Don’t lose your share of $48 billion in credit card rewards

by. Michele Lerner

Consumers with good or excellent credit often play the game of switching their loyalty from one card to another to accumulate airline miles, hotel room vouchers, gift cards or cash back, so that they can enjoy maximum rewards. At least that’s how it’s supposed to work.

But a recent study by CardHub shows that while credit card companies provide about $48 billion in rewards each year, about one-third of those rewards are never redeemed.

Some of the blame for leaving money on the table (or in the hands of credit card companies) lies with consumers who forget about the rewards points they’ve been earning. But the study also found that limitations set on redemption and the way points can be earned prevent cardholders from using credit card rewards programs to their maximum potential.

Credit Card Rewards Programs Compared

CardHub’s study compared rewards credit card offers from the 10 largest credit card issuers, reading the fine print on dozens of rewards programs, to see which ones were the easiest to use. Then it scored the credit card companies in several categories, such as:

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