Six Ways to Make the Most of Your Credit Card Rewards


If you’re an entrepreneur, you probably use your credit card a lot. From traveling to your virtual office to business lunches to office supplies, your credit card gets swiped frequently.

It’s with good reason, too. Using a credit card makes it easy keep all your business-related expenses in one place. That’s helpful come tax time. Many cards will also categorize expenses which makes bookkeeping easier. And should you ever get audited, you’ll be able to easily show your business related expenses were kept separate from personal expenses.

But these days, credit cards come in handy for an entirely different reason. To entice users, most cards offer some sort of rewards program that offers incentives just for using the card. Since you use your card so much, make sure you’re making the most of your rewards program.

1. Is there an annual fee?

Many cards levy users an annual fee, and some can get quite hefty. If the fee outweighs what you might receive in rewards, you need to consider if it’s worth the trade off. If there’s a low interest rate or other perks, it could be. Just make certain you do the math to make certain you’re getting a good deal.

2. What do you buy?

Some cards provide cash back or other incentives on specific items like gas, office supplies or even cell phone service. It might make sense to find a card that gives rewards on the things you’re going to buy anyway.

3. Do you fly a lot?

Have virtual offices on both coasts? Look for a card that offers points toward frequent flyer programs. Some are aligned with a specific airline but some cards award flexible points that you can use with any carrier. And you can get bonuses too based on your spending. For example, some cards offer bonus miles for spending a certain amount within a certain time frame. That means your everyday business-related expenses could result in a free plane ticket. Some cards even provide access to those super swanky lounge clubs at airports.

4. Are there caps?

If you’re a big spender, you might find your rewards program capped. Some cards allow you to accrue only a certain number of points during a month or year. However, some don’t set limits. Make certain you’re getting the most from your rewards program by finding a card that aligns with your spending habits.

5. How can you use rewards?

Card differ in how you can redeem rewards. Some translate into frequent flyer miles, while others let you rack up free hotel nights or merchandise at specific retailers. Some have vast selections of gift cards you can choose from; others give you cash back or let you use your points as a credit on your account.

If you only have the option for a gift card, make sure the card offers gift cards for stores and restaurants you like and have access to. If you won’t actually use the gift card, you’re not getting a good deal on the rewards program.

6. Are there discounts at affiliated businesses?

Along with cash rewards, some cards entitle you to discounts at affiliated retailers or businesses. So just by using your card at a specific business, you can reap benefits in the form of a discount on the merchandise or services you need.

7. When do rewards expire?

All those rewards are great, but they usually expire. Make certain you redeem them before time’s up so you can take advantage of the things you’ve earned through your routine spending.

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