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New to the points game?

Here are 8 tips to make the most of credit card rewards


1. Categorize your spending 

Cards put different spending in categories and assign points accordingly. Certain cards may give bonus points for specific types of spending, such as dining or travel. Add cards that reward your most regular, highest dollar value spending categories.

2. Pick a go-to card 

Rotating three or four rewards cards may make sense but you should have a primary. Ideally, this will have generous benefits and transferable points.

3. Look out for sign up bonuses and make sure you get yours 

Many cards will offer 50,000 to 100,000 points simply for signing up. That is $500 to $1,000 in free money. Make sure you meet any requirements, which typically involve spending a certain amount in the first three to six months.

4. Don't fall into the spending trap 

Some people will spend more “because they are getting points”. Spending $100 to get $10 in points is always a losing proposition.

5. Review your perks 

Most cards have a long list of perks in addition to typical rewards or cash back. Common examples include airline lounge access, free wi-fi during domestic air travel, travel credits, free food delivery, discounts on streaming services, statement credits for shopping at certain stores, and discounts on Clear, TSA pre-check and Global Entry. All these benefits add up.

6. Pay off your balance each month 

Rewards are great. Paying high interest on a balance is not. Do not play the points game unless you can regularly pay off your balance each month.

7. Plan large purchases strategically  

Try to use companies who will accept your preferred card or look for new card offers when you have a planned expenditure coming up.

8. Don't dismiss cards with annual fees 

Cards that charge an annual fee often have the most generous benefits. In many cases, if you take advantage of all the perks it covers the fee several times over. If you see a card with a high annual fee, evaluate the full range of benefits and rewards to see if it is worthwhile.


This is not a recommendation and is not intended to be taken as a recommendation. This material was prepared for general distribution and is not directed to a specific individual.

LPWM LLC does not provide tax, legal or accounting advice. This material has been prepared for informational purposes only, and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for, tax, legal or accounting advice. You should consult your own tax, legal and accounting advisers.