Protection for Consumers’ Credit Card Rewards

Protection for Consumers’ Credit Card Rewards

C.G. Hoffman

Saving up your credit card points for a big ticket purchase? Or have you been planning a trip with your accumulated miles? Governor Kathy Hochul has now announced that consumers’ credit card points and rewards will now have an additional layer of protection. Starting yesterday, December 10, the onus is on credit card companies to notify their cardholders before they are about to lose any accumulated points due to closed accounts or company policy changes.

Credit card companies now have 45 days to notify cardholders when any existing credit card account or rewards program is canceled or undergoing changes that will reduce the value of the cardholder’s points. This will make it easier for consumers to hold on to points that they have accumulated, often saving them hundreds or thousands of dollars. After receiving notice from their credit card companies, consumers then have 90 days to redeem their accumulated points or rewards according to the initial terms of the program. This will provide additional time for consumers even after they have voluntarily closed a credit card account.

Tips for Using Credit Card Rewards:

• Choose the points that give you the most: Choose the option that provides the highest dollar value per point from the rewards program offering of choices, such as cashback, airline miles, or “pay with points” options.

Stay on top of expiration dates: Many airline and hotel rewards do have an expiration period of 12-36 months, as opposed to credit card points which mostly do not. Read the fine print, and make sure to redeem your miles or points in time.

Pay your bills on time! The best way to earn points and rewards is to be a good consumer, and most credit card companies reward cardholders who keep their account in good standing with better offers. Don’t be tempted to make purchases you don’t really need in order to earn more points.

Be smart when closing accounts: Redeem your points before the end of your 90-day grace period. You may also be able to transfer the rewards to a spouse or another card in your name.

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