Tips for getting the most out of your credit card rewards programme

Who doesn’t love getting a reward? Whether it’s that tenth free coffee, a discount on your petrol or a sample-sized bottle of your favourite shampoo, a reward creates a load of goodwill all round. It does mean committing to a certain store, or brand, but those of us ready for that level of loyalty know the rewards are worth it! Credit card rewards programmes are a great way to earn more specific rewards, as you can usually have a more targeted approach to your reward-building. The following tips should help to sweeten the offers your credit card rewards programme or customer loyalty schedule offers.

A good match

First, do your research to make sure you find a rewards program that matches your family’s spending habits. Parents might get more use out of a loyalty programme that rewards everyday spending at supermarkets, petrol stations or department stores. For instance, you can earn Fly Buys points or Cash Rewards on your everyday spending with a BNZ Advantage credit card. Meanwhile, a traveler may prefer a card that offers airpoints and great accommodation deals. If you’re in the market for a mortgage, a BNZ Standard/Fly Buys home loan will earn you Fly Buys points on the outstanding balance of certain home loans each month. And you can also collect Fly Buys points with BNZ simply by paying your fortnightly, monthly or annual premium.

No matter what the card or programme offers, it’s important to sign up to one that is relevant to the life you lead now, not the one you dream of.

Be disciplined
If you sign up to a credit card that offers rewards, such as the BNZ Advantage credit card, the best way to maximise your rewards is to charge everything to your card, big and small ticket items. However you must pay it off every month in full. Every month. In full. Because if you don’t pay off the balance every month, the interest you pay will eat up any rewards you earned.

Be aware
Watch out for partner deals where you can earn double, triple or even quadruple rewards. Often department stores offer extra points over the duration of a sale, or airlines for a period of time. Need a new household appliance? Check out the appliance stores that are partnered with your loyalty programme. How about the weekly grocery shopping? Buying petrol? Birthday gifts from a department store? Sign up for online prompts from your reward-earning stores that you shop at most regularly to benefit from these special deals.

Know your card
By investing a little time in reading your card’s terms and conditions, you might find there are ways to score extra points on certain kinds of spending, or bonuses you hadn’t realised. For example, you can collect two lots of points by shopping at Fly Buys retailers, paying with your BNZ Advantage card, and swiping your Fly Buys membership card in the same purchase. Or, convert your points into contributions to any BNZ KiwiSaver Scheme account; set up your Cash Rewards to go to your BNZ KiwiSaver account each month, so you don't have to worry about making regular payments.

Donate to charity
Whether your points or miles are about to expire or you’re switching credit cards, consider donating your points to a worthy cause. During the holidays and in times of crises or natural disasters, using your rewards points to donate to charity is an extra way to help without being out-of-pocket. If you plan on making a charitable donation, check to see if your issuer requires a minimum number of rewards points to donate.

Double sign-up bonus
Rewards programmes sometimes offer amazing sign-up bonuses where you earn double points just for signing up. Have your spouse or partner apply for the same card to maximise the benefit. Of course you’ll need to check out the fees, and the sign-up terms and conditions, but as long as you both have no temptation to overspend, there’s generally little to lose and a lot to potentially gain. 


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