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Basic Rules with Credit Card Rewards

So if you think you’re ready to take the plunge and get a card with an annual fee for the higher redemptions, there are a few things to know.  Of course every card is different but my advice is to focus on two things.

Don’t Judge a Card by its Annual Fee-

These fees can range from $75 to $450+.  However, you really need to look at the perks of each card and find the card(s) that’ll benefit you the most.  Amex offers a $200 annual Uber credit on their Platinum card, but if you don’t use Uber, that perk is fairly useless.  Lounge access is fantastic, but if you don’t really travel that much, is it worth the higher fee for something you might use only a couple times a year?  Basically the more you’re willing to pay in annual fees, the greater the amount of benefits.  But make sure those benefits are ones you’ll actually use or you could be paying much more than necessary.  

Minimum Spend –

This is a certain amount you’ll have to spend on the card within a certain time frame in order to receive your sign up bonus.  It’ll be stated pretty clearly what that amount is and how long you have to reach that goal.  A typical amount will be a $3,000 spend in a 3 month period.  Considering the bonus you receive after achieving the spend is what you’re really after, it’s important you can meet that spend.  If you have a lot of expenses that accept credit card payment, that’s fantastic.  Ideally, you’ll want to pay bills and everyday expenses with your new card that doesn’t charge you a credit card fee.  However, if trying to meet the minimum spend, I believe paying a few fees up front is worth it to get the bonus.  After the spend is met, I definitely won’t use that card if a fee is associated with it’s use.  

Another small tip is if you’re going to do this with a significant other and one travels more than the other, maybe you should consider having different types of cards where you can both enjoy the benefits but only pay one annual fee.  An easy example is with lounge access at airports.  If the card comes with guesting privileges, there really isn’t a reason you both need the same card.  

I have a few cards and although they aren’t cheap, I really try to maximize every benefit I can out of them.  As soon as I feel like the benefit is no longer needed or doesn’t warrant the annual fee, I either cancel or downgrade the card.  There are plenty of other cards to choose from

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