writer Tony Mecia

Tony Mecia

Tony Mecia writes the "Cashing In" column for, answering a question every week about credit card rewards. Got a question? Ask Tony.

Mecia is a freelance business writer based in Charlotte, North Carolina. In addition to writing "Cashing In" columns and articles for, Mecia writes for a variety of trade and general-interest publications and companies. As a reporter and editor with the Charlotte Observer, he won "Best in Business" awards from the Society of American Business Editors and Writers for his coverage of the airline and textile industries. 

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Transfer points twice: Does it make sense? -- Transferring rewards points twice ? from one loyalty program to another one, then to another one ? seldom makes sense because your points will lose value. Here's why. ... (See Transferring points twice)

New Marriott Bonvoy credit cards: Are they worth it? -- Three different Marriott Bonvoy credit cards are currently offering 100,000-point sign-up bonuses. Are they worth it? It all depends on your travel and spending habits. ... (See Marriott Bonvoy cards: Worth it?)

Transfer points twice: Does it make sense? -- Transferring rewards points twice ? from one loyalty program to another one, then to another one ? seldom makes sense because your points will lose value. Here's why. ... (See Transferring points twice)

In-flight credit card offers: Are they worth it? -- Some airlines promote special sign-up credit card offers on their flights. Are they worth it? Here's everything you need about these offers before applying. ... (See In-flight credit card offers)

Credit card referral bonuses: Are referral bonuses taxable? -- Credit card rewards are usually not taxable if you had to spend in order to earn them. That's why referral bonuses might be subject to taxes. Here's what you should know. ... (See Card referral bonuses: Tax implications)

Selling airline miles: Is it legal? Should I sell my miles? -- Selling miles comes with risks and is not allowed by frequent flyer programs; these are your options. ... (See Selling airline miles)

Mastercard Black Card: Is it worth it? -- The Mastercard Black Card bills itself as a luxury card charged with premium benefits ? and a hefty annual fee. Is it worth it? Read on to see if the Mastercard Black Card is right for you. ... (See Mastercard Black Card: Is it worth it?)

Southwest credit cards: Is the Companion Pass sign-up offer worth it? -- The Southwest Rapid Rewards credit cards' current sign-up offer includes the popular Companion Pass. Is the promotion worth it? Read on to see if this offer is good for you. ... (See Southwest Companion Pass sign-up offer: Is it worth it?)

Rewards offers you should avoid: Buying points, redeeming points for gift cards -- Understanding rewards programs is key to maximize the value of your points. For example, buying points and redeeming them for gift cards is usually a no-no ? here's why. ... (See Points offers you should ignore)

Citi Prestige card: Is the updated offer worth it? -- Citi Prestige, one of the premium cards in the market, has an updated offer that includes 5x points on air travel and dining. Read on to see if the card is right for you. ... (See Citi Prestige update: Is it worth it?)

Business Platinum Card from American Express: Are the new perks worth it? -- The Business Platinum Card from American Express will offer new perks ? including access to WeWork ? starting February 2019, but will also charge a higher annual fee. Is it worth it? ... (See Is Amex Business Platinum card worth it?)

Cash back rewards: Best redemption options -- Cash back is consumers' favorite form of rewards due to its flexibility. Cash back redemption options include statement credit and checks, but they are not the only ones. ... (See Cash back redemption options)

Gas purchases: Does diesel earn cash back at gas stations? -- If you have a diesel vehicle you can earn cash back on gas purchases at gas stations ? as long as the purchase is coded as gas and your card offers cash back or points on gas purchases. ... (See Gas rewards: Does diesel qualify?)

Holiday shopping: How to boost credit card rewards -- The holiday shopping season is prime time for earning credit card rewards ? if you shop strategically. Taking advantage of special bonuses and gift cards can help. ... (See Maximize rewards on holiday shopping)

Holiday shopping: Should I apply for a retail store credit card? -- Should you say yes to those invitations to apply for a retail store credit card at the register this holiday shopping season? That depends on your shopping and spending habits. ... (See Store cards for holiday shopping)

Baggage delay: 5 steps to take when an airline loses your luggage -- If your bags are delayed so long that you must replace clothes or toiletries, both airlines and credit card insurance can pay for some of those expenses. Here's how to get reimbursed. ... (See 'Cashing In' With Tony Mecia)

Credit card rewards: How to get started -- If you want to get started with credit card rewards, start by determining whether rewards cards are for you and finding the card that best fits your needs. These tips will help. ... (See Getting started with card rewards)

Excellent credit, low income: Should you apply for a rewards card? -- If your credit is strong, but your income is low, you may be approved for a card with a low credit limit. ... (See Excellent credit, low income)

Manufactured spending: Is it illegal? -- 'Manufactured spending' is an ingenious practice to earn credit card rewards, but it may be illegal or violate your card's terms and cause your card to get canceled. Here's what you should know. ... (See Manufactured spending: Pros, cons)

New American Express Gold Card: Is it worth it? -- American Express has launched an updated version of its Gold Card that offers bonus points on dining and can even be ordered in rose gold. Is it worth it? ... (See New American Express Gold Card: Is it worth it?)

Split cost of high annual-fee rewards card with relative: Pros, cons -- Sharing the cost of a pricey high-end rewards credit card with an authorized user can make sense, but only if you trust their financial habits. ... (See Sharing cost of high-end rewards credit card)

Pay taxes with credit card to earn rewards: Is it worth it? -- Paying taxes with a credit card qualify as a purchase, which means you'll earn rewards. However, the fees you'll have to pay will most likely wipe out any value on those rewards. Do the math first. ... (See Paying taxes with a credit card)

Using miles to book holiday flights: Options, when to buy -- Time is of the essence when it comes to booking flights for traveling around the holidays. Here are three ways to use miles or points on holiday flights. ... (See Using miles on holiday travel)

Travel insurance: Splitting trip cost between two credit cards -- If you want to split the cost of a trip between two rewards credit cards, you might, or might not, receive full travel protection from both. To find out, read the terms and conditions of each card, or contact your issuer. ... (See Splitting travel cost between two cards)

Low-fare flights: When fees are charged for paying with credit card -- If you buy a low-cost flight through an online travel agency, you might be charged a fee for paying with credit card -- even if the agency claims to have no "hidden" fees. ... (See Card fees on low-cost flights)

Close airline credit card: How long you should wait to apply again -- Interested in applying for the same airline credit card you closed in order to reap a sign-up bonus? Some card issuers offer no restrictions, but you might want to consider other card options first. ... (See Applying for airline card you closed)

Redeeming miles as an authorized user: Can you take over spouse's airline credit card? -- If you are an authorized user on an airline credit card, you can't become the primary cardholder. If you want to use the miles on the card, however, you have options. ... (See Redeeming miles as an authorized user)

New Capital One Savor card: Is it worth it? -- Capital One unveiled an upgraded version of its Savor card, which comes with high bonuses on dining and entertainment, a generous sign-up bonus ? and an annual fee. Is it worth it? ... (See New Capital One Savor card)

Primary cardholder dies: How to redeem rewards points -- When a credit card holder dies, heirs have more options for redeeming rewards points than what is stated in the card's terms and conditions. Here's what you can do. ... (See Redeeming deceased cardholder's rewards points)

Have unused miles and don't fly often? You have redemption options -- Have thousands of miles on your frequent flyer account and don't fly often? You can redeem them for hotels, car rentals and even gift cards ? without having to transfer them to another loyalty program. ... (See Redeem miles beyond flights)

Travel credit card rewards while living abroad -- You can earn travel rewards on your credit card while living abroad as long as your purchases are coded as "travel." Here's what to look for in a card to earn travel rewards while overseas. ... (See Travel rewards while living abroad)

Southwest's new Rapid Rewards Priority card: Is it worth it? -- Chase and Southwest have launched a new card that comes with better perks, and a higher annual fee. Is it worth it? ... (See New Southwest Priority card: Is it worth it?)

Is a Disney credit card worth getting before theme park visit? -- Should you get a Disney credit card ahead of a trip to the land of Mickey, Minnie and their pals? Unless your family is a huge fan of Disney, there are more rewarding credit cards to pack for your vacation. ... (See Disney credit cards)

Can I earn bonus rewards playing golf? -- There is no go-to credit card for golfers, but some cards offer golf-themed perks, such as playing a free round of golf at select hotels and redeeming rewards for tickets to sold-out golf tourneys. ... (See Credit card perks for golfers)

Electric scooters: How to earn bonus credit card rewards on your rides -- When I took the two leading scooters for a test drive, only one earned bonus travel rewards on my Visa. ... (See Bonus rewards on scooter rides)

You can earn United frequent flyer miles at the gas station -- United frequent fliers can opt to earn bonus miles with every fill-up by enrolling in the BP Driver Rewards program. ... (See Bonus rewards in unlikely places)

Sign-up bonuses: How to score big rewards -- Card issuers have clamped down on card churning, but you can still secure big sign-up bonuses. Your strategy: Compare card offers and know issuer restrictions. ... (See Your sign-up bonus strategy)

With rewards cards, which expenses count as travel for bonus rewards? -- With rewards credit cards, "travel expense" covers a few surprises. Beyond airfare, hotels and rental cars, sometimes ride-shares, vacation rentals and even parking count as travel expenses. ... (See What counts as a travel expense?)

