When looking to get a credit card, you might often notice companies advertising special loyalty programs for some of their own cards. And while this might seem like a cheap marketing trick, it’s often more than that. Many of these programs can be worthwhile if you are prepared to use them right, and they can make an otherwise mediocre credit card offer transform into a much more attractive one.
Of course, not every loyalty program is equal, and you’ll want to pay attention to what you’re getting. In some cases, the special conditions of the program might look good on paper, only to turn out to be more or less unmanageable with your lifestyle.
You Need to Be an Active Spender
And that’s a good place to start – how much are you willing to spend on a regular basis? If you’ve already had credit cards before, this can be easier to figure out. But if it’s your first time taking one out, you might not have a very clear picture in your head. In any case, it’s always a better idea to estimate on the side of caution. Don’t get a card that will require you to spend more than you’re really comfortable with, because the effects can stack up quite fast.
Also, consider the option of transferring one of your current credit cards to the new one. If you can use the new card in place of the old one for more or less the same things, you might be able to get away with paying less as you won’t have to deal with two separate lines of credit and the implications they bring.
Not All Programs Are the Same
As we mentioned above, not all credit card loyalty programs on the market will offer you the same benefits, and you must be careful in your choice. Use the internet to do your research thoroughly, and know what the fine print under each deal says. That’s often where the most important bits are when it comes to attractive-looking credit card deals.
On the note of using the internet, you may also want to set up some alerts to notify you when you have a new deal available that matches certain criteria. This can make your search a much easier process, and if you’re not in a hurry to get a new card right now, you can take your time and wait until something more attractive comes along.
Some of the best deals on the market will only be available for a short time, requiring you to act fast. And while companies sometimes rely on a sense of urgency to get you to act on those deals, if you’ve been doing some research for a while, you’ll be able to approach this with a prepared attitude.
Sometimes, loyalty programs will offer you rewards that go beyond discounts at regular stores. Airline miles are a good example of that. Some of these deals may work better for you, depending on your life circumstances. If you travel a lot and purchase airplane tickets on a regular basis, for example, then the above types of rewards will obviously be more useful to you than the average person.
In some cases, you might even end up saving hundreds of dollars on expenses that you would have made otherwise! However, these types of credit cards are often rare and not easy to come by, and you’ll need to be patient in your search. Once you’ve found a good deal though, you’re all set.
Maintaining Multiple Credit Cards
Remember that you should not go overboard with this. Just because a card offers nice rewards doesn’t mean that you should necessarily get it. After all, there’s a limit to how many lines of credit you can realistically maintain, especially if they all require special types of purchases and other activities. With that in mind, try to limit the total number of credit cards you have.
Remember that any unused credit cards will reflect poorly on your credit score as well. That’s because they’re treated as dormant lines of credit, which has special implications in the world of lending. The bottom line is that you have to be absolutely sure that you’re going to use a card to its full potential before going for it. If not, it might be best to put it off and look for another deal. After all, you don’t have to get every single type of credit card that you come across!