Millennials, This Is Why You Need A Rewards Credit Card

Millennials, This Is Why You Need A Rewards Credit Card by millennial blogger the confused millennial


Today we are shifting gears and talking financial fitness, friends!

True story: During college orientation, my mom had me sign up for my first bank account and credit card! It was a basic “student” credit card with no fees, but also, no rewards.

While it was great building my credit during those years, it would’ve been even better if I was actually earning something for spending that paper!

I felt so overwhelmed by all of the different rewards programs that it took roughly 10 years before I decided to take the plunge and figure out which rewards program would suit my lifestyle best.

millennial blog, the confused millennial lifestyle

Shop this look (affiliate links): Similar Sneakers  |  Pants  |  Chambray Shirt  |  Similar Jacket  |  Tank Top  |  Sunnies

 

Before we jump into figuring out how to choose a rewards program that supports your lifestyle, I want to take a beat and tell you WHY it took me 10 years to make a change with my credit card…

You see, I am usually of the mentality “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!” and while I never had an issue with my credit, I never really thought about how I could use it to actually benefit my lifestyle and work for me. Which is what rewards programs do, they provide you some benefit so you aren’t just doling out your hard earned cash money to every Tom, Dick, & Harry!

I was TERRIFIED to apply for a new credit card! The very thought would lead to a chain reaction of anxious thoughts:

“How much will this hard inquiry hurt my credit score? What is a credit score? Do I even need my credit score right now?!? I can’t adult today.”

The reality, though? By not making the switch to a rewards card, I was leaving money on the table!

What do I mean by that? Well some rewards programs will literally give you cash back (which I was missing out on), others will give you travel points (so rather than spending the dollar bills earning interest in my accounts, I could’ve used those), and some will give you gift cards to your favorite stores (again leaving your cash money earning interest in your accounts!).

You see, finances shouldn’t be scary, they should be working for us, not against us, and one simple change to start making that a reality in your life is with a rewards card. Creditcards.com makes it really easy to find the card that will best match your lifestyle with their Cardmatch tool.

Creditcards.com believes in empowering people to make smart choices around their credit cards, which means using the right card for you in the right way. Their Cardmatch tool securely matches you with offers in less than 60 seconds without impacting your credit score in any way.

 

I spent 10 years hesitating to make the change to a rewards program because I felt overwhelmed by the sheer number of options out there. I wish I had found the Cardmatch tool sooner to help make the decision process a breeze and start having my finances work for me sooner.

Ultimately we decided to get the Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express. Since making the switch we’ve use this card for basically everything and earn points to enhance our travels with hotel upgrades, discounts on airfare and car rentals –> in other words, it helps me live an “insta-ready” life, without breaking the bank!

millennial lifestyle blog san francsico


Our card has also allowed us to leave our cash in interest barring accounts, while we spend the points instead, which leaves us feeling much more financially fit and like we are investing in our future.

[RELATED] How To Start Repairing Your Credit


Ready to meet your financial goals? Grab TCM’s checklist for saving on a budget!


I was selected for this opportunity as a member of CLEVER and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

You Might Also Like

  • Annie
    February 13, 2017 at 10:08 am

    This is very interesting. I definitely think that if you can be responsible, this is a great option for you! However, as a student, I had no idea what I was doing with a credit card and I got into a lot of credit card debt…whoops. I’ll be avoiding credit for a little whiles now, but when I return– I’ll look into a rewards card!

    • Rachel Ritlop
      February 14, 2017 at 12:04 pm

      Responsibility is definitely key! I just pay mine off every week, and since I’ve never used a debit card, I look at mine as a debit card and will only spend what I know I can pay off that day (not that I pay it every day though haha)

  • Heather Gullett Denniston
    February 13, 2017 at 10:10 am

    This is so handy. I am just getting ready to change cards. I will definitely use this tool! thank you!

    • Rachel Ritlop
      February 14, 2017 at 12:05 pm

      Happy it was useful!!

  • Adriana Renee
    February 13, 2017 at 10:32 am

    I never thought about rewards cards until my sister showed me the benefits and how to use them! If you use them wisely, they are so beneficial!

