Cashing In Q&A columns

Each week, veteran journalist Tony Mecia answers questions from readers about rewards points -- getting them quickly and spending them wisely. Ask a question.

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 Cashing In Q&A columns

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)

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)

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)

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)

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?)

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)

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)

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)

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)

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)

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)

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)

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)

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)

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)

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)

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)

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)

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)

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)

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)

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)

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)

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)

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)

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)

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)

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)

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)

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)

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)

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)

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)

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)

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)

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)

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)

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)

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)

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)

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)

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)

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)

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)

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)

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)

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)

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 )

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)

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)

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)

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)

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)

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)

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)

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)

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)

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)

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)

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 )

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)

Retail card survey 2014: APRs higher, rewards complicated -- The cost of borrowing from your favorite retailer has gone up: The average APR on the credit cards from America's largest retailers has climbed more than 2 percentage points to 23.23 percent, according a new survey. ... (See 2014 retail card survey)

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)

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)

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)

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)

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)

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)

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)

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)

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)

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)

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)

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)

Use a different card, but keep priority boarding privilege -- You have to request cardholder status when your boarding pass is issued in order to qualify for priority boarding privileges ... (See Boarding)

Defaulting on card may cost you your AmEx points -- If you have more than just a missed payment or two, American Express gives itself the right to cancel your account ?for any reason.? If it cancels your account, you forfeit all of your points ... (See AmEx points)

Credit card perks can save you cash this Christmas -- From special rewards rates to price protection programs, a number of credit card perks can smooth your holiday shopping ... (See Holiday perks)

Earning rewards for telecom purchases -- AT&T offers two rewards cards that earn savings on your phone or Internet bill. But other rewards cards may offer a better deal ... (See Telecom rewards)

Cheap ways to renew soon-to-expire BA Avios points -- If you're not flying with British Airways anytime soon, you can still avoid losing your miles with the help of one of your rewards credit cards ... (See Renew points)

Do chip-and-PIN cards work in the US? -- A chip card issued in the U.S. will work here because point-of-sale terminals will read the mag stripe and ignore the embedded microchip. The same is true of cards issued overseas -- unless the issuer ignores the mag stripe, which is happening more often ... (See EMV in USA)

How do I redeem miles on alliance partner airlines? -- In most cases, you can book your flight in the same way you would a flight on the airline that holds your award miles. There may be some exceptions, though ... (See Miles)

Can you claim frequent flier miles after death of a parent? -- Airline policies on the transfer of miles after a death are often restrictive, but it's always worth calling and asking. You've got the best chance if the deceased left the miles to you in a will ... (See Miles)

Do I need a chip card in Africa? -- It's a good idea to bring a chip card if you're traveling to Africa, especially if you plan to travel between regions. Adoption rate of EMV technology throughout Africa was 77 percent by the end of 2012 and continues to expand ... (See Chip card)

Which credit cards are best for expedited airport security screening? -- If you travel internationally a lot, you might consider one of the premium credit cards that offer to refund your application fee for Global Entry, the U.S. Customs program allowing expedited entry into the U.S. ... (See Global Entry)

4 free, underused card perks -- Free upgrades, refunds, companion tickets and museum admissions are just some of the card perks you may be missing out on ... (See Credit card perks)

Is an award flight taken for business tax-deductible? -- A flight taken for business purposes is covered under Section 162 of the IRS Code. But nowhere does it say that if you use frequent flier miles to pay for the flight you can deduct the expense -- which means you can't ... (See IRS)

What?s the best rewards card for parents with kids in school? -- If you have kids away at college you'll need a rewards card that can help pay for travel -- and everyday expenses. Several fit that bill, but you may have to pay an annual fee ... (See Parents)

Can I churn my Hilton credit cards for more sign-up bonuses? -- American Express and Citi credit cards that earn Hilton HHonors points are churnable -- meaning you can cancel them and later reapply to get a new sign-up bonus. But you need to know a few things first ... (See Churning)

What's the better hotel credit card -- Hyatt or Marriott? -- Choosing the best hotel card is a matter of weighing each card's perks against your travel needs, as evaluating the pros and cons of each is an apples-to-oranges comparison ... (See Hotel cards)

