How to Use Your Credit Card Points to Redeem Sweet Rewards
(SPOT.ph) Spending more for the sake of a prize seems counterproductive, but you might as well nab a reward if you’re going to spend that money anyway to pay for essentials. Credit cards have a bad rep, but using them the right way can not only help you manage your finances and build a good credit standing, but also let you unlock exclusives through their accompanying reward points systems.
If you’re a credit card holder already, you might be taking this time to maximize the rewards. If you’re a credit card newbie, it’s a great opportunity to compare rewards systems before applying for the plastic. Regardless of what type of spender you are, it’s never too late to take advantage of credit card rewards.
Before we start, keep in mind that all banks are different, each one offering different credit cards with varying credit limits and rewards. Rewards are undoubtedly cool, but don’t drown in debt just to have those prizes within your grasp.
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What are credit card points and rewards anyway?
Credit card points accumulate every time you pay using your bank’s issued card. These reward and loyalty programs grant customers sweet prizes or solid deals for using the card and paying it back on time.
Some will reward you with travel miles for spending, while some cards offer shopping discounts or restaurant exclusives. As of late, some banks now offer cashback and small gadgets like flash drives or earphones.
Personally, rebates are always good, but I did end up using the free USB I got from spending using my credit card. My next goal is probably a store discount for some new clothes.
How to make the most out of your credit card points and rewards:
Know how to rake in points
Every bank is different and some credit cards are meant for shopaholics, while others are targeted toward travelers saving up their miles. Depending on how you spend and what you want to get, reward points systems will vary.
Ideally, you should think of the rewards system as well as your ability to pay back the debt when applying for a card. But if you’re late in the game and working with the rewards system that comes with your current card, you can still make the most out of the reward points.
Some cards will give you one point for every P35 up to P100 spent, while special cards only tally points for online transactions or at select establishments. It’s in the fine print, and you can call up your bank or check their website for the full list of conditions.
A points summary is usually listed on your monthly billing, detailing how many points you earned in the past 30 days, and how much you have ready to spend on rewards.
Also read: What to Do If You Lost Your Credit Card
Promos are different from points
Are you familiar with texts saying you can get P3,000 off a buffet dinner if you pay using your card on particular dates? Those are promos and do not deduct from your points in order for you to enjoy that meal. Promos are another incentive for you to spend and keep a good relationship with the bank, but these are limited-time offerings applied to all cardholders that possess the same card or spend the same amount.
Rewards redeemed from points are custom to you and usually take longer to claim.
Figure out what you want
You’ve accumulated points, now it’s time to go “shopping” for the reward you want. If you’re suffering severe wanderlust, you might opt for miles, but if you’re in the need of a major makeover, a shopping spree may be more up your alley.
Lists aren’t always available online, so do call up the bank or shoot them an e-mail to see the full list of deals you can redeem. Some people think rewards are so last season and opt for bills rebate instead to cushion the blow of a rather tight month.
Once you have the list, keep an eye out for the items or deals you want along with the corresponding cost in points. If you have enough points, you can redeem them, but if not, you’ll have to keep spending to score more points.
When redeeming your credit card points, have the following at the ready:
- Card or Customer number
- Reward item code
- Item quantity
For miles, banks will ask you to note your miles membership number for the airline of your choice. Though most discount vouchers are digital, some stores will send out physical coupons instead, which will be shipped to your address. Be ready with that in case it’s asked for.
For actual physical items like make-up, small appliances, and gadgets, you’ll really need to provide your address so the reward can be dispatched.
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Most banks have a dedicated online portal for claiming. It’s usually a form where you input the reward code, card, or customer number, and how many of it you’re claiming (if you’re allowed to claim more than one or if you have enough points to redeem it twice).
Send an e-mail
Sending an e-mail may be a slower process, but it ensures that there’s a paper trail of the exchange. Here you can make notes and clearly type out the reward you’re interested in and shoot questions mid-conversation.
Make an in-person visit
We know branch visits are a major hassle, but it still provides real-time response and clearance online channels just can’t offer right now. Any questions you have will be readily answered by knowledgeable representatives, you can ask for specifics, and maybe even gain access to a secret menu of rewards depending on your bank.
If you have a relationship manager at a bank branch, get in touch and express your interest to claim a reward or several others.