    • Rachel Ritlop
      February 14, 2017 at 12:05 pm

      Agreed! I was in the same boat and felt so silly for waiting so long haha

  • nicole
    February 13, 2017 at 10:33 am

    I’ve only used bank cards and store cards (for when I’m actually going to the store – I don’t overspend and always pay off my balance immediately). I’ve only done that to actually build a decent credit score, since I didn’t have a credit score at all until I was about 20. I definitely should look into getting a rewards card. Useful post!

    • Rachel Ritlop
      February 14, 2017 at 12:06 pm

      Thank you and For sure! It sounds like you are in a really good habit when using plastic already too!

  • Courtney
    February 13, 2017 at 12:49 pm

    I have been using a Discover with cash back for a number of years but just got a Chase travel rewards card and I’m LOVING it! If all goes according to plan, we will be using our rewards (hello 50,000 mile welcome bonus!) for a road trip in Utah this fall! Such a great post!

    • Rachel Ritlop
      February 14, 2017 at 12:06 pm

      YAYYYYY!! So exciting! Isn’t it fun? Its like a game with the points, like what can I cash all these babies in for? haha

  • Jessica F. Walker
    February 13, 2017 at 12:53 pm

    I love the credit card I got my my local credit union. It has reasonably low fees, and a fairly low APR as well.

    • Rachel Ritlop
      February 14, 2017 at 12:08 pm

      I always recommend people check out their credit unions! Weirdly they aren’t as common in my state! But I’ve worked with clients who would take out a loan to purchase a car in cash, and then were only paying like 2-3% for their car a month which is insanely low for an auto loans

  • Anna Hubbard
    February 13, 2017 at 2:06 pm

    I don’t have a rewards credit card, mainly because the advisor at my bank said it would be best to build up credit before I got one. I do want one now though!
    -Anna | http://www.fivefootandfabulous.com

    • Rachel Ritlop
      February 14, 2017 at 12:08 pm

      That’s definitely true! The higher your credit score the better (lower fees and interest, better rewards) the rewards card generally.

  • Ashley Mason
    February 13, 2017 at 2:10 pm

    I’ve had a debit card for about three years now and I’ve gotten to the point where I ONLY use my card and NEVER have cash – and I’m starting to question why I don’t have a credit card instead so I can start building my credit! I’m planning on looking into getting one soon, and definitely one that has a reward – perhaps cash back.

    • Rachel Ritlop
      February 14, 2017 at 12:09 pm

      I literally have maybe used a debit card once! haha and I never have cash. I think the biggest thing when switching from debit to credit, is you actually have to remember to take the additional step and pay it off even if the money is sitting there (although there is a free platform called debitize that will basically turn your credit card into a debit card and automatically pay it for you every week, but i’ve never used it)

  • Sydney Power
    February 13, 2017 at 3:12 pm

    Here in canada credit cards have amazing travel rewards, I am going to be changing my credit card once we start booking trips to get more points!

    • Rachel Ritlop
      February 14, 2017 at 12:10 pm

      Yay! Excited to hear where you travel!

  • Shane Prather
    February 13, 2017 at 4:44 pm

    I’ve had so much luck with my travel rewards cards! I can’t wait to see what the future perks are.

  • Jenny
    February 13, 2017 at 5:17 pm

    We have that credit card too! It’s awesome. We just got our flights for our SF trip for like 20 bucks because we used our rewards.

    • Rachel Ritlop
      February 14, 2017 at 12:10 pm

      That’s so funny and awesome! haha

  • Elizabeth Johnson
    February 13, 2017 at 5:19 pm

    Love this post! I wish I had gotten a credit card much sooner than I actually did. My husband and I just got one 5 months ago, and I’m 30 years old! I was so nervous to get one. I will say that waiting that long definitely prevented me from spending more than I actually have. That was what I was afraid of and making the wrong choice when it comes to credit cards. We now have one that gives cash back which is great! I told my sister, who lives in Nashville, to look into one that gives travel points. That way she can visit more! Great post!