The best card for a long stay in Vietnam? -- A rewards card that doesn't charge foreign transaction fees and is widely accepted is the best bet for a three-month trip to Vietnam. Prepaid travel cards are an option, too ... (See Vietnam)

How does the Southwest Rapid Rewards card stack up? -- Domestic airline Southwest is often overlooked by rewards-chasers because you generally get more bang for your mile with international flights. But if you're primarily interested in U.S. flights, the Rapid Rewards card is worth a look ... (See Southwest Rapid Rewards)

Booking via travel website may affect reward miles, perks -- If you use a co-branded card to buy tickets through a third-party aggregator such as Travelocity or Orbitz, you may give up bonus miles offered for booking direct. But with a little work, you should be able to claim most of the perks ... (See Online agents)

How do I get rid of my dormant AmEx Green card without hurting my score? -- If you drop an inactive credit card to save on annual fees, should you ask for a credit limit increase on other cards to mitigate damage to your credit score? ... (See Rewards shuffle)

Groceries bought at Walmart, Costco don't earn extra rewards -- Generally, processors do not count big-box stores (Target and Wal-Mart) or warehouse clubs (Costco) as grocery stores. If you do the bulk of your stocking up with those retailers, you'd be better off with a rewards card co-branded with one of them ... (See Rewards)

Have job, will travel, need points: Best bets for hotel rewards cards -- Marriott Rewards consistently wins travelers' awards for best hotel rewards in the Americas, but there are other cards to also consider if you'll be traveling a lot for business ... (See Hotel rewards)

What are the best debit cards for ATM withdrawals overseas? -- ATM fees overseas may come from the bank issuing the card, from the ATM itself, or from card networks like Visa and MasterCard. A few debit cards rise to the top when it comes to keeping these fees in check ... (See ATM fees)

When bankruptcy freezes an airline credit card, what happens to the miles? -- If a rewards card is frozen during bankruptcy, you may still have access to most of the points you've earned. It depends on whether the card is co-branded with a travel partner ... (See Salvaging miles)

Credit card churning: not a game to play while house-hunting -- "Churning" -- taking on new credit cards to get sign-up bonuses and then canceling the cards -- will ding your credit score. The hit is usually minor but it's not a smart idea if you're thinking of buying a house soon ... (See Card churning caution)

New card options let travelers avoid foreign transaction fees -- Most U.S. credit card issuers tack a fee of up to 3 percent onto purchases made overseas. Those fees can really add up but there are some new ways to avoid them ... (See Fee-free cards)

How to earn more travel rewards without getting a new card -- The fastest way to rack up credit card rewards is through sign-up bonuses. If you don't want a new card, there are still ways to boost your earning potential ... (See Maximize rewards)

If my oldest card's rewards aren't paying off, should I cancel? -- It's usually not worth shelling out for an annual fee if a card's rewards don't at least pay for it. But if that card happens to be your oldest one, will canceling the card hurt your credit score? ... (See Oldest card)

What?s the best low-hassle cash-back card? -- If you travel a lot by car, airline reward cards won't do you much good. You'll be better off with cash-back cards that offer rewards in driver-friendly categories ... (See Cash back)

Can I get more rewards by using my hotel's app? -- Hotel chains are creating smartphone apps that allow you to reserve rooms, find info and maybe even earn triple points -- all on the go ... (See Hotel apps)

How can I upgrade to a chip card before a trip to Europe? -- Customer service tells a traveler he won't need a smart-chip card in Europe. But many kiosks won't accept cards without them. There are a couple of avenues left to pursue to get an upgrade without having to apply for a whole new card ... (See Chip-and-PIN cards)

Are miles earned on my employer's credit mine, and are they taxable? -- A frequent flier wonders if miles earned on her organization's card are hers. And if so, how does the IRS treat them? ... (See Who owns company miles?)

