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How to Compare Credit Card Rewards Programs

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When it comes to choosing a credit card specifically for the rewards program, there is a lot more to consider than simply the rewards being offered. Some cards may offer a lower point earn rate, but include additional perks and benefits missing from other cards, while a card offering great points could be saddled with a high annual fee and interest rate that all but cancels out the points benefit. What works for one person might not work for you, so when it comes to finding the best credit card for points - PointHacks is a good place to start with comparing credit cards and the points program for each, by looking at some of the following.

 

The Type of Points Earned

 

There are two primary types of points programs offered on most major credit cards – frequent flyer points and reward points. Frequent flyer points are linked to a single preferred frequent flyer program such as Velocity, Asia Miles, or Quantas Frequent Flyer. You can use your points for things other than flights, including car hire and hotel reservations, but using your points for flights limits you to one airline, and any airlines they have a partnership with. Reward points on the other hand can be converted to almost any frequent flyer program, regardless of the airline, while also being used for purchases such as gift cards, concert tickets, and more.

 

Other Key Features

 

  • Interest rates - you might be planning on always paying the full balance at the end of each month, but it still helps to know the interest rate you will be charged if you do happen to carry a balance or take a cash advance on the card.

  • Annual fees - some cards will come with a promotional offer of no annual card fee for the first 12-24 months, but there's no avoiding it after the promotion ends. American Express usually has a very high annual fee, but you may find the overall benefits are better for you.

  • Points earn rate and bonus point offers - Most cards offer a sizeable points bonus on new cards, but these are still attached to you meeting certain conditions, such as a minimum spend within the first two to three months. Over and above that you also need to look at how many points you stand to earn per dollar spent, including any caps: you could find that your earn rate drops once you've spent more than a certain amount on the card.

  • Points expiry - not only do you need to consider whether or not the points you earn ever expire, you also need to look for specific conditions that may require you to spend your points in a certain way within a predefined period. If you don't, you could end up losing all your bonus points, and other points you earned through using the card.

  • Other benefits and perks - most cards include extra benefits, such as discounted hotel rates, complimentary subscriptions and memberships, access to private hotel lounges, and more. But these perks and benefits are only valuable if they are something you would use.

 

Ultimately, the best credit card for points is the one that meets your needs, and has perks, benefits and other rewards that matter to you.

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