If visions of flying overseas for free in first-class seats filled your head when you signed up for a travel rewards credit card, and you still don’t have enough points to take such adventures, don’t despair…there are plenty of other ways to use your credit card rewards.
While international flights are the best way to get the most out of credit card rewards, points can also be redeemed for domestic flights, though at lower levels. Depending on the situation, it may be worthwhile to pay with cash and use the points for something else—but don’t forget that free is free. You may have enough points to fly across the country and visit a place you’ve never been to before. Points can often be used to book hotel rooms, as well, which can come in handy when planning your trip.
Redeeming your points or miles for gift cards to your favorite restaurants or stores won’t get you the same exchange rate as you’d get for using them for airline miles, but they’re good options if you find something you like. Redeeming points to book travel usually nets you 25 percent more in value, but gift cards could save you money on your holiday shopping budget, which may be more beneficial given your current situation.
Pay Your Bills
Some programs allow points and miles to be redeemed for statement credits, essentially allowing you to pay your credit card bill with rewards points. Even if you don’t have enough to pay an entire month’s credit card bill, you may be pleasantly surprised to discover that your electric bill or groceries may be covered.
Save Your Points
If you’ve checked with your credit card company and still can’t find something that you want to redeem your points for, then sit on your points for the time being. Before making this decision, check to be sure that your points don’t expire.