AirTran, Hilton HHonors cards change; how it affects you -- An airline merger and reshuffle of Hilton's loyalty program bring changes for frequent travelers. If you have credit cards that earn rewards for those programs, here's what to expect ... (See AirTran, Hilton changes)

Canceling card, reapplying won't earn multiple sign-up bonuses -- Canceled your credit card and reapplied, hoping for a second sign-up bonus? You may be out of luck. It's not so easy to churn cards for rewards anymore ... (See Bonus churning)

Without my American Airlines credit card, how do I keep my miles from expiring? -- Most airlines require you to use (or lose) your miles now and then. But you don't have to take a flight to keep them from expiring ... (See Keeping miles active)

Is there any easy way to track points and miles? -- Third-party websites and apps are the way to go if you're looking to manage multiple rewards programs more easily. AwardWallet is one of the best tools around -- but it has a major limitation ... (See Wrangling points)

Best business credit cards in the $100 fee tier -- If you want more business card rewards than a free card, but balk at a massive annual fee, consider these mid-tier choices. Their sign-up bonuses and ongoing rewards help defray the costs ... (See Milking rewards)

How will the airline merger affect my US Airways miles? -- It's too early to know exactly how the merger will play out. But there are a number of changes you can anticipate and steps you can take to maximize your mileage ... (See Mileage lift)

Best reward cards to win top priority for early boarding -- Most airline rewards cards list 'priority boarding' as a perk, but that may not mean what you think. You'll get aboard before the hordes, but after premium seat holders and elite cardholders ... (See Priority boarding)

Travel rewards vs. cash back pits aspirations against practicality -- Cash-back rewards can be used to pay down debts, buy plane tickets, or any number of other things. But there is an aspirational value to travel rewards ... (See Choosing rewards)

How to boost rewards for Valentine's Day gifts -- If you play your credit cards right, you can score points from your honey and for yourself by using a rewards card running a Valentine's Day promotion ... (See Sweetheart deals)

Churning cards for multiple sign-up bonuses -- Canceling cards and signing up for them again to maximize bonus points is a practice known as "churning." Some banks make that easier than others ... (See Rewards churning)

Delta's revenue-based elite status system adds AmEx incentive -- Delta's rewards system adds spending requirements for elite status in 2014. But Delta AmEx holders may have a workaround ... (See Skymiles changes)

How to get elite status at hotels quicker -- This is an excellent time to get into a hotel loyalty program with a rewards credit card: Their seasonal promotions can help you achieve 'elite' status faster ... (See Elite status)

American Airlines cardholders lose elite boarding perk, gain opportunity to pay for others -- Citi AAdvantage cardholders will no longer get to board American Airlines flights with elite passengers, but they're still at the front of the Economy queue ... (See AAdvantage rewards)

Best card for small business gas rewards -- For small businesses that guzzle gas, it pays to look for the right credit card. The best rewards come from programs that aren't tied to one gas station. ... (See Best gas rewards)

Upgrading your account for higher rewards can pay off -- Upgrading from the Chase Southwest Visa Plus card to the Southwest Visa Premier gets you a better reward deal. But if the bank treats it like a new account, your credit score could take a hit ... (See Upgrading for rewards)

Airline exclusions - aka No, you can't earn rewards on a free rewards flight -- Airlines' exclusions policies limit where you can use frequent flier miles, and that prevents you from earning extra miles while using your free ones ... (See Exclusions)

Which credit card will get me home for the holidays next year? -- Choose the right rewards card now to earn a free cross-country trip in a year. ... (See Travel for free)

NZ the EZ way: Flying to New Zealand using points, miles -- Earning enough points for a US-New Zealand flight takes patience, but some airline deals now can make it easier ... (See New Zealand deals)

When buying airline miles is worth the investment -- Buying airline miles usually doesn't pay off, but with some of the soon-to-expire deals, now could be a good time to top off your balance ... (See Buying miles)

Exchanging rewards points for miles is rarely a good deal -- Trading points for miles may get you a free trip faster. However, there are usually significant trade-offs -- unless you can find the right promotion for your points ... (See Swapping points for miles)

Best ways to 'top off' your frequent flier miles, earn enough points to fly free -- Want to head home for the holidays but short a few points for a free flight? Here's how to top off your frequent flier account with enough air miles to go ... (See Top off )

