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5 ways to get the most from rewards cards

by Leanne Yong on September 14, 2015
Lifestyle

Rewards cards are increasingly common these days. Most people have one of some sort, whether it be a credit card, an airline loyalty card or a strict rewards card such as Fly Buys. But most people also don’t use their rewards card to their full potential, missing out on extra points that could be what they need to get that flight or that new TV. Below, we share five ways that you can get the most from your rewards card.

1.     Pick a card that provides rewards in your area of interest

Different cards have different perks. Some have rewards such as free travel insurance for frequent travellers, others free wines when dining at certain restaurants, and yet others bonus points for daily activities such as grocery shopping. Work out what you spend the most on, or what perks integrate best with your life.

2.     Work out what provides the best return for value

When it comes to points, a lot of the time it’s easy to simply opt for cash back, or to pick up that kitchen appliance you’ve had your eye on for a while but couldn’t bring yourself to pay for. But is that really the most efficient spend of your points? Physical items tend to be allocated a point value based on their RRP. If you can wait, it’s generally better value to pick up a gift card and wait for the sales to come around.

It’s also worth noting that a lot of the time, the best return for value on points is generally on airline points. The number of points required for a business-class fare tends to be excellent return for value compared to how much you would pay in cash for that fare (not to mention, the number of points required doesn’t go up around peak period!).

Look for something like Qantas Cash, a prepaid MasterCard built into the Qantas Frequent Flyer card. You can use it like any other credit or debit card (including PayPass functionality), and you’ll also earn Qantas Points in the process. The best part? No annual fee, unlike many credit cards that provide reward points!

3.     Look out for promotions when transferring credit card points to airline points

It can be tempting to simply transfer your credit card points to an airline rewards program as and when you need them. But it can be worth planning ahead—occasionally, companies will offer bonus points when transferring to airline programs, for a limited amount of time only. There are times they will go up to as high as 20% or 30% in bonus points, so be patient, stockpile your points… and be ready to jump in when those offers come up!

4.     Think creatively when it comes to earning bonus points

For example, if you have a card that provides triple points for shopping at a supermarket chain, it’s worth taking into consideration the fact that the major chains usually sell a wide range of gift cards as well. Wanting to purchase music online, or get a TV at an electronics store? Check if the supermarket chain sells gift cards for those stores, and use the gift cards to make your purchase.

You could even arrange group shopping trips with friends where you pay first with your card, if you trust them enough. Or if it’s strictly a points-earning card, you can ask your friends whether you can swipe your card when they pay. Friends are normally more than happy to help out—if they’re not gunning for points of their own, that is!

5.     Work out if the fee you’re paying for a rewards card is worth the number of points you earn

Most credit cards that earn you points have an annual fee. While it’s nice to feel like you’re being rewarded for spending what you would spend anyway, don’t let yourself get too carried away! You can make a general estimate of whether a card is earning its keep by going online and checking for the number of points required to redeem gift cards. If you don’t earn enough points in a year to get a gift card that’s equal to or more than the annual fee, then perhaps it’s time to start thinking about whether you really need that card or not.

You can do the same with cards that earn you airline points—do you earn enough in a year to redeem an equivalent amount of flights that would cost you your annual fee?

This post was sponsored by Qantas Cash. Visit Qantas Cash to find out how you can reward yourself with a great prepaid rewards card!

How do you get the most out of your rewards cards? Share with us in the comments!

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Leanne Yong
Leanne Yong is the Leaders in Heels Managing Editor, and a Games Master for an escape room (Next Level Escape). She loves stories and puzzles, and has written four novels.
 
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