According to SmartMoney.com, changes to credit-card reward programs are creating new obstacles for card holders. Example: Many card holders now have no margin for error in paying their bill on time; one day late is grounds for revoking your rewards. Others now must use their cards more frequently to maintain reward balances. Here are some tips to help manage your reward points:
Don’t wait to cash in rewards
Many rewards now come with expiration dates. If a deadline is approaching, cash in quickly. Keep in mind that issuers don’t always alert customers if their rewards are about to expire.
Sweep points to another account
Customers with rewards cards linked to a single airline may be able to sweep rewards that are about to expire over to the airline’s point program. Members of American Express’s SkyPoints program can transfer their points to a Delta SkyMiles account to continue to earn miles toward travel.
If you can’t sweep, swap
Some issuers allow customers to transfer points to their friends and family members. Various websites, including online points exchange Points.com, aim to streamline the process. Most trades carry a small transfer fee.
…Or donate: You also can donate rewards to charity. Donated points and miles generally are not tax deductable, however…