When you use credit cards responsibly, it's always nice to get rewarded for your everyday spending. What you redeem your rewards for, however, depends on your needs, plans and even your values.
Here are four great ways to use your credit card rewards.
1. Donate them
Credit unions are dedicated to giving back to the communities they serve. They're also especially well-equipped to do so because they understand the unique needs of their members. In this spirit, Deseret First Credit Union established the Deseret First Charitable Foundation to provide missionaries for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints with tangible items as they prepare to serve.
While much of the Foundation's donated funds are in cash, there's a new way to donate without a single penny coming out of your pocket. With your Deseret First Credit Union VISA Platinum Rewards card, you can donate the points you earn with your regular purchases to the Foundation. Your donations will provide missionaries around the world with items like clothing, shoes and luggage.
2. Straight cash back
Getting cash back on your credit card is as straightforward as it gets. You can usually get it as a statement credit, a check or even have it deposited directly into your checking account. Cash back is always a solid choice because it gives you the most flexibility. It's especially beneficial if you don't have any particular plans for your rewards or you just want a little extra spending money.
Traveling can be expensive, especially if you have a large family. Credit card rewards can cut your costs quite a bit, depending on how much you have stored up. You can generally use rewards to get a discount or rebate on airfare, hotel stays and more. What's more, if you've hoarded enough points over time, you may be able to redeem them to cover some of the major travel expenses outright. This can help you focus on the vacation itself rather than how much it's costing.
4. Gift cardsComment on this story
Gift cards are often easy choices for reward redemption because they're versatile. You can generally choose from a large catalog of retailers so you can get a card you would actually use. For example, say a loved one's birthday is coming up and you're not sure what to get him. You can simply use your credit card rewards to order a gift card to his favorite store. It also works well if you want a night out with your spouse but can't afford to pay for dinner and a baby sitter. Just use your points to order a gift card to a local restaurant beforehand and you're set.
One thing to keep in mind
Credit cards can be easily mismanaged. While it's nice to earn rewards and use them to help yourself and others, it would be all for naught if you end up in debt. It's important to use your card responsibly by living on a budget and paying off the card on time and in full each month.
If you follow these tips, your rewards will truly be rewarding.