Millennials are the worst tippers in the US, new survey finds -- Millennials are the worst tippers in the U.S., but they also are most in favor of paying more and not tipping at all, a new survey finds. Other findings? Older people are more generous tippers, and women tip more than men. ... (See Millennials and tipping)

Small businesses get creative with card rewards -- Some small-business owners are getting creative with their credit card rewards, redeeming cash back to pay for employee parties or to pay for gear for workers. Rewarding employees is a way businesses can keep workers in a tight labor market. ... (See Small businesses and card rewards)

10 credit and money tips for travel abroad -- Traveling outside the U.S.? Plan now which cards to take to avoid fees and ensure your vacation goes smoothly. For example, take cards that have charge no foreign transaction fees. ... (See Card tips for travel abroad)

?Cash and points? can cut the cost of hotel rooms -- When you don't have enough points to get a free room, 'cash and points? lets you shave some of the costs of your room ... (See 'Cash and points' at hotels)

Travel tip: Avoid airline ticket add-ons -- Airfare add-ons such as frequent flyer miles, preferred seating and travel insurance tend to be a poor deal. Just say no to the offers. ... (See Purchasing points)

Plenty of rewards seats remain for last-minute summer travel, survey finds -- Finding seats for a last minute trip with credit card reward points during peak travel season can be difficult, but our survey shows there is availability if you know where to look ... (See Last-minute summer rewards travel)

What to do with hotel points when plans change -- If you have a bunch of hotel points that you saved up for a trip that you're now not taking, you have some other choices. Beware, you'll lose value with a transfer. ... (See Hotel points)

5 times when a no annual fee card is worth it -- High-end credit cards come with a lot of perks, but sometimes a no annual fee card can offer what you really need. ... (See No annual fee cards)

Avoiding big surcharges when booking award flights -- If you plan on using award points to book a free flight on American Airlines' partner airlines, British Airways and Iberia, beware of hefty surcharges that can make your ticket feel anything but free ... (See Airline surcharges)

Should I get my favorite brand's credit card? -- If you're a fan of a certain brand, you may be tempted to sign-up for their credit card to earn points toward future purchases. But, many of the big brand cards don't offer as much in rewards as a straight travel or cash back card ... (See Big brands and credit card rewards)

With airline meals, pay less and earn more points with some credit cards -- Some airline credit cards offer discounts on in-flight meals, snacks or drinks, and you earn bonus points on travel purchases with some rewards cards. ... (See Airline meals and credit card rewards)

Hotel cards: Get the most free nights for the fewest points -- Hotel cards can offer some valuable redemption rates, but they're not as straightforward as airline points. Know which hotels give you the most free nights for the fewest points. ... (See Redeeming hotel points)

Should I shop at Whole Foods if I have an Amazon credit card? -- With 5 percent back at Whole Foods with an Amazon credit card, it can be tempting to shop there. But you'll need to do the math to see if you'll actually save money ... (See Amazon - Whole Foods)

Using your credit card points for vacation rentals -- If you have your heart set on an Airbnb, HomeAway or VRBO rental and are flush with credit card points, there are ways to apply your rewards to an apartment while traveling ... (See Vacation rentals)

Q&A: How do redeemed travel points get refunded if I cancel? -- Airline programs vary. On some, if you book award travel and later need to cancel, you'll get money back. But a lot of airlines' flights are nonrefundable. ... (See Refunds if you pay with points)

Beware change fees with award tickets -- If you are planning to book airline tickets with your credit card points, know what kind of fees the airline will impose if you later have to change or cancel the ticket ... (See Ticket fees)

Can I sign up for the same card twice and get the sign-up bonus? -- If you already received a sign-up bonus for a credit card and closed it, in some cases you can sign up for the same card again and get the points ... (See Getting the same card twice)

Using points to visit national parks -- While visiting a national park might get you off the grid, you can use your credit card rewards beforehand to get you there for free ... (See National parks)

Is it worth it to transfer Hilton hotel points to American Airlines? -- If you want to transfer hotel points to an airline to get a free flight, check the transfer ratio first to make sure you're not losing value ... (See Transferring points)

Are foreign airline credit cards worth it? -- Find out which foreign airlines have domestic partners where you can easily transfer points ... (See Foreign airlines)

Deciding which cards to leave at home -- If you have a stack of credit cards and are trying to decide which ones to keep in your wallet, here are some ways to decide which to keep and which to stash ... (See Top of wallet card)

How to find hotel deals on hotel booking sites -- The best hotel deals often can be found on third-party websites ... (See Hotel deals)

With Citi Costco card, which gas stations earn 4 percent cash back? -- You can earn rewards most places you fill up, with a few exceptions ... (See Costco cash back)

Using your credit card rewards to book a free cruise -- Before shelling out hundreds of dollars for a cruise, check to see if your credit card rewards can help offset the cost ... (See Cruises)

How to keep your points when you cancel a card -- When canceling a card, you may lose your points, but in many cases, you won't ... (See Keeping rewards)

Poll: 49 million have never switched favorite credit card -- Despite a deluge of offers and a bonanza of available rewards, 4 in 10 Americans say they never changed their favorite credit cards, says a poll ... (See Favorite card)

Is it better to call when booking complicated reward travel? -- If you're trying to book a complicated trip with points, it may pay to call but it won't always reap the rewards you're hoping ... (See Reward travel )

How to transfer reward points to airlines -- If you have general reward points through a credit card, it's a simple process to transfer them to a partner airline for a free flight ... (See Transferring reward points)

Your Priority Pass membership now offers more -- If you receive Priority Pass membership from one of your high-end credit cards, you can now dine at some restaurants and stay in hourly hotels for free ... (See Priority Pass)

Will I still earn rewards if I pay off my balance early? -- If you pay off your balance early, you'll still get the rewards you earned for net purchases. Even better, you won't run the risk of incurring interest ... (See Rewards)

Multiple Chase cards can mean better travel options -- If you have a high-end Chase card, you can easily boost your rewards from your other Chase cards and work less to get more travel ... (See Multiple Chase cards)

Booking a trip on two airlines has risks -- If you found a great deal from another city to a vacation destination, be sure to pad layover time to avoid missed flights and lost money or points ... (See Booking separate flights)

When you should use points for business or first-class flights -- If you like luxury, upgrades might be worth the points. But, in some cases you can't use points to upgrade ... (See Points for upgrades)

Do all purchases count when building rewards? -- If you're looking to pay certain bills to get more credit card rewards, make sure you know what counts as a purchase that would be eligible for points ... (See Rewards: which purchases count)

Smart tips for using points during peak season -- Blackout dates often prevent you from traveling during the time you likely want to travel the most: peak season. Here are four tips to help you get flights with rewards once school is out ... (See Summer Travel)

Do my Walmart groceries earn category bonus points? -- While Walmart typically doesn't count as a grocery store to card issuers, there are ways to get those bonus points ... (See Category bonus points)

Airline cards can get you extra perks, even in the cheap seats -- The right airline cards can make rock-bottom fare airline restrictions bearable ... (See Economy fare perks)

Which reward is better: cash back or travel? -- Before you get taken in by a great sign-up bonus, make sure you know what reward structure is best. ... (See Cash back or travel rewards?)

When you can and can't transfer points -- If you have points across various loyalty programs, there are few options to transfer ... (See Transferring points)

5 steps for finding the right rewards card -- There are a lot of offers on the market, but only some worth seriously considering ... (See Finding the right rewards cards)

Best reward cards for paying monthly bills -- If you're putting hundreds of dollars a month on a credit card for your monthly bills, make sure you're using the best reward cards ... (See Monthly bills)

Rewards options when you have too many points -- You've saved up hundreds of thousands of credit card reward points. What are your options? ... (See Spending reward points)

Will I lose elite status if I transfer my airline card's balance? -- An airline credit card holder won't lose miles earned toward elite status if the card's balance is transferred to a lower interest credit card. ... (See Keeping elite status with airline card)

To maximize airline travel points, fly off-peak -- If you can learn to like traveling when others are not, you have the best chance of snagging an empty seat at a great rate ... (See Fly off-peak)

Poll: 2 in 3 U.S. adults with debt doubt they'll ever live debt-free -- Among those who owe on credit cards, 31 million think that debt will be a companion the rest of their lives. ... (See Debt-free survey)

Watch out for limits on rewards card category bonuses -- If you're planning on spending a lot on a card in a certain category, make sure you know the limit to what you can earn so you can maximize your rewards ... (See Category bonus limits)

How to earn more points when making Amazon purchases -- If you're a fan of Amazon, don't let all that spending go to waste. There are some ways you can increase the amount of rewards you get every time you buy online ... (See Earning points with Amazon)

5 times you should call your bank about your card -- If you need certain services done with your card or have questions redeeming your rewards, calling your bank might be best ... (See Calling your bank)

Get the most out hotel credit card's free nights -- Hotel credit cards often offer free nights with sign-up; get the most value out of it by staying at one of their top properties ... (See Hotel card free nights)

How to use points on international discount flights -- International budget airlines expand their presence in the U.S. While they usually don't belong to major reward programs, there are ways to use points to book flights ... (See Rewards for international airlines)

Learn from rewards cards' 2017 trends, changes -- Review the credit card changes that happened in 2017 to prepare for 2018 ... (See Credit card rewards changes)

What to do with a defunct Citi Hilton card? -- If you have a Citi Hilton Visa card, is it worth keeping it when it switches to American Express? ... (See Citi Hilton card changes)

