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  |   Business


How to Make the Best Use of Your Credit Card Rewards

What do you look for in a credit card? Some would say that they want a low annual fee or lifetime-free credit card whereas some would prefer cards with travel benefits. Very few look at the reward points that a card offers. However, reward points also add much value to a credit card and should be considered at the time of getting a credit card. For example, some SBI credit cards offer extra rewards when you use them for groceries and departmental store purchases while others offers extra rewards on booking movie tickets.

So, how do you manage the use of your credit card so that you can optimize the rewards in the best possible way? Let us learn about it.

1. Get the Right Credit Card

The first step is to select the right credit card before you can make use of its rewards. What may be a great card for someone may be a really bad choice for someone else. Most of the first-time users get a basic credit card without focusing much on its perks. But when you start planning for using rewards, you need to choose a card that offers extra rewards for your favorite spending. If you are a shopaholic, it is good to get credit cards that offer accelerated reward earnings on fashion brands or on all shopping spends. Never get a credit card that offers excellent rewards on something that has no relevance in your life.

2. Get Multiple Credit Cards

It is difficult to find one card that matches all your needs. Even if you find one, the annual fee may be high. In such cases, getting multiple credit cards is the best option. Several credit cards are available in the market matching different needs of the customers. You just need to find the right mix of credit cards. For a frequent movie-goer and an online shopping enthusiast, HSBC Platinum Credit Card and SBI SimplyCLICK would make a good combination.

3. Plan Your Expenses

Getting a suitable card would be of no use if you put minimal expenses on it. The rate of reward earnings is slow so in order to earn more you will have to spend more. Plan your expenses in a way that makes the best use of accelerated rewards. Let us understand this with the help of an example.

Mr. X has three credit cards- HDFC MoneyBack, SBI SimplyCLICK and IndianOil Citi Platinum Credit Card. Reward earnings on these cards is given in the table below-

Credit Card

Reward Points

Accelerated Rewards

HDFC MoneyBack Credit Card

2 Reward Points per ₹ 150

2X Rewards on Online Spends


1 Reward Point per ₹ 100

5X Reward Point on online spends

10X Reward Points on online purchases with partner brands

IndianOil Citi Platinum Credit Card

1 Turbo Point for every ₹ 150

2X Turbo Points on daily-need groceries

4X Turbo Points for fuel purchases

The points on Citi credit card can be converted directly into fuel and there is extra earning on fuel expenses, hence the user should put all his fuel expenditure on this card. SBI SimplyCLICK would be the best card for online expenses especially when shopping with their partner brands. And for all other online expenses both HDFC and SBI are good. For retail expenses, HDFC MoneyBack would be the best.

4. Don’t Forget Bonus Rewards

Some cards offer bonus rewards on reaching a spending milestone. You should keep track of such bonus rewards so that it can be optimally utilized. Also remember that reward points usually have a life of two years and points that have accumulated in bulk at once can also be lost easily if you do not redeem them before their expiry date.

5. Learn about Hidden Benefits on Your Credit Card

Credit cards do not always have hidden fees and charges, they also have hidden benefits. As a smart user, you should keep track of such offers and utilize them for extra rewards or direct discounts. For example, on HDFC Regalia credit card, you can redeem the points directly at their website- Here you can book airline tickets as well as hotels with their exclusive partners. The value of one reward point is equal to 50 paisa.

6. Don’t Spend Just for Earning Rewards

Reward points are beneficial for users but they are actually meant to benefit the banks. The more you spend, the more will the bank earn in the form of interest and other fees and charges. So, you should not spend just for the purpose of earning rewards; spend only on things that you need.

Above mentioned are the various ways in which you can optimize the rewards on your credit card. However, there are a few things that you need to keep in mind about credit card rewards program-

  • Rewards points, if not specified otherwise, expire after a period of time. So you must redeem them within that period.
  • Your credit card may offer excellent rewards but the redemption options may not be beneficial for you. Check the rewards catalogue before opting for a card.
  • Some credit cards come with the option of converting your rewards directly into statement credit. Such cashback offers are the most beneficial for users.
  • Reward points are beneficial only when a good deal of points have been accumulated. So you must be patient with reward earning on your credit card.
  • Do not forget to read the terms and conditions related to reward points before you start spending towards a goal.
  • Some banks might not offer reward benefits to people who are not regular with their bill payments, so you must pay in full on or before the due date every month.

Although rewards are good for everyone but the best use of it will be made by those who plan and strategize their expenditure in line with the rewards program. Follow the strategies mentioned above to make the most of your reward points. Keep yourself updated with any type of changes in the terms and conditions related to your credit card’s rewards program.

This article does not necessarily reflect the opinions of the editors or management of EconoTimes

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