Basic frequent flier perks shrinking as airlines push top-tier programs -- Airlines are now more interested in luring us to second-level elite status (50,000 EQMs), so they're taking some goodies away from base-level elite members ... (See Frequent flier perks)

Cheap ways to keep frequent flier miles active -- Spending a $1.29 per song at the iTunes store is one cheap way to keep your miles active. There are plenty of others ... (See Keeping miles active)

Generic miles card vs. airline-specific rewards: Know when to use each -- Either a generic rewards card or an airline specific card could be best, depending on your schedule, the flight and its cost ... (See Airline rewards)

Find the best credit cards to get flights to Peru -- When searching for the best reward card bonuses to rack up free miles to faraway lands, you need to do a little research before you apply ... (See Airline rewards programs)

Ooh, leftover business air miles. Can I use them? -- A CFO with a company credit card finds that his predecessor left a bunch of unused accrued rewards. Can the new guy eat the leftovers? ... (See Leftover rewards miles)

Best ways to find good deals on frequent flier flights -- What's your best bet for arranging reward travel? Skip the travel agent and go searching yourself ... (See Frequent flier)

Chip cards necessary for charging overseas? -- With magnetic-stripe credit cards being phased out in Europe, how necessary is it for Americans to get the new chip-and-PIN variety while traveling? ... (See Chip cards overseas?)

Bequeathing frequent flier miles in your will - Cathleen McCarthy -- When your time is up, you can't take your frequent flier miles with you, but you may be able to bequeath them to friends and relations ... (See Bequeath your miles)

Redeem reward miles for in-flight meals and entertainment? McCarthy -- Some travelers would rather fly more comfortably than more often. Can they use accumulated miles for in-flight expenses such as food, movies and drinks? ... (See Miles as in-flight cash)

Getting the card with the most travel perks for employees - McCarthy -- Reward your employees with a small business credit card that rewards them with quality travel perks ... (See Card perks for employees)

Credit card rewards that don't require points or miles -- The talk of credit card rewards is all miles and points, but what other perks exist to entice you to one card over another? ... (See Credit card perks)

Occasional traveler? Hoard your credit card rewards for international flight -- If you take just a handful of flights a year, it could take years to get enough frequent flier miles to redeem for a domestic flight, so consider holding out for international travel ... (See International flight reward)

Why don't miles show up on my credit card statement? Cathleen McCarthy -- Purchases made with an airline credit card can get you reward miles, often at one mile per dollar spent, but why can't you see an up-to-date tally on your credit card bill? ... (See Where are my air miles?)

Use Worldpoints to buy Walmart gift cards? Cathleen McCarthy -- One reader wants to use her card's points on Walmart gift cards, but depending on the point total, cash back may be the way to go. ... (See Worldpoints redemption)

Airlines charging family-unfriendly fee for aisle, window seats - Cathleen McCarthy -- If you want to fly next to your young children, get ready to be zapped by airlines with fees for window and aisle seats ... (See Airline seat fees)

Can transferring miles between two cards get you more miles? Cathleen McCarthy -- Some credit card companies allow you to transfer accrued airline miles from one of their cards to another for bonus miles. Does yours? ... (See Transferring flier miles)

Cathleen McCarthy: The battle of generic versus frequent flier miles -- A primer on how both generic credit cards and airline-specific cards offer and redeem travel miles -- and which is best for you. ... (See Generic vs. frequent flier miles)

Cathleen McCarthy: Wide body traveler seeks credit card for first-class seat -- A horizontally blessed traveler wonders which frequent flier credit card would give him the best deal on upgrading to the larger, first-class seats ... (See Frequent flier miles)

Cathleen McCarthy: Trading in unused credit card rewards -- Scout around before you cancel a rewards credit card that doesn't suit you now. Your deal may get sweeter and third-party websites offer another option ... (See Unused credit card rewards)

Consumers traveling this summer plan to use rewards, survey says -- Summer is the time to get away for a little while, and according to a survey, consumers are cashing in on those credit card rewards to do so ... (See Vacationers using reward points)