5 steps to get your rewards in order for the new year -- By getting your rewards in order and organized you can start the new year with travel goals and a clear deck of cards you use ... (See New Year card review)

Best credit cards for extended warranties -- Before you buy an expensive item, check out what kind of extended warranty your credit card offers and choose the one with the best coverage ... (See Extended Warranty)

Getting started with card rewards -- If you're looking to up your credit card rewards game, there are some sites that can give you the best information to boost your rewards quickly ... (See Getting started with rewards)

Big retailers are teaming up with cards, offering rebates -- If you want more than just extra points when holiday shopping, then check out which stores your card has teamed up with to offer great rebates this season. ... (See Holiday shopping rebates )

What rewards card should I get for holiday shopping? -- If you're planning on doing some major holiday shopping, you have a great chance to rack up rewards, but only if you don't carry a balance. ... (See Best cards for holiday shopping)

A credit card checkup includes reviewing annual fees -- Before paying your credit card's annual fee for another year, look at whether you're getting your money's worth and consider other card options. ... (See Annual fee checkup)

Reward card sign-up bonuses not all created equal -- Big card sign-up bonuses turn heads, but do the math first. A hotel card's 100,000 points generally are less valuable than other rewards card bonuses ... (See Big hotel card sign-up bonuses)

Airline cards get you free checked bags, with exceptions -- Airline credit cards will likely get you free checked bags, but there are limits and exceptions. ... (See Airline cards with free checked bags)

Do the math to compare reward points' values -- When weighing reward redemption possibilities, this simple calculation will help you derive relative points values. ... (See How to compare rewards options)

If you're new to rewards cards, start slowly -- What's your goal? Weigh sign-up bonus, annual fee, rewards complexity ... (See New to rewards credit cards)

New Uber rewards card is the latest to target millennials -- The new Uber rewards credit card courts millennials with 4 percent cash back for dining and 2 percent for online services. Expect more cards to tailor rewards to consumers ages 20-35. ... (See Cards court millennials)

How pairing two cards can boost your rewards -- There is nothing wrong with just using one rewards card, but let?s look at how relying on two main cards instead of one can increase your rewards. ... (See Pairing rewards cards)

How to earn rewards on your teen's spending -- Adding a teen as an authorized user on a parent's credit card can build the child's credit and help in amassing points, miles or cash back. ... (See Earn rewards on teen's spending)

Airport lounge tips from tech CEO who turned airline clubs into a business -- LoungeBuddy CEO Tyler Dikman shares his thoughts on the best way to use cards to unlock lounge access. ... (See Airport lounge tips)

Hunting for more rewards? Don?t overlook business cards -- If there is a reward card you like but you already have it, you can often apply for a business version of the card. You might be surprised to learn that you don?t actually have to run a full-time incorporated business to be approved. ... (See Business cards)

What is the best rewards card to pair with Delta SkyMiles airline card? -- Factors to consider when adding any rewards card include how much you spend, where you spend and what kind of rewards you prefer. ... (See Rewards card to pair with airline card)

Is it time to ditch the Virgin America credit card? -- The fate of the Virgin America rewards program is unclear as it merges with Alaska Airlines ... (See Virgin America card)

Use free card services to monitor your credit in wake of Equifax breach -- With recent data breaches at Equifax and elsewhere, card issuers offer options that can help guard against errors and fraud ... (See Credit monitoring)

Should you get a store card after retailer files for bankruptcy? -- When a retailer like Toys R Us files for bankruptcy, it's often business as usual as the chain reorganizes. This includes credit cards and loyalty programs. ... (See Toys R Us credit card)

Earning points when renting a car -- As points and miles programs have evolved, there are a number of different ways to earn rewards from car rentals. ... (See Renting a car)

Big financial moves can add up to big rewards -- If you're looking to buy or sell a house or refinance, don't miss out on the thousands of points you could earn just by going with a bank offering a big promotion ... (See Rewards for mortgages, refis)

New iPhone X's facial recognition makes Apple Pay cooler -- If you're using your phone to make purchases, iPhone X should make the process easier and safer with the new facial recognition technology ... (See Apple facial recognition)

Keeping tabs on your reward cards -- If you're looking to maximize your card rewards, be sure to set up an organized system ahead of time to ensure you get the most rewards and never miss a payment ... (See Reaping your Rewards)

Q&A: Options for avoiding foreign transaction fees -- If you plan to travel internationally, you shouldn't be paying the 3 percent foreign transaction fee. There are now plenty of cards with no annual fee and no foreign transaction fee you can sign up for ... (See Foreign transaction fees)

Pushing reward card applications to the limits -- The lure of reward cards can be strong, and you may decide to apply for every one that appeals to you. But banks are cracking down on how many you can sign up for and how many sign-on bonuses you can rake in ... (See Rewards)

How to save reward points on American Airlines flights -- If you have American Airlines points, you might be better off using them on another airline to conserve your rewards ... (See Rewards)

Using rewards on discount airlines -- If you want to score a cheap ticket on a discount airline, you may find it hard to use reward points unless you have a credit card that refunds for any travel expense ... (See Rewards)

Q&A: Using gift cards to amass reward points -- Prepaid gift cards can be helpful in your rewards earning strategy if you use them the right way ... (See Rewards)

Scoring a great rewards card from your existing bank -- If you're looking for a new rewards card, you might want to stay close to home as more banks are offering great deals to keep customers on board ... (See Rewards)

Options for business cash back cards -- If you're signing up for a business cash back card, you have a lot of options. Be sure to calculate ahead of time which kind of cash-back deal can give you the most rewards. ... (See Business)

Is it worth keeping the Chase Sapphire Reserve for a 2nd year? -- The one year anniversary has arrived for Chase's blockbuster premium card; we break down whether it's worth keeping once you've used the big bonus ... (See Reserve)

Beware of checks sent with your card statement -- If you receive convenient checks with your card statement, you might be tempted to use them, hoping to get rewards. Not only will you get no points for using these checks, but you could end up paying high fees ... (See Rewards)

Using rewards to fly first class -- If you want to use your points to upgrade your seat category on a flight, it could still cost you money ... (See Rewards)

What counts as travel on a travel rewards card? -- Find out how to make sure you're getting the points you are expecting for certain travel-related purchases ... (See Rewards)

Are airline cards worth the annual fee? -- Airline cards come with big sign-on bonuses, but after that's used it's difficult to amass a significant number of points. However, there are other perks that make the annual fee worthwhile ... (See Fee)

How does Priority Pass airline lounge access work? -- With it, 1,000 airport lounges in 130 countries open their doors to you ... (See Priority Pass)

Maximizing card rewards after you've earned the sign-up bonus -- So, you've signed up for a bunch of rewards cards, now what? Even if you've already earned the sign-on bonus, there are still some strategies to getting every point available ... (See Rewards)

4 reasons to close a rewards card -- You may have signed up for a rewards card for the bonus points but now find yourself facing an annual fee for a card you no longer use. ... (See Rewards)

Build extra reward points with gift cards -- One way to maximize your card reward offers is to buy gift cards, but beware of how the card is coded so it counts toward the category bonus ... (See Rewards)

Sizing up a credit card rewards scheme -- Points pros live lavish lifestyles with their rewards points they collect, but if you're planning to get in on the game, make sure the fees won't outweigh the benefits ... (See Rewards)

New at some brick-and-mortar stores: Pay with your points -- More retailers are linking with credit cards to let you use your reward points easily when making purchases ... (See Rewards)

What if you're a few points short of your plane ticket? -- If you are just shy of the credit card points you need to buy a plane ticket or a hotel room, there are options to get the points quickly, but you may be paying a premium ... (See Points)

FAQs & benefits on Citi Costco Anywhere Visa Card -- Costco switched card partner from American Express to Visa in June 2016. We answer the most-common reader questions about Citi's Costco Anywhere Visa card. ... (See Costco)

5 questions to ask before making a big purchase for rewards -- If you're looking to score reward points by putting a major purchase on your card, make sure you ask these five questions first ... (See Rewards)

Poll: Credit card fraud alerts surge, false alarms still common -- Consumers report a 15 percent increase in contacts from banks about credit, debit card fraud ... (See Fraud)

Can I get better rewards without opening a new card? -- If you're looking to up your rewards intake but don't want to open a new card, you may be out of luck unless your bank will work out a deal ... (See Rewards)

Q&A: How to transfer AmEx points between airlines -- With a bit of work, you can use American Express Membership Rewards points to fly on all three of the biggest U.S. airlines ... (See Transfer)

Will JetBlue waive baggage fees for noncardholders? -- With a JetBlue Barclaycard your baggage fees and that for three companions are waived, but if you pay for the tickets and don't make the trip yourself, those perks may not apply ... (See Rewards)

Can I get bonus points on my condo rental stay? -- If you have a credit card that gives bonus points for travel expenses, make sure nontraditional accommodations count for the bonus before counting on more points ... (See Rewards)

Using reward cards for concert tickets -- You reward card may come with more than just cash back or points for travel; you can also score early access to tickets for major concerts ... (See Rewards)

Can you transfer loyalty points between card issuers? -- There are ways to transfer points to airlines, hotels, but not between issuers ... (See Points)

To get best frequent flyer card, know your hubs -- Before you sign up for a card just because of the bonus, be sure it's an airline that you can often and easily ... (See Airline hubs)

Q&A: Understanding airline card boarding policies -- Despite new boarding group numbers, you do have priority status. ... (See Airlines)

