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 Get to the Points

Why carrying a balance on rewards cards is not a good idea -- Paying interest dilutes your rewards, so if you must carry a balance, find a low- or no-interest card and forgo those points and miles. ... (See Carrying a balance)

Why airline 'mileage millionaires' love gift cards -- Some frequent-flyer-mile fanatics run through more retailer, Visa and MasterCard gift cards than you can imagine using techniques that are totally legal, but probably still eyebrow-raising ... (See Gift cards)

Strategies for spouses doubling up on rewards cards -- There are times when a couple can really rack up the points if both apply for the same card, but it does take some additional strategy to play your collective cards right. ... (See Rewards card strategies for spouses)

Tips for booking holiday flights using airline miles -- The good news is you can easily fly home for the holidays without big out-of-pocket costs if you put your airline miles and credit card points to good use. ... (See Tips for booking holiday flights using airline miles)

Use miles, points for last-minute Northeast fall foliage trip -- If you know how to work your miles and points, you can actually still make a last-minute trip Northeast to check out the fall foliage. ... (See Fall foliage trip)

Scare up rewards miles, cash back on Halloween expenses -- Halloween is a perfect time to hone in on your miles and points-earning strategies ... (See Get to the Points)

Tips for football fans on maximizing hotel rewards points -- Avoid seasonal price hikes by cashing in hotel rewards for free stays ... (See Football and hotel points)

Extend your summer for last-minute beach trip on points -- Now that summer's peak season has passed, hotels and airfare deals abound ... (See Beach)

When it makes sense to charge kids' school, day care costs -- If a fee is assessing for using plastic, it's often better to find another way to pay ... (See Kids)

Ways to rack up points for last-minute, back-to-school shopping -- Offset school supply buys using airline shopping portals and more tips ... (See School)

Learn how to maximize card rewards for family fun, saving -- Family rewards expert Summer Hull recounts her free family summer fun ... (See Family)