Why You Should Sign Up for Airline Rewards Even If You Don&#039;t Travel Much</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-things-to-consider-before-making-a-big-purchase-for-rewards-points">6 Things to Consider Before Making a Big Purchase for Rewards Points</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-easy-ways-to-use-technology-to-save-on-christmas-shopping">6 Easy Ways to Use Technology to Save on Christmas Shopping</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-small-monthly-bills-slowly-wreck-your-annual-budget">How Small Monthly Bills Slowly Wreck Your Annual Budget</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-5-credit-cards-for-groceries">The Best Credit Cards for Groceries</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Shopping credit card rewards gift buying gift card tips gift cards rewards points shopping tips Thu, 01 Mar 2018 09:30:09 +0000 Jason Steele 2108840 at http://www.wisebread.com Guess What? Your Bank Rewards May be Taxable http://www.wisebread.com/guess-what-your-bank-rewards-may-be-taxable <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/guess-what-your-bank-rewards-may-be-taxable" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/i_wonder_how_much_that_would_cost.jpg" alt="I wonder how much that would cost" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Banking rewards, incentives, and bonuses are often touted as one of the best ways to get &quot;something for nothing.&quot; For example, a bank may offer you $300 to open a new checking account and set up direct deposit. Or, you could earn bonus airline points worth more than $1,000 by opening a new <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-5-travel-reward-credit-cards?ref=internal" target="_blank">travel rewards credit card</a> and spending a certain amount on the card within a designated time frame.</p> <p>The good news about most of these offers is that the requirements to earn the bonuses are simple to understand and easy to attain. Many bank offers require you to keep a certain amount of cash on deposit for a specific length of time, say six months, in order to earn the bonus. Rewards credit cards, on the other hand, typically dole out points based on whether you can spend a few thousand dollars within a specific time frame. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-sign-up-bonuses-for-airline-miles-credit-cards?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Credit Cards with the Best Sign-Up Bonuses for Travel</a>)</p> <p>If you're organized and have the money to spend, you're golden.</p> <p>One little detail that's often not discussed, however, is whether you're responsible for paying taxes on the value of the rewards. Different programs have different requirements, and it's helpful to know what your responsibility might be.</p> <h2>Which rewards are taxable?</h2> <p>First things first. If you sign up for a bank account and don't have to spend anything to earn the bonus, you'll have to count your bonus as taxable income. This is because, unlike credit card rewards that require you to spend money upfront, bank bonuses are earned passively.</p> <p>Let's say you sign up to receive a new checking account bonus from a bank that states you'll earn $200 when you open a checking account and set up direct deposit to the account. Since you didn't have to buy anything, this bonus is considered income.</p> <p>&quot;Bank bonuses do not require a transaction,&quot; notes Brian Ashcraft, Director of Compliance at Liberty Tax Service in Virginia Beach, Virginia. &quot;Therefore, the IRS treats the bonus as an award that adds to your income.&quot;</p> <p>This may be a small hiccup in your plans to earn free money, but it's not that big of a deal to pay taxes on bank bonuses. You won't have to pay taxes on your bonus right away, after all. Ashcraft says you can expect to receive a Form 1099-MISC in the mail from the bank that offers your bonus as long as your bonus is higher than $600. Your bank is not required to send a 1099 for amounts less than $600, but you still need to claim the income as &quot;other income&quot; on line 21 on Form 1040 when you file your taxes.</p> <h2>Some rewards aren't taxable</h2> <p>Beyond bank bonuses, many people love to pursue credit card and travel rewards. With the right <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-cash-back-credit-cards?ref=internal" target="_blank">cash-back card</a> or travel credit card, you can earn points redeemable for cash back, gift cards, travel, or merchandise. Further, if you pay your credit card bill off right away and avoid paying interest, these rewards can truly be &quot;free.&quot;</p> <p>Because you have to spend money on the card to receive the sign-up bonus or any rewards thereafter, credit card rewards are typically considered a rebate. This means they are not taxable, says Josh Zimmelman, tax consultant at Westwood Tax &amp; Consulting in New York.</p> <p>&quot;Rebates are received after a financial transaction and are not taxable,&quot; he says. &quot;Sign up bonuses are considered rebates if they required a financial action to earn them.&quot;</p> <p>This means that, if you play your cards right, you could be earning hundreds or thousands of dollars in travel rewards or cash back without counting it as income on your taxes. The key is making sure your rewards are considered by the IRS to be a <em>rebate</em> instead of a <em>bonus.</em></p> <h2>Covering the gray area</h2> <p>While it's fairly easy to understand that bank bonuses are typically taxed and credit card rewards offered as a rebate aren't, there is some gray area to be aware of, says Zimmelman.</p> <p>Let's say you received a bonus just for signing up for a new credit card but didn't actually have to make a purchase to earn it. Zimmelman says that, in this case, your rewards would be taxable since a financial transaction wasn't required to earn the bonus.</p> <p>&quot;Similarly, if you earned a reward for filling out a survey or providing information in some other way, that is also considered taxable income,&quot; he says.</p> <p>According to Turbo Tax, this side income is considered &quot;miscellaneous income&quot; and should be taken seriously, almost as if you'd earned it through a side job. Turbo Tax says you can prevent tax time snafus by reporting all income you get from your bank bonuses or side jobs, whether it's in the form of money, property, or services.</p> <p>Now let's say you open a bank account and receive airline miles as an incentive. In this case, the cash value of the miles (which will be determined by the bank that offers them) is taxable, says Ashcraft. This is because, unlike a situation where you're earning airline miles by using a travel credit card, no financial transactions were required in this case.</p> <h2>Staying ahead of the game</h2> <p>Whether you're a fan of bank bonuses or credit card rewards, the key to making the most of these offers is knowing whether they're taxable or not and planning accordingly. And if you have to pay taxes on bonuses worth more than $600, expect to receive a 1099 form in the mail and wait to file your taxes until you receive it.</p> <p>With credit card rewards, on the other hand, you're free to earn and burn without worrying about the tax man &mdash; that is, as long as you made a purchase to earn them. If you feel like you pay enough taxes already (don't we all?), this could make redeeming your rewards that much sweeter.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fguess-what-your-bank-rewards-may-be-taxable&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FGuess%2520What_%2520Your%2520Bank%2520Rewards%2520May%2520be%2520Taxable.jpg&amp;description=Guess%20What%3F%20Your%20Bank%20Rewards%20May%20be%20Taxable"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/Guess%20What_%20Your%20Bank%20Rewards%20May%20be%20Taxable.jpg" alt="Guess What? Your Bank Rewards May be Taxable" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/holly-johnson">Holly Johnson</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/guess-what-your-bank-rewards-may-be-taxable">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/comparing-miles-which-airline-loyalty-program-is-better">Which Airline Loyalty Program Has the Best Value for Their Miles?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-5-travel-reward-credit-cards">The Best Travel Reward Credit Cards</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-cash-back-credit-cards">The Best Cash Back Credit Cards</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-5-credit-cards-for-groceries">The Best Credit Cards for Groceries</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-credit-cards-for-dining-out">The 5 Best Credit Cards for Dining Out</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Credit Cards airline rewards bank rewards cash rewards credit card rewards reward points tax tips Mon, 19 Feb 2018 09:30:14 +0000 Holly Johnson 2104313 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Divide Rewards and Keep Your Sanity in Divorce http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-divide-rewards-and-keep-your-sanity-in-divorce <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-divide-rewards-and-keep-your-sanity-in-divorce" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/the_monthly_finances_0.jpg" alt="The monthly finances" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Divorce is a fact of life in the United States these days. According to a 2017 Gallup poll, 73 percent of American adults believe divorce is morally acceptable. And while divorce rates have declined in recent years, still 40-50 percent of married couples wind up going their separate ways.</p> <p>Unfortunately for everyone involved, divorce is usually messy and sometimes even financially catastrophic. Not only does divorce signify the separation of a household and the end of a relationship, but it usually means divvying up all personal property and assets, too. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-protect-yourself-financially-during-a-divorce-or-separation?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Protect Yourself Financially in a Divorce</a>)</p> <h2>What happens to airline miles when you get divorced?</h2> <p>But, what about your airline miles? If you're careening toward divorce and flush with rewards points, you may have to get used to the idea of splitting them up.</p> <p>According to the legal experts at LegalZoom, airline miles and other points are treated like other marital assets because, well, they are. Even though points and miles aren't as easy to see and inspect as other property like cars or furniture, they still have value &mdash; at least to some people. If you or your spouse earned rewards points during your marriage, these miles are considered a marital asset, notes LegalZoom. As a result, you'll have to split them or agree upon some other arrangement.</p> <p>Sadly, this is where things get complicated. LegalZoom notes that your method of divvying things up may vary based on where you live. If you reside in a community property state like California, for example, the courts will split your miles equally between you. In equitable distribution states like New York or Maryland, on the other hand, miles are divided based on what the court deems &quot;fair.&quot;</p> <p>You'll definitely want to consult your divorce lawyer if you or your soon-to-be ex are, say, sitting on a stash of hundreds of thousands of miles. Your attorney may already know the law in your state, and if not, they'll find out for you. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-money-moves-to-make-the-moment-you-decide-to-get-divorced?