Cash back cards become more generous with rewards -- Cardholders prefer cash back rewards over points so card issuers are offering bigger incentives to sign up and cash out every month ... (See Cash back)

Can you get the cheapest airline seats with reward points? -- As airlines make their seat pricing evermore complex, reward points holders should know where they can score the cheapest seats with their points ... (See Miles)

5 questions to ask before applying for a rewards card -- Rewards cards can be tempting, but before signing up and dinging your credit, know the right questions to ask yourself ... (See Rewards)

Limits to using airline miles -- If you signed up for a credit card for the big airline mile bonus, you may be shocked at how much you still have to pay to fly ... (See Airline miles)

Boost rewards with airlines' dining programs -- Join, register a card, dine at selected restaurants, earn extra points ... (See Dining)

Financial infidelity: 12 million Americans admit to hidden account -- Keeping a hidden bank account or credit card is a risky move with potentially explosive consequences, experts say. Yet millions do ... (See Financial infidelity)

In which categories can I get bonus points? -- Find out how to maximize your rewards by figuring out which category of purchases earns you the most ... (See Bonus points)

Does my card cover rental insurance abroad? -- Credit cards often come with more perks than just points. Before traveling, know how your card can save you money ... (See Insurance)

Redeeming rewards as a statement credit: Many cards allow it -- Find out if your credit card rewards program will allow you to allocate your points toward your balance ... (See Statement credit)

Reward possibilities soar with Starwood-Marriott merger -- If you have points with either of the big chains, you have some great opportunities to take advantage of the rewards ... (See Merger)

Using rewards miles to fly to Cuba -- While there are still restrictions on travel to Cuba, it has cracked open as a travel destination for Americans, and you can use rewards to get there ... (See Cuba travel)

Hotel rewards: Go for free nights, not points -- While thousands of points might feel like a bigger sign-on bonus than free nights for a hotel credit card, they make for more complicated trip-planning and run the risk of being diluted ... (See Hotel rewards)

What 2016 rewards card trends mean for you in 2017 -- Big lessons from big rewards of 2016 ... (See Rewards)

Issuer closes card, empties out your cash rewards cache -- If your bank unexpectedly cancels your card, is there a way to recoup your rewards? ... (See Lost rewards)

Students steered toward high-fee bank accounts, CFPB warns -- Banks, colleges team up against unsophisticated kids ... (See CFPB)

Weighing the value of special card reward deals -- Keeping up with card deals can be overwhelming. You might consider sticking only to the bigger offers or ones that you know you can use. ... (See Deals)

Who qualifies for the Costco 2% Executive reward? -- Primary and 'household' account holders should accumulate rewards when using card ... (See Costco)

Poll: Women, men disagree on how they divide spending -- Who controls spending? 'We do,' say women. Men say, 'I thought we shared' ... (See Spending)

Do metal credit cards cause problems with airport security? -- Those elite cards made of metal could cause issues at airports if you try to take them through a metal detector ... (See Metal)

How to maximize credit card rewards while holiday shopping -- Gift yourself some extra reward points while buying gifts for loved ones. ... (See Rewards)

Exclusive perks can make retail store credit cards a good deal -- Bank cards are better for everyday use, but if you love a specific brand, go for it ... (See Store card)

It's tough to be sure if a purchase qualifies as rewards-eligible -- Look for program disclosures, but they aren't always detailed on what qualifies for rewards ... (See Eligible)

Simple strategies for increasing your card rewards -- First, shift monthly spending from cash and checks to credit ... (See Rewards)

Can you use US credit cards in Cuba? -- Card transactions require internet service, and Cuba?s internet access is spotty. ... (See Cuba)

How your card may reimburse canceled trip costs -- Some cards offer trip cancellation protection, but you have to meet all the criteria ... (See Trip)

Compare best sign-up bonus rewards cards -- In our survey, 6 cards deliver upfront rewards worth more than $1,000 ... (See Bonus)

Travel reward cards: How to avoid pitfalls -- Canceling a rewards card after using the bonus can save money on the annual fee but also affect your credit ... (See Rewards)

Understanding how airline rewards programs work -- Airlines have changed the structure of their reward programs, but still have great offers if you know how to earn miles. ... (See Miles)

Poll: Holiday retail season starts too darn early -- Most are annoyed at ever-earlier store decorations, but millions have begun shopping ... (See Too early)

How to get double cash back at Costco -- How to get double cash back at Costco with executive membership and the Costco Citi Anywhere Visa. ... (See Costco)

You splurged for the Chase Sapphire Reserve card. Now what? -- Use the card's points and perks before that $450 annual fee kicks in again. ... (See Reserve)

Making the most of flexible travel rewards programs -- Several programs allow transfers to airlines and hotels, and there may be more possibilities than you realize ... (See Rewards)

Save money on gas, at Costco and elsewhere -- Using the new Citi Costco card can make sense at the pump, but there are other ways to save on gas ... (See Save)

Which cards maximize rewards at grocery stores? -- Having the right rewards card can beat coupon clipping ... (See Grocery)

7 ways to track your reward cards like a pro -- Experts give advice on how to juggle various cards and their rewards points programs ... (See Track)

Compare elite credit cards -- Table summarizes the high-cost, high-reward cards ... (See Compare elite rewards)

Not all travel qualifies for rewards bonus points -- Check your card's terms to see how it defines "travel" ... (See Travel points)

Purging seldom-used reward cards -- If you have cards you rarely use, consider canceling them for peace of mind ... (See Gas rewards)

Rewards bubble hasn't popped ... yet -- Points, miles and cash back gush at unprecedented levels, but what goes up must come down ... (See Bubble)

Maximize points by shifting spending to a rewards card -- Some types of purchases are hard to put on a card ... (See Shift spend)

When spouse dies, who gets the cash-back rewards? -- As an authorized user on your spouse's credit card account, you are usually not entitled to cash-back rewards accrued on the account. But issuers may make an exception ... (See Rewards)

Card issuers impose limits on rewards card churning -- Limits make it tougher to churn through credit cards to milk them for sign-up bonuses while ducking the fees ... (See Churning)

Brexit getaway? Award seats to London are widely available -- The turmoil after the British vote to leave the European Union has made it cheaper for Americans traveling there, though with airline prices still high, it pays to investigate award flights ... (See Fly)

Foreign ATMs accept US debit cards, but carry backup -- U.S. debit cards are widely accepted at overseas ATMs, but carry credit cards, too, to be safe ... (See ATMs)

Splitting reward points from a small business -- Credit card rewards usually belong to whoever signed up for the account. But small-business partners should discuss whether to split them up or use them for business expenses. ... (See Business rewards)

Hunting for the best cash-back rewards card -- The "best" card for you depends on your preferences and spending habits. But when it comes to cash-back rewards, don't settle for less than a 2 percent payoff ... (See Cash back)

Options abound for redeeming reward points -- Bank-related reward programs offer a lot of redemption choices. But consider how many points each kind of reward requires ... (See Rewards)

Is it time to ditch my airline card for bank rewards or a Costco card? -- How to evaluate the benefits, costs and your preferences to find the right rewards card ... (See Rewards)

What to do when strange charges appear on your bill -- If there is a charge on your bill that you did not authorize, you should contact your issuer immediately ... (See Fraud)

British Airways Avios program both confusing and useful -- Avios can be hard to understand but offer a strong value on some flights ... (See Avios)

FAQs on new Costco Citi Visa card -- We answer the most-common reader questions prompted by the warehouse club?s credit card switch from American Express to Citi ... (See Costco Citi Visa FAQ)

Frequent flier miles may live on after death -- Airlines often allow transfers of frequent flier miles to beneficiaries when a member dies, even if written policies are vague ... (See Transfer miles)

How to switch your rewards card -- Whether you need to close your old card when you apply for one with better rewards depends on the card's fees and perks ... (See Rewards card)

Details emerge on new Citi Costco card switch -- Warehouse giant will accept any Visa starting June 20, 2016 ... (See Costco)

Getting the most out of multiple rewards cards -- Which to use? Know your spending habits, and look at costs, benefits ... (See Rewards)

Ditch or keep rewards card when annual fee comes due? -- With the sign-up bonus spent and a big fee due, it?s OK to cancel or downgrade a card ... (See Fee)

Help! I need points fast for a summer trip! -- Earning points in a hurry is possible but requires some planning and spending ... (See Miles)

Options dwindle for paying mortgage, car loan on credit -- It's possible, but requires 'manufactured spending' techniques that are both risky and complex ... (See Points)

Consider award availability before selecting travel card -- If you know where you want to travel with miles, see which airlines offer the most award seats before applying for a travel card ... (See Miles)

Should you pay for merchandise with reward points? -- Card companies are offering more options than ever for redeeming points, but pay attention to the value ... (See Redeem)

Downgrading a rewards card? You may be eligible for sign-up bonus -- If one card becomes too expensive, consider applying for less costly versions -- and you might even score a sign-up bonus. But be aware of credit implications ... (See Rewards)

Best reward card for cable, cellphone spending? -- Credit cards offer reward bonuses for many spending categories, including unsexy expenses such as utilities ... (See Points)

Poll: 13 million Americans commit financial infidelity -- In a survey, 5 percent of respondents in a committed relationship admit to keeping a secret bank account or credit card ... (See Financial infidelity)