    • Rachel Ritlop
      February 14, 2017 at 12:12 pm

      I think a lot of people are nervous about getting one! If you are nervous about spending more than you have, you may want to look into another free tool called debitize — basically it turns your credit card into a debit card so you never miss a payment and i think gives you an alert if your are spending more than you have (but I could be wrong on that last part since I’ve never used it because I am already in the habit of paying it every week or every other week)

  • Katie
    February 13, 2017 at 8:01 pm

    Rewards credit cards are awesome! I was able to analyze what I spend most on (gas) and pick a credit card that gives the highest percentage of cash back on gas purchases. My husband also has a rewards credit card and he loves it! I never knew about the Cardmatch tool through Creditcards.com. I’ll have to check it out for sure! 🙂
    Katie | http://www.millennialonthemove.com

    • Rachel Ritlop
      February 14, 2017 at 12:12 pm

      That’s awesome Katie! Hope it helps you guys find the next best one for your lifestyle!

  • Kelsie Kleinmeyer
    February 13, 2017 at 10:38 pm

    We LOVE our rewards cards and have literally saved like $10,000 on travel over the years. We only put things on it that we can pay for, but it’s awesome having our money (And paying our bills) work for us! Love it!

    • Rachel Ritlop
      February 14, 2017 at 12:13 pm

      WHATTTT! That’s awesome Kelsie!!

  • Alison @ Puppies & Pretties
    February 13, 2017 at 10:51 pm

    I’ve been thinking about switching to a new (better) card and just haven’t taken the plunge. I need to get it figured out soon!

    • Rachel Ritlop
      February 14, 2017 at 12:13 pm

      Hope the cardmatch tool helps you find the best one for your lifestyle!

  • Bella B @ xoxoBella
    February 14, 2017 at 12:13 am

    Its all ways a good idea to research to make sure you get the best deals. A reward card awesome.

    • Rachel Ritlop
      February 14, 2017 at 12:13 pm

      Agreed! thanks Bella!

  • Sara Holt
    February 14, 2017 at 9:07 am

    this is such an awesome website. I’ve been in the market for a new credit card to help build some additional credit. Definitely checking this site out!

    • Rachel Ritlop
      February 14, 2017 at 12:13 pm

      Hope it helps Sara!

  • Leah
    February 14, 2017 at 10:28 am

    I love this website! I recently got a rewards credit card where I earn cash back on every purchase. It’s the best decision I ever made! In a few years I plan to apply for more (when it won’t hurt my credit score 😉 )

    • Rachel Ritlop
      February 14, 2017 at 12:15 pm

      That’s awesome! Just to clarify: any time you apply for credit it WILL “hurt” your score since it’s a hard inquiry your score will always drop, but usually not by much or for very long (your score is always weighted by most recent activity) and it only sticks with you for two years!

  • Crystal @ Dreams, etc.
    February 14, 2017 at 10:37 am

    This is one thing that I haven’t looked into yet, but really need to. Rewards credit cards are so helpful, as long as you don’t spend what you can’t pay off.

    • Rachel Ritlop
      February 14, 2017 at 12:15 pm

      That’s true for all credit cards! haha Hope the cardmatch tool helps you find one!

  • Erica
    February 14, 2017 at 10:43 am

    SUCH a good resource, Rach. My first credit card was *because* it had rewards, because I knew I wanted to study abroad for a summer and wanted travel points to cover my airfare – which they ended up doing! Rewards on cards are SO SO IMPORTANT (+ helpful!).

    Coming Up Roses

    • Rachel Ritlop
      February 14, 2017 at 12:15 pm

      Oh that’s awesome! I wish I had been that smart lol!

  • mckenna bleu
    February 14, 2017 at 10:47 am

    Thanks for sharing this! I think reward credit cards are such a good idea to have!

  • Candy Kage
    February 14, 2017 at 10:52 am

    Love our reward cards that is how we fly all the time.

  • Summer @ Coffee With Summer
    February 14, 2017 at 11:14 am

    My husband has a rewards credit card and it’s so beneficial for us. One I pay off my tiny credit card that I have now, I think I’m going to switch to a rewards one. Credit cards are so scary, but honestly, it’s the only way to build credit!

