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Thursday, July 06, 2006

How to maximize your credit card rewards

Although I got my first credit card 6 years ago, it was only 2 years ago that I started exploring the credit cards with rewards. Once I started accumulating the credit card reward points I realized that I have missed out on a decent amount of money by not getting the reward cards before.
I have had several credit cards with rewards so far but it is only now that I have found a way to maximize my reward points. In this post I will discuss some strategies to maximize your reward points. I have following reward credit cards.

1. Citi® Dividend Platinum Select® Card
This credit card gives you 5% cashback on all grocery, gas and drugstore purchase and 1% cashback on all other purchases. I use this credit card only at those stores which give 5% cashback because 1% is just not good enough cashback.

2. Citi PremierPass® Card
Although this credit card gives you 1% cashback on all purchases but if you travel as much as an average american and spend as much as an average american then your net cashback could be as high as 2%. Here is how this works.
If you purchase airlines ticket using this card then for every 3 miles that you fly you get one flight point. For every dollar you spend you receive a purchase point. You can redeem a flight point only if you have a matching purchase point. So if you have enough flight point then for every purchase point you should have a corresponding flight point resulting in 2% cashback.

3. GAP card
I have a gap card which I can use for GAP, Banana Republic and Old Navy. This card gives me 5% cash back. I purchase most of my clothes from GAP or BR so it makes sense for me to get 5% cashback on that purchase.

So I use 1) for all my grocery, gas and drugstore purchase 3) for my purchase at GAP and BR and 2) for all other purchases.

There is another trick you can use to increase your cashback returns. Several grocery stores sell gift cards for various stores, If you need to buy something from a store and your grocery store carries gift card for that store then purchase the gift card from the grocery store and then use this gift card to make your purchase. The reason for doing this is that you will get 5% cash back for purchasing the gift card from the grocery store.

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