To make the most out of your rewards, you'll want to select a couple of different cards that offer significant rewards on those products you purchase most often. For the best results, choose cards that offer big bonuses on specific purchase categories. To maximize your rewards from multiple cards, learn to:
#1 Consider Food
When determining which items we consume the most, you'd be remiss to not consider food. After all, we all need to eat. Instead of applying to every card that comes your way that promises a nice reward on purchases, you'll want to narrow your focus to only those from which you can derive maximum benefit.
You definitely want to have a card that offers great rewards on restaurant purchases and/or groceries. Some great options include the American Express Blue Cash Preferred which offers 6 percent back on $6,000 worth of grocery purchases each year as well as Chase Freedom which offers 5 percent off purchases at restaurants.
#2 Reevaluate Gas Rewards
While we all go through what seems like a significant amount of gas during the year, most people won't find it overly helpful to have an exclusive gas rewards card unless they travel thousands of miles on a regular basis. However, for those individuals who are not traveling constantly, the rewards obtained from gas-only reward cards aren't going to be significant enough to merit their use.
#3 Think About Telecommunications and Office Supplies
It's not uncommon for millennials to spend large amounts of money on cable, Internet, and phone services. Fortunately, several business credit cards such as Chase Ink Cash® and American Express SimplyCash® Plus Business cards offer 5 percent back on these kinds of purchases as well as office furniture, gift cards, and electronics.
#4 Take it Easy with Store Cards
One of the biggest mistakes you can make is to sign up for a large number of store cards. Practically every store you enter tries to push card after card on you, but it's important to keep in mind that you shouldn't get all of them and, instead, should just select those with the best rewards at the stores you like best.
#5 Look Out for Quarterly and Annual Limits
When you're considering various credit card offers, it can be easy to be distracted by the big bold print promising significant rewards on your purchases. However, it's important when checking out your options to look at the small print to see whether the card comes with any reward limits. For example, Chase Freedom and similar cards offer 5 percent off but only up to $1,500 each quarter.
While it's important for you to be aware of these limits, a limit doesn't necessarily mean that the card is not right for you. Combining a select number of different cards that offer limited rewards each year on different types of purchases can still yield significant results.
#6 Embrace Pen and Paper
There's an app for basically everything one can do in life and tracking which cards to use for which purchases are no exception. Several apps exist that you can download to help you do exactly this, but is that really your best option? The most likely answer is "no". Instead, experts recommend putting a piece of tape on each card and labeling them with the specific bonuses they offer. This "back to basics" method can actually be far more effective than any app you download.
#7 Thoroughly Understand Your Cards and the Bonuses They Offer
In order to get your business, credit card companies will use relatively vague language in their marketing campaigns to make their bonuses look more awesome than they may actually be. For example, some cards define "travel" as only pertaining to certain types of vehicles or tickets. Additionally, some cards will only count "grocery" purchases as those that are purchased at actual grocery stores and not at Walmart, Target and other mass merchandisers. Knowing the exact meaning of the bonuses will help you better be able to select the best cards to use.
If you're someone who just wants to carry one card, then by all means just use one. If you're going to go this route, take comfort in knowing that most rewards cards offer a similar percentage back. However, if you're looking to reap some real rewards from your cards, you're going to need to diversify. Whatever option you choose, make sure to do your homework so you can get the most back on your purchases.