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Using the right credit card to earn you extra cash and free vacations

If you had the opportunity to earn extra money by doing almost the same amount of work, wouldn’t you do it? Most people would agree, but when you tell them that the way to earn this money is by opening new credit cards, they hesitate due to being afraid the new accounts will damage their credit scores, they won’t be able to keep track of these new cards or believe there’s some kind of catch.

To start, credit cards are not for everyone. If you’re in the process of repairing your credit, this may not be the best way for you to earn extra income. However, opening new credit cards only affects 10% of your overall credit score and credit card companies are increasingly offering incentives to get new or keep existing customers, which can translate into a steady source of extra income and new travel opportunities for consumers.

The incentives and rewards that are currently being offered can be broken down into the following categories, sign-up bonuses, cash back rewards, airline miles and credit card points, and 0-percent introductory interest rates.

Cash back cards generally offer 1% cash back on purchases. However, a number of credit cards come with higher cash rebates in certain categories. This can be hard to track and is one of the reasons why people favor cards that offer steady rewards and sign up bonuses.

Credit cards that earn sign up points are another popular card option. For example, Chase Bank is currently offering new card holders 50,000 bonus points for the Sapphire Preferred card when they spend $3,000 on purchases during the first three months of card membership. These points can be redeemed from Chase for $500 in travel or cash back, or they can be redeemed by a third party for more than the credit card company offers. If spending $4,000 in three months is too much for you, the Citi Thank You Preffered® Credit Card from CitiBank offers 50,000 bonus miles after making $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in the first three months of membership worth at least $500 in redemption value.

A word of caution: Make sure to redeem your rewards promptly. Credit card companies often change the value of the miles and points programs. It might take 15,000 points to get a $150 gift card which previously cost only 10,000 points, or it might take 40,000 miles to get a plane ticket that previously was 25,000 miles. If you wait too long to redeem your rewards, you might not get as high a bonus as you anticipated. Worse yet, you might forget to redeem your rewards altogether and forfeit what you earned.

In conclusion if you can manage your credit cards responsibly, and keep track of how you spend your money, credit card sign-up bonuses are a way to make some extra income and can be a very valuable tool in helping your financial ‘bottom line.’

A final word: There are thousands of people taking advantage of credit card bonus offers to earn extra cash or take free vacations. 

Eli Schreiber is a partner and director of marketing for Get PEYD. Visit for more information.