Controversial opinion: credit cards are great! Well, more accurately, rewards credit cards are great when used properly and responsibly. In fact, my wife and I have saved literally hundreds of dollars just by paying attention to what cards we’re using to pay for certain goods and then paying down our entire balance each month. That may sound simple enough, but there’s actually another money-saving step that many cardholders miss.
Beyond the basic points or cash back percentages your rewards credit card offer, many also curate special bonus deals you can take advantage of. For example, with my Discover It card, the Discover Deals section includes both bonus cash back offers and coupons for cardholders. Similarly, my wife’s Visa Signature card has a Rewards Center with several cash back perks at various restaurants and retailers. If you’re not regularly searching these sections, you could be spending more than you have up.
To ensure maximum savings, before my wife or I make any purchase, we go through a mental checklist. First we determine which card is best for the task. Keep in mind this can change from time to time, especially if one or more of your cards have rotating bonus categories (for example, the 2% we get back on food with the Visa is best but, until October, I actually get 5% back on dining with my Discover). After that, we consider what retailers we might shop at, check what offers are available, and activate any (this is an important step!) that seem applicable. The rest is easy as all we have to do is use our selected card and watch the money roll in.
Unfortunately there will be times when these credit card offers can be trumped by other coupons of other cards you have. That said, in other cash back cases, you may even be able to stack discounts (just read the fine print to know for sure). For that reason and many more, it’s always worth checking what’s out there — you may be surprised by the number of offers your card has on hand. So don’t neglect these bonus perks and start maximizing your savings today.