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Money Moves to Make the Moment You Decide to Divorce</a>)</p> <h2>Methods of divvying up miles and points after divorce</h2> <p>But how exactly do you divide airline miles and other rewards points? It depends on a number of factors. While splitting a stash of points and miles down the middle may sound like the fairest thing to do, it usually comes with fees.</p> <h3>Divide and transfer points</h3> <p>Take the Marriott Rewards program, for example. While the program lets you pool points with a spouse to make a specific award redemption, you'll have to pay $10 to pool points in any other case unless you have Marriott Gold or Platinum status.</p> <p>That's not a high price to pay, but you may be able to get around it completely. Since Marriott points can now be transferred to Starwood Preferred Guest at a 3:1 ratio and Starwood does let you combine or share points with a spouse, both spouses could transfer all their Marriott points to SPG accounts then split them up there. Problem solved. Then again, paying a $10 fee to transfer points in a divorce seems like a small price to pay.</p> <p>The IHG Rewards program lets you transfer points to another person but you'll have to pay $5 per 1,000 points transferred. While $5 per 1,000 points may be a small price to pay in the event of a divorce, this could be a problem if, say, one spouse has hundreds of thousands of IHG Rewards points in their account. In that case, both spouses might have to find another way to split up their rewards in a fair and sensible way.</p> <h3>Valuing points and miles</h3> <p>In some situations, you just <em>can't</em> split points up equally, or it might not make sense if the account has just enough points for one flight. In those cases, it might work better to assign a value to accrued points and negotiate payment or other property to make things equal. Unfortunately, this is another tricky situation since points and miles don't have a set value and may be worth more or less depending on how they are redeemed.</p> <p>You can find help by checking monthly points valuations from The Points Guy, who analyzes point value fluctuations regularly based on the costs of travel and changes in rewards programs. At the moment, TPG says that American AAdvantage miles are worth 1.4 cents each, and Delta SkyMiles are worth a paltry 1.2 cents each.</p> <p>If one spouse is to get 100,000 Delta SkyMiles and 200,000 American AAdvantage miles, the couple could use these valuations as a guide, then make sure the other spouse gets $4,000 to make things equal ($1,200 for 100,000 Delta SkyMiles and $2,800 for the 200,000 American AAdvantage miles).</p> <h3>Keep miles in separate accounts but agree on who can use them</h3> <p>Still, there are even more options on the table. If you can't or won't transfer points and don't want to pay each other in cash or other property, there are a few other ways to split up your points in a fair and equitable way. Many rewards programs that won't let you transfer points will let you book travel in another person's name. Because of this, you could keep airline miles where they are and agree on who can use them and when.</p> <h3>Agree to use miles for joint purposes</h3> <p>Alternatively, a divorcing couple could jointly agree to use miles only for purposes they agree upon, such as getting their children or other family members home for the holidays.</p> <h2>Don't sweat the small stuff</h2> <p>While airline miles and other reward currencies have financial value and fixed opportunity costs (since it takes time to earn them), most couples likely have balances so small they're not worth squabbling over. And just like money, you can always rack up more points and miles once you divorce and start living life on your own terms.</p> <p>On the flip side, don't let a spouse flush with points get away with a huge stash of airline miles or rewards points just because the points are in their name and their name only. Points and miles may not have tangible value until you redeem them, but the travel they help you afford is often priceless.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fhow-to-divide-rewards-and-keep-your-sanity-in-divorce&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FHow%2520to%2520Divide%2520Rewards%2520and%2520Keep%2520Your%2520Sanity%2520in%2520Divorce.jpg&amp;description=How%20to%20Divide%20Rewards%20and%20Keep%20Your%20Sanity%20in%20Divorce"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/How%20to%20Divide%20Rewards%20and%20Keep%20Your%20Sanity%20in%20Divorce.jpg" alt="How to Divide Rewards and Keep Your Sanity in Divorce" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/holly-johnson">Holly Johnson</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-divide-rewards-and-keep-your-sanity-in-divorce">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-travel-must-haves-for-nursing-moms">8 Travel Must-Haves for Nursing Moms</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-professional-award-bookers-can-get-you-free-rewards-flights">How Professional Award Bookers Can Get You Free Rewards Flights</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-romantic-getaways-any-couple-can-afford">7 Romantic Getaways Any Couple Can Afford</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-affordable-family-getaways-when-you-dont-have-a-vacation-fund">7 Affordable Family Getaways When You Don&#039;t Have a Vacation Fund</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/yes-affordable-family-travel-is-possible">Yes, Affordable Family Travel Is Possible</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Family Travel credit card rewards dividing rewards divorce flight miles rewards travel tips Thu, 25 Jan 2018 09:30:09 +0000 Holly Johnson 2093191 at http://www.wisebread.com All-Inclusive Resorts You Can Book for Free With Points http://www.wisebread.com/all-inclusive-resorts-you-can-book-for-free-with-points <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/all-inclusive-resorts-you-can-book-for-free-with-points" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/couple_tropical_vacation_537212453.jpg" alt="Couple booking all-inclusive resort with points" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>All-inclusive resorts offer a convenient vacation option for people who don't want to deal with details or face too many surprise expenses when they travel. These properties offer much more than a place to lay your head. Food and drink (including alcohol), entertainment, and other perks like internet service are usually included in your nightly rate. With everything taken care of for you, all you have to do is show up and go with the flow. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-amazing-hawaiian-resorts-you-can-book-with-rewards-points?ref=seealso" target="_blank">8 Amazing Hawaiian Resorts You Can Book With Rewards Points</a>)</p> <p>While many all-inclusives are affordable already, some are part of larger loyalty programs that make it possible to book your stay for free. You may not have considered this option when thinking of what to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-expert-tips-for-redeeming-miles-for-free-travel?ref=internal" target="_blank">redeem your travel rewards</a> for. If you're angling for an all-inclusive getaway but don't want to pay an arm and a leg, check out these resorts and their respective programs. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-5-travel-reward-credit-cards?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Best Travel Rewards Credit Cards</a>)</p> <h2>Holiday Inn Resort Montego Bay &mdash; Jamaica</h2> <p>A Holiday Inn on the beach may not sound overly exciting, but the Holiday Inn Resort in Montego Bay might surprise you. This property sits on a beautiful and sprawling oceanfront with several sections of beach designated for families and adults only, crystal clear waters with hardly any movement, and its own private island. And when it comes to food, not only does the property offer an international buffet with a merry-go-round of changing food options, but also several a la carte restaurants serving Japanese, Italian, and classic Jamaican food.</p> <p>This property belongs in the IHG Rewards Club, meaning you can book it with points from that program. Right now, you can book a free night for 40,000 points, or less if you pay with points and cash. Best of all, kids 12 years old and younger stay free. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/family-friendly-hotel-and-resort-chains-where-kids-stay-free?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Family-Friendly Hotel and Resort Chains Where Kids Stay Free</a>)</p> <h2>Hyatt Ziva &mdash; Cancun, Mexico</h2> <p>The Hyatt Ziva Cancun is a family-friendly property that sits on a beautiful stretch of beachfront framed by the Caribbean Sea. This property offers spacious rooms, an on-site spa, 24-hour in-suite dining, a dedicated kids' club, and numerous dining options featuring cuisine from around the world.</p> <p>As part of the World of Hyatt program, you can book this property with 25,000 Hyatt points per night with double occupancy. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/breakdown-of-benefits-and-value-of-the-best-hotel-rewards-programs-and-credit-cards?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Benefits and Value of the Best Hotel Rewards Programs and Credit Cards</a>)</p> <h2>Hyatt Zilara Montego Bay &mdash; Jamaica</h2> <p>Hyatt's Zilara brand is the adults-only arm of its all-inclusive properties. The Hyatt Zilara of Montego Bay offers a retreat just for adults that sits in the historic and gorgeous Rose Hall region of Montego Bay.</p> <p>This property features unlimited dining, multiple pools for relaxing, waveless crystal clear waters, an on-site spa, and special activities just for adults. Like Hyatt Ziva properties, this all-inclusive resort will set you back just 25,000 Hyatt points per night for double occupancy.</p> <h2>Viva Wyndham Maya &mdash; Riviera Maya, Mexico</h2> <p>Viva Wyndham Maya is a family-friendly all-inclusive resort that sits within Playacar, a gated community of Playa del Carmen. This property boasts several a la carte restaurants, a gorgeous beach with amazingly clear water, a huge pool with swim-up bar, and plenty of organized activities that range from water sports to fitness classes.</p> <p>The property's proximity to Playa del Carmen's famous 10th avenue makes it a popular property for all-inclusive enthusiasts who want the convenience of an all-inclusive while also experiencing local culture.</p> <p>Like all properties in the Wyndham Rewards program, you can book a free night's stay at Viva Wyndham Maya for just 15,000 points per night. You may need to call to make your reservation, however, because many dates don't show availability online. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/caribbean-island-vacations-anyone-can-afford?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Caribbean Island Vacations Anyone Can Afford</a>)</p> <h2>Viva Wyndham Dominicus Palace &mdash; La Romana, Dominican Republic</h2> <p>Viva Wyndham Dominicus Beach is another 15,000-point per night Wyndham property you can book entirely with points. This all-inclusive paradise resides in the La Romana region of the Dominican Republic &mdash; an area known for its beautiful beaches and family-friendly resorts.</p> <p>At Viva Wyndham Dominicus Beach, you'll have access to four huge pools, plenty of sports like volleyball and canoeing, an on-site spa, and five restaurants serving cuisines that include Italian, Asian, and Mediterranean. Once again, you may need to call Wyndham to make this reservation over the phone. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-most-affordable-cruise-lines-for-families?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Most Affordable Cruise Lines for Families</a>)</p> <h2>Hilton Puerto Vallarta Resort &mdash; Mexico</h2> <p>Hilton's Puerto Vallarta Resort is an all-inclusive, AAA Four Diamond Resort located along the gorgeous Bay of Banderas. The property offers four restaurants, two bars, a dedicated kids' club, and beachside pool and cabana service, along with a full-service on-site spa.</p> <p>Use your points to book a spacious room featuring a king bed or two doubles. Since this property is part of the Hilton Honors program, you can book a free room starting at 53,000 Hilton Honors points per night for double occupancy. You can also pay 115,000 points per night for a junior suite with a balcony, or splurge on an ocean front junior suite for 144,000 points. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-most-affordable-beach-towns-in-mexico?ref=seealso" target="_blank">8 Most Affordable Beach Towns in Mexico</a>)</p> <h2>Hilton Sharks Bay Resort &mdash; Egypt</h2> <p>Egypt may not come to mind when you think of all-inclusive resorts, but the country actually boasts quite a few. One of its most family-friendly is the Hilton Sharks Bay Resort, which sits in the popular Sharm el Sheikh resort area of Egypt. Not only does it offer a charming stretch of beachfront, but it has expansive pools, a fitness room, playgrounds for kids, and plenty of activities that range from snorkeling and scuba diving to horseback riding.</p> <p>When it comes to dining, guests can choose from nine restaurants and bars serving everything from sandwiches and pizza to Mediterranean and Asian fusion cuisine.</p> <p>Staying in Egypt is extremely inexpensive, and this property is easy to book with points or cash. Right now, nightly rates start at just $60 for Hilton Honors members and reward nights start at just 15,000 Hilton Honors points per night. An extra $20 fee applies for kids ages five and older with paid adults, but kids under five are free.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fall-inclusive-resorts-you-can-book-for-free-with-points&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FAll-Inclusive%2520Resorts%2520You%2520Can%2520Book%2520for%2520Free%2520With%2520Points.jpg&amp;description=All-Inclusive%20Resorts%20You%20Can%20Book%20for%20Free%20With%20Points"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/All-Inclusive%20Resorts%20You%20Can%20Book%20for%20Free%20With%20Points.jpg" alt="All-Inclusive Resorts You Can Book for Free With Points" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/holly-johnson">Holly Johnson</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/all-inclusive-resorts-you-can-book-for-free-with-points">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-you-should-sign-up-for-airline-rewards-even-if-you-dont-travel-much">Why You Should Sign Up for Airline Rewards Even If You Don&#039;t Travel Much</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-professional-award-bookers-can-get-you-free-rewards-flights">How Professional Award Bookers Can Get You Free Rewards Flights</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-overwater-bungalows-you-can-book-with-rewards-points">5 Overwater Bungalows You Can Book With Rewards Points</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-divide-rewards-and-keep-your-sanity-in-divorce">How to Divide Rewards and Keep Your Sanity in Divorce</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-pitfalls-when-chasing-travel-rewards">6 Pitfalls When Chasing Travel Rewards</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Travel all-inclusive all-inclusive resorts credit card points credit card rewards rewards points travel tips Fri, 22 Dec 2017 09:30:10 +0000 Holly Johnson 2076457 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Tell If You Need a New Rewards Card Strategy http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-tell-if-you-need-a-new-rewards-card-strategy <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-tell-if-you-need-a-new-rewards-card-strategy" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_with_credit_card_and_tablet_computer.jpg" alt="Woman with credit card and tablet computer" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>If you are an investor, you know that you should re-evaluate your portfolio from time to time in order to maximize your returns. And if you use credit cards to earn rewards, you should regularly reconsider your credit card strategy as well. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-5-travel-reward-credit-cards?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Best Travel Rewards Credit Cards</a>)</p> <p>The credit card industry is intensely competitive, and card issuers are constantly releasing new and improved reward cards. The latest cards may offer you more rewards for your spending, or feature valuable cardholder benefits that you don&rsquo;t currently enjoy. And while there&rsquo;s never a bad time to get a great new credit card, here are five signs that you really need a new rewards card strategy.</p> <h2>You have a lot of unused rewards</h2> <p>I meet people all the time who tell me they have hundreds of thousands of points and miles that they never use. Perhaps the rewards program is too complicated, or maybe the awards offered just aren&rsquo;t attractive. Either way, there&rsquo;s no sense in continuing to collect rewards that aren&rsquo;t offering you continued value. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/which-credit-cards-have-the-best-travel-redemption-value?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Which Credit Cards Have the Best Travel Redemption Value?</a>)</p> <p>Perhaps you&rsquo;ve been using a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-co-branded-airline-credit-cards?ref=internal" target="_blank">co-branded airline credit card</a> for an airline with limited awards seats going to destinations you aren&rsquo;t interested in. In that case, look for a travel rewards credit card with flexible redemption options so you aren&rsquo;t stuck with miles for an airline that you can&rsquo;t use. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-credit-cards-with-easy-travel-redemption?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Best Credit Cards with Easy Travel Redemption</a>)</p> <h2>You&rsquo;ve just gotten married or started a family</h2> <p>When your household changes, it might be time to change your credit card rewards strategy. For example, the card that once offered you extra points for dining out and entertainment purchases may suddenly be less valuable now that you&rsquo;re spending more time at home with a new baby. At the same time, a credit card that offers you additional rewards at warehouse stores might not help singles much, but it could be a great idea as your family grows. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-credit-cards-for-new-parents?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Best Credit Cards for New Parents</a>)</p> <h2>Your budget is being eaten alive by annual fees</h2> <p>Many of the most valuable reward credit cards have annual fees, and they can often be worth it in order to receive more generous rewards and benefits. But at some point, you may realize that you&rsquo;re not using the benefits enough to justify the fees.</p> <p>Making this calculation is a little more complex than you might initially think. You shouldn&rsquo;t pay an annual fee just because you think you will earn rewards that are worth more than the fee. Instead, you have to compare at the value of the rewards you are earning with those that you could have earned from a similar card that has no annual fee. It&rsquo;s the difference in value between the no fee card and the fee card that must justify paying the fee. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/simple-guide-to-evaluating-a-credit-card-with-an-annual-fee?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Simple Guide to Evaluating a Credit Card With an Annual Fee</a>)</p> <p>For example, you might be able to earn double miles on all purchases with a card that has a $95 annual fee. But just because you earn more than $95 in rewards, it doesn&rsquo;t mean that it was worth it. Instead, the same bank might have a card that offers 1.25 miles per dollar, with no annual fee. To justify the annual fee, you have to come out $95 ahead of where you would have been with the card with no annual fee. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-credit-cards-with-annual-fees?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Best Credit Cards With Annual Fees</a>)</p> <h2>Your travel habits change</h2> <p>Credit cards that offer travel rewards are alluring, but they may be of little use if you don&rsquo;t get value from their rewards and benefits. For example, a free checked bag is often a benefit of an airline credit card, but it doesn&rsquo;t help if you just take business trips with a carry-on, or your checked bag is reimbursed by your company. Likewise, you might have once preferred to earn cash back rewards when you didn&rsquo;t leave home often, but frequent flyer miles could have become more valuable to you since you caught the travel bug. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-travel-rewards-credit-cards-for-families?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Best Travel Rewards Cards for Families</a>)</p> <h2>You&rsquo;re spending too much time managing your rewards</h2> <p>There are some reward cards that offer simple cash back, but then there are the complicated points and miles programs that seem to be designed to be so confusing that you give up. If you find yourself frustrated by the time and energy it takes you to manage your credit card rewards, then it&rsquo;s clearly time for you to seek a new strategy. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-7-biggest-mistakes-you-can-make-when-redeeming-credit-card-rewards?ref=seealso" target="_blank">The 7 Biggest Mistakes You Can Make When Redeeming Credit Card Rewards</a>)</p> <p>One option: a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-credit-cards-that-offer-flat-rate-rewards-for-all-spending?ref=internal" target="_blank">flat-rate cash back credit card</a> that gives you 1.5&ndash;2% back on every purchase you make. These cards come with no bonus categories you have to keep up with, so they&rsquo;re easy to understand and use.</p> <h2>Tips for creating a new credit card rewards strategy</h2> <p>Now that you've determined you need a new plan, here are a couple of next steps to get you started.</p> <h3>Determine how much your points and miles have been worth to you</h3> <p>Look back on how you&rsquo;ve been able to redeem your points and miles, and what the value of your awards have been. Divide the value of an award by the number of points or miles used to come up with a typical value per point or mile. Use this as a starting point to find better rewards in the form of points, miles, or cash back. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/comparing-miles-which-airline-loyalty-program-is-better?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Which Airline Loyalty Program Has the Best Value for Their Miles?</a>)</p> <h3>Look for rewards that match your lifestyle</h3> <p>If your goal is to visit Paris, you wouldn&rsquo;t want to earn miles on an airline that doesn&rsquo;t fly to Europe. And if you are a budget traveler, you&rsquo;ll want to avoid hotel points that can only be used at luxury resorts. Set goals for your credit card rewards, and then find the card that will allow you to reach those goals. