We all know the drill: you choose a credit card based on its amazing rewards program, only to find out it takes literally years to earn anything. That just stinks! Even if you are putting all of your purchases and bills on your card, racking up points can be slow going. There has to be a quicker way to gain credit card rewards, right?
You're in luck! There are tons of secret ways to earn those points faster so you can get more free stuff. Don't worry, I'm not going to put you into debt just so you can get some discount plane tickets. All of these tips ensure you don't dish out any money that you weren't already planning to spend.
Want to know more? Keep reading to learn my top five sneaky ways to gain credit card rewards!
1. Use Trim
One easy way to gain credit card rewards faster and without fear is to use Trim. This free app analyzes your spending and automates ways to save on your monthly bills. It also sets up a savings account for you, and each week money will be transferred into it. All you have to do is sit back and watch the savings add up. This is hugely helpful when it comes to budgeting.
Here's how it works, step by step:
- Sign up for your free account and enter your credit card information. Don't worry, Trim takes every precaution to keep your info secure.
- Next, keep making purchases with your credit cards like you normally would. Nothing changes there!
- Here's the unique step. When Trim analyzes your purchases, it figures out where it can save you money on your monthly bills. For example, it might find you're overpaying on your internet bill. Trim will advocate for you and get your bill negotiated down. That way, you aren't overpaying for your services and you get extra cash in your pocket every month.
- Finally, this app sets up a high-yield savings account and puts money in it every week. No need to stress about long-term savings!
My favorite thing about Trim is that it helps you track all of your subscription services and gives you an easy way to cancel the ones you don't use. With the rise of subscription-based streaming and shopping services, this feature is a must-have for all Millennials.
So what's the point of all this?
When you use Trim, you'll want to automate all your recurring monthly purchases on your credit card. This will probably mean that you're spending more money on your card than you have in the past. Making more purchases on your credit cards means more points. Obviously!
2. Divide Your Spending
Some people split their expenditures between several credit cards so they can afford all of their bills. While that isn't a great idea (it will end up putting you into even more debt), dividing your spending can help you gain credit card rewards faster.
This tip is all about spending smart. Take a look at your credit cards and examine their rewards programs. One might give you cash back on everything, while another gives you points on gas. Different credit cards reward you for buying different things. It can be anything from groceries to airline tickets to food at restaurants.
Once you know what each card rewards you for buying, always use that card when you make that type of purchase. It's a surefire way to earn as many points as you possibly can without making any extra purchases. If you are already filling up your gas tank or doing your weekly grocery shop, you might as well get rewarded for it!
Just remember to always pay your credit card bills off on time and in full so you don't rack up debt in addition to extra points. None of these ideas are meant to challenge you financially. They are meant to help you, not stress you out!
3. Offer To Pay The Group's Bill
Did you know that hanging out with your friends can help you gain credit card rewards? The next time you go out for a group dinner or grab drinks with your pals, suggest putting it all on one bill and paying with your credit card. Then, have your friends transfer you the money they owe.
If you have a larger credit card spending limit, you can even take this to the next level with bigger expenditures. Are you planning a bachelorette getaway for your bestie? Offer to book everyone's airfare and let others pay you back. Going on a big family reunion vacation soon? Put all of the hotel rooms on your card. The more you spend, the more credit card points you will earn!
If your friends and family are notorious for borrowing money and taking forever to pay it back, this tactic won't work for you. You only get the benefits if in the end, you aren't actually spending more money than you usually do. If you get stuck paying for someone else's stuff, the extra rewards aren't really worth it, especially if you are on a tight budget.
Also, don't fall into the trap of “I'll get this one and you get the next one.” That may even out over a long period of time, but you could end up bearing the brunt of your friends' spending. For example, if you end up paying for a night out at the club, it wouldn't be fair for your BFF to pay for a coffee date. The costs are way different! Instead, insist that everyone just pay you back their total plus tip so you don't get ripped off.
4. Get Your Sign-Up Bonus
Many credit cards now come with a sign-up bonus. This is a large, one-time reward of points or cash that come with opening a new card. Sometimes you get the bonus just for signing up, but most require a minimum spend on the card in a certain amount of time for you to earn the influx of rewards.
When choosing which card to sign up for, take the sign-up bonus into account. If you love to travel, opening a card that gives you tons of airline miles all at once is totally worth it. Or if you shop at one store a lot, that store's specific credit card will be awesome for you since you buy things there anyway. Signing up for a card with a bonus that doesn't line up with your spending habits probably isn't worth your time.
Before opening a new credit card with an appealing sign-up bonus, take into account the required spending amount. Let's say they want you to spend $3,000 in the first three months you have the card, but your budget only allows $500 per month. If that is the case, rethink that card.
As I've said before, never put yourself in the financial hole in order to gain credit card rewards! It's just not worth it. Any rewards you earn will end up being negated at least partially by the debt you have to go into to earn them.
5. Shop Through The Portal
We all love online shopping. That's just facts. But did you know that you can gain credit card rewards faster if you don't shop directly on a store's website?
Before you open up your favorite retail site, check out the shopping portal for the bank, hotel, or airline that your credit card is associated with. If your store is on their list, get your shopping done there instead. You will often earn extra rewards for shopping through the portal. That is in addition to the points you would have made off of your purchase anyway!
Why does this matter?
Earning extra points isn't some kind of witchcraft. Anyone can do it! You just have to figure out all of the sneaky ways that credit cards don't want you to know. By doubling up on rewards in this way, you are getting the absolute most out of your card's rewards program.
One word of warning: do check out the store's website before finalizing your purchase. Sometimes the prices for items bought through shopping portals will have higher prices than on the store's site. Whether this is to offset those extra points you earn or just plain being shady is hard to say. Shop around to ensure you get the best deal!
6. Use Your Credit Card To Pay For Everything
The one way to ensure you earn as many points as possible is to just buy everything on your credit card. If you have the money to back it up, there is no reason not to! Buying everything from birthday presents to dog food to toothpaste with your card allows you to gain credit card rewards super fast. And don't forget about purchases that don't happen in a store! Newspaper subscriptions, utilities, and concert tickets will help you gain credit card rewards, too.
One thing to note, though, is that some expenditures will charge a fee if you pay with credit. Things like tax payments and rent may prompt a fee, so pay for these with a check instead. Most times the fee will negate any credit card rewards you would earn anyway. Also, watch out for fees like this when you are out and about. Small stores, food trucks, and other similar businesses often can't afford to process credit card payments, so you may get dinged this way unexpectedly!
If you try this tactic, just be sure to keep track of your bank account balance so you don't accidentally overspend. This is where creating a tidy budget can help you keep your finances in order so you can avoid debt! If you are unorganized or super busy, you can always sign up for Trim (mentioned above) and they'll do it all for you!
One Last Note . . .
While all of these tactics can help you rack up rewards points faster, it is all for nothing if you can't pay your credit card bills. If you often carry a balance on your cards, consider waiting to use these tips until you're in a better financial situation. You have to figure out how much your rewards points equal in terms of real money to decide if the expenditures are worth it for you.
The quick video below explains more about when credit card rewards programs aren't so rewarding after all. Check it out!
However, if you follow my tips above, you can earn mega points mega fast. Follow them and you will soon be able to afford that spa day or that trip to Europe that you have been looking forward to. The best part is that none of these ideas require you to buy anything you didn't already plan for.
Have you tried any of my ideas before? Which one of these tips is your favorite? What are the secret ways you have found to gain credit card rewards quickly? Let us know in the comments below!