    • Rachel Ritlop
      February 19, 2017 at 9:40 am

      They don’t need to be scary either! IF you look at them as a debit card and only spend what you have and just get in the habit of paying it every time you use it or every week it’s doesn’t need to be scary!

  • Tilley
    February 14, 2017 at 11:35 am

    This is something I have been meaning to do as well! I have heard great things about American Express…love your insight!

    • Rachel Ritlop
      February 14, 2017 at 12:21 pm

      Thanks Tilley! It’s definitely important to find a card that matches your lifestyle!

  • Kristin Cook
    February 14, 2017 at 11:43 am

    I wish I could do this but I have proven to myself multiple times that I shouldn’t have a credit card. After signing up for several credit cards between 2012-2015, I am now $5,000 in cc debt in addition to $30,000 in student loans.
    Most people would probably benefit from this program. I would love to be a partof it and wish I could be ?

    • Rachel Ritlop
      February 19, 2017 at 9:39 am

      If you ever sign up for one again you should check out debitize – it’s a free tool that basically turns your credit card into a debit card and helps you from over spending what you don’t have.

      • Kristin Cook
        February 19, 2017 at 6:12 pm

        That’s awesome! Thank you for that! That’s exactly what I need!

  • Courtney Patterson
    February 14, 2017 at 3:00 pm

    We both have cards that give us incredible return on miles. So much so, that we haven’t paid for flights in about five years. Why people are still hesitant to change to cards that reward them is beyond me.

    • Rachel Ritlop
      February 19, 2017 at 9:38 am

      Nice! that’s literally amazing! And I agree – if you are already using a plastic debit card, why not a plastic credit card? doesnt make sense lol

  • Miss ALK
    February 14, 2017 at 4:11 pm

    Such a smart post Rachel! I have a rewards card but don’t use it that much… credit still scares me since I’m still in school and I’m very loyal to my debit. Once I get a full time job this year I really need to switch over to paying more on credit!

    xoxo A
    http://www.southernbelleintraining.com

    • Rachel Ritlop
      February 19, 2017 at 9:38 am

      Thank you! You may want to look into Debitize – it basically turns your credit card into a debit card for free!

  • Alex
    February 14, 2017 at 4:37 pm

    Love this! having rewards cards ROCKS! We pay all of our bills with them (and then put cash towards that) and it helps us so much with traveling!

    • Rachel Ritlop
      February 19, 2017 at 9:37 am

      Totally! Yay for travels!

  • Erin of Very Erin
    February 14, 2017 at 5:05 pm

    Great advice! We have a rewards card through the bank we use and it’s great! When we were wedding planning we opened a credit card just for those expenses (and still paid it off as we went) – it was a travel one where you get a certain number of free miles if you spend $3k in 3 months. We spent way more than than on our wedding and ended up getting one full plane ticket to Ireland for free!

  • Babies to Bookworms
    February 14, 2017 at 5:33 pm

    I need to switch to a better card, so this was super helpful!

  • Brittany L. Bergman
    February 14, 2017 at 5:51 pm

    Yes! I think as long as you’re able to pay it off each month and stick to budgets, a credit card with rewards is a great idea! I get paid for spending the money I’d normally spend each month!

  • Alix Maza
    February 14, 2017 at 6:38 pm

    I looove the rewards our card offers! It gives us a discount on Amazon, gas and a lot of other stuff.

    -Alix

    • Rachel Ritlop
      February 19, 2017 at 9:36 am

      Nice!! Who wouldn’t love those lol

  • Amy
    February 14, 2017 at 6:51 pm

    So many great points! I’m currently using Discover right now and my parents have actually said some of the same points you pointed out!

    xoxo,

    Amy | Pastel N Pink

    • Rachel Ritlop
      February 19, 2017 at 9:36 am

      Nice!! It’s something I wish I wouldve done younger!

  • Mary Jane
    February 14, 2017 at 7:09 pm

    I love my rewards card! I save so much with it, and it’s so worth it. I pay it off obsessively every few weeks, but it’s totally worth that extra step 🙂

    • Rachel Ritlop
      February 19, 2017 at 9:35 am

      Agreed! I pay mine every other week usually too lol

  • Taylor Smith
    February 14, 2017 at 8:01 pm

    This is so cool! Thanks for sharing Rachel! I love my rewards card!!!

