Credit cards that have airline miles or other rewards attached can make a consumer feel like they're getting a bonus every time they shop. But most users aren't maximizing their card's potential.
Who doesn't love a bonus? That's one reason offers for credit cards with loyalty rewards have become more popular. But Brian Kelly of ThePointsGuy.com says maximizing these programs takes more strategy than a swipe of the card at the grocery store or gas pump. And no matter how great a sign-up bonus might look, he advises doing some homework first. "It may be a bit annoying to do some research and see what credit card is best for you and your spending," says Kelly, "But once you get a really tight strategy in place, you'll be amazed how quickly those free flights, free hotels, they can really add up."
Some of Kelly's other tips:
And points and miles may be like currency, but they aren't an investment -- rules and fees can change at any time. It may be helpful to keep a goal in mind so you keeping earning and using those rewards -- like a family vacation or a first-class ticket.