America's Love Affair with Credit Card Rewards and Rebates!
|Curtis Arnold is the founder of
offers a consumer report of US credit cards and instant online approvals. Named
among the 'Web's Best Sites' by SmartComputing magazine! The site is courtesy of
Citizens for Fair Credit Card Terms, Inc.
month conjures up images up puppy love, romantic escapes, and red
roses. Granted, credit cards are typically not viewed as being very
romantic :), but America's "love affair" with credit cards
that offer rewards and rebates remains strong. Despite restrictions
on card rewards, which seem to have grown over the years, the demand
for card rewards has not waned.
In fact, the growth of the internet
has helped spur America's seemingly insatiable appetite for card
rewards. Case and point...Peter Flur, a research engineer from
Atlanta, GA, started a web site devoted to card rewards on a whim in
1996. The site was simply an expression of Peter's personal interest
in the subject. Though the site lacked the financial backing of a
"high-flying Internet IPO", it didn't take Peter long to
discover that others shared his interest. Today, Peter's site,
CreditCardGoodies.com, averages about one million views each month!
with any love affair, though, there are some potential pitfalls. The
following tips will hopefully help cardholders avoid some of these
pitfalls. The goal here is to help America's relationship with
reward cards to "continue to blossom."
* Read the fine print carefully
before applying for a reward card. All cards contain restrictions on
rewards in some form or fashion, and these restrictions aren't
always obvious. For instance, some airline reward cards (which offer
frequent flyer miles) will not allow cardholders to redeem miles at
certain airlines. Redemption of miles can be further restricted by
black-out dates, expiration dates, etc. For a detailed description
of such restrictions, please view our Card Rewards Report In short,
the rule of thumb is buyer beware!
* Be mindful of your average annual
spending levels (i.e. the average amount that you would charge on a
card during a year) when applying for a reward card. Many reward
cards offer reduced incentives if cardholders don't reach annual
spending thresholds. Furthermore, many cards are more beneficial at
certain spending levels. CreditCardGoodies.com contains a useful
graph that illustrates this point for cards offering cash-back
* If you usually carry a balance on
your cards, you probably should avoid the allure of reward cards.
Most reward cards have higher interest rates than traditional cards
and many have annual fees. Such disadvantages usually far outweigh
any rewards you might earn. Lending Tree offers
handy calculators that you can use if you are trying to decide if a
given reward card "really measures up" against a
traditional card. These calculators are a great resource and offer
several fields for inputting card data (i.e. interest rates, annual
fees, etc.). Click on the "Credit Card Resource Center"
link to use the calculators.
* Finally, have fun with reward
cards! Peter Flur views the pursuit of credit card rewards as simply
a game (albeit a potentially profitable game- many cardholders rack
up considerable awards on a regular basis) . If you don't like one
card after "trying it out for a while", switch to another.
There are new cards coming out almost on a daily basis, so keep your
eyes peeled and come back to this site often to learn of new
offerings! Americans love getting freebies and reward cards offer a
plethora of freebies. Who said there "ain't no such thing as a