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You can redeem your credit card rewards online, through the issuer’s mobile app, or over the phone, depending on the card. The most common credit card rewards redemption options include cash back, travel purchases, and gift cards.
Once you redeem your credit card rewards, they’ll be subtracted from your rewards balance immediately. If you wish to redeem your rewards for a statement credit, it will generally be credited to your account within 2-3 business days, depending on the card. In some cases, rewards will expire if you do not use them by a certain time.
Types of Credit Card Rewards
- Points: Credit cards that offer points generally give at least 1 point per $1 spent on purchases. 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 card points are worth an average of 1 cent apiece, depending on the card and the redemption method.
- Miles: Credit cards with miles are travel oriented, often affiliated with a specific airline. Rewards typically start at 1 mile for every $1 you spend on purchases. 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 upgrades, early boarding on flights, free checked bags, and more.
Miles are worth an average of 1 cent each. The value varies based on the airline or credit card rewards program as well as how the miles are redeemed.
- Cash Back: 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 portal.
How to Redeem Your Credit Card Rewards Online
- Log in to your online account. Specifics will vary by issuer, but your rewards will usually be featured on a main account page.
- Click on your rewards balance. Once you click on your rewards balance, you’ll be taken to a page with more information about your redemption options.
- Select how you’d like to redeem your rewards. You may be able to redeem your rewards 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 rewards, the points, miles, or cash back 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 2-3 business days. If you redeem your rewards 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 value when you redeem your rewards for travel purchases. Also, your rewards may be worth less if you redeem them for cash back or gift cards.
On average, credit card rewards are worth 1 cent per point or mile. Most major credit card issuers (like Chase, Capital One, and American Express) advertise that your rewards will not expire as long as your account remains open and in good standing. 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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