Nearly Half Of Americans Are Confused About Credit Card Rewards

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A new survey has found that 45 percent of Americans are confused about their credit cards rewards, especially those involving travel.

A survey by NextAdvisor found that 54 percent of Americans find frequent flyer miles confusing, while 47 percent are perplexed by hotel loyalty programs.

And the rewards system in general is confusing to many consumers. In fact, 47 percent don’t even know how many points they have for their hotel loyalty program, and 35 percent don’t know how many frequent flyer miles they have. Even worse: 24 percent don’t have a clue as to how to redeem their rewards in general, which means they’re wasting their own money.

“While consumers are definitely out of the loop when it comes to their rewards credit cards, they aren’t the only ones to blame,” NextAdvisor wrote in the blog post. “Since credit card issuers are in control of their cards’ rewards and redemption opportunities, it’s clear that some issuers are also failing to educate their cardholders.”

Despite the confusion, credit card rewards programs do attract consumers. In a report looking at the 2016 Citi Cards Consumer Perspectives Study, Citi found 67 percent said having a rewards program is the biggest reason to choose a specific credit card. Having a rewards program was more important than the interest rate, which 54 percent of survey respondents said was the most important thing, and a sign-on bonus, which 28 percent of respondents said they cared most about.

So before consumers give up on redeeming their rewards, NextAdvisor recommends calling customer service to get the details on how to redeem rewards and what you can actually redeem them for. A credit card’s online portal should also have a “rewards” section that can explain the process, as well as let a consumer see how many points or miles they’ve accumulated.

“After you learn more about your credit card’s rewards program, you may realize that your current credit card isn’t a good fit for you,” added NextAdvisor. “If that’s the case, it’s time to start shopping for a new credit card.”