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Bottom Line Up Front

  • Rewards and cash-back credit cards offer perks for cardholders. Make sure to find a rewards card that best fits your lifestyle. 
  • Be sure to check out other benefits of your rewards card, such as travel accident insurance or price match guarantees. 

Time to Read

3 minutes

April 17, 2022

Most major credit cards come with a rewards program. With eligible purchases, you might receive cash back, airline miles, hotel stays and more.

It helps to take a step back and consider how you can use credit card perks in many areas of your life. Here are 8 secrets that can get you the most from your rewards credit cards:

  1. Match Your Rewards Card to You—A rewards card that earns travel points may not matter if you don’t travel. The right card is the one that offers the best perks for you. If you want cash back, a cash rewards credit card is a better option. Shop Amazon® or Walmart® often? Maybe their store card is the best rewards credit card for you.  
  2. Look Beyond the Initial Bonus—Rewards cards that deliver double or triple points on purchases in bonus categories, like grocery stores or drug stores, can be great—just don’t overspend. The best cash-back and rewards credit cards sometimes offer extra rewards like statement credits, welcome bonuses and good rates on balance transfers.
  3. Keep Track of Your Rewards—It’s easy to forget about the rewards you’ve earned. But you don’t want them to expire before you redeem them. Keep up to date on your rewards by redeeming periodically, and pay attention to any changes in credit card terms. (The credit card issuer is required to let you know when there’s a change.)
  4. Monitor Annual Fees—You expect a rewards credit card to work hard for you, and sometimes it’s worth paying for those extra benefits. If your rewards card has an annual fee, be sure your annual rewards surpass that fee. Also, make sure the card has a good interest rate and no spending requirement.
  5. Be Disciplined With Rewards Card Use—Do you pay off your rewards card balance in full each month? If not, be careful with everyday spending. Don’t go deeper into debt just for extra rewards. It's not worth damaging your credit score or personal finances for those super sweet bonus points.
  6. Use One Rewards Card—Using one rewards card not only simplifies your spending; it also helps you earn rewards faster. Make the most of rewards by using your card to pay regular bills. Remember - paying the card off every month may help you avoid interest charges on purchases. 
  7. Check Out the Other Benefits on Your Rewards Cards—Some rewards cards offer better benefits than others. Waiving of foreign transaction fees make great additions to travel rewards cards. Price-match guarantees, perks that relate to your interest rate and others are solid rewards card value-adds. Benefits such as travel accident insurance, sign-up bonuses and extended warranties are good add-ons for cash rewards.  
  8. Check With Customer Service—If you have a question about your card’s rewards, or if you’re looking for a new card, an answer is just a call away, especially if you have a Navy Federal Credit Union rewards card (1-888-842-6328). You can also chat with a member service representative online at


Next Steps Next Steps

  1. Find out which rewards credit card best fits your lifestyle.  
  2. Set up your rewards card as your default payment for online purchases. 
  3. Spend wisely to earn rewards while balancing paying off your card each month. Automatic notifications can remind you when your payment is due so you never miss it.
  4. Track and redeem your rewards!


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This content is intended to provide general information and shouldn't be considered legal, tax or financial advice. It's always a good idea to consult a tax or financial advisor for specific information on how certain laws apply to your situation and about your individual financial situation.