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Check Credit Card Rewards Bonuses Before Shopping

When it comes to credit cards, I like to keep things simple. I only have three credit cards and each one is used for a very specific purpose. One is for when we eat at restaurants, go to the movies, or purchase something on Amazon.com (Citi mtvU [3]). One is for everything else (American Express Costco TrueEarnings Card [4]). For those keeping score at home, my third card is a business credit card.

This makes purchases very simple since most of the time I grab my Costco AMEX and use that. When I shop online, I usually use the American Express card unless it’s Amazon.com and I don’t usually review my decision rubric all too often. It turns out, especially this holiday season, I probably should.

One of the new things that many credit card companies are offering is higher rewards when you shop at one of their partner stores online. Some credit card issuers have been doing it for years, offering extra points when you buy through their online portal, but only recently have they started juicing up the points they offer. It wasn’t uncommon for you to see double or triple points at some retailers but nowadays you can see double digit bonuses. For example, I recently learned that my Capital One card [5] gets much higher rewards over Black Friday (Nov 26-29) weekend when I shop at Omaha Steaks (18X) and Body Shop (16X). If you’re going to make an online purchase, check your cards’ rewards so you’re buying with the right one.

So the next time you go shopping online, check your credit card’s website to see if they’re offering a little “extra” to use their card or go through their website. It won’t be a big difference but every little bit counts.