Keep things simple with a cash back credit card -- Want an uncomplicated, easy-to-use rewards card? Instead of killing yourself keeping track of rotating rewards programs, try a simple cash-back card ... (See Cash-back credit cards)

Cathleen McCarthy: How to get points for small town hotel stays -- If your job takes you to small-town America, you can still find a rewards credit card that gives you big points for frequent motel stays ... (See Earning small-town hotel rewards)

Cathleen McCarthy: Is trading credit card reward points for product a good deal? -- Keeping up with rotating rewards points programs takes time and energy, so is buying stuff with your points instead a better option? ... (See Cashing in rewards points)

Cathleen McCarthy: Are business card flier miles taxable? -- When cashing in on miles acquired through business card use for personal travel, is there any risk of having to pay taxes on those miles? ... (See Frequent flier miles)

Credit score impact of pumping and dumping rewards cards -- Applying for big bonus rewards cards, racking up points and then canceling the card requires a credit score and a lot of discipline ... (See Rewards credit cards)

Cathleen McCarthy: Is airport lounge access a true credit card perk? -- A newbie business traveler questions the value of airport lounge access if she decides to apply for a new frequent flier credit card ... (See Airport lounges)

Cathleen McCarthy: Transfer miles or buy outright to gift flights? -- Want to present a special someone with the gift of free airfare? What a sweet idea -- but watch out for those fees! Find out the best ways to cash in your extra miles before you act ... (See The gift of flight)

Cathleen McCarthy: Do you lose rewards on returned purchases? -- You racked up a boatload of points on that new TV, but now you're having second thoughts? Be prepared for bad news ... (See Points and returned purchases)

Cathleen McCarthy: Want a rewards card with an annual fee? Run the numbers first -- If you're wondering whether it's a good move to pay the annual fee with that new rewards credit card, a little bit of math can help clear things up ... (See Annual fee)

Cathleen McCarthy: Who owns frequent flier miles from a corporate credit card? -- The company pays, and an employee flies, but who gets the miles for that flight? It turns out that neither party will end up empty-handed ... (See Corporate cards and frequent flier miles)

Cathleen McCarthy: Which rewards card is the best for travel upgrades? -- Looking to pay for travel upgrades with rewards points? We'll lay out some of your best options ... (See Rewards upgrades)

Cathleen McCarthy: How to steer clear of frequent flier blackout dates -- Blackout dates drive many frequent fliers mad, and they can vary between airlines. These tips will help you navigate around these restrictions and fly away ... (See Rewards blackout dates)

Cathleen McCarthy: How to maximize the value of your rewards card -- Can't decide on which rewards card to get? The most important thing to do, our expert says, is make sure the card is a good match for your spending habits ... (See Maximizing card rewards)

Cathleen McCarthy: What to consider before canceling your airline miles card -- Before you cancel your airlines miles credit card in a frustrated huff, stop, take a deep breath, and consider the impact on your credit ... (See Canceling rewards cards)

Cathleen McCarthy: Want elite miles from your card? Be sure to shop around -- Most credit cards won't help you get elite status with an airline, but there are some that do. Our expert helps a reader in search of the card that's best for him ... (See Credit card elite miles)

Cathleen McCarthy: If you close a card, you often lose your points immediately -- Closing a credit card? In most cases, you should you use up all your points or miles before you close the card. Otherwise, your hard-earned rewards will vanish before you can enjoy them ... (See Canceling rewards cards)

Cathleen McCarthy: What to consider before applying for a cash back credit card -- One percent cash back for buying this, 5 percent back if you buy that -- how do you figure out which of the many cash back cards out there is the one that's right for you? ... (See Cash back credit card)

Cathleen McCarthy: Airlines offer better elite frequent flier deals -- Airlines may have made it easier for people get miles without ever setting foot in an airport. However, those who earned the miles the old-fashioned way get special perks ... (See Elite frequent flier status)

Cathleen McCarthy: Rewards card holders' biggest mistake? Not using their miles -- Sure, rewards programs can be complex and confusing. However, the biggest mistake rewards cardholders make is one that's amazingly simple ... (See Rewards mistakes)