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cash-back-vs-travel-rewards-pick-the-right-credit-card-for-you?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Cash Back vs. Travel Rewards: Pick the Right Credit Card for You</a>)</p> <h3>Don&rsquo;t plan more than a year out</h3> <p>If you are earning points or miles, you want to reach your goal within a year. This is because points and miles will inevitably decline in value as the airlines and hotels charge more for a given award. This process is known as devaluation, and nearly every airline and hotel will devalue their programs about once every year or two. Of course, they inevitably spin these devaluations as &quot;enhancements.&quot; (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ask-these-7-questions-to-help-choose-the-perfect-credit-card?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Ask These 7 Questions to Help Choose the Perfect Credit Card</a>)</p> <h3>Don&rsquo;t forget to value the benefits, especially fee credits</h3> <p>When Chase released its Sapphire Reserve card in 2016, it was a smash hit that took the industry by storm. Even though it had a pricey $450 annual fee, savvy cardholders quickly realized the $300 annual air travel credit, TSA Precheck or Global Entry fee credit, airport lounge access, and other benefits quickly pay for the annual fee. So when considering the true cost of a card&rsquo;s annual fee, be sure to factor in the value of all of the cardholder benefits, including fee waivers and credits. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-premium-credit-cards?ref=seealso" target="_blank">The 5 Best Premium Credit Cards</a>)</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fhow-to-tell-if-you-need-a-new-rewards-card-strategy&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FHow%2520to%2520Tell%2520If%2520You%2520Need%2520a%2520New%2520Rewards%2520Card%2520Strategy.jpg&amp;description=How%20to%20Tell%20If%20You%20Need%20a%20New%20Rewards%20Card%20Strategy"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/How%20to%20Tell%20If%20You%20Need%20a%20New%20Rewards%20Card%20Strategy.jpg" alt="How to Tell If You Need a New Rewards Card Strategy" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/jason-steele">Jason Steele</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-tell-if-you-need-a-new-rewards-card-strategy">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-ease-into-credit-card-rewards-after-debt-repayment">How to Ease into Credit Card Rewards After Debt Repayment</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-pitfalls-when-chasing-travel-rewards">6 Pitfalls When Chasing Travel Rewards</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-5-travel-reward-credit-cards">The Best Travel Reward Credit Cards</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-cash-back-credit-cards">The Best Cash Back Credit Cards</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-5-credit-cards-for-groceries">The Best Credit Cards for Groceries</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Credit Cards credit card rewards credit card strategy rewards card saving money Tue, 05 Dec 2017 09:30:10 +0000 Jason Steele 2066567 at http://www.wisebread.com 8 Signs You Desperately Need a New Credit Card http://www.wisebread.com/8-signs-you-desperately-need-a-new-credit-card <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-signs-you-desperately-need-a-new-credit-card" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/beautiful_young_businesswoman_shopping_online_in_office.jpg" alt="Beautiful young businesswoman shopping online in office" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>There's something to be said for loyalty. But when it comes to credit cards, if you haven't updated your preferred card in years, you could be missing out on benefits, or paying too much in fees. Here are eight signs it's time to go shopping for a new credit card.</p> <h2>1. You aren't earning any rewards</h2> <p>If you're debt-free and using a credit card for convenience but not earning rewards, you are leaving real money on the table. Even a simple, no-annual-fee cash-back card that offers 1.5% back on every purchase could help you rack up free money over months of regular use. But you can do better than that. Some of the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-cash-back-credit-cards?ref=internal" target="_blank">best cash-back credit cards</a> offer 2%-6% cash back on bonus categories (supermarkets, gas, dining &mdash; everyday spending stuff).</p> <p>If you're not earning any rewards, you should be, because 1.5% back is absolutely better than nothing.</p> <h2>2. You're earning the wrong type of rewards</h2> <p>Another sign you're not optimizing your credit card use is if you're earning rewards points that you can't really use. A common example of this is when someone clings to their old airline credit card and the idea of earning miles when they haven't flown for years. If this is you, it may be time to switch to a simple cash-back card or even a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-credit-cards-with-easy-travel-redemption?ref=internal" target="_blank">flexible travel rewards credit card</a>, which lets you earn points you can redeem for travel expenses, cash back, or gift cards. With this strategy (and a new card in your wallet), you'll never be stuck with points you can't use. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/choose-the-best-travel-rewards-credit-card-with-this-guide?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Choose the Best Travel Rewards Credit Card with this Guide</a>)</p> <h2>3. The card you use is lacking consumer protections</h2> <p>If you're using credit for convenience but your credit card is strictly bare bones in terms of the benefits it offers, you should definitely shop around. While all cards are different, many of the top rewards credit cards offer special insurance products and shopping protections that can help you save money or protect yourself financially.</p> <p>These include trip cancellation/interruption insurance, guaranteed product returns, damage and theft coverage for purchases, travel accident insurance, and auto rental coverage. If your card isn't offering these protections and you want one that does, you're probably ripe for an upgrade. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-awesome-credit-card-perks-you-didnt-know-about?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Awesome Credit Card Perks You Didn't Know You Had</a>)</p> <h2>4. You want amazing travel perks</h2> <p>If you haven't traveled a lot in the past but plan to ramp things up in the future, having a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/travel-perks-you-didnt-know-your-credit-card-had?ref=internal" target="_blank">credit card that offers travel perks</a> can lead to a more pleasant, convenient experience. Some of the top travel credit cards offer perks like a Global Entry credit, airport lounge access, and annual travel credits to cover splurges like seat upgrades and in-flight meals. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-credit-cards-with-free-airport-lounge-access?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Best Credit Cards with Free Airport Lounge Access</a>)</p> <p>Most of the time it's best to keep your options open and choose a credit card that allows you to redeem points with a variety of travel partners. But if you have a preference for one particular airline, it's beneficial to get their <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-co-branded-airline-credit-cards?ref=internal" target="_blank">co-branded credit card</a>. These cards generally offer perks like priority boarding, discounts on in-flight purchases, and free check-in baggage, along with big bonuses for purchasing airfare directly from them. But many of the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-5-travel-reward-credit-cards?ref=internal" target="_blank">top travel credit cards</a> charge annual fees, so you should make sure the benefits will outweigh your out-of-pocket costs before you sign up. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/which-credit-cards-have-the-best-travel-redemption-value?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Which Credit Cards Have the Best Travel Redemption Value?</a>)</p> <h2>5. Your interest rate is too high</h2> <p>If you carry a balance on your credit card each month, earning rewards should be the last thing on your mind. Any rewards you earn will be wiped out by the interest you'll pay. Instead, your biggest concern should be your interest rate. You should be looking for a card with the lowest interest rate you can find. Not only do some <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-low-interest-rate-credit-cards?ref=internal" target="_blank">credit cards offer low long-term rates</a> that can save you money, but <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-credit-cards-with-0-apr-for-purchases?ref=internal" target="_blank">some cards offer 0% APR on new purchases</a> for up to 21 months.</p> <h2>6. You want to transfer a balance</h2> <p>Besides cards that charge zero interest on new purchases, numerous cards let you transfer balances and pay them off with zero interest for a promotional period. This period may last anywhere from 12 to 21 months.</p> <p>When you're not paying interest, you can pay more toward the principal of your credit card balance every month, which will help you save money and pay down debt faster. If you have a huge credit card balance with big interest payments, it's definitely worth exploring the upsides of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-0-balance-transfer-credit-cards?ref=internal" target="_blank">0% balance transfer credit cards</a>.</p> <p>Before you do, just make sure to check out any balance transfer fees that will be charged so you can determine whether it's worth it. While a handful of cards let you transfer balances with <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-credit-cards-with-no-balance-transfer-fees?ref=internal" target="_blank">no balance transfer fees</a>, some charge 3%-5% of your balance for the privilege. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/which-balance-transfer-credit-card-is-the-best-for-you?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Which Balance Transfer Credit Card Is The Best For You?</a>)</p> <h2>7. You are paying foreign transaction fees.</h2> <p>Whether you're purchasing products and services from foreign countries or you're using your credit card abroad on your travels, you shouldn't be paying a fee to do so. Most cards with annual fees will have zero foreign fees, but there are also no-annual fee <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/smarter-security-and-no-foreign-transaction-fees-the-best-credit-cards-to-use-while-on-vacation?ref=internal" target="_blank">credit cards that offer zero foreign transaction fees</a>.</p> <h2>8. You are paying annual fees but not using the benefits</h2> <p>No doubt holding a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-premium-credit-cards?ref=internal" target="_blank">premium credit card</a> can make you feel like a VIP, and certainly these cards offer a wide variety of exclusive and valuable benefits. Most of the time the value of these benefits far exceed the price of the annual fee, if you add up the face value of all of them, but if you're not actually using them, then you're just paying for the potential access. Far better than chasing rewards is holding onto cold hard cash that you would have shelled out for an annual fee. Check out other outstanding <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-credit-cards-with-no-annual-fees?ref=internal" target="_blank">credit cards with no annual fees</a>.