Learn 9 Ways to Take Your Credit Card Rewards to the Next Level

3. Make a new credit card

Even if you conclude that your current wallet selection is still a good fit, you may want to consider adding a new wallet. Recently, new cardholder bonuses have risen to dizzying heights, with prizes ranging from a few hundred dollars in cash to a whopping $1,000 in vacation.


Even if the card has an annual fee, a sizable bonus on a card with solid ongoing rewards can more than offset the fee over time. Consider a card coupling strategy if you’ve previously preferred using a single all-purpose card. Combining cards that yield high reward rates on multiple spending categories will help you optimize your benefits.

4. Emphasize adaptability.

If you have a favorite airline, hotel chain, or retail store, it may make sense to carry its co-branded credit card, given the benefits those cards can provide. However, such cards tend to lock you into their own reward systems, which means your points or miles can’t be used outside of that brand.

General rewards credit cards, on the other hand, are far more adaptable. If you have a card that earns Chase Ultimate Rewards® points or American Express Membership Rewards points, for example, you can use them in a variety of ways.

Travelers particularly value such points because they may be used to book travel directly with the card issuer or transferred to a variety of airline and hotel loyalty programs, frequently resulting in outsized value.


5. Keep track of your prizes

Monitoring your credit card points, including how much you have on each card, is essential for arranging your reward travel. If you only know you have “a boatload” of Marriott points, you might think it’s enough to fund your anniversary trip to Paris.

Nevertheless, you may be in for a nasty awakening when you realize that the stylish hotel you desire in high season is charging a whopping 100,000 points per night – despite the fact that your stash was just 150,000 points altogether. Another critical aspect of keeping track of points is knowing when they expire.