How JetBlue's card switch to Barclaycard will work -- American Express cards will stop working in March 2016, but TrueBlue points remain ... (See JetBlue)

Examine partners to earn more United miles -- If you?re interested in reward flights on United, consider cards connected to airline and bank-program partners ... (See Rewards travel)

Why do people pay high annual fees on credit cards? -- Paying hundreds of dollars a year for a credit card might seem ridiculous, but some people find value even in those top-tier cards ... (See Annual fee)

Don't secretly add an authorized user to boost your rewards -- Some rewards cards dangle the prospect of extra points for adding a friend or relative to your account, but make sure you tell the other person first ... (See Secret authorized user)

Check flight availability before transferring rewards points -- If you don't check flight availability before transferring, you might be stuck with airline miles that are hard to use ... (See Frequent flier)

Targeted reward offers: What to do when they go bad -- Incentives to spend on a card can give big rewards, but make sure you take the right steps in case you don't receive what you're owed ... (See Targeted offers)

Costco card switches from American Express to Citi -- Warehouse giant switches from AmEx to Citi; key dates, what you need to know ... (See New Costco cards)

US report: Colleges not disclosing card contracts -- A new report finds that many colleges are not disclosing their ties with credit card companies as required ... (See Campus cards)

Check American Airlines' reward partners, transfer options -- If you're trying to build American Airlines miles, or fly where that airline goes, you have more options than you may think ... (See Airline points transfer parnters)

Poll: 1 in 5 debtors say they'll be in debt forever -- It's a debt dichotomy: More say they'll die in debt, yet an increasing number also say they're debt-free ... (See Debt forever)

Global Entry perk may make big-annual-fee rewards card worthwhile -- Some premium cards have annual fees of $450 or more, but features such as lounge access and Global Entry might make them palatable ... (See Global Entry)

Dividing credit card rewards in a divorce -- If you have accumulated a slew of miles, and you're heading for divorce, they could become an issue in the breakup ... (See Rewards points and divorce)

Weighing rewards cards in aftermath of airline changes -- With airlines overhauling their frequent flier programs, we run some numbers to help you evaluate which card makes more sense for you ... (See Rewards)

IRS won't care if you buy gift cards with reward points -- Even if you get a "cash back" reward card that you spend like cash, it's not considered income, so shop away! ... (See Rewards not taxable)

Airlines change from miles to price-based rewards -- The three largest U.S. airlines now base rewards points on how much you pay, not how far you fly, a change that devalues airline rewards for all but the most hardcore traveler ... (See Price-based rewards)

How to react when your reward program changes -- Travel points and miles tend to lose value over time. Here's how you can guard against that trend ... (See Devaluation)

How long to wait to apply for another rewards card -- Don?t apply too aggressively -- for the sake of your credit and budget ... (See Rewards)

Fraud risk minimal from contactless EMV cards -- A determined thief could intercept radio waves from a dual-interface credit card, but in practice it's not worth the bother ... (See Contactless EMV fraud)

Beyond bankruptcy: What happens when you fail Chapter 13 -- Americans who file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy are more likely than not to fail completing the debt repayment plan. Understanding why, and what comes next, can help you avoid common pitfalls ... (See Fail at bankruptcy)

Balancing need to save against urge to earn rewards -- Consider your spending habits and self-discipline to create a plan that you can stick to ... (See Rewards)

Frequent flier miles sometimes contain hidden tax -- If you accumulate miles that have been purchased, be prepared to see slight charges to cover a 7.5 percent excise tax the IRS imposes when companies buy miles from the airlines ... (See Frequent flier mile excise tax)

How to transfer your miles and points into other reward programs -- Sorting through different reward currencies can become complicated but give you additional options to redeem ... (See Transfer)

Can I earn grocery rewards points at Wal-Mart? -- Merchant category code classifications matter when using rewards cards ... (See Merchant Category Codes)

US card acceptance abroad grows, even at kiosks -- Travelers' woes diminish as new data suggests the vast majority of U.S. Visa cards work abroad, even at previously troublesome payment machines ... (See Card acceptance abroad)

Poll: Most cardholders lack smart-chip cards, despite deadline -- No EMV card yet? You're not alone. Even as an Oct. 1 deadline looms, 6 in 10 cardholders don't have a chip card yet, our national survey shows ... (See EMV card poll)

With chip card switch upon us, who do I call about fraud? -- Retailers will start to shoulder some responsibility for fraudulent charges, but consumers will see few differences starting Oct. 1 ... (See EMV fraud)

My husband won't let me get an EMV chip card for our European trip! -- Many card issuers have switched to EMV chips, but some still have only magnetic stripes. Does it matter? ... (See EMV card )

Beware: Rebate and promotional cards can expire quickly -- They may look like gift cards, but they don't enjoy the same protections ... (See Promotional cards)

Balance free companion ticket with seat availability, annual fee -- The perk, which comes with the Platinum Delta SkyMiles card by American Express, sounds great but you'll probably need flexible travel plans to use it ... (See Companion ticket)

Automatic cash back rewards checks tough to find -- A survey of 10 top cash back cards reveals only one apparently allows you to sign up for automatic rewards checks ... (See Cash back)

Unaffiliated travel reward cards give you choices, bonuses -- Some cards come with generous sign-up bonuses that can be used for a wide range of travel charges, but they?re not for everybody ... (See Travel)

Personalized help for maximizing your rewards -- If you're not comfortable deciding which cards to purge and which to use, technology and professionals might help ... (See Rewards app)

I'm facing default: Are my airline miles at risk? -- Rewards might be the least of your worries if you're in financial trouble, but they can have lots of value ... (See Frequent flier)

Help! My estranged wife stole 2 million reward points! -- Ex-wife fools card company into transferring points to her account. How can he get the points back? ... (See Theft)

Changing your reward card when airlines shift strategies -- It makes sense to monitor the companies connected to your credit card rather than get stuck with rewards you won't use ... (See Rewards)

Cardless cash ATMs use pre-staging to reduce fraud -- New technology allows you to use your smartphone to pre-stage cash withdrawals, as a way to fight growing ATM fraud ... (See Cardless cash)

Rewards earned via business spending are tax-free, for now -- The IRS has been consistent in its interpretations, but increasing complexity could prompt changes ... (See Tax free rewards)

5 questions for picking a rewards card -- and 1 that shouldn't matter -- To benefit from rewards cards, pay your balance monthly and the APR won't matter. After that, consider these factors ... (See Rewards)

Paying a utility bill on a rewards card to earn points -- If you pay off your credit card balance in full every month, it makes sense to put as many expenses as you can on your card -- if you can avoid fees ... (See Utility rewards)

Finding a credit card with concierge service -- You don't often hear about concierge services and other benefits, but they are common among reward cards ... (See Concierge)

What's the best reward card for a single big purchase? -- Want to maximize rewards returns on an upcoming big purchase? Several cards offer 2 percent cash back, but sign-up bonuses on travel cards are even more lucrative ... (See Rewards)

Fraud risk minimal on canceled RFID chip card -- RFID chips in credit cards continue to transmit information after you've canceled the card. The information isn't of much use to a criminal but it still doesn't hurt to destroy the chip ... (See RFID cards)

What that 'free' airline award ticket will cost you -- We compare the airline fees typically found on tickets purchased with miles. It's no surprise the rewards programs have stopped calling them "free" ... (more)

How to salvage points earned on a failing business's corporate card -- A corporate bankruptcy doesn't mean rewards points will be seized. There are ways to salvage the points for personal use before the corporate card account is closed ... (See Bankruptcy)

Finding a single reward card for the whole family -- If you're looking to consolidate all household charges on one statement, consider adding family as authorized users ... (See Authorized users)

5 tips for negotiating rewards cards' annual fees -- Credit card issuers can be surprisingly receptive to cardholders who are seeking a break on their annual fees. They won't always waive them, but you may walk away with a discount or bonus points ... (See Negotiating rewards card fee)

How I fared when I asked for fee waivers on rewards cards -- reporter Tony Mecia tries his hand at getting a deal on his annual fees. The results were encouraging ... (See Annual fee waiver)

On a foreign trip, should I use credit cards at ATMs? -- The cards you use in the U.S. will probably work fine for international travels, but here are your options ... (See Foreign ATMs)

Most issuers like to know your travel plans -- Most credit card companies want to know your travel plans to prevent fraud alerts. But you should also choose the right card and make sure you have different payment options ... (See Travel plan notification)

Transferring reward points to airlines often yields great value -- For credit card rewards programs that allow you to either buy flights through their portals or transfer points to airlines, the latter is often the faster way to earn free flights ... (See Flights)

Finding the best card for travel upgrades -- For business card seekers looking for hotel and airline upgrades, it pays to figure out where you spend the most, then investigate the networks of points programs ... (See Upgrades)

Valuing frequent flier miles on your tax return -- The IRS treats reward miles like coupons or rebates, not like income or expenses. That means you won't be taxed on miles earned, but you also can't treat an award trip as an expense ... (See Miles and taxes)

Card shields protect against low risk of RFID theft -- Card shields or sleeves may keep thieves from remotely gathering data from the RFID chip in your credit card. But the odds of such theft are approaching zero, so focus on other concerns ... (See Card shields)

Authorized users can sometimes gain late cardholder's rewards -- If a primary cardholder passes away, an authorized user on the account is not usually entitled to the account's rewards points. But program providers are often more generous than their rules convey ... (See Inherit rewards)

