Q&A: Frequent flier cards

Dear Liz: I have an airline credit card but I find it really hard to use the frequent flier miles I get. The “free” flights have gotten more expensive (they take more miles) and harder to find. I’m getting sick of paying an annual fee for nothing. Would I be better off with a cash-back card?

Answer: Good cash-back rewards cards typically offer rebates of 1% to 2% on most purchases, and some have rotating categories that offer rebates of 5% to 6%. If you’re not an elite frequent flier or trying to amass miles for a special trip, then putting most of your spending on a cash-back card can make sense.

Think twice about closing that airline card, though. It likely offers some perks worth keeping, such as free checked bags and priority boarding. If you take one or two flights a year, the card may pay for itself.

Tuesday’s need-to-know money news

Pile of Credit CardsToday’s top story: NerdWallet’s best credit card tips for November. Also in the news: How credit card rewards can help pay for the holidays, what to do if your parents don’t have a retirement plan, and the pros and cons of a joint checking account with your parents.

NerdWallet’s Best Credit Card Tips for November 2016
Preparing for holiday spending.

How Credit Card Rewards Can Help Pay for the Holidays
Every little bit counts.

What to Do If Your Parents Don’t Have a Retirement Plan
An important conversation.

Helping out Mom or Dad with a joint checking account? Watch out
The pros and cons.

Monday’s need-to-know money news

downloadToday’s top story: How to apply for a credit card after bankruptcy. Also in the news: Avoiding stress while paying down debt, the biggest tax “break” you shouldn’t forget, and how to slash your cable bill.

Applying for a Credit Card After Bankruptcy
Starting over.

Avoid Over-Stressing Your Budget When Paying Down Debt
Be patient with yourself.

The Single Biggest Tax Break You Shouldn’t Forget
Shrinking your capital gains tax.

7 Tips for Slashing Your Cable Bill From Guys Who Do It for a Living
Meet the BillFixers.

Tuesday’s need-to-know money news

Zemanta Related Posts ThumbnailToday’s top story: Hackers steal close to five million hospital records. Also in the news: When to get your student a credit card, why a mini-retirement could restart your career, and the three powers of attorney everyone needs.

Hospitals Say Hackers Stole Records of 4.5 Million Patients
Community Health Systems operates 206 hospitals in 29 states.

Getting Your Student a Credit Card
Testing their personal responsibility.

Why a Mini-Retirement May Rejuvenate Your Career
And save you money at the same time.

Three Powers of Attorney Everyone Needs
The essentials for protecting yourself.

How Do You Stay Motivated With Your Financial Goals?
Keeping your eyes on the prize.

Use a credit card like a debit card to avoid debt

Dear Liz: Here’s a suggestion for the reader who prefers a debit card to a credit card so she will not get in debt: Use your credit card as a debit card. Every month I pay any credit card balance plus an additional amount equal to a month’s average purchases. Then I keep track of what I spend so I don’t go over that amount during the billing period. This is the same as paying the bill one month ahead. I don’t go into debt at all and still get my reward points.

Answer: Another way to accomplish the same end is to check your credit card balance every week and move that amount to a savings account. When the bill is due, you can move the money back to checking from savings and pay in full. It’s important in any case to stay on top of your balances and make sure you’re not spending more than you can pay off each month.

Monday’s need-to-know money news

Little Girl with Crown of EarsHow to survive your child’s summer vacation without emptying your wallet, protecting your tuition investments, and how to ensure your semester abroad doesn’t lead to financial disaster.

Six Ways to Save Money on Summer Childcare
Keeping your child busy this summer doesn’t have to mean breaking the bank.

Why a Good Student Checking Account Matters

Student checking accounts are a perfect way to teach financial responsibility.

Kids and Money: Tuition is an Insurable Investment

Tuition refund insurance can provide peace of mind.

Plan For Financial Independence, Not Retirement
Financial independence can mean working when you want; not because you have to.

4 Credit Card Tips for College Students Headed Overseas

How to avoid a financial mess when studying abroad.

How to get off credit card marketing lists

Dear Liz: Where can I sign up to have my name removed from the mailing lists for credit card offers?

Answer: You can remove yourself from marketing lists provided by credit bureaus to credit card and insurance companies by calling (888) 5-OPT-OUT (567-8688) or visiting www.optoutprescreen.com. You should see a significant reduction over time in the offers you receive, although you may still get unsolicited offers from other sources.