Advertisement
credit & debt

Rewards Cards: Watch Out for These Category Catches

Playing the rewards-card game is not without some pitfalls. We warn you about the biggest.

You drop a hundred bucks on groceries at Walmart, fill your tank at the store’s gas station and pay for both purchases with a credit card that claims to offer heightened rewards on grocery and gas spending. But when you check your statement later, you find that the transactions got a measly 1% cash back, instead of the 3% or more you were expecting. What gives?

Purchases from certain types of merchants are commonly excluded from a card’s top-earning categories. Gas or groceries bought at superstores, such as Walmart and Target, or wholesale clubs, such as Costco Wholesale and Sam’s Club, often don’t count. Or your card may not provide higher rebates on dining at restaurants or cafes that exist within another, larger establishment, such as a hotel, department store or grocery store.

Advertisement - Article continues below

“Entertainment” can be a particularly squishy category. The Capital One Savor card, for example, which offers 4% cash back on entertainment purchases, doesn’t include tickets for collegiate sporting events in the 4% category, although live professional events are covered. Citi Premier, which provides two points per dollar spent on entertainment, excludes bowling alleys.

Read your card’s fine print to make sure you understand how purchases are categorized. And if you believe you haven’t received rewards that are rightfully yours, ask the issuer whether it will correct the problem.

Use Our Tool: Credit Card Payoff Calculator

Advertisement
Advertisement

Most Popular

11 Dividend-Paying Stocks You Should Think Twice About
dividend stocks

11 Dividend-Paying Stocks You Should Think Twice About

Dividend-paying stocks often can be a store of safety, but 2020 has been difficult on income equities. These 11 picks look like shaky plays despite th…
September 21, 2020
Medicare Basics: 11 Things You Need to Know
Medicare

Medicare Basics: 11 Things You Need to Know

There's Medicare Part A, Part B, Part D, medigap plans, Medicare Advantage plans and so on. We sort out the confusion about signing up for Medicare --…
September 16, 2020
Where You Should Invest Now
investing

Where You Should Invest Now

Kiplinger.com senior investing editor Kyle Woodley joins our Your Money's Worth podcast to answer investor questions about tech stocks, the election a…
September 22, 2020

Recommended

High-Tech Aids for Aging in Place
Caregiving

High-Tech Aids for Aging in Place

Apple Watch and other technology provides fast feedback, comfort for older users, and a powerful assist for caregivers.
September 23, 2020
10 Things You'll Spend More on in Retirement
retirement

10 Things You'll Spend More on in Retirement

From reading materials to debt, the demands on your savings during your golden years might surprise you.
September 16, 2020
How to Catch a Rock-Bottom Rate
Buying & Leasing a Car

How to Catch a Rock-Bottom Rate

Rates on everything from home mortgages to car loans are at record lows. We’ll tell you how to qualify for the best rates.
August 27, 2020
Give Your Credit a Boost
Coronavirus and Your Money

Give Your Credit a Boost

When times get tough, your credit profile could take a hit. Here’s how to keep it in shape.
August 27, 2020