Apple Pay fees could upset the rewards cart -- Fees on banks to include their credit cards in Apple Pay could lead to rewards cutbacks someday, but so far there's no evidence it will happen ... (See Apple Pay)

When to close an annual-fee card -- Closing a credit card can lower your credit score a bit, but if your annual fee is due and a more rewarding card beckons, it's probably worth it ... (See Annual fee)

For foreign travel, go for the chip, don't hold out for a PIN -- Having a credit card with an EMV chip will make it easier to get around in Europe, but don't insist on one that requires a PIN rather than a signature ... (See Chip-and-PIN)

Poll: Public lukewarm about paying by cellphone -- Six months of buzz and media coverage around Apple Pay haven't moved the needle much: Public interest in paying by cellphone remains mild, says a new poll by ... (See Pay by phone)

Carrying a balance? No rewards card for you! -- Interest costs far outweigh any rewards offered by credit cards, so prioritize paying off your balances before thinking about earning rewards ... (See No rewards)

Poll: Wealthy getting EMV cards first -- Chip-bearing EMV cards, and the extra fraud protection that goes with them, are being issued first to wealthier cardholders, a poll shows ... (See EMV cards)

With Costco and AmEx splitting, don't rush to switch cards -- Costco will be ending its exclusive relationship with American Express. But there's no need to drop the Costco AmEx card right away. Wait to see what new cash-back deals shake out ... (See Costco-American Express split)

Not all 'digital wallets' give you bonus reward points -- If you're using a mobile wallet to make purchases using your American Express card, you may not get get those bonus rewards points the card promises ... (See Mobile)

Poll: Wealthy cardholders prefer cash-back rewards -- Getting cash back is by far the favorite credit card reward, according to a new survey of cardholders with at least $100,000 in investable assets ... (See Cash-back survey)

Adding a separate rewards card for business travel -- If you pay for work-related travel on a personal credit card, it may make sense to get a separate card just for those expenses. But first, think about how you'll use the points ... (See Travel)

How to use US Airways miles as merger unfolds -- If you want to redeem US Airways miles, you'll still need to use the US Airways award chart until the airline finishes combining its frequent flier program with that of merger partner American Airlines ... (See Redeem)

Why the wealthy go broke, too -- When people with above-average incomes encounter financial hardships, the reasons are surprisingly similar to people with more modest incomes ... (See Broke)

Financial infidelity poll: 6% hid bank accounts from spouse or partner -- In a new national survey, we asked people living with a spouse or partner about their money secrets, hidden bank accounts and undisclosed splurges ... (See Financial infidelity)

Strategies to maximize cash-back rewards -- Most cashback cards pay about 1 percent in rewards; a couple of cards pay a flat 2 percent. But you may want to consider using a flat-rate card and a card with higher rewards rates on rotating categories ... (See Cash back)

Airline frequent flier miles should survive if you file for bankruptcy -- Banks can cancel reward cards if you?re insolvent, but you shouldn't lose frequent flier points you've earned through the cards if they've already been posted to your airline account ... (See Points in bankruptcy)

Transferring miles, points between airlines not allowed -- You can't transfer the miles from one airline's credit card reward program to another, so comparison shop and make your initial choice carefully ... (See Transferring miles)

Travel cards' best signup point offers require excellent credit -- Most rewards cards are targeted at people with excellent credit -- with FICO scores of 750 and above. But if your credit is in the "good" range, you still have options ... (See Sign-up bonus score)

Beating the year-end deadline for elite flier status -- Need only a few thousand miles to hit an elite level in your frequent flier program? The situation can be especially complex for US Airways customers, as the airline merges with American Airlines. But there are a few options ... (See Elite status)

5 simple ways to keep frequent flier miles from expiring -- There are a number of ways to keep your frequent flier account active, even without a credit card. They might take a little time and money, but investing to preserve a cache of valuable frequent flier miles can make sense ... (See Miles)

Choose your rewards strategy: One card? Or multiple? -- Using one rewards card consolidates points, but having several lets you be sure every dollar spent earns you something back ... (See Multiple rewards cards)

Reward cards for a company's small fleet -- There are different kinds of cards that a company's drivers can use at the gas pump, and they offer different levels of data and control regarding purchases ... (See Gas rewards)

Strategies for unlocking airline award seats -- Airline frequent flier programs make it easier to earn miles than to redeem them for tickets. Having the right credit card might just open up a few more seats that can be purchased using points ... (See Award travel)

Online fraud may surge after EMV chip card rollout -- U.S. issuers are replacing traditional magnetic stripe credit cards with cards containing counterfeit-resistant EMV chips. But fraudsters are expected to adapt, turning to online and other forms of fraud ... (See Online fraud surge)

Some cards generous for travel, give less in cash back rewards -- If a travel card turns out to offer different rewards or fewer points than you expected, consider canceling it before the annual fee comes due ... (See Travel rewards)

Cash-advance PIN on an EMV card doesn't make it 'chip-and-PIN' -- Today's cards may have two types of PINs: one to complete a purchase at an EMV chip-and-PIN terminal, the other that allows you to get cash advances at ATMs ... (See PINs)

When canceling a rewards card, purge clutter, but not points -- By all means, cancel a rewards card that is no longer right for you, but don't be hasty. Try to hang onto the points, and see if the issuer will offer to sweeten your deal ... (See Canceling rewards)

EMV switch won't eliminate travel woes -- As issuers roll out more secure chip cards in the U.S., they're opting for chip-and-signature technology, rather than the chip-and-PIN standard used in many other countries ... (See Chip-and-PIN)

Rules for baggage perks might have exceptions -- Airline reward cards allow free checked bags for the cardholder only under certain circumstances, but ticket agents sometimes offer flexibility ... (See Checked bags)

Best way to track all those reward points? -- How do you make sure you really earned triple points on gas purchases on Card A and the miles you were supposed to when using Card B's online shopping portal? There are no easy answers ... (See Rewards tracking)

Even with high credit score, some card applicants rejected -- How can someone with an 800+ FICO score be denied a new credit card? It may have to do with rewards card churning but the first thing to do is ask the issuer that is denying your application ... (See Application denied)

Q&A: Rep. Alan Grayson wants changes to 'unfair' frequent flier programs -- The Florida Congressman says airline practices are deceptive and his complaints have sparked an investigation by the Department of Transportation ... (See Devalued rewards)

Using rewards to buy a new car -- Some credit cards earn you rewards that can be used as an auto down payment, but consider alternatives such as cash-back cards, too ... (See Down payment rewards)

Small businesses slow in converting to EMV card readers -- With a year to go before retailers hit a major deadline for upgrading their credit card machines, experts warn that many are unlikely to complete the switch in time. As a result, they may find themselves suddenly liable for card-related fraud ... (See EMV)

Preparing your business for EMV migration -- Follow these tips to get your small business ready for the switch to EMV chip-card technology ... (See Preparing for EMV)

Putting credit card concierge services to the test -- We tested these free services that come with some rewards cards and found them prompt and courteous. But you forfeit some control when you use them ... (See Concierge)

Using points when holiday award seats are full -- There are a number of creative ways to use credit card points or perks to travel cheaply during busy periods ... (See Holiday travel)

Premium cards can move you faster through airport security lines -- Premium travel credit cards can help get fliers to their gates faster but the service is not available in every airport ... (See Faster at airports )

Pay by smartphone? Consumers wary, poll says -- A poll shows consumers are wary of using their cellphone to make payments. But some experts say it's only a matter of time before most do ... (See Mobile payments)

Should I 'boost' my frequent flier miles on an upcoming trip? -- Airlines offer travelers the chance to buy miles at a discounted rate, but using cards or shopping portals can be a better value ... (See Miles)

Using prepaid cards to boost rewards -- Some options are drying up, but there are still ways to earn points by buying gift cards and reloadable products ... (See Manufactured spend)

Are sign-up rewards bonuses seasonal? -- If you're looking to get a points bonanza by signing up for a rewards credit card, timing can be critical. But figuring out when the next big bonus will be available is tricky ... (See Rewards)

Returning a gift? The buyer loses the rewards points -- To prevent users from gaming the system, credit card issuers usually dock your rewards points when you return an item, even if it was a gift ... (See Rewards returned)

Third-party booking sites trip up hotel rewards -- If your company requires you to book travel through a website such as Expedia or Orbitz, you probably won't be able to earn hotel rewards -- but it never hurts to try ... (See Hotel rewards)

Will changing my award ticket to Israel cost me? -- Whether it's missile attacks or bad weather, when problems arise that hamper travel, airlines often waive fees to change award tickets ... (See Cancellation fees)

How couples can pool miles, transfer points for award travel -- Some couples get the same rewards card to double up on points, but find combining them can be tricky. Check out our review of the fees and restrictions for some of the most popular programs ... (See Pooling points)

Eat out often? Stuff yourself with rewards for dining -- If you dine out often, you may as well be earning extra credit card rewards on all those restaurant tabs. To choose the right card, consider the type of reward you want, the cost of the card and other reward-boosting options ... (See Dining rewards)

Small banks, credit unions keep debit rewards programs alive -- Three years after big banks started pulling the plug on debit card rewards programs, many small banks and credit unions are finding surprising success in offering similar rewards to their customers ... (See Debit rewards)

Giving miles or points through a gift registry -- Donating rewards points for that special day sound appealing, but gift registries are a poor deal compared with alternatives ... (See Gifting miles)

