The most common types of rewards (i.e. rewards currencies) are miles, points and cash back.
-- "Miles" will usually give you either:
Miles on the frequent flyer program of a particular airline (e.g. Delta Miles) OR
Miles on a credit card company's rewards program (e.g. Capital One Miles)
-- "Cash Back" will give you Cash (or a "Rebate") that is a percentage of the purchases you make (e.g. 1% Cash Back)
-- "Points" usually give you either:
"Hotel Points" on the rewards program of a particular hotel chain (e.g. Hilton points) OR
"Points" within a credit card company's rewards program (e.g. American Express Membership Rewards Points), which can usually be redeemed for merchandise, gift certificates, and travel.
Cash back is the best type of rewards because you can use it anywhere and you know exactly what you are getting. Mile and point-based rewards are risky in the sense that issuers can alter their value by simply increasing the number required for redemption. The potential for rewards devaluation makes saving up large amounts of miles or points ill-advised.
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