5 times you should call your bank about your card

Cashing In columnist Tony Mecia
Tony Mecia is a business journalist who writes for a number of trade and general-interest publications. He writes "Cashing In," a weekly column about credit card rewards programs, for CreditCards.com

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Question Dear Cashing In,
How do I redeem rewards online for my Citi Double Cash card?  – Donna

Answer Dear Donna,
You can manage the vast majority of your credit card rewards online. Typically, when you log in to your account with your bank, you can easily see how many reward points you have and redeem them.

In fact, you can usually do so much online to manage your points that it got me thinking: What can you not do online with rewards? When do you need to call and talk to a live person?

5 Reasons to call your bank

1. To book certain flights.

Usually, you can transfer points to an airline program and book online, or you can use your credit card issuer’s online travel portal to book a flight on points. But sometimes, those online options don’t include every possible reward flight you can book. For example, if you are using the Chase travel portal, you can book flights on Norwegian and Southwest, even though those airlines’ flights do not appear online. You have to call. The same goes for some frequent-flyer programs, which do not always list all possible flight combinations.

2. To change an award ticket.

Sometimes you can change award airline tickets online, but other times, it is not as easy to change as a ticket paid outright. You might have to call and talk to a live agent.

3. To cancel your card.

In some instances, you can cancel your card online, but usually, you have to call and talk to an agent. With rewards cards, the issuer will occasionally offer you incentives to hang onto the card, such as additional points or in some cases waiving the annual fee.

4. To avoid a late payment.

Sometimes, card companies cut off online payments by a certain time, like 5 p.m. But occasionally you can call and have the payment credited on the due date even if it is after the cutoff time. Remember that paying late often incurs fees and interest charges that cut into rewards, as well as knocks points off your credit score. You might also call to request a waiver of any late fee.

5. If there is some other problem with your account.

It sounds as though you may have encountered an issue trying to get your rewards.

Usually, you can go online to request a check or statement credit. With Citi Double Cash, you would log into your Citi account, select the card, click on “View/Redeem Cash Rewards,” click “Redeem,” then select whether you’d like a gift card, statement credit, check or direct deposit.

However, if that is not working properly, or if you do not see rewards you believe you have earned, you certainly should call Citi to straighten out the problem. 

Calling is an option that always is open to you if you prefer not to handle an issue online, though it will take a little longer.

See related: Redeeming rewards as a statement credit

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Updated: 01-21-2018