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F8-signs-you-desperately-need-a-new-credit-card&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F8%2520Signs%2520You%2520Desperately%2520Need%2520a%2520New%2520Credit%2520Card.jpg&amp;description=8%20Signs%20You%20Desperately%20Need%20a%20New%20Credit%20Card"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/8%20Signs%20You%20Desperately%20Need%20a%20New%20Credit%20Card.jpg" alt="8 Signs You Desperately Need a New Credit Card" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/holly-johnson">Holly Johnson</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-signs-you-desperately-need-a-new-credit-card">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-pay-off-high-interest-credit-card-debt">5 Ways to Pay Off High Interest Credit Card Debt</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-card-fees-hidden-and-otherwise">Credit Card Fees: Hidden and Otherwise</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-5-travel-reward-credit-cards">The Best Travel Reward Credit Cards</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-0-balance-transfer-credit-cards">The Best 0% Balance Transfer Credit Cards</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-cash-back-credit-cards">The Best Cash Back Credit Cards</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Credit Cards balance transfer credit card perks credit card rewards interest rates new credit card signs Thu, 16 Nov 2017 09:30:05 +0000 Holly Johnson 2053946 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Stack Credit Card Rewards to Earn Even More http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-stack-credit-card-rewards-to-earn-even-more <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-stack-credit-card-rewards-to-earn-even-more" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/so_much_to_choose_from.jpg" alt="So much to choose from" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Extreme couponers have long been fans of coupon stacking, which is when you apply multiple discounts to the same purchase. Some credit card users practice a similar form of extreme savings by including multiple discounts and reward programs when they make purchases with their cards. Here's how you can do it (and save big), too!</p> <h2>Use a shopping portal</h2> <p>The easiest way to earn additional rewards from your credit card is to use an online shopping portal. Many credit card programs offer rewards when you make purchases from an online retailer after clicking a link from the credit card's shopping site.</p> <p>Also, many airline and hotel loyalty programs offer shopping portals that allow you to earn additional points and miles from your purchases. For example, United Airlines has MileagePlus Shopping and Hilton has the Honors Shop-to-Earn Mall.</p> <p>Finally, there are portals like Ebates and Mr. Rebates that offer cash back. Unfortunately, you can only earn rewards from one portal for each purchase. It's not uncommon to earn three points or miles per dollar from major retailers, and much more from specialty stores. To find the best rewards for a particular retailer, use a shopping portal comparison site such as CashBackMonitor.com or evreward.com. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/30-cash-back-sites-to-earn-you-thousands-per-year?ref=seealso" target="_blank">30+ Cash Back Sites to Earn You Thousands Per Year</a>)</p> <h2>Earn sign-up bonuses from your credit cards</h2> <p>Another way to stack savings is to earn sign-up bonuses from new credit card offers. For example, say a card offers new cardholders $150 in cash back after spending $500 on new purchases within three months of opening the account. With this offer, you can think of your $500 of purchases as earning an additional 30 cents per dollar in cash back. These $500 worth of purchases are eligible for the card's built-in rewards program (cash back or travel points) in addition to bonus offers from shopping portals. One purchase could net you three different types of rewards points! (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-credit-cards-that-offer-bonus-cash-for-sign-up?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Best Credit Cards With Bonus Cash for Sign Up</a>)</p> <h2>Request targeted offers from your credit card issuers</h2> <p>The credit card industry is intensely competitive, and banks are always looking for ways to encourage customers to use their cards over others. One way is to offer bonus rewards for spending during a particular time period. For example, you could be given an offer of 5,000 bonus points when you use your card to make $1,000 of purchases each month for three months.</p> <p>To find out if you're eligible to receive one of these offers, just contact your bank's customer service department and ask. Also, be sure to opt in for promotional emails and mail, as these are the kind of advertisements you want to see.</p> <h2>Make sure you use a retailer's loyalty program</h2> <p>Many retailers offer their own loyalty programs that allow you to earn rewards in the form of store credit. For example, Dick's Sporting Goods has a rewards program called ScoreCard that allows you to earn 3% back in rewards, and Costco has an Executive Rewards program that allows members to earn 2% back on every purchase. Likewise, nearly every airline and hotel chain offers some kind of loyalty program that's free to join. And when booking travel, the Expedia+ program lets you earn rewards on your purchases, sometimes in addition to any airline or hotel rewards you are eligible to receive from your reservations. Make sure to include your rewards membership number in your order. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-score-more-loyalty-perks-from-your-credit-card-company?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Score More Loyalty Perks from Your Credit Card Company</a>)</p> <h2>How to stack these rewards</h2> <p>It might seem like a lot of trouble to jump through various hoops to make a purchase, but consider the savings you'd get, just for those few extra minutes. Instead of getting 1.5% cash back from your <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-credit-cards-that-offer-flat-rate-rewards-for-all-spending?ref=internal" target="_blank">flat rate cash back credit card</a>, you can get an additional 3% back by using a shopping portal, and perhaps another 2% in store points by signing up for a loyalty program. On a $300 purchase, instead of just getting $4.50 back, you could save $19.50. All it takes is a little dedication and organization.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fhow-to-stack-credit-card-rewards-to-earn-even-more&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FHow%2520to%2520Stack%2520Credit%2520Card%2520Rewards%2520to%2520Earn%2520Even%2520More.jpg&amp;description=How%20to%20Stack%20Credit%20Card%20Rewards%20to%20Earn%20Even%20More"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/How%20to%20Stack%20Credit%20Card%20Rewards%20to%20Earn%20Even%20More.jpg" alt="How to Stack Credit Card Rewards to Earn Even More" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/jason-steele">Jason Steele</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-stack-credit-card-rewards-to-earn-even-more">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-5-credit-cards-for-groceries">The Best Credit Cards for Groceries</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-best-tools-for-tracking-your-rewards-miles">4 Best Tools for Tracking Your Rewards Miles</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-things-to-consider-before-making-a-big-purchase-for-rewards-points">6 Things to Consider Before Making a Big Purchase for Rewards Points</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-use-credit-card-rewards-this-christmas">5 Ways to Use Credit Card Rewards this Christmas</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-card-rewards-programs">Credit Card Rewards Programs</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Credit Cards Shopping credit card rewards loyalty programs online shopping saving money shopping rewards stacking rewards Wed, 15 Nov 2017 09:30:14 +0000 Jason Steele 2053945 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Pitfalls When Chasing Travel Rewards http://www.wisebread.com/6-pitfalls-when-chasing-travel-rewards <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-pitfalls-when-chasing-travel-rewards" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/travel_planning_concept_on_table.jpg" alt="Travel planning concept on table" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>By signing up for <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-5-travel-reward-credit-cards?ref=internal" target="_blank">travel credit cards</a>, earning travel points through bonus offers and regular spending, and using your points in the smartest way possible, you can travel to far-flung corners of the world while minimizing out-of-pocket expenses. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-steps-to-getting-a-free-or-close-to-free-vacation-in-9-months-or-less-with-credit-cards?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Steps to Getting a Free Vacation in 9 Months with Credit Cards</a>)</p> <p>While this probably sounds intriguing and fun, and it is, there are so many nuances to this strategy that it&rsquo;s easy to get it all wrong. To be a pro, you need to know which types of travel currency to pursue, how to maximize your miles, and how to avoid the many pitfalls that come with using credit cards in general. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-ways-to-use-travel-rewards-cards-to-get-free-trips?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Use Travel Rewards Cards to Get Free Trips</a>)</p> <h2>1. Missing out on a sign-up bonus</h2> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-sign-up-bonuses-for-airline-miles-credit-cards?ref=internal" target="_blank">Credit card sign-up bonuses</a> offer one of the easiest ways to earn points or miles in a hurry. Often, you can earn up to 50,000 hotel points or airline miles after meeting a minimum spending requirement in the $1,000&ndash;$5,000 range within three months. Sounds easy, right?</p> <p>Unfortunately, far too many people jumble the details along the way. Either they fail to meet the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-smart-ways-to-meet-a-rewards-card-minimum-spending-requirement?ref=internal" target="_blank">minimum spending requirement</a> because they mix up the dates, or they misread the fine print and don&rsquo;t spend enough.</p> <p>Either way, you&rsquo;ll want to avoid this mistake if you want to maximize the points and miles you earn. It helps to read the offer details and understand it inside and out before you take the plunge.</p> <h2>2. Failing to optimize</h2> <p>Failing to optimize is another common mistake many new travel hackers make. When you don&rsquo;t understand the details of individual rewards programs, it&rsquo;s easy to assume they&rsquo;re all the same. The thing is, not all travel programs are created equal &mdash; not even close. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-travel-rewards-credit-cards-really-work?