Love The Rewards Your Credit Card Can Offer You Year Round
Valentine's Day is nearly here, and whether you're shopping for the perfect present or planning a weekend getaway, it may be time to think about a rewards credit card. With a rewards card, you're getting an extra bonus for every dollar you spend — and you can turn the reward points you earn into cash, gift cards, airfare and more. That lets you stretch each dollar you spend a bit further.
You're already spending money, so why not earn rewards while you do? Here's what you need to know about rewards cards.
How to find the right rewards card
- When you're searching for a rewards card, you need to consider what you want out of it. You'll find that each card tends to focus on certain types of rewards:
- Travel cards typically offer bonus points for travel purchases. Rewards often focus on travel, too, helping you pay for airfare and hotel stays. These are good options if you travel a lot and want to travel more.
- Cash back cards are the simplest reward cards there are. There's no thinking about what to redeem your points for: your points just turn into cash, which you can apply to your card balance or spend anywhere. This is a perfect choice for someone who doesn't want to think too much about the details of a rewards program.
- Points cards offer an array of awards that you can pick when you decide to redeem your points. These are a good choice if you don't want to commit to a specific type of reward.
What to know before you sign up for a rewards card
When you're hunting for the right reward cards, here are the features you need to look out for:
- Fees: Rewards cards typically have an annual fee, which can take a big bite out of your reward earnings. Also watch for foreign transaction fees, which can add up to a lot of cash if you're traveling out of the country. Lower fees (or no fees!) are better.
- Interest Rate: The lower the interest rate the better. Spending less in interest means you'll earn more from your rewards.
- Points per purchase: Most cards will give you 1 point per dollar spent, but be mindful of any bonus points offered. Some cards will give extra points for purchases on travel, groceries or other expenses. You'll get the most rewards with a card that offers bonuses for the things you spend the most on, so consider bonuses carefully.
- Sign-up bonuses: Most cards offer a sign-up bonus, such as extra points if you spend a certain amount or a low-interest balance transfer offer. If you're planning to transfer a balance, look for a $0 transfer fee or a long 0% interest offer, both of which will help you pay down credit card debt.
- Rewards: Obviously, you want a card with rewards you'll use, so keep looking until you find a card with the rewards you want.
- Redeeming points: Usually, this is as simple as visiting your credit card company's website and clicking a few buttons. But you should take a look at how easy it is and whether your points expire if you don't spend them.
Make the most of your rewards card
Once you have a rewards card, racking up the rewards is as easy as using it. Keep those other cards in your wallet and try to put everything on the rewards card to maximize your points. Use it to shop everywhere — particularly places where you'll earn bonus points — and put bills on your card when you can. You have to pay for these things anyway, so use your rewards card to earn more.
Three great rewards cards from PenFed
If you're looking for fantastic rewards and low fees, PenFed has three great options for you:
PenFed Pathfinder Rewards American Express® Card: An ideal card for travelers, Pathfinder Rewards offers up to 4 points per dollar spent on travel purchases and 1.5 points per dollar spent on everything else. You'll also get $100 per year in air travel credit and another $100 credit towards your TSA PreCheck enrollment. This travel-focused card also lets you choose your rewards: in addition to travel, you can grab gift cards and do other shopping with your points. That gives this card great flexibility.
PenFed Platinum Rewards VISA Signature® Card: This is a great all-purpose card that offers extra points for many of your everyday purchases. You'll earn 5 points per dollar spent on gas, 3 points per dollar spent on groceries, and 1 point per dollar spent on everything else. Those bonus points add up, and you can spend them however you'd like: shop, get gift cards or pay for travel.
PenFed Power Cash Rewards VISA Signature® Card: This is the perfect card for anyone who wants to keep things simple. All you have to do with the Power Cash Rewards Card is shop and you'll get up to 2% cash back. You can use that cash to pay your monthly statement or transfer it to your bank account to spend however you'd like. It couldn't be easier.
And best of all, none of these cards have an annual fee or foreign transaction fee — and fewer fees means more rewards.