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Credit cards rewards systems are great ways to earn additional points, cash back or rewards to get more out of what you are already spending.

Of course, this absolutely means you should only be using credit cards if you have the ability to pay off what you spend every month in cash. Don’t accrue debt for the rewards!

Now that that’s out of the way, I want to share how I earn points and what I’m redeeming them for.

I like to earn points back for the places I spend the most money. There are certainly ways to save money with cards and percents off, but I like to earn a cash value back to use towards future purchases.

For example, with one of my cards, I earn money back to use exclusively on Amazon (AKA where I order most of my household items from). It’s a win-win situation for me because I’m able to put those rewards towards future purchases just by buying what I already buy!

Another way I use credit card rewards is on travel. Traveling encourages me to learn more about the world and the people and places in it. It also challenges my perspectives and worldview and helps me grow as an individual.

One of my goals this year was to be more spontaneous. I decided that I wanted to take a trip sometime this year using only points and booked within a month or two of leaving. I didn’t want to do too much planning ahead of time; My desire was to go and see what happened.

Knowing I wanted to do this with points, I needed to start maximizing my purchases regularly to max out my earnings.

While I’ve taken advantage of sign-up bonuses in the past (I went to Spain for free last year with a mileage bonus), here’s how I maximize my daily purchases for the rewards.

Toledo, Spain from my trip last year covered by rewards points

How to Use Credit Card Rewards to Complement Your Lifestyle:

1. Take advantage of double points days and other points bonuses.

Many credit card rewards and mileage programs have double points days or something similar. Work these into your schedule for maximum results!

For example, one of my programs does 3x the points on dining on the first Friday of the month. Guess which day we plan to eat out? Date night sorted. ✔

This might take getting into the fine print of your credit cards, but it’s worth the effort to go from 100 points on a purchase to 300 points. They add up quickly!

How to Use Credit Card Rewards to Complement Your LifestyleClick To Tweet

2. Shop through the online portal.

Many credit cards have online shopping portals that allow you to earn 2x, 3x, 5x or even 10x+ the points on certain purchases.

I keep my favorite sites bookmarked for easy access (looking at you Sephora). Whenever I go to make a purchase online, I log in to my credit card’s website and shop through there.

If you need your item now and can’t wait, it’s worth checking to see if the store you’re ordering from does in-store pick-up. That way, even if you order online for pick-up, you are still getting the points bonus.

I was able to get 3x the points when I purchased my latest computer by paying online through the portal. On an expensive item I needed to buy any way, it was a lot of points!

Also, if you don’t need something right away, it’s worth waiting a few weeks. Checking the portal multiple times for when the store you want to shop at has points multipliers. This could turn a 100 point purchase into a 1,000 point one.

Tip: Don't make another purchase before checking your credit card's online portal for point multipliers!Click To Tweet

3. Points multipliers on dining, travel, gas, or groceries: maximize your largest expenses.

As someone who doesn’t have a car, a rewards card that gives me bonuses on travel, dining, and groceries is what works best for me.

Your lifestyle might be totally different and that’s okay! CreditCards.com aims to help us all reach our goals through smarter spending. By examining your spending, you can figure out which cards best suit your needs. Using these tools, you can find the right card(s) create a rewards strategy.

Find your perfect credit card match on CreditCards.com

Maximize your rewards by picking a credit card that suits your unique lifestyle.Click To Tweet

4. Mix and match your cards to your goals.

You know your shopping habits and goals best. Keep these in the front of your mind when making your choices. It’s easy to get sucked in by something that *seems* like a good deal. But truthfully, it’s not a good deal if you’re not able to use it.

If your goal is travel, you’ll want to look at travel or airline credit cards. If the goal is to buy a high-ticket item like a new computer, phone, or furniture, a cash back card might be the better way to go.

It’s a-ok to have more than one card as long as you can manage your spending and payments.

With the points I earned from these methods, I’m traveling to Japan in a month for free. Without points, this trip would have cost us $2,500 in airfare alone. Not including hotels, transportation, and food for the week.

My next trip paid for with rewards (at no additional cost to me)

I did this simply by maximizing the spending I was already doing with the methods above. It is possible to use credit card rewards to complement your lifestyle. You just need to find the right ones!

Do you use credit card rewards? I’d love to hear any big wins you’ve earned!


I was selected for this opportunity as a member of CLEVER and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

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