Cathleen McCarthy: How to maximize your 'mileage run' to elite flier status -- Panicking because you're just short of getting elite status on your favorite airline? There are ways to get there without breaking the bank ... (See Mileage run)

Cathleen McCarthy: Credit card rewards options abound for sports junkies -- From the NFL to the PGA, credit card companies offer rewards card to suit most every sports fan. Our expert lays out some of the best options ... (See Sports rewards)

Cathleen McCarthy: 5 easy ways to get more credit card rewards points or miles -- Issuers offer countless ways for miles-hungry customers to get their fix. Here are some of the easiest methods for getting all the miles or points you desire ... (See Get more miles)

Cathleen McCarthy: Changing airline cards shouldn't cost you your miles -- Transferring the balance from one airline's credit card to another airline's card won't impact the miles that you've already earned ... (See Changing airline cards)

Cathleen McCarthy: Are rewards card sign-up bonuses just for new customers? -- A Chase cardholder wants to upgrade his old card for a new Chase card with a great sign-up bonus. Our expert says he might lose his old card's points in the process ... (See Rewards card sign-up bonus)

Cathleen McCarthy: Be mindful of your card's hassle-to-rewards ratio -- Is your rewards card more hassle than it's worth? Our expert lays out how you can figure that out for yourself ... (See Are rewards cards worth it?)

Cathleen McCarthy: Authorized users can't access rewards without special permission -- If you're an authorized user on someone's credit card, the only way you can access the rewards points for the purchases you've made is if the primary account holder gives you special access ... (See Authorized users and rewards)

Cathleen McCarthy: What to consider before getting a hotel credit card -- If you travel a lot and you've got all the airline miles you need, getting a hotel credit card could be wise, our expert says. Here's what you need to know before you pick one ... (See Hotel credit cards)

Cathleen McCarthy Q&A: Short a few air miles? Negotiating won't work, but there are options -- Our expert says don't expect to talk your way into paying 25,000 miles for a 35,000-mile seat. However, if you're flexible and willing to do some homework, you should be able to find a deal ... (See Negotiating frequent flier miles)

Consider your credit when pursuing card sign-up bonuses -- Rewards card sign-up bonuses are a great way to build up more and more miles. However, if you overdo it, it can hurt your credit. Our expert tells how ... (See Sign-up bonuses)

Cathleen McCarthy: Sharing or selling airline miles can be risky, pricey -- Giving your miles away may be noble, and selling your miles may sound wise, but it's important to know that neither move is free of risk and cost. Our expert lays out the details ... (See Selling, sharing frequent flier miles)

Cathleen McCarthy: Frequent flier? Opt for airline card over cash back -- Our expert says that if you fly regularly, you're better off with a miles card than with cash back -- especially if you're loyal to one airline ... (See Miles or cash back?)

Cathleen McCarthy: Bankruptcy and frequent flier air miles - are they an asset, or protected? -- With 300,000 miles and $60,000 in debt, a reader fears his air miles might be seized if he files for bankruptcy. Our expert says his concerns are justified ... (See Bankruptcy and frequent flier miles)

Cathleen McCarthy: Too sick to use ticket bought with frequent flier miles? You have options -- If an illness is likely to keep you from using your award ticket, don't panic. Our expert lays out what you can do to ensure you don't lose those miles ... (See Canceling award tickets)

Cathleen McCarthy: How do generic miles stack up against airline rewards? -- Our expert breaks down the differences between airline-specific miles and generic miles rewards, from how they're earned to how they're redeemed and beyond ... (See Generic miles vs. airline miles)

Cathleen McCarthy: Cashing in miles? Make sure it's worth it -- Be sure you're getting the most bang for your frequent flier miles when you redeem them. Our expert shows you how to do the math ... (See Cashing in flier miles)

Want to be elite? Know that all miles aren't created equal -- Miles earned by spending on an airline credit card can get you free flights and more, but they likely won't get you elite status with the airline ... (See Elite qualifying miles)

How high is too high for a rewards card's annual fee? -- When determining whether a rewards card's annual fee is too high, the most important thing is to know thyself -- or rather, thine travel habits ... (See Compare rewards cards' annual fees)

