Do you hate winter as much as I do? Here’s a quick test to know for sure. When the forecast calls for snow, do you make sure to get every possible thing you might need in the next week at the grocery, even if it’s only flurries? Do you start wearing gloves and a scarf in mid-September? Do you feel just a little nauseous if you look out the window and see snowflakes you didn’t realize were coming? If you’ve answered yes to any of these questions, then you definitely need to get working on your plan to escape this winter season.
Oh, I know, money is tight these days…but isn’t it always? Don’t sweat it, we’ve got you covered. Thanks to the super competition for your business, credit card rewards are abundantly available and increasingly rewarding. In fact, you can use those points and rewards to practically pay for your entire vacation. Seem too good to be true? Here are some of our best tips to help you get the most out of your credit card rewards and escape winter this year.
Make Use of Introductory Bonus Points
A lot of credit cards offer an extra incentive just for choosing them. Usually, this takes the form of a bucket-load of extra points or rewards. These extra points are usually a very good start to getting out of town, so find a card that offers a great sign-on bonus and make sure you earn it within the introductory period.
Using Multiple Cards Can Win More Points
If you plan far enough ahead, you can use this introductory bonus trick several times with different cards, but you need to also keep your credit rating in mind. If you need to negotiate any kind of loan or mortgage with the bank in the next few months, then applying for multiple cards may impact your credit rating, so make sure you find out whether it’s a concern for your bank or not.
Make Sure Your Reward Program Earns You Dollars
When you’re choosing the credit cards, the introductory bonus is definitely a huge consideration, but also take a quick look at the annual fees and fees for extra cards for your spouse. Do the math and make sure you’re still ahead, and not actually paying for those bonus points in the long run.
When you’re comparing cards and reward programs, make sure and convert the rewards into dollars so that you’re comparing apples to apples. You want to be earning the maximum dollar value in points as you use the card. Not all rewards programs are created equal, so make sure you know how many points you’re earning per dollar spent and how those points translate into dollars back into your pocket.
Score Points, But Take It Easy, One Step At a Time
Usually, in order to earn the bonus points, you have to spend quite a lot of money in the first 1 to 3 months. Now, it’s very tempting in that case, to go nuts in the shopping mall. After all, you’re getting all those points, right? Wrong. You can earn a crazy amount of points on your card, while still remaining debt free and never paying a penny of interest. Simply use your card for every single purchase you make on a daily basis, but then pay the amount back immediately when you receive the statement each month.
Most importantly, only use the card for items that already exist on your budget. Don’t change your spending habits in order to get more points, that’s just bad math.
Watch For Other Bonus Programs
Once the credit card company has you, they know they sometimes have to fight to keep your business, so they also offer occasional bonus programs or affiliations with certain retailers. Sign up for your credit cards email alerts and newsletters and watch for these special offers. Often, by temporarily switching your regular stores and gas stations, you can earn extra points to contribute to the pot.
By creating an interest-free credit card habit and combining that with well-timed new card applications and occasionally taking advantages of promotions, you should be able to finance a nice little getaway each year.