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How Travel Rewards Credit Cards Really Work</a>)</p> <p>Here&rsquo;s a good example of failing to optimize: Let&rsquo;s say someone has 50,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points and needs to book a flight from Chicago to Los Angeles. Because they don&rsquo;t know any better, they might go ahead and book their flight through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal for the current price, which happens to be 32,000 Chase points on that specific day.</p> <p>If they had dug a little deeper, however, they might find that you can often fly Southwest Airlines from Chicago Midway Airport into LAX for less than 13,000 points round trip. By transferring their points to Southwest instead of booking through the portal, they could have saved 19,000 points!</p> <p>The bottom line: Make sure you consider all your options before you use your points for travel. With some creative thinking and planning, you could find a much better deal. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-frequent-flyer-rules-to-go-farther-on-fewer-miles?ref=seealso" target="_blank">7 Frequent Flyer Rules to Go Farther on Fewer Miles</a>)</p> <h2>3. Racking up credit card debt</h2> <p>Often, people who aren&rsquo;t financially sophisticated dive into the credit card rewards hobby without setting limits or expectations. Unfortunately, not having a plan for credit or never tracking your spending can easily lead down the winding road of credit card debt.</p> <p>To avoid debt and all the stress that comes with it, only use credit cards when you have a spending plan in place &mdash; and the discipline to pay your balance in full each month. If you wind up in debt, the rewards you earn will be wiped out by the credit card interest you&rsquo;ll pay each month.</p> <h2>4. Letting your points expire</h2> <p>It&rsquo;s crucial to make sure your hard-earned points don&rsquo;t expire before you&rsquo;ve had a chance to use them. While some programs like Delta SkyMiles and Chase Ultimate Rewards offer points that never expire, other travel currencies can expire if you don&rsquo;t &ldquo;earn or burn&rdquo; any points for 12&ndash;24 months.</p> <p>The best way to avoid expiring currencies is to know when your points will expire and enact a plan to &ldquo;restart the clock.&rdquo; Most of the time, it&rsquo;s fairly easy to save points by shopping through a loyalty shopping portal or spending even a handful of points. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-save-frequent-flyer-miles-that-are-about-to-expire?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Save Frequent Flyer Miles That Are About to Expire</a>)</p> <h2>5. Earning points without a plan</h2> <p>I can&rsquo;t tell you how many times I&rsquo;ve seen people earn points and miles without any type of plan at all. Sometimes they are pursuing a currency that won&rsquo;t even work with their travel plans. For example, I know one person who built up a giant stash of Southwest Rapid Rewards points for a trip to Europe, without ever realizing that Southwest doesn&rsquo;t fly to Europe. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/choose-the-best-travel-rewards-credit-card-with-this-guide?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Choose the Best Travel Rewards Credit Card with this Guide</a>)</p> <p>The best way to get ahead in the game is to get strategic about the points and miles you&rsquo;re earning and why. Figure out where you want to go, then decide which travel currency will get you there. Better yet, pursue flexible travel currency like Chase Ultimate Rewards or American Express Membership Rewards. That way, you can earn all the points you want and decide how to use them later on. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-best-tools-for-tracking-your-rewards-miles?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Tools for Tracking Your Rewards Points</a>)</p> <h2>6. Waiting too long to book</h2> <p>While it&rsquo;s possible to book award travel right up to the last minute, anyone who has been in this hobby for a while will tell you it&rsquo;s better to book ahead.</p> <p>If you can book a flight six to nine months in advance, for example, you&rsquo;ll normally find more award availability than you will closer to departure. The same is true for hotels; since hotels have limited award availability, waiting too long to book can mean missing out. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-expert-tips-for-redeeming-miles-for-free-travel?ref=seealso" target="_blank">12 Expert Tips for Redeeming Miles for Free Travel</a>)</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F6-pitfalls-when-chasing-travel-rewards&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F6%2520Pitfalls%2520When%2520Chasing%2520Travel%2520Rewards.jpg&amp;description=6%20Pitfalls%20When%20Chasing%20Travel%20Rewards"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/6%20Pitfalls%20When%20Chasing%20Travel%20Rewards.jpg" alt="6 Pitfalls When Chasing Travel Rewards" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/holly-johnson">Holly Johnson</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-pitfalls-when-chasing-travel-rewards">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-5-travel-reward-credit-cards">The Best Travel Reward Credit Cards</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-professional-award-bookers-can-get-you-free-rewards-flights">How Professional Award Bookers Can Get You Free Rewards Flights</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-credit-cards-for-hotel-deals-and-rewards">The Best Credit Cards for Hotel Deals and Rewards</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-overwater-bungalows-you-can-book-with-rewards-points">5 Overwater Bungalows You Can Book With Rewards Points</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-might-be-the-best-travel-rewards-program-no-matter-what-airline-you-fly">This Might Be the Best Travel Rewards Program (No Matter What Airline You Fly)</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Credit Cards Travel credit card rewards credit cards saving money spending habits Spending Money travel rewards travel tips Tue, 17 Oct 2017 08:30:10 +0000 Holly Johnson 2037241 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Ways to Use Credit Card Rewards this Christmas http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-use-credit-card-rewards-this-christmas <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-ways-to-use-credit-card-rewards-this-christmas" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-495229472.jpg" alt="woman holiday shopping" title="woman holiday shopping" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>With the holidays almost here, you've probably already braced yourself for the busy days ahead. November and December are notorious for packing in so many events &mdash; with end-of-year work parties, family get-togethers, and holiday parties galore. And then there's the gift shopping. The financial impact of the holidays shouldn't be underestimated.</p> <h2>5 Ways to Use Credit Card Rewards this Christmas</h2> <p>If you're struggling to afford Christmas this year &mdash; or just want to save as much as you can &mdash; your rewards credit card could become an unlikely ally. With enough points and miles, you could save a boatload on holiday gifts and other end-of-year expenses.</p> <p>Consider these 5 strategies to maximize your rewards and boost the number of gifts you can put under the tree:</p> <h3>Redeem credit card points for gift cards.</h3> <p>While not every rewards credit card lets you redeem points for gift cards, most do. It's usually easy to use. Log into your credit card account and you should be able to find an option to &quot;use your points.&quot; From there, you should see a selection of gift card options for redemption. Most $25 gift cards ring in at just 2,500 points.</p> <p>While gift cards can be the perfect gift for some loved ones on your list, you don't have to give your gift cards to others to save. If you'd rather, you can use your gift cards to purchase the perfect gift instead.</p> <h3>Use your rewards to book holiday travel for yourself or others.</h3> <p>Have hotel points or airline miles? A stash of flexible travel credit? Consider using your points to bless your family with the best gift of all &mdash; your presence during the holiday season.</p> <p>That's right; you can use your points and miles to travel to see family, or bring them to you. While it isn't commonly advertised, most rewards programs let you use your points to book airfare and hotel stays for others. Depending on the type of travel rewards card you have, you might be able to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-airline-partnerships-can-supercharge-your-travel-rewards?ref=internal">redeem points on partner airlines</a>, or <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-credit-cards-that-transfer-points-to-airline-miles?ref=internal">transfer points to the travel program</a> of your choice.</p> <h3>Use statement credits to save on your holiday shopping bill.</h3> <p>Most standard <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-cash-back-credit-cards?ref=internal">cash back credit cards</a> and some <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-5-travel-reward-credit-cards?ref=internal">travel credit cards</a> let you redeem points for a statement credit. You'll usually get the standard rate of one cent per point. This allows you to&nbsp;<span style="font-size: 13px;">cover your Christmas bills easily. Calculate the number of points you have and what that would transfer for, set your budget, and then apply the points to your account to cover at least part of your holiday purchases. Some cards will allow you to cash in your points as a direct deposit into your bank account, making holiday shopping a breeze.</span></p> <h3>Redeem points for merchandise.</h3> <p>Various rewards credit cards offer their own version of a shopping mall. By logging into your credit card account, clicking over to your card's rewards portal, and browsing options, you can redeem your points for nearly anything you can buy, or get big bonus points for shopping at the vendors through the portal.</p> <p>Buy your mother the KitchenAid blender she's always wanted, pick up a tablet for your nieces and nephews, or shop for electronics, jewelry, or arts and crafts. There are usually hundreds of vendors to select from.</p> <h3>Book experiences you can share.</h3> <p>Certain cards let you use your points for much more than merchandise and cash; some let you book valuable once-in-a-lifetime experiences as well. Depending on where you live, a wide range of fun events can be booked with points &mdash; and at no additional cost. I've gone snorkeling with stingrays in Grand Cayman, taken an electric bike tour in Athens, and booked a day trip to Tuscany all through my rewards points. Of course, there are tons of local options to try.&nbsp;No matter where you live and what your family enjoys, you can use your points to book something fun and unexpected.</p> <h2>Final Thoughts</h2> <p>While credit card rewards are often seen as something you earn for your own use, there's no reason you can't leverage your points to buy things for others.&nbsp;</p> <p>If you're in the market for a good rewards card, now is also the perfect time to sign up. With plenty of holiday spending in your future, you could earn a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-sign-up-bonuses-for-airline-miles-credit-cards?ref=internal">huge signup bonus</a> and more rewards for every dollar you spend. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-credit-cards-for-the-holidays?ref=seealso">Best Credit Cards for the Holidays</a>)</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/holly-johnson">Holly Johnson</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-use-credit-card-rewards-this-christmas">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-5-credit-cards-for-groceries">The Best Credit Cards for Groceries</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-things-to-consider-before-making-a-big-purchase-for-rewards-points">6 Things to Consider Before Making a Big Purchase for Rewards Points</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-stack-credit-card-rewards-to-earn-even-more">How to Stack Credit Card Rewards to Earn Even More</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-worst-holiday-credit-cards">The Worst Holiday Credit Cards</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-5-travel-reward-credit-cards">The Best Travel Reward Credit Cards</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Credit Cards Shopping Christmas credit card rewards Thu, 24 Nov 2016 11:30:11 +0000 Holly Johnson 1839477 at http://www.wisebread.com Extend Your Vacation for Free With Open Jaws and Stopovers http://www.wisebread.com/extend-your-vacation-for-free-with-open-jaws-and-stopovers <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/extend-your-vacation-for-free-with-open-jaws-and-stopovers" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/map_camera_compass_000074722915.jpg" alt="Learning how to extend a vacation with open jaws and stopovers" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>If the words &quot;open jaw&quot; and &quot;stopover&quot; are new to you, you're going to want to read through this post when cashing in your miles from your <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-5-travel-reward-credit-cards">travel rewards cards</a> for your long awaited vacation. If you're planning a vacation in Rome, why not fly to Paris first and stay a week or so? The flight will be <em>free</em>. I&rsquo;m going to break down what open jaw and stopovers are, what their limitations are, and how you can utilize them to enjoy free flights. Let's get started.</p> <p>See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/which-credit-cards-have-the-best-travel-redemption-value?ref=seealso">Which Credit Cards Have the Best Travel Redemption Value?</a></p> <h2>Introducing Open Jaw</h2> <p><a href="http://www.independenttraveler.com/travel-tips/air-travel/open-jaw-and-circle-fares">Independent Traveller</a> says &quot;an open jaw flight is one that, in the simplest terms, flies from Point A to Point B, then from Point C back to Point A.&quot;</p> <p>Example: You take a flight from New York to Paris, then you travel overland (or by sea or by air) from Paris to Morocco, and then you return to New York from Morocco to complete the loop on your awards ticket. The ticket you booked is New York to Paris and then Morocco back to New York and booking this way will not cost you any extra points.</p> <p>Open jaw tickets (while not available on all airlines) are only available for those booking flights with their awards, meaning that you can not take advantage of this method of travel if you are paying for your flights with cash, credit, or whatever.</p> <p>If you were to draw this trip on a map, the flight portion of the journey would look like an open jaw and that is where this method of booking gets its name. In the photo below, I added some teeth to better illustrate the analogy.</p> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/map.jpg" width="605" height="396" alt="" /></p> <p>The black lines indicate the flights booked on an &quot;open jaw&quot; ticket. The blue line indicates overland travel.</p> <h3>When Is an Open Jaw Ticket Useful?</h3> <p>This type of ticket can come in very handy when you want to add a long road trip, overland journey, or cruise into the middle of your itinerary. It can also save you a lot of money because in places like Europe and Asia, you can get on a discount carrier flight to fill your open jaw for very little (Ryanair flights in Europe and AirAsia flights in Asia for example). Alternatively, you could fill your open jaw with another awards flight.</p> <p>Return flights are often cheaper than open jaw tickets, but if you're planning to backpack around the region for a while before returning back to your arrival point, you may want to consider open jaw.</p> <p>For example, if you are planning to fly from New York to London, then backpack around Europe for three months before returning to London to fly home to New York, open jaw is probably a better option for you. The money you'll spend backtracking to make your way back to London is likely more than the difference between an open jaw and a return ticket.</p> <p>Instead, book an open jaw flight from New York to London, and then back to New York from Istanbul. This way you can travel overland from London to Istanbul and then fly home from Istanbul to New York.</p> <h2>Introducing Stopovers</h2> <p>According to <a href="http://www.airliners.net/">Airliners.net</a>: &quot;A stopover is loosely defined as a connection time exceeding four hours on a domestic itinerary or 24 hours on an international itinerary.&quot;</p> <p>Example: You fly from New York to Bangkok, but you stop in Hong Kong for three weeks on the way. This is free and doesn't cost you any extra miles, but can sometimes incur fuel surcharges (see more about these and how to avoid them below).</p> <p>If you are flying from New York to Bangkok and your flight stops in Hong Kong for five hours, that's technically called a &quot;layover&quot; or a &quot;connection&quot; not a &quot;stopover.&quot; A stopover exceeds 24 hours and it gives you time to actually leave the airport and explore. The cool thing is that a stopover can be a week, a month, or even up to a year, so basically it can be an extra vacation rolled into your flight itinerary.</p> <p>Let me explain. Let's say you want to fly from New York to Barcelona, but you've always wanted to see Paris. By booking a stopover in your itinerary, you can easily take your flight from New York to Barcelona, but add a one week stopover in Paris... for free.</p> <p>How is it free? If you booked with United Miles, a round trip awards ticket from New York to Barcelona will cost you 60,000 miles. Add in a one week stopover in Paris and it would cost the same, 60,000 miles. You're essentially seeing two destinations for the price of one.</p> <p>This wonderful loophole is only available for those who book their flights with awards and stopovers aren't possible with all rewards programs.</p> <h3>When Is a Stopover Useful?</h3> <p>A stopover is perfect for anyone who wants to add a bonus destination into their itinerary. Surprisingly, you can get very crafty with these as well. The stopover doesn't always have to be &quot;on the way&quot; to your destination.</p> <p>You can sometimes have a stopover in Hong Kong on the way to Sydney, or stopover in Spain on the way to Iceland. Get the words &quot;on the way&quot; out of your mind because a stopover can basically be in any city that a flight can be routed to.</p> <p>The possibilities would be endless... if it weren't for the individual airline reward program&rsquo;s limitation and guidelines.</p> <h3>Limitations of Stopovers</h3> <p>Airlines sometimes limit the stopovers by region. With United, you can always stopover anywhere in Europe on the way to Africa, for example. Their system of stopovers is completely region-based. But other airlines are different (and more complicated).</p> <p>American Airlines routing rules can be a bit tricky to figure out as they include restrictions on mileage and regions. You can use sites like <a href="http://www.expertflyer.com/">ExpertFlyer.com</a> to navigate these confusing routing rules.</p> <p>Delta and American rewards both don't allow stopovers, but you can book a ticket on an American Airlines flight using your Alaska Miles and land yourself a free stopover. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-credit-cards-that-transfer-points-to-airline-miles?ref=seealso">The Secret to Redeeming Travel Rewards Through Airline Partners</a>)</p> <p>Each and every airline has its own limitations and guidelines for stopovers. Some of the major ones are:</p> <ul> <li>US Airways = one stopover or one open jaw</li> <li>United = one stopover <em>and </em>two open jaws</li> <li>Air Canada = two stopovers</li> <li>Delta = n/a</li> <li>American = n/a</li> </ul> <p>Check out <a href="http://www.welltraveledmile.com/a-table-comparison-of-award-ticket-stopover-and-open-jaw-rules-for-major-airlines/">this post by welltraveledmile.com</a> for a full list of airline stopover and open jaw limitations.</p> <h2>Extra Fees and Fuel Surcharges</h2> <p>It's important that you watch out for hidden fees and extra charges. There's not much use in landing yourself a &quot;free&quot; flight to Paris if you end up spending more in booking fees and fuel surcharges than you would've spent on a cheap discount carrier flight.</p> <p>Again, every airline rewards program is different, but if you're booking your flights with United Miles, you'll never pay any fuel surcharges. If you pay for the flight with different awards program miles, you may have to pay the fuel surcharge.</p> <p>For example, if you book a flight on an Air Canada plane from New York to London with a stopover in Barcelona and you use your United Miles, you won't pay any fuel surcharges.</p> <p>If you were to book the same awards ticket using your Air Canada Miles, you'd have to spend $320 in fuel surcharges! Travelisfree.com has put together <a href="http://travelisfree.com/2014/04/15/master-charts-to-avoiding-fuel-surcharges-yq/">this incredibly useful list</a> to help you calculate fuel surcharges on different airlines using different rewards programs.</p> <p>There are also some extra charges when trying to book stopovers domestically. United, for example, charges 10,000 extra miles for stopovers on domestic U.S. tickets.</p> <h2>Stopover + Open Jaw = Free Flights</h2> <p>Some airline rewards programs allow for an open jaw and a stopover. What this means is that you can essentially have a holiday in Europe, and then get your next one-way flight paid for to another destination.</p> <p>Example: You book an open jaw ticket for a holiday in Europe. You fly from New York to London, you travel overland from London to Madrid, and then you return to New York after a wonderful three week holiday. But you can actually call your home town (New York in this case) a &quot;stopover&quot; on a flight to, let's say, Los Angeles.</p> <p>Don't worry, you don't have to go to LA right away, you can plan to fly there up to a year later. That's right, you can &quot;stopover&quot; at home for a year, and then a year later fly to LA for free.</p> <h3>When Is a Stopover + Open Jaw Flight Useful?</h3> <p>Anytime you have two trips planned in a year, you can use this handy little hack to enjoy a free one-way flight on your second trip. Go on a vacation in Europe, fly back to your home airport but call it a &quot;stopover&quot; to your next holiday destination (LA?). By doing this, you've essentially landed yourself a free one-way ticket. Now you just have to book a cheap awards flight back from your holiday.</p> <p>This secret method of landing a free one-way flight is great, but it requires some advanced planning because you're essentially booking one and a half holidays at the same time.</p> <h2>How to Book Stopovers and Open Jaws</h2> <p>Booking stopovers and open jaw tickets online can be difficult with some airline websites. Basically you're looking for two things in the flight booking engine that you're using.