  • Cameron
    February 14, 2017 at 9:14 pm

    Great post! I personally used creditkarma, which gave me recommendations and a free credit score. I started with a Discover It, but I absolutely love my Chase Sapphire for the rewards!

    | diaryofasouthernmillennial.com

    • Rachel Ritlop
      February 19, 2017 at 9:35 am

      Thanks Cameron! I’ve used creditkarma too!

  • stephanieabills
    February 14, 2017 at 9:26 pm

    This is awesome advice. I switched to a rewards card recently and it was the best idea i’ve had!

  • Rachel @ STCL
    February 14, 2017 at 10:07 pm

    Idk what I’d do without my rewards card – it helps me SO much with travel!

  • Lauren Norton
    February 14, 2017 at 11:42 pm

    This is great! I have 2 rewards credit cards – scratch that, 3 – but I need to ditch one and replace it with another. This site will be very helpful!

    xoxo Lauren | Glitter & Grandeur

  • Silvia Marquez
    February 15, 2017 at 12:43 am

    I agree everyone should have a rewards card! I use the Chase Freedom and it’s my favorite!

  • Greta Hollar
    February 15, 2017 at 1:41 am

    These are all such important things to look for when getting a credit card! I’m on the hunt for a good one right now.

    Greta | http://www.gretahollar.com

    • Rachel Ritlop
      February 19, 2017 at 9:34 am

      Hope the cardmatch tool helps you!

  • Chelsea
    February 15, 2017 at 1:54 am

    I totally use credit cards to my advantage. I pay for everything with them to rake in rewards but always pay off the balance immediately!

    • Rachel Ritlop
      February 19, 2017 at 9:34 am

      Woot woot!! That’s the way to do it Chelsea!

  • Rachel C
    February 15, 2017 at 9:52 am

    I so agree! I think a lot of people are like, “oh i don’t want to open another credit card!” but SO many companies will let you consolidate or transfer any balance you have and if you do your research it’s better in the LONG term to have a CC that actually works FOR you! Plus, it can really help a young person build a substantial credit score for later in life!

    • Rachel Ritlop
      February 19, 2017 at 9:33 am

      Exactly! It really doesn’t need to be scary!

  • Jamie
    February 15, 2017 at 10:30 am

    I have been needing this kind of post! I have been researching around for the best credit card- there are so many options it’s overwhelming!

    • Rachel Ritlop
      February 19, 2017 at 9:32 am

      Yay! happy it was helpful Jamie!

  • fairyprincessjord
    February 15, 2017 at 2:37 pm

    Finding a credit card always feels super intimidating to me! Thanks for the great tips and resources!

    • Rachel Ritlop
      February 19, 2017 at 9:32 am

      Same girl!! I totally wouldn’t make a decision because I felt so overwhelmed!

  • Adriana
    February 15, 2017 at 2:51 pm

    Having a credit card with perks is HUGE! I had a whole trip (flight wise) paid for last year because of my Venture card. I mean, if you’re spending anyway – why not get rewards back right?! Love this!!

    • Rachel Ritlop
      February 19, 2017 at 9:32 am

      Fo’ Sho’!!! Exactly!

  • Victoria Stacey
    February 16, 2017 at 12:05 pm

    I have a cashback card – and I love it! I got $100 back over a few months of using it!

    • Rachel Ritlop
      February 19, 2017 at 9:32 am

      YASS!! Isn’t that the best feeling!

  • Neely
    February 19, 2017 at 2:56 pm

    I love this! I 100% agree. We do everything with our mileage cards and never pay for travel!

  • Kayla Rivoli
    February 23, 2017 at 11:05 pm

    I only have one credit card at the moment and don’t plan on getting another one anytime soon, but I have a Discover Card that gives cash back which has been awesome! My bf uses the Capital One Double Cash card currently and he loves it. I’ll have to show him this site!

    Kayla | kaylablogs.com

  • More in College, Finance
    STOP OVERSPENDING BY AVOIDING THESE DAILY PITFALLS by the confused millennial
    Overspending? Avoid these DAILY pitfalls.

    Close