The Hilton Honors American Express Card categories for bonus rewards are purchases at resorts and hotels under the Hilton portfolio, as well as U.S. restaurants, U.S. supermarkets, and U.S. gas stations. Purchases that fall into the Hilton Credit Card bonus categories get cardholders extra rewards compared to the card’s base earning rate.
When choosing a rewards credit card, it’s a good idea to pick a card that offers the opportunity to earn bonus rewards in your most frequent purchase categories. So if you spend a lot in the categories offered on the Hilton Credit Card, it may be a good card for you.
There are three different types of credit card rewards: points, miles and cash back. Rewards credit cards are also targeted to three main groups: students, small business owners and people with above-average credit.
Although there are differences between credit card rewards currencies and the ways in which credit card companies dole them out to different groups, the major types of credit card rewards all work pretty much the same way. You’ll earn rewards for every purchase you charge to the card – sometimes at a flat rate on all purchases, and other times with earning rates that vary by spending category. It’s also possible to earn rewards for doing things like spending a certain amount in the first few months, referring a friend or adding an authorized user.… read full answer
Co-branded cards are different from store cards, which are issued by banks but are not linked to any of the major card networks. This means store cards only let you make purchases and earn rewards with whichever retailer is associated with the card.
Credit cards with rewards points generally give at least 1 point per $1 spent. You can redeem points for hotel stays and other travel expenses, statement credits, gift cards or merchandise, depending on the card. Points cards are sometimes affiliated with hotel chains.
Credit cards with miles are travel oriented, often affiliated with a specific airline. Rewards typically start at 1 mile for every $1 you spend. Miles can be redeemed for airfare, other travel expenses, gift cards, cash or merchandise. Cards co-branded with a particular airline may reward you with seat or room upgrades, early boarding on flights, free checked bags and more.
Credit cards with cash back rewards return a portion of each purchase cardholders make, usually at least 1%. You can redeem cash rewards as a check, direct deposit to your bank account or statement credit, depending on the card. Some cash back rewards can also be redeemed for gift cards and merchandise through the issuer’s online rewards mall.
You’ll need good or excellent credit to qualify for the best rewards credit cards. Many also come with annual fees to offset the costs of their rewards programs. And some cards offer sign-up bonuses that require meeting a minimum initial spending requirement.
The difference between cash back and points is that the former is the most versatile type of credit card rewards, as it can be redeemed for anything, and there’s never any doubt about how much it’s worth. Points, on the other hand, have a value set by the credit card company and tend to be worth the most when redeemed for travel. Credit card companies won’t always clearly disclose points values, and those values can change over time. It’s possible that points could be worth 1 cent apiece one day and 0.8 cents each the next.… read full answer
You can spend points for many different things. Usually, you can trade them for travel, gift cards, unique experiences, charitable donations or even cash. There are no restrictions on what you can use cash for. You can typically redeem cash back for a statement credit, paper check, or direct deposit to a bank account. One thing credit card shoppers should watch out for are cards advertised as offering cash back that really provide points. For example, the Chase Freedom Flex℠ offers “5% cash back” in certain bonus categories. But what it actually gives is 5 Chase Ultimate Rewards points per $1, which cardholders can then trade for cash back at a rate of 1 cent each.
Earning rate: Usually at least 1% cash back or 1 point per $1 spent.
Devaluation: Points can be devalued by the issuer, while cash back can’t.
Redemption options: Statement credit, check or deposit for cash. Travel, merchandise, gift cards, cash and more for points.
When it’s the best choice: Points for frequent travelers. Cash back for everyone else.
Let’s take a look at two high-profile cards in a battle of cash back vs. points.
Citi Double Cash Card tops the cash back offerings with 2% cash back on all purchases and an introductory APR of 0% for 18 months on balance transfers, with a balance transfer fee of 3% intro fee ($5 min) for each transfer in first 4 months, after that 5% ($5 min) for each transfer. It also chases a $0 annual fee and requires good credit to get.
But if you’re a frequent traveler, Chase Sapphire Preferred is a more attractive option. It gives 5 points per $1 spent on travel purchased through Chase, 2 points per $1 on all other travel purchases, 3 points per $1 on dining and online grocery purchases, 3 points per $1 on select streaming services, and 1 point per $1 on all other purchases. It has an initial bonus of 60,000 points for spending $4,000 in the first 3 months. This card’s points are worth 1 cent each toward cash back or gift cards or 1.25 cents each toward travel. There’s a $95 annual fee and the card requires good credit.
For both cash back and points cards, you can expect to lose your rewards if your account closes for any reason. Most cards don’t let your rewards expire over time. But Citi Double Cash Card’s cash back expires if you don’t use your card for 12 months. And on points cards alone, your points can be devalued if the issuer decides to charge more points for its rewards. So, frequent redemption is essential.
So, the bottom line is that frequent travelers should check out points cards. Otherwise, cash is king.
Exactly how you redeem credit card reward points varies by credit card company, but most credit card users can redeem reward points online through their account summary page. Some credit card issuers also let you redeem rewards over the phone. Credit card reward points may be redeemable for cash back, travel purchases, gift cards, and more, depending on the card.… read full answer
Once you redeem your credit card reward points, they’ll be subtracted from your rewards balance immediately and your account will be credited within 1-3 weeks, if applicable. In some cases, reward points will expire if you do not use them by a certain time.
Here's how to redeem credit card reward points:
Log in to your online account and head to “Account Summary.” Specifics will vary by issuer, but your rewards will usually be featured on a main account page.
Click on “Rewards Balance.” The exact wording may differ depending on the issuer. Once you click on your rewards balance, you’ll be taken to a page with your total amount of unredeemed rewards, and information about your redemption options.
Select how you’d like to redeem your rewards. You may be able to redeem reward points for travel purchases, cash back in the form of a check or statement credit, merchandise, or gift cards, depending on the rewards card.
Redeem your rewards. Once you redeem your credit card reward points, the points will be deducted from your rewards balance immediately. If you’re redeeming for statement credits or covering past purchases, your account will usually be credited within a week. If you redeem your points for gift cards or merchandise, you can expect them to arrive in the mail within 2-3 weeks.
While many rewards cards will let you choose from multiple redemption options, you’ll usually get the most value with one in particular. For example, travel rewards credit cards will often give you the most when you redeem your points for travel purchases, and your rewards may be worth less if you redeem them for cash back or gift cards.
On average, credit card reward points are worth 1 cent each. Most major credit card issuers, like Chase, Capital One and American Express, advertise that your points will not expire as long as your account remains open. But you should check the exact terms and conditions of your specific credit card to make sure you don’t lose any rewards you’ve earned.
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