Here’s how to score major benefits in the coming year.
It may be the case that you’ve been using credit cards for many years — maybe even decades. But are you really making the most of your cards? If you want to reap more benefits in the new year, here are four smart moves worth making.
1. Pay attention to revolving bonus categories
Some credit cards offer bonus reward categories that change on a quarterly basis. Pay attention to what those look like so you’re able to take advantage of them.
Say one of your cards offers extra cash back on hardware store purchases during the second quarter of 2022. If you’re doing renovations at that time, that’s the card you’ll probably want to use every time you visit the hardware store.
2. Note reward expirations on your calendar
Some credit cards offer rewards that never expire. But that’s not always the case. If you have a credit card in your collection whose rewards do come with an end date, be sure to note those dates on your calendar and set reminders for yourself, so they don’t go to waste.
It may be the case that a store card of yours, for example, gives out rewards that expire two months after the fact. That’s free money you don’t want to pass up.
3. Go after attainable sign-up bonuses
Many credit cards offer sign-up bonuses that give you a certain amount of money or points for hitting a specific spending threshold shortly after opening your account. It pays to explore the offers that are available and go after a sign-up bonus that’s easy for you to snag.
You may, for example, find a card offering $200 cash back for spending $1,500 within three months of opening your account. If you normally charge $700 worth of essential expenses, like gas and groceries, on your credit cards each month, that should be a fairly easy spending requirement to meet.
Just be careful not to go after sign-up bonuses that require you to spend more than what you normally would. If you see an offer for $200 cash back for spending $3,000 within three months of opening your account, and you’d normally only spend $2,100 during that time, it’s not worth it to spend an extra $900 just to get $200 back.
4. Take advantage of money-saving travel perks
If you’re planning to do a lot of traveling in 2022, it pays to sign up for a travel rewards credit card — or use an existing one to book your flights. Many travel cards offer built-in perks that can save you money.
For example, you may have a travel credit card that gives you a free checked bag every time you fly. Airlines typically charge around $30 per bag, so using that credit card for multiple trips could end up saving you a nice chunk of money in the course of a year.
The upside of charging expenses on credit cards is getting to benefit from the rewards, cash back, and savings they offer. Keep these pointers in mind as you navigate your spending in 2022 so you can make the most of your existing credit cards or take advantage of new ones.