If someone gave you $600, would you throw $200 away? That's essentially what many consumers do since American consumers earn approximately $48 billion in rewards points and miles each year through customer loyalty programs, yet about one-third of that amount -- or $16 billion -- goes unredeemed each year.
So why would you leave free money on the table? Here are some common reasons -- and strategies to put in place to ensure you claim all the rewards you deserve.
Just as consumers should designate time regularly to monitor spending and track financial goals, they should set aside time once a month to check their rewards balances, Identify things you'd like to use your rewards for, whether it be travel, gift cards or a certain piece of merchandise.
To make the most of any rewards program, consumers should do a little research by checking the site of the card issuer's rewards program, ideally, this should be done before applying for a particular rewards card, as no two programs are alike so you need to consider all the terms.
Rewards programs that offer discounts at retailers you don't frequent or cash back for services you don't use are likely to go unused. If your rewards card doesn't offer anything that you can use regularly, trade it in for one that does.
If you have no interest in any of your card's rewards, you can always look for another rewards card, but another solution might be to share the wealth by redeeming your rewards for merchandise to donate to charity. To determine what a charitable organization needs, do some research on events that it may be planning or better yet give them a call.
The best option, is to use the points and rewards for gift, you can always find a great gift and what a way to save money.
Be a smart consumer and never waste rewards or bonus or points.
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Barry Norman is a contributor to and blogger at firstcredit.net. For over ten years FirstCredit.net has provided consumers free information helping them make sense of credit cards and the financial industry. Whether you are a longtime cardholder or looking for a reward credit card, FirstCredit.net can help you make informed decisions.
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