Cash in on credit card reward points!

Nov 25 2013, 16:01 IST
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SummaryRachita wanted to introduce her father to the marvels of a Smartphone by buying him one.

Rachita wanted to introduce her father to the marvels of a Smartphone by buying him one. The most affordable price she could get one cost Rs. 7,500. She decided to purchase the phone by redeeming the credit card points she had redeemed over the last two years. Rachita was not a compulsive shopper but preferred swiping her card to pay as much as possible.

Credit card companies reward their customers to encourage them to spend more and also to say ‘thank you’. The rewards are extended in the form of discounts, cash backs and reward points that can be redeemed for cash discounts on your next purchase.

How it Works?

Every time you swipe your card to make a purchase, the company automatically awards points in your account. You may earn 1 point for every Rs. 40 to Rs. 100 spent using the credit card. The reward rates vary between different credit card companies. The number of points you earn for the amount spent also depends on co-branding wherein if the credit card company has tied up with a merchant or retailer, you may earn extra points for spending with your credit card in their stores.

How to Earn More Points?

To earn more, you needn’t necessarily spend more, rather spend smartly. Credit card companies provide a list of stores they have tied up with and also send regular offers on shopping with their partners. You can shop from them exclusively to earn more points. Preferably opt for cards that give you the best reward points when shopping for a credit card.

Redeeming reward points for making big purchases is a good way to save while shopping expensive items. For instance, the HDFC Bank Gold Credit card gives cash back and extra reward points if one were to pay their phone and electricity bills with it. Also, ABN AMRO has tied up with Makemytrip.com and awards 3 extra points for every Rs. 100 spent for booking tickets on the portal.

Keep in Mind...

Different banks have different terms and conditions with respect to the use of points. Previously, credit card companies sent catalogues of items that one could purchase to redeem their points. The products on the catalogue were mostly overpriced and did not offer too much choice, making it quite unpopular among customers.

Now, however, the scene has changed and customers are offered more options and better ways to redeem their points. However, some banks have rules wherein you need to redeem your points within a pre-specified date or they will expire. Most banks have done away with this policy and others are in the process of phasing it out, but check before you sign up for a credit card. Also, compare the rewarding system and the number of merchants and brand tie-ups of the credit card to see how many points you can redeem.

How to Redeem the Points?

There are different ways one can redeem the credit card reward points, which are mentioned on the bank website. To redeem your reward points, you must contact your credit card company as there are different ways to redeem them. Some of the common methods are-

You can redeem by shopping for clothes, shoes, jewellery, gadgets, household products etc. by shopping in stores specified by the credit card company.

HDFC Bank credit card offers you the option to convert your reward points into air miles on Jet Airways flights.

For co-branded cards, reward points can be redeemed immediately after the purchase.

Some banks like Bank of Baroda allow you to redeem points for cash.

You may get the reward point adjusted on your next credit card bill.

Some banks have the coupon system wherein they send you coupons for the reward amount.

You can redeem the points online by purchasing from the online catalogue provided by the credit card company on their website.

Some banks also offer the option to redeem card points with gift vouchers from co-branded stores.

How to Best Use the Reward Points?

More banks are offering cash back against credit card reward points and you can use this course if you do not have any big purchases to make. If you have travel plans or are a frequent flier, use credit cards that are tied up with airlines or ticketing agencies so that you can earn more rewards and also receive discounts while redeeming the points. If you have to purchase groceries for your house, you can spend the vouchers on paying the grocery bill. You can also redeem points on gift voucher that you can give to someone on occasions such as birthdays, anniversaries or festivals.

It is essential to use your credit card wisely and not spend too much with your credit card, even to earn reward points. When purchasing a credit card, pick the one that offers maximum benefits in terms of reward points, cash backs and other benefits

BankBazaar.com

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