Is a smart-chip card needed when I travel to Europe? -- European countries added EMV chips to credit cards years ago. U.S. issuers are just now catching up with the anti-fraud technology. But is an EMV card a must for European travel? ... (See Chip card)

Tools, tips for choosing a frequent flier destination -- Award tickets can be hard to come by, but some airlines run specials and have other features to help you book your free trip ... (See Choosing destinations)

Capital One's rewards chief: Expect a busy travel season -- In a Q&A, Capital One's rewards vice president Amy Lenander discloses it will be a busy summer season, and what the future holds for rewards ... (See Summer rewards)

Do United's frequent-flier changes devalue its travel card? -- United is following other airlines in changing the way you earn miles for paid flights. But it won't necessarily affect credit card points chasers ... (See MileagePlus)

How to keep points from a company credit card -- If you've racked up a lot of AmEx points on your company credit card, but are changing jobs, it's worth signing up for a personal card so you can keep your rewards points ... (See AmEx rewards)

Rankings for frequent flier programs: 2 surveys, similar results -- Ratings are beginning to take into consideration one of the most important factors to many fliers: reward seat availability. As airline program models shift, so will availability ... (See Frequent flier program rankings)

When you can, can't transfer rewards points -- Shifting points between programs often comes with restrictions. But outright transfers are not the only way to get more options from your points ... (See Transfer points)

Avoid companions' checked-bag fees with wise card use -- Many people have found a way around checked-bag fees but you have to know where to look to get the most bag for your buck ... (See Free bags)

Sign up, max out, cancel, repeat: Rewarding, but dangerous to credit? -- Some frequent flier mileage chasers cancel cards as soon as they've hit their initial spending targets to earn rewards. But the strategy carries risk ... (See Sign-up strategy)

How to nab scarce award flights -- Airlines and card companies love to tout the ease of racking up miles, but when it comes to spending them, it's often not so easy. Advance planning and flexibility help ... (See Spending miles)

Supercharging rewards from online travel agencies -- Online travel agencies such as Orbitz and Expedia offer rewards cards. Whether they're right for you depends on your spending and travel patterns ... (See Travel rewards)

Debt rises by 5 percent in top 20 cities -- A study by the credit bureau Experian shows borrowing is on the rise again in 19 of the 20 biggest U.S. cities, with Dallas, Houston leading the way ... (See Average debt)

Rewards card switch: from fee to no-fee -- If your rewards card's fee is too high, it's time to look for alternatives. Switching may put a temporary dent in your credit score but it's usually more important to get a card that fits your needs ... (See Going no-fee)

7 signs you need to cash in your rewards now -- It can be tempting to stockpile reward points, envisioning a big vacation someday paid for with the trove of points you?ve gradually been accumulating. But the reality of miles and points is that they become less valuable with time ... (See Cash in rewards)

Banks' travel rewards search engines fare well in find-a-flight test -- Whether you're using credit card rewards points or cash, you may find the best flight deals by going through card issuers' travel search engines ... (See Travel search )

Paying your tax bill with prepaid cards -- Popular Vanilla Reloads are becoming harder to find, but credit card rewards seekers still have options to avoid hefty tax-payment card fees ... (See Tax points)

Finding the best rewards card for frequent Saudi Arabia travel -- For a businessman who will be traveling to Saudi Arabia a lot for work, the advice is similar to that for other travelers: decide on an airline and hotel chain that fit your needs, then find a credit card tied to them. And don't forget about fees ... (See Saudi Arabia travel)

Companion tickets: the reward card perk that's not always so rewarding -- Want to bring a friend when you travel? The right travel card may help, but companion ticket programs are full of restrictions ... (See Compare companion tickets)

Should I ditch my checking account to earn credit card rewards? -- It can be tempting when a credit card issuer offers extra reward points for opening a checking account, but watch out for hidden costs and credit score dings before you make the jump ... (See Checking)

Churning crackdown worries credit card rewards chasers -- A move by American Express to crack down on people who sign up for the same credit card repeatedly is causing alarm among credit card churners, who see the decision as the latest sign that harvesting cards for miles and points is becoming less lucrative ... (See Churning)

Finding the best rewards card for airline and hotel upgrades -- There have been some important changes in recent years in how airlines handle upgrades. That, of course, changes the calculation for what kind of card you should have in your wallet if upgrades are important to you ... (See VIP seats)

Switching to a new card from the same bank -- An issuer may conduct a hard pull on your credit record if you apply for a new card, even if you already have a card with that bank. But it's probably worth it if the card is a better fit ... (See Credit)

Delta changes award program; should you change your card? -- Delta's announcement that it will change the way flying customers earn miles doesn't affect how you earn on co-branded credit cards. Still, it may be worth reconsidering your rewards card strategy ... (See SkyMiles)

13 luxe airport lounges you can access with a credit card -- Most airport lounges are open only to first- or business-class fliers, elite members of frequent-flier programs, or to those willing to pay up to $70 for a day pass. But there?s another way in: having the right credit card in your wallet ... (See Luxurious airport lounges)

Must cards keep paying out at their original reward level? -- Cardholder agreements give issuers free rein to change reward programs. But if you think there's been an error, there are a few things you can do ... (See Shrinking rewards)

Which travel card perk is the most popular? -- A consumer survey finds free checked bags are the top travel benefit offered by credit cards, beating out rental car insurance, travel insurance, priority boarding and airport lounge access ... (See Perks)

Reaping miles and points with everyday spending -- Lucrative sign-up bonuses are tempting but chasing them can be exhausting and fraught with credit risks. There are other ways to boost your credit card rewards ... (See Earn more)

Redeeming 'impossible to use' British Airways miles -- What to do with that stack of BA miles if you live in the U.S.? European award flights are loaded with surcharges but you still have lots of options ... (See Avios miles )

High-end reward cards offer luxury hotel perks -- Luxury hotel perks are not a reason to choose a credit card. But if you frequent top-end hotels, you may be able to squeeze some value from them ... (See Luxe perks)

Professional award bookers promise 'free' flights for fewer miles -- You could book your own frequent flier ticket, but a new trade, professional award bookers, promises to find better free flight for fewer points -- for a fee ... (See Award bookers)

How to score a rental car using a rewards credit card -- Scoring a free rental card with credit card rewards is not as straightforward as earning a free flight. But with a little know-how, you can do it ... (See Rental car)

How to destroy metal credit cards without killing your shredder -- The metal content in the Chase Sapphire Preferred card makes it hard to destroy with scissors or a shredder. So how can you safely dispose of it when it's time? ... (See Heavy metal)

As online gambling booms, credit card acceptance lags -- States turning to online gambling find the credit card industry is reluctant to join the game, leaving gamers scrambling for alternate ways to ante up ... (See Online gambling)

Avoiding your reward card's annual fee -- You?ve banked the sign-up miles from your new card. Here?s how to escape yearly fees and keep your credit score up ... (See Annual fee)

How to get to that long-haul international flight for free -- A trip to the Middle East is expensive, whether you're paying with reward points or dollars. But combining a couple of credit card sign-up bonuses can nearly get you there for free ... (See Bonuses)

Which credit cards earn the most reward points at Wal-Mart? -- If you're a regular Wal-Mart shopper, maximizing your rewards earning potential can be tricky. The store slips through the cracks of many bonus-earning categories, but there are a few options ... (See Wal-Mart rewards)

Using credit cards to unlock elite airport lounges -- Credit cards that offer access to airport lounges tend to have high fees. But they're often the least expensive way in, and may be worthwhile if you're a frequent traveler ... (See Lounges)

Award charts are key when considering hotel cards -- Just because it's easy to rack up points on a hotel card doesn't mean you'll become a resort regular for free. If the points are worthless, you may be better off with a different card ... (See Hotel rewards)

As airlines merge, frequent flier miles decline in value -- As American Airlines and US Airways begin to merge, travelers are bracing for a new frequent flier program that would raise the number of miles needed for a free ticket, mirroring changes from other companies in the travel industry ... (See Stingier rewards)

Lending to friends and family: Your 4-step guide -- Lending to people you know can be fraught with risk. If you're going to do it, follow this 4-step guide to check expectations and improve your chances of success ... (See Family loans)

Sample promissory note for loans to family, friends -- If you're lending to a relative or friend, you'll want to craft a written agreement. This free sample promissory note spells out how and when you are to be paid, and what happens if the borrower doesn't repay the loan ... (See Sample promissory loan note)

The high cost of credit card cash advances -- Using your credit card to draw cash at an ATM or writing one of those handy checks that comes in your monthly statement can cost you plenty, an exclusive survey shows ... (See Cash advances)

A quick guide to credit card cash advances: No! Don't! -- In an emergency, when you have no other options, then maybe ? maybe ? taking a cash advance from your credit card makes sense. Otherwise, no. And by that, we mean, NO! ... (See Cash advance guide)

Regretting your recent cash advance? You're not alone -- More than half of those who have taken a cash advance on a credit card say they have regretted that decision, according to a new poll ... (See Cash advance poll)

Keeping up with ever-shorter rewards promos -- For consumers, the rise of deals and bonuses that last for as little as one day can mean even more ways to save money or accumulate credit card rewards. But the trend also means cardholders have to pay closer attention ... (See Rewards deals)

Banks soften due dates, offer help to furloughed federal workers -- Banks are offering special help for victims of a man-made disaster -- the federal government shutdown that has furloughed federal workers and forced them into economic hardship ... (See Furlough)

