Pros and Cons of Credit Card Rewards Programs

Do you own a credit card?

Whether it’s travel rewards, merchandise, or cash-back, chances are you are part of one or more credit card rewards programs.

Both of my credit cards have rewards programs attached, one for travel and one for groceries/food. The trick is making sure that the money I would normally use to buy food, or merchandise etc is quickly applied to my credit card after my purchase. That isn’t always the case though and can be tough to manage.

Are these programs worth the effort for the reward? Yes, if you are diligent placing the majority of your purchases on your credit card to earn more reward points AND if you are as diligent in paying off those purchases within a couple weeks.

So how do you decide? Let’s start with the potential cons first ( I like to end with good news):

NOT SO PROS?

– How much do you actually spend to save enough points for that reward? More than if you just saved a little and paid cash?

– Are you in debt from trying to get points for a trip or merchandise you may have been able to pay for outright?

– Multiple cards trying to rack up multiple rewards? At the end of the day, you still have to pay the credit card!

– Paying an unnecessarily high interest rate for the sake of the rewards/points.

My fiance had an Aeroplan credit card for years and recently his card was automatically switched to a TD Aeroplan Visa Credit card. Thankfully he already banks with TD so his accounts are more aligned. However, regardless of the potential for more Aeroplan points, I know that initially he wasn’t pleased with the automatic switch. He wasn’t impressed with the fact that the original company did not communicate the switch to a new company to their existing customers. Although he wasn’t happy with that, he is content with the fact that his rewards didn’t experience any interruption.

PROS?

– The rewards are awesome! I’ve used my rewards to travel at least twice since I’ve owned credit cards and I’ve also gotten gift cards for various stores.

– Great for the credit rating if you keep up with paying off your purchases prior to the billing period.

– Additional perks for being a card member such as: welcome bonus points, special discounts on concerts, other travel benefits like airport lounge access, and much more.

What’s been your experience with credit card rewards programs? Any pros and/or not so pros you’d like to share and add to the list for other readers? I’m looking forward to your input!

 

12 Comments

  1. June 11, 2015 / 8:50 pm

    Yes, the secret is to pay off the credit card balance every month.

  2. loucheryl
    June 6, 2015 / 7:49 pm

    I love the loyalty programs that some credit cards offer. My husband and pay off our cards every month in full so we really take advantage of the benefits of the loyalty programs. 🙂

  3. loucheryl
    May 20, 2015 / 6:50 pm

    I love reward Credit Cards. My husband and I have a few. We pay them off every month so it’s all rewards for us and no debt. 🙂

  4. Alexa Nernberg
    December 10, 2014 / 9:18 am

    Season’s Greetings! If a credit card comes with an activation or annual fee, we will not use it. I have redeemed points for some great products through HBC and Air Miles.

  5. Susan T.
    April 16, 2014 / 12:42 pm

    I only use credit cards that don’t have a yearly fee. I have enjoyed earning Airmiles and Shopper’s Drug Mart points so far!

  6. March 21, 2014 / 5:14 pm

    I don’t own a credit card, I would get myself into trouble if I had one

  7. March 17, 2014 / 8:04 pm

    We are big believes of credit cards for earning free flights assuming you can pay off your credit card is month. For years we had simple cash back cards. While they were nice in that we earned a few hundred each year, the rewards were not even close to what we earn now that we have discovered cards that earn miles. We focus on cards that offer signup bonuses and waive the annual fee the first year. In the last 18 months have earned enough miles for 2 round trips in Asia in first class!

  8. March 16, 2014 / 11:13 pm

    I also had my VISA switched without any decision-making on my part. I have to say I was really annoyed…!

  9. Erika E
    March 16, 2014 / 5:00 pm

    I have a credit card that earns points for groceries. It’s the only one I use and I have saved a lot of money on groceries with it. It builds points quite quickly so I think it’s well worth it.

  10. March 14, 2014 / 10:04 am

    I don’t have a credit card but when I do, I definitely want rewards.

  11. March 11, 2014 / 8:26 pm

    I am not a personal fan of credit cards. Unless you plan on paying them off each month, then your better off paying cash for everything

  12. Suzie M
    March 10, 2014 / 7:33 pm

    My husband & i actually flew to Europe with airmiles so I love it

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