The House That Credit Card Rewards Built [Infographic]

By Janet Hutchins on Jan 10, 2012 | Filed in Infographic

It’s possible to use your credit card intelligently to reap the rewards — and earn free stuff. A rewards credit card can be just the thing to help you earn cash back, get free stuff, and enjoy an upgraded lifestyle.

However, as you can see from the infographic below, it can take a lot of points to get some of the free stuff available in a credit rewards program. However, the infographic also provides a silver lining: The average family can end up with 97,500 redeemable points a year if credit cards are used on household expenses. That’s enough to get a few small appliances, take a family vacation, or replace that old computer.

Before you get too excited, though, it’s important to understand that your credit card rewards are basically worthless if you carry a balance. You have to pay off your credit card each month if you want to get the most out of your credit card.

The House That Credit Card Rewards Built

5 thoughts on “The House That Credit Card Rewards Built [Infographic]

  1. Bruce f

    You can use pts with balance, the point is the interest charge voids the value o pts….so pay your card balance monthly

  2. Andrew

    I think what Janet is saying is that if you carry a balance on your card, the cost of the interest outweighs any benefits you get from the points. So it’s not that you can’t use your points in that case, but rather you’re not getting any overall benefit from them.

  3. Goldstream

    Credit card reward cards are a scam. What most people don’t realize is that the “rewards” are paid for indirectly by the business that accepts the card as payment, in the form of Merchant fees. This means that in order to cover the cost of the credit card Merchant fees, businesses have to increase their prices. So the consumer pays for the “rewards” one way or another, they just don’t know it.
    Shame on the business columnist who promotes the use of credit cards. Clearly the only ones who benefit are the credit card companies. All other businesses and consumers pay.

  4. A. Shrugged

    I use the Shoppers Drug store Optimum card and shop at the 20X points weekends to stock up on household items that I would buy anyway over the next few months. I easily hit the number of points that allows you to get $175 in free goods. Once a year they top that up to $250 and that’s when I cash them in and pick up Xmas gifts ( they always bring in some electronics at Xmas time).

    Visa Gold points have paid for our summer vacation for years. Airfare for 4, hotel and car rental. We put everything on Visa and pay it off the same day. Never pay interest and get a free vacation to boot.

    These cards are good if you use them to further your ends not the credit card companies.

  5. Janet Hutchins Post author

    Clarification: You can use your rewards when you carry a balance. However, the interest you pay, as other have pointed out, renders them basically useless. The amount of money you pay in interest when you carry a balance completely offsets and then overwhelms any benefit you get from rewards.

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