The purpose of having a rewards credit card is to get a tangible benefit from using your card. However, when your rewards card is costing you more than it's benefitting you, what's the point in keeping it around? Here are some things that make a rewards credit card unrewarding.
1. Rewards you can't or won't useWhat good are travel rewards if you never go further than the next town? Rewards for stores in which you don’t shop and restaurants at which you don’t eat are no good. When you pick a rewards credit card, make sure the rewards are some that you'll actually use. Cash back rewards are a good choice since you can always use cash.
2. Rewards that cost more than they benefit
Many rewards credit cards
have annual fees and other kinds of fees that make the cost of the card high. If the value of the rewards you receive isn’t more than the fees you have to pay, the card isn’t worth the cost. Rather than give your money to a bank, you can save the fees and use that money to reward yourself.
3. Limited rewards that end no matter how much you spendA rewards card that tells you "We'll only reward you up to $5,000 charged. After that, we're cutting you off." isn't very attractive if you typically charge $10,000. That means you get nothing for the other $5,000 you charge. Your card shouldn't stop rewarding you if you keep spending.
4. Rewards that expire before you can use themIf your rewards have a short expiration date, you might not get a chance to use them. The rewards don’t have to last forever, but you should have a reasonable amount of time to use them before they go away. Don't expect your creditor to warn you about expiring rewards. It's up to you to know the expiration date and use your rewards while you can.
5. Rewards with limited options for redemptionSome credit cards limit your options for redeeming rewards, like requiring you to use rewards on certain dates or in certain increments. Too many restrictions on your rewards can make it difficult and nearly impossible to use them. You may be able to comfortably spend your rewards within those limits. However, if that’s not the case, it might benefit you to look for another, less restrictive rewards card.
6. Minimum spending limits to accumulate rewards
There are rewards credit cards that don’t start accumulating your rewards until your purchases reach a certain amount. Depending on that minimum amount and how much you use your credit card, you may only receive little or no rewards. These kinds of restrictions can encourage bad spending habits
, especially if you're led to charge more than you can afford just to get rewards.
7. Rewards that encourage debtA rewards card can easily lead you to debt when you have to charge things you ordinarily wouldn’t just to accumulate rewards. For example, some rewards credit cards only let you rack up points when you use the card toward ordinary purchases like groceries or gas. Since you can possibly spend hundreds each month on these items, it’s crucial that you watch your spending and payment habits to keep from going into debt.