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Cash, Miles, or Points? How To Get The Best Credit Card Rewards

Cash, Miles, or Points? How To Get The Best Credit Card Rewards

Getting rewarded for spending money is pretty great. But not all credit card rewards programs are created equal. And some of them can have complicated terms and conditions that make them difficult to navigate. Is it better to have a cash back card, a travel card that gives you frequent flyer miles, or a points reward card that lets you redeem your points for a variety of rewards?

The answer will depend on exactly what type of rewards you’d like to receive, how you plan to use them, and the way you use your card. There’s not one perfect one-size fits all card that works best for every person. So first, ask yourself some questions.

  • How often will I use this card, and where will I use it?
  • Do I tend to fly on the same airline most of the time, or do I go with whatever airline has the best prices or my preferred itinerary? How flexible are my travel plans?
  • Will I be vigilant about redeeming my rewards and am I willing to do a little legwork to get the best redemption value?

If you use your card for most of your everyday purchases, you’ll get the maximum benefit from whatever rewards program it offers, so make sure you have a card that really pays off. But if you’ll use your card primarily to fuel up your car, or for overseas travel only, then a gas credit card or a card with no foreign transaction fees might be the best choice.

Cash back rewards cards are often very easy to use. They’re straightforward, they offer good value, and you can redeem your rewards as a statement credit. It’s like getting free money, truly, with very little to think about. If you want a no-fuss card, this is a great option.

Airline rewards credit cards that are co-branded with a particular company are great for travelers who are loyal to one airline and want to get perks like priority boarding, free bag check, discounts on in-flight purchases, and access to airport lounges. But general travel rewards credit cards are better for folks who like to hop around on different airlines and even use their rewards for other travel expenses, like train tickets or cruises.

Whichever type of rewards credit card you choose, if you pay attention to the fine print and make use of the online account management options and mobile apps, you’re sure to get the biggest bank for your buck.


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