You spend a lot on your cards and you want all the perks you deserve. With so many options (flights! merch! cash!) how do you get the most for your hard-swiped points?
Cash back. Redeeming points for cash is a smart way to go, experts say. Caveat: “The standard for cash back is one cent per point or mile, and you shouldn’t settle for less,” says Anisha Sekar of NerdWallet.com.
Gift cards. But not just any old gift card! “With 2,500 points, you could get a $25 Visa gift card—or a $40 credit to use at Barnes & Noble,” says Ben Woolsey of CreditCards.com. Check your program’s “special offers” section for the best deals.
Stuff. Prices for merchandise tend to be inflated. “You might see a coffeemaker for $125 worth of points, but on Amazon you can get the same appliance for $100,” Woolsey says.
Hotels, flights. If you’re hoping to use rewards for a holiday weekend, think again. Many hotels and airlines set aside only a small percentage of rooms or seats for rewards customers, Sekar says, so you could easily come up empty-handed (and be tempted to pay out of pocket). Aim for a time of year that’s less traveled.