In my last post I gave you your Christmas shopping checklist to make sure you maximize your points and miles for your holiday spend, and I have another checklist for you today.
I constantly talk about maximizing your credit cards' total value, not just the points you earn from your spend. Often times, the value of a credit card comes from peripheral benefits rather than return on spend.
Most credit cards have benefits that can be earned based on the calendar year, so it is important to make sure you take advantage of those benefits before the end of the year!
Here are some to remember:
Often the best value from a credit card (and the way to chip away at its annual fee) comes from a statement credit of some kind. Many times it is travel related, and can be exploited by buying gift cards (usually by designating an airline first). These gift cards can then be used to purchase flights that will earn you miles! Other statement credits come from baggage fees, upgrade fees, etc... Check your credit cards' terms and conditions to make sure you get your free money!
Some cards like the Citi Prestige and Chase Sapphire Reserve offer straight travel credits on airfare or hotel purchases. Your cards are eligible for these credits each calendar year which means you can buy your travel this year and get your credit and then book travel in January to get it again!
Annual Fee Tracking
The end of the calendar year is a good time to figure out when your annual fees are coming due so you can cancel cards with fees or call for a challenge to get the fee waived or bonus points.
Elite Status Spend
Some credit cards offer elite status credits based on your spend in a calendar year, so it is crucial to know if you need to shift your spend from one card to another to not waste a year's worth of spending and start next year sans status!
Some cards offer other calendar year perks like free GoGo passes, room upgrades and others that will expire at the end of the year. Use them or lose them!
These are just a few of the major things you need to check to make sure you maximize your value from each credit card in your wallet.