Move over cash: Mobile payments go small -- New services promise to make using your phone for small and casual transactions more convenient and secure. The dream: transferring money to your friends will be as easy and quick as sending an email or text message ... (See Mobile payments)

Broke at Big U? Short-term college loans may help -- Many colleges offer loans up to $1,000 at little or no interest. For students short on cash while they wait for financial aid, the loans can be a life saver ... (See College cash)

DOMA ruling cuts both ways financially -- The Supreme Court's ruling may spur same-sex couples toward marriage, but the financial consequences of such unions aren't all favorable ... (See DOMA and dollars)

How to teach your son about money -- While financial literacy for women and girls has gotten a lot of attention in recent years, boys have their own issues. Here are some tips for teaching your son about credit and finance ... (See Money lessons)

Nontraditional borrowing alternatives to online P2P loans -- Peer-to-peer lending works for people with solid credit, but if you have a history of late payments, there are other creative alternatives to credit card loans ... (See Creative, nontraditional loan choices)

Proposed rule could help kids replace stolen Social Security numbers -- The Social Security Administration is considering easing the process for replacing stolen SSNs for children 13 and younger, who are increasingly targeted by identity thieves ... (See New SSNs for kids)

$45 million heist shows vulnerability of prepaid cards -- Prepaid debit cards are quickly growing in popularity among consumers, but the global conspiracy that stole $45 million from two Middle Eastern banks shows that they?re also attracting attention from another element: criminals ... (See Heist)

CFPB changes stay-at-home spouse rule -- The federal government's consumer agency has finalized a rule change to make it easier for nonworking, stay-at-home spouses to get their own credit cards ... (See Stay-at-home spouses)

Tax refund theft surges in FTC's list of consumer complaints -- A surge in tax refund ripoffs solidified identity theft as the top consumer complaint in the Federal Trade Commission's annual list ... (See Tax refund theft)

American, US Airways merger could launch credit card battle -- While American Airlines and US Airways struck notes of love and harmony when announcing their merger, the union could set up a battle between two major banks over who can offer credit cards to customers of the world?s largest airline ... (See Airline merger rewards fallout)

Sock rewards into retirement or college savings with investment cards -- Several rewards programs help you save for the future. Investment rewards can be deposited directly into retirement or college savings funds ... (See Investment rewards)

Disasters bring out charity scams -- Every disaster will bring in its wake tugs at your heartstrings and appeals for your generosity. History says some of them will be bogus ... (See Scams)

Intense Facebook use goes with higher credit card debt -- Those who frequently used Facebook to socialize with close friends tend to have higher debt, lower credit scores, says new research ... (See Facebook use = more debt)

Consumer board (CFPB) begins federal supervision of debt collectors -- Under a final rule issued Wednesday, the federal consumer watchdog will routinely inspect the operations of the 175 biggest debt collectors beginning Jan. 2, 2013 ... (See Debt collectors)

Feds soften rules to let stay-at-home parents qualify for credit cards -- A rule intended to keep credit cards out of the hands of irresponsible youths had also prevented stay-at-home parents from getting them ... (See Stay at home moms)

Highest credit scores in Wisconsin, study says -- It seems the Midwest stayed strong during the economic downturn, but the credit scores of folks in the South leave something to be desired ... (See Credit scores by area)

Despite chipless iPhone 5, smartphones morphing into payment devices -- The hot new iPhone doesn't have a chip in it to allow payments, but experts still expect we'll soon pay with the same gadgets we yak with ... (See Smartphones as payment devices)

After much scrutiny, banks pull back on credit protection plans -- Credit protection plans, lucrative add-ons for credit card companies but panned by critics for their dubious value, are on their way out, a survey of major card issuers shows ... (See Credit protection plans pulled)

Supreme Court case could chill debt collection lawsuits -- In a case before the Supreme Court, consumer agencies argue debtors shouldn't have to pay costs of suing debt collectors ... (See Supreme Court debt collection case)

Congress probes whether data brokers invade consumers' privacy -- Congress and regulators are taking a look at data brokers and the privacy concerns raised by the huge volumes of consumer data they amass in the shadows ... (See Data brokers)

Settlement lets retailers surcharge for credit card use; will they? -- Multibillion 'swipe fee' case tilts balance of power from card issuers to merchants, but whether consumers will benefit is unclear ... (See Credit card surcharges OK'd)

A minute detail: The time of day your credit card bill is due can vary -- Legal changes prevented issuers from playing games with credit card due dates. But the time of day can vary -- and minutes matter to those with online, just-in-time payment habits ... (See Credit card bills)

Credit card bonuses playing hard to get -- Credit card sign-up gift bonuses, once dangled freely, are becoming harder to qualify for as issuers set up hurdles designed to discourage hit-and-run customers ... (See Card bonuses harder to get)

Student loan debt: the next time bomb? -- Today's college graduates are hitting the job market with more debt and fewer prospects, setting up the prospect of another delinquency disaster ... (See Student loan debt)

Why mortgage rates are so low while credit card rates are so high -- Mortgage rates are near all-time lows while credit card rates are near all-time highs, and the gap between the two is wider than ever. What gives? ... (See Interest rates)

Cash-back credit cards survey: More generous, but more complicated -- A survey finds that the days of low, flat rewards are ending, but consumers need to closely watch their more-complicated cards ... (See 2012 cash-back credit cards survey)

Bankrupt American Airlines says your frequent flier miles are safe -- In a move to retain its most loyal customers, American assures customers their AAdvantage rewards miles are 'yours and will remain yours' as the airline goes through Chapter 11 bankruptcy ... (See American frequent flier miles)

Buying online via credit card? FTC proposes quicker refunds -- Rules written before the Internet existed are due for an update, the agency says, including a change that will get credit card users faster refunds for merchandise ... (See Quicker credit card refunds)

Flurry of credit cards for affluent people, small businesses launched -- The well-to-do and those who charge a lot are still coveted by card issuers, who offer competing lures of boosted rewards, other goodies ... (See Credit card rewards)

Mint bans $1 coin trick that let rewards credit card holders rack up big points -- A favorite frequent flier points-building scheme -- buying coins from the Mint on credit cards, returning the metal but pocketing rewards, is no longer allowed ... (See U.S. Mint)

Airline, hotel credit cards offering sign-up bonus for adding authorized users -- Adding an authorized user can put you over the top for that free flight, but experts advise caution -- it dings your credit and exposes you to financial risk ... (See Authorized user)

With all the airline fees, can you afford that 'free' flight? -- At last, you've earned enough frequent flier rewards for a free trip to your dream spot. But with all the fees, 'free' isn't what it used to be ... (See "Free" flight fees)

Banks cut, cancel their debit rewards programs -- With banks cutting back or entirely scrapping their popular debit card rewards programs, what's a consumer to do? Here are your options ... (See Debit rewards)

Citi, AmEx launch pilot rewards card program: Two cards, one account, one statement -- Trying to lure back customers in a post-recession, post-reform world, card issuers are testing programs that offer more flexible rewards ... (See Two cards, one account)

Cookies and credit: Card issuers watch how you shop for credit cards, customize offers -- Shopping online for a credit card? Some issuers have begun to use high-tech marketing techniques to vary their offers based on what they think they know about you from your online behavior ... (See Card issuers' online techniques)

Airline cards for frequent flier cards remain popular, despite CARD Act -- Predictions that the Credit CARD Act of 2009 would cause airline rewards to dry up have proven untrue ... (See Airline rewards cards)

How to keep track of all those rewards points -- The idea of earning free stuff is so alluring that many consumers now have too many reward programs to keep tabs on ... (See Rewards points trackers)

8 ways to maximize your credit card rewards points -- Once you've gone to the trouble of earning all those bonus points, spend them wisely. Here are eight tips from experts on getting the most from your rewards ... (See Credit card rewards)

Debit card rewards offers grow in diversity, not so much in generosity -- Though their rewards remain meager compared those of credit cards, debit rewards grow in popularity, type ... (See Debit rewards)

6 ways to choose the right debit card rewards program -- As rewards programs associated with debit cards have grown and flourished, so has their complexity. These tips will help you find and manage the right one for you ... (See Debit card rewards)

DIY, credit card style: Issuers roll out 'do it yourself' cards -- More companies are rolling out tools on the Internet that give consumers greater control over the features of their cards ... (See DIY cards)

Avoiding new rules, 'free' credit report sites switch to offering 'free' scores -- On the eve of new rules sharply restricting offers of 'free' credit reports, companies switch to offering 'free' credit scores ... (See Free credit report)

FTC issues new rules for those that offer (NOT) free credit reports -- The Federal Trade Commission issues new rules forcing those offering not-really-free credit reports to disclose that they're not really free. ... (See Free? Well, not so much)

What's NOT covered by the credit card reform law -- The sweeping credit card reform act's regulations omit several types of cards and many practices consumer groups find objectionable. ... (See Untouched)

Frequent flier cards evolve, become trickier; tips to maximize rewards -- For consumers willing to weigh the costs and advantages of so many different reward programs, the changes can be a real boon. But there?s also no denying that deciphering reward programs is becoming more complicated. ... (See Frequent flier cards)

Are elite credit cards worth it? -- If your credit rating is outstanding, you earn big and spend big, you could win an elite credit card, which provides premium benefits -- at extreme cost ... (See Elite credit cards)

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Updated: 06-27-2019