</p> <ol> <li>The &quot;rewards flight&quot; check box to ensure that you're only viewing flights that are available for awards customers (these are usually more limited than regular paid fares).<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Multiple-destination search will allow you to find flights to one destination and then to another before returning home.</li> </ol> <h3>If the Website Is Fussy, Call</h3> <p>Not all websites allow you to search multiple destinations and awards flights only, so the easiest way to book your stopover and open jaw flight is simply by calling an agent. They have a better booking interface to work with and they'll be able to better help you find the right flights for you. The only problem is that you may not have the same flexibility as if you were to piece together the journey yourself.</p> <p>By booking open jaw tickets and adding stopovers to your awards flight itinerary, you can save a lot of money. By combining the two, you can actually piece together an amazing trip and even land yourself a free one-way flight to your next holiday destination. Awards flights may not always have the same availability as regular paid fares, but you can take advantage of lucrative loopholes like the ones listed in this article. Give it a try. Book open jaw and stopovers on your next awards flight and watch the free travel add up. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-credit-cards-that-transfer-points-to-airline-miles?ref=seealso">Best Credit Cards that Transfer to Airline Miles</a>)</p> <p><em>Have you ever taken advantage of stopover or open jaw flights? Where'd you go?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/nick-wharton">Nick Wharton</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/extend-your-vacation-for-free-with-open-jaws-and-stopovers">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-tools-that-help-you-find-free-award-flights">4 Tools That Help You Find Free Award Flights</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-5-travel-reward-credit-cards">The Best Travel Reward Credit Cards</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-professional-award-bookers-can-get-you-free-rewards-flights">How Professional Award Bookers Can Get You Free Rewards Flights</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-credit-cards-for-hotel-deals-and-rewards">The Best Credit Cards for Hotel Deals and Rewards</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-easy-ways-to-get-free-travel">6 Easy Ways to Get Free Travel</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Travel award flights awards travel credit card rewards free flights open jaw stopover travel hacking travel rewards Fri, 08 Apr 2016 09:00:13 +0000 Nick Wharton 1686649 at http://www.wisebread.com Which Airline Loyalty Program Has the Best Value for Their Miles? http://www.wisebread.com/comparing-miles-which-airline-loyalty-program-is-better <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/comparing-miles-which-airline-loyalty-program-is-better" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/happy-man-airport-Dollarphotoclub_68548189.jpg" alt="happy man airport" title="happy man airport" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>It can be really hard to place a value on airline frequent flyer miles compared to other types of credit card rewards. For instance, we all know how much <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-rewards-credit-cards-really-work">cash back offers are worth</a>, and most other rewards points typically offer a fixed value, often one cent per point towards merchandise or gift cards. But the value of travel rewards miles depends on the carrier as well as which class you're flying. Also, international flights will net you a much higher value per mile.</p> <p>Nevertheless, there are some ways to compare the value of different airline mileage programs so that travelers can choose the best credit card for their needs. Let's take a look at the major US airline frequent flyer programs, and come to a reasonable value of what their points and miles are worth for various types of awards. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-5-travel-reward-credit-cards?ref=seealso">Best Travel Rewards Credit Cards</a>)</p> <h2>American Airlines</h2> <p>When considering the value of these miles, keep in mind that American continues to offer some of the best award availability on its domestic routes, and it's often possible to find several award seats available at the lowest mileage levels. Furthermore, if you have their co-branded credit card, you can get reduced mileage awards, that can result in a savings of 5,000 to 7,500 miles round trip. So for most domestic travelers in economy class, these miles are worth about two cents each. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/which-american-airlines-us-airways-credit-card-should-you-get?ref=seealso">Which American Airlines Credit Card Should You Get?</a>)</p> <p>On the international side, American offers few economy class awards and barely any business class award seats at the lowest mileage levels. Worse, its partner British Airways imposes huge fuel surcharges on award tickets that cost travelers nearly as much as an economy class ticket. Nevertheless, American miles are good for redeeming flights from other OneWorld partner carriers which get about three cents per mile from international economy class awards, about four cents in value from business class travel, and even more when booking awards in international first class. American's award chart offers better value than its competitors.&nbsp;</p> <h2>Delta</h2> <p>Delta has gone through several rounds of devaluation, which is when they change their award chart to ask for more miles. Furthermore, Delta has the worst reputation for offering vanishingly few award seats at the lowest mileage levels, and few award seats from its partners Air France and KLM. To top it all off, Delta's award search engine offers very unreliable results, which makes booking an award an exercise in frustration. Travelers also have to find a return flight, since Delta doesn't allow one-way awards for half price.</p> <p>Therefore, I would value SkyMiles at one and a half cents for domestic travel in economy class. It's even very hard to find more than two cents in value per point in international business class, except for those who travel alone and are extremely flexible and persistent.</p> <p>The good news is that Delta claims it will make more award seats available at the lowest mileage levels in 2015, offer one-way awards, and fix the problems with its website. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/which-delta-skymiles-credit-card-has-the-best-value?ref=seealso">Which Delta SkyMiles Credit Card Has the Most Value?</a>)</p> <h2>United</h2> <p>When it comes time to redeem miles, United's domestic award availability is not nearly as good as American's, but it's far better than Delta's. So I value their miles at 1.5 to 2 cents each for domestic economy class travel.</p> <p>Internationally, their award availability is much more reasonable than American's. Travelers can rely on its strong partnerships with Star Alliance airlines, although United does charge more miles for some international partner awards than it does for the flights it operates. Therefore, I would value their miles at 3 to 4 cents each for international flights in business class. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/which-united-mileageplus-credit-card-should-you-get?ref=seealso">Which United MileagePlus Credit Card Should You Get?</a>)</p> <h2>Sample Mileage Valuation and Comparison Chart</h2> <p>And now here's a helpful chart to compare all the data above.</p> <p><img alt="" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/Airline Table_0.png" width="605" height="361" /></p> <p>*Domestic data based on one RT ticket from JFK (New York) to LAX (Los Angeles). International data based on one RT ticket from LAX (Los Angeles) to CDG (Paris, France).</p> <h2>Other Carriers</h2> <p>These smaller or regional airlines don't offer the great miles programs of the larger carriers, but there are still deals to be had.</p> <h3>Southwest</h3> <p>Each point in Southwest's Rapid Rewards program is worth 1.4 cents each towards flights in its &quot;Wanna Get Away&quot; fare class. Southwest also offers free checked bags and no change fees, so there's additional value in their seats.</p> <h3>Alaska Airlines</h3> <p>Alaska Airlines's frequent flyer program is much like the major legacy airlines, and it has quite reasonable award availability and some great partnerships. I would value their miles at about two cents each for domestic and international economy class travel, and four cents each for business and first class travel both domestically and internationally.</p> <h3>JetBlue</h3> <p>JetBlue's points tend to be worth about 1.5 cents each towards their fares, but sometimes slightly higher or lower.</p> <h3>Virgin America</h3> <p>Points are worth 2 to 2.5 cents each towards flights.</p> <h3>Frontier</h3> <p>Points tend to be worth just about 1-2 cents each as cardholders now have to pay for both checked and carry-on bags, even on award tickets.</p> <h2>Other Considerations</h2> <p>Unlike other reward cards, there is never just one airline mileage card that can offer the best value for everyone. Those who have the most flexibility and travel as a single or a couple, can often find great value with the major airlines that have finite award seats. Otherwise, families who travel in larger groups and have less flexibility need a program that doesn't control awards so tightly. And of course, where you live and travel will often dictate which airlines that can most conveniently reach your destination. But by understanding the value of each airline's loyalty program, you can choose the one that will give you the most value.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fcomparing-miles-which-airline-loyalty-program-is-better&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FWhich%2520Airline%2520Loyalty%2520Program%2520Has%2520the%2520Best%2520Value%2520for%2520Their%2520Miles-.jpg&amp;description=Which%20Airline%20Loyalty%20Program%20Has%20the%20Best%20Value%20for%20Their%20Miles%3F"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/Which%20Airline%20Loyalty%20Program%20Has%20the%20Best%20Value%20for%20Their%20Miles-.jpg" alt="Which Airline Loyalty Program Has the Best Value for Their Miles?" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/jason-steele">Jason Steele</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/comparing-miles-which-airline-loyalty-program-is-better">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-smartphone-apps-that-manage-and-maximize-your-credit-card-rewards">3 Smartphone Apps That Manage and Maximize Your Credit Card Rewards</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-credit-cards-with-annual-fees">Best Credit Cards With Annual Fees</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-ways-to-use-travel-rewards-cards-to-get-free-trips">How to Use Travel Rewards Cards to Get Free Trips</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/guess-what-your-bank-rewards-may-be-taxable">Guess What? Your Bank Rewards May be Taxable</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-times-your-credit-card-has-your-back">12 Times Your Credit Card Has Your Back</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Credit Cards airline rewards credit card rewards miles rewards Thu, 11 Dec 2014 22:00:10 +0000 Jason Steele 1265967 at http://www.wisebread.com