Have you ever had to stop and think for a second to find the appropriate credit card in your wallet to pay for a purchase — just so you could get the rewards?
A swipe with the wrong credit card could cost you some valuable points or miles.
Money expert Clark Howard learned a simple trick that will help you get the maximum benefits from your credit card rewards.
Try This Simple Trick to Get the Most Out of Your Credit Card Rewards
Clark says he was picking up a few things at his local Costco when he struck up a conversation with a fellow shopper.
The man explained that he had a labeling method that organized his rewards credit cards and showed Clark his system.
“This man laid out all his credit cards,” Clark says, “And he had stickers on the cards and he said, ‘I use this one here, this one here, this one here,” referring to places like supermarkets, restaurants and gas stations.
Labeling your credit cards is a good idea because it’s easy to forget which card offers the most rewards in each spending category.
“It’s hard to commit to memory, ‘Hey when I’m here, use this one; when I’m there, use that one,’” Clark says.
For example, Clark uses the Sam’s Club Mastercard at the pump (whenever he’s not driving his electric vehicle) because the card offers 5% cash back on most gas purchases. And that’s more than the 4% cash back on gas that the Costco Anywhere Visa Card by Citi offers.
By labeling your credit cards, you can easily swipe the right card to get the maximum return for every purchase.
Remember: Update Your Labels
Clark says if you choose to label your credit card with stickers, make sure you update them periodically because some credit card companies rotate rewards categories or switch promotions every three months or so.
“It’s hard to remember what those rotations are,” Clark says. “So if you just put a sticker on your card every 90 days, you’ll know, ‘OK, they’re paying 6% in the supermarkets right now, or they’re paying 5% at the drug stores or whatever. So if you have a sticker you’re going to remember those things.”
Labeling your credit cards is a great way to help you get the most out of your reward offers. But if the idea of keeping up with all that is too much for you, follow one of Clark’s tips by sticking with a simple cash back credit card.
If you’re searching for other rewards credit cards to add to your wallet, here are Team Clark’s picks.