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When it comes to earning credit card rewards, there are tons of ways to maximize every dollar you spend. Taking advantage of credit card sign-up bonuses and registering for every promotion can be a fun challenge for some, while others may find it overwhelming.
If you’re in the latter group, you’ll be happy to know that you don’t have to spend a lot of time to earn a lot of points. In fact, you can put the majority of your point-earning activities on autopilot and still generate substantial rewards. Here are seven low-effort ways to earn more rewards with your credit card.
1. Get a credit card that offers elevated earnings
Credit card bonus categories are key to earning rewards beyond a welcome bonus. However, it takes some effort to track the various bonuses and remember to use the right card on different purchases. So if you want to earn rewards easily, just get a credit card that earns more than one point for every dollar you spend on all purchases.
Most of these types of cards don’t offer additional bonus categories, but the trade-off is simplicity. You’ll likely earn at least 1.5 points per dollar on all purchases and will never have to dig through your wallet to figure out which card will maximize a particular purchase. You can just use one card for all purchases and still earn substantial rewards, no matter where you’re spending money.
Here are some credit cards that get elevated earnings on all spending.
- The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express: Two points per dollar.
- Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card: Two Capital One miles per dollar.
- Capital One Venture X Card: Two miles per dollar.
- Chase Freedom Unlimited®: 5% back on travel booked through Chase, 3% cash back on dining and 1.5% cash back everywhere else. Cash back be converted to Ultimate Rewards points if you have another Ultimate Rewards-earning credit card.
- Citi® Double Cash Card: 2% cash back. Cash back can be converted to Citi ThankYou points if you have another ThankYou point-earning credit card.
2. Set all your bills to autopay via your credit card
Setting up autopay for your monthly bills is an easy way to earn more rewards. You can’t get out of expenses like utilities, cell phone bills and insurance premiums. Plus, these are likely factored into your monthly budget already. So why not set them to auto-pay with your favorite travel rewards card? That way, you rack up rewards every month without having to lift a finger.
3. Add an authorized user to your credit card
Adding an authorized user to your credit card allows you to increase the number of points you’re earning without taking on additional unnecessary spending. You can add a spouse, family member or trusted household member to your credit card and earn rewards on their purchases.
Adding an authorized user can be beneficial for both of you. Your authorized user can build their credit history while you earn extra rewards. Just remember that you’re liable for all charges made by your authorized users, so only give an authorized user card to someone you trust.
4. Pay taxes with your credit card
Tax season is just around the corner, presenting another low-effort way to earn rewards. You can pay your taxes with a credit card for a fee of 1.85%. This is a great way to meet large spending requirements at a reasonable cost.
Some credit cards even offer 0% interest promotional rates on purchases this time of year. So if you have a large tax bill, you can charge it to your rewards card, earn points and have nine to 12 months of interest-free time to pay it off.
5. Use dining rewards programs
Earning points and miles through a dining rewards program is straightforward. Virtually every major airline and hotel program has an affiliated dining rewards program. All you do is sign up for these programs, register your credit card and then use that card when you dine at participating restaurants. You’ll automatically earn up to eight points per dollar spent, in addition to the rewards from your credit card.
What’s great about these dining rewards programs is that they also offer new member bonuses. You can join all of these programs, but just keep in mind that since they’re part of the same network, you can’t register the same credit card with more than one dining rewards program at a time.
Here’s a look at the current list of hotel and airline dining rewards programs.
6. Earn rewards on Uber and Lyft rides
Ride-hailing apps like Lyft and Uber are commonplace for many urbanites. But beyond just earning credit card points on these rides, you can also earn bonus rewards when you link a participating travel partner to either of these services.
For instance, Marriott partners with Uber to award 3 Marriott Bonvoy points per dollar on all premium Uber rides. This includes Uber XL, Uber Black, Uber SUV and Uber Comfort rides. You can also earn six points per dollar when you order Uber Eats delivery to a Marriott hotel, and two points per dollar when you order food to another address. Just note that Uber Eats orders must be $25 or more to qualify, and you can only earn on rides and Uber Eats orders in the US.
Lyft has a broader selection of travel partners. You can earn points with the following programs on all of your Lyft rides, including shared rides. Just link your partner of choice on the “Rewards” tab on the Lyft app. The one major restriction is that you can only earn with a single partner at a time.
- Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan: Earn one mile per dollar.
- Bilt Rewards: Earn two points per dollar.
- Delta SkyMiles: Earn two SkyMiles per dollar on airport rides and one SkyMile per dollar on all other rides.
- Hilton Honors: Earn three points per dollar on private rides and two points per dollar on shared rides.
You don’t have to opt in to earn rewards before each ride. Just set it and forget it, and watch your points balance increase as you travel.
7. Shopping portals and apps
If you’re already shopping online, using an online shopping portal is fast, convenient and rewarding. Before you go to the website of your favorite retailer, simply visit a shopping portal first, click on the link to that merchant and you’ll earn extra points for every dollar you spend.
Most major airline loyalty programs have shopping portals offering bonus miles for little effort. Sometimes these shopping portals even offer additional bonuses for hitting certain spending thresholds. These offers usually come around during the holidays and back-to-school season, so be sure to opt-in for email notifications when joining so you don’t miss out on these deals.
Here are some of the more popular online shopping portals tied to airlines.
Finally, if you’re shopping in store instead of online, you can earn United miles through the MileagePlus X app. When shopping at a participating merchant, pull up the app at checkout and enter the exact amount of your purchase. The app will charge you and give you a gift card for that merchant in the amount due, which you then use to pay for your purchase. MileagePlus X offers a great way to earn an extra one to five miles per dollar spent in addition to your regular credit card rewards.
Find out which cards CNN Underscored chose as its best credit cards currently available.
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