Cathleen McCarthy: Late credit card payments may cost you rewards points -- If you're late paying your credit card bill, you may end up losing some rewards points. But the good news is that they likely won't be gone forever ... (See Lost rewards points)

Cathleen McCarthy: Beware of opening, closing cards quickly to get rewards points -- Signing up for a bunch of new credit cards and getting all the sign-up bonus points may sound like a fast, easy way to a free flight. Your credit may pay a price, though ... (See Rewards points)

Cathleen McCarthy: Cash back or miles? Ask yourself these 6 questions first -- Cash back or miles? Cash is more straightforward and the better deal for most people. But if you travel frequently, miles can give you more bang for your spend ... (See Cash back or miles?)

Pitfalls of pumping, dumping sign-up bonus cards -- The "pump and dump" strategy of taking advantage of huge bonus sign-up reward points or miles can really mess with your credit if you're not smart ... (See Rewards)

Are your air miles at risk if you fall on hard times? -- A reader wonders what would happen to his miles if he closes his credit card account, settles with the card company or goes bankrupt. ... (See Miles)

Be wise when cashing in rewards points -- To reap the most out of credit card rewards programs, it's important to pay attention to which rewards give you more bang for the buck ... (See Points)

The greatest gift of all: free travel -- When offered someone else's frequent flier miles for travel, there are some rules of the road that you should follow. ... (See Free!)

Your rights when dealing with canceled flights -- When your flight is canceled, you might be surprised to find that the airlines aren't legally required to do much to accommodate you. ... (See Canceled)

Who owns the rewards on a company card? -- If you are given the option to pay for the AmEx rewards program membership, then most companies should cede ownership of those perks to you ... (See Rewards)

Finding rewards cards with local customer support -- When searching for a rewards credit card program, some consider outsourced, foreign customer support a huge detractor. ... (See Rewards)

Comparing value of cash back cards vs. rewards -- The value of credit card rewards programs are as different as their participants. Free travel may have more appeal than cash back or vice-versa. ... (See Cash)

Multi-airlines cards versus single-airline cards -- Both multi-arlines rewards cards and single-airline cards have pluses and minuses, and which is right for you depends on what kind of frequent flier you are. ... (See Perks)

Do you lose your miles when canceling a card? -- When canceling a frequent flier credit card, make sure you know how your miles are cached or you just might lose them. ... (See Cancel)

Determining value of rewards redemption -- While typically not the best value for your rewards points, redeeming for merchandise can be handy when real "money" is more important in your pocket than any amount of miles or point ... (See Merchandise vs. miles)

Canceled flight? Want your miles back? Good luck! -- A poor flight experience doesn't mean you can dispute the charges on your credit card and get your miles reimbursed. ... (See Miles)

Using frequent flier miles for tax-deductible business trip? Figure fair market value -- Using frequent flier miles for a tax-deductible business trip? Careful: There are two ways to determine their value. ... (See Miles)

Tricks and tips to keep frequent flier miles from expiring -- You don't have to book a ticket to keep your frequent flier miles from expiring -- you just have to shop. ... (See Expiration)

Tracking rewards program changes before they happen -- Credit card rewards programs change all the time, but if you keep on top of things and are flexible, you can cash in those miles or rewards before you lose them. ... (See Rewards)

How to find the best airline rewards bonus miles deal -- In the market for a new rewards card? Make sure you scour Google to make sure you get the best bonus miles deal out there. ... (See Free miles)

Debunking myths about frequent flier programs -- Even with flights being cut back, now is the time to redeem your frequent flier miles. Competition for once-rare seats has lessened and airlines have made it easier to comparison shop. ... (See Cashing in)

How the IRS treats frequent flier credit card rewards -- are they taxable income? -- When cashing in frequent flier miles, it's important to know whether the IRS considers them gifts or taxable income. ... (See IRS)

Online credit card applications: FAQ about and your card application -- If you're wondering whether it's safe or smart to apply for a credit card here at, it's both. Here are answers to frequently asked questions ... (more)