Cash back credit cards are some of the most attractive rewards credit cards available on the market today. However, it’s all too easy for consumers to get sucked into shopping on their rewards credit card for more than they truly need to. So here’s a guide to the common problems with shopping at high-end rewards credit cards, and how you can prevent them.
The problem: Spend your hard-earned cash
First of all, spending your rewards points on unnecessary things is a cardinal sin. Even when I got my Ink Bold, I never once paid for a drink or a meal at the dinner. It didn’t take me long to be able to remember, because I never once had to use my rewards points for something I didn’t need. Once you’re up and running, your rewards points will show up on your checking account each month, and can be redeemed for purchases at various retail stores, including Amazon and iTunes. Yes, they’ll show up on your statement, but you won’t see any on your spending statements, so there’s no way to figure out how much you spent, and there’s no way for a cashier to know how much you actually spent. And if they ask, “Have you done any cash back lately?” – you can say, “No, why?” The fact is that you don’t want your cash back rewards card to become an annual cash back machine, and you don’t want to be the recipient of an annual cash back reward card spam email. You’ll earn a lot of cash back as long as you stay away from anything related to retail, and just redeem your reward points for what you truly need – plane tickets, travel, entertainment, or whatever you are looking to buy.
If you do decide to spend your cash back rewards points, make sure you are fully aware of how much you are spending. The only point system I can think of that uses your cash back rewards points in exactly the same way as the Chase Sapphire Reserve is the Sapphire Preferred. If you think this is the case, then the points from your $1,000 in cash back could be worth more than $200. In the end, though, you’ll end up seeing very little difference between the cash back rewards from the Chase Sapphire Preferred and the cash back rewards you’d get with the Ink Bold or even the Ink Plus.
The solution: Just pay cash back bills instead
Don’t go shopping with a purpose, and don’t waste your cash back rewards on things that are not really necessary to your monthly cash back expenditure. When it comes to bill payments, when is the last time you made a direct deposit, mailed a check, faxed a bill, or even made a phone call to pay something directly? It’s called spending for what you need, and it’s exactly what your cash back rewards card should be doing for you.
Why am I telling you this? Because you won’t see much difference in your credit scores from doing this, but that’s only the start. The other reason you won’t see much of a difference in your credit scores is because the cash back rewards system looks a lot like credit card interest. I don’t have to tell you what credit card interest is like it’s something that you’ll know, since you do it all the time – but do you know what your credit scores look like when you’re just paying off credit cards?