Teaching your kids to make smart financial decisions is an important part of growing up. If yours are heading off to college in the fall, make sure they build strong spending and saving habits before leaving. Along with coaching young adults on how to set up and stick to a realistic budget, you can aso help them sign up for a travel rewards credit card. This way, they can earn points and miles for family trips and for their own travels.

Students are most likely to use their credit cards for smaller purchases, like groceries and textbooks, and will rarely use it on larger items. As a first-time credit card holder, young adults will also want to build their credit and earn points for future travel. If you’re new to the travel rewards credit card world, here are some helpful tips: 

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Incremental points and bonuses

Determine your spending patterns and decide the type of purchases you’ll be making on your rewards card – will it be small, everyday purchases like gas and groceries or big-ticket items like TVs and furniture?

If you’re just getting started with a rewards credit card to make small purchases, you’ll want your spending to be worthwhile, so look for a card that offers incremental points and bonuses. Some credit cards even offer higher rewards or cash back percentages on necessities like gas and groceries. Another important consideration: make sure not to choose a card that requires a minimum balance or spending amount to earn rewards.

If you’re a big spender, look for credit cards that have an annual fee. They typically favor big spenders and offer more rewards.

Travel rewards

With so many travel rewards cards available, it’s hard to know where to start. Take stock of what kinds of rewards are most important to you. Do you favor one airline or hotel brand over another? If so, look for rewards credit cards associated with your favourite travel brands, like United MileagePlus Explorer or Citi Hilton HHonors Reserve. These cards will help you net the most rewards for your spend.

Does your travel take you internationally, or are you a domestic traveler? If you spend a lot of time internationally, look for rewards credit cards that offer better rates on foreign transactions, like Chase Sapphire Preferred. While there are countless travel rewards credit cards available, you should research the flexibility of using your card abroad. After all, you don’t want to sign up for a travel rewards credit card only to find that you can’t actually use it when you get to your destination. Look for a card that omits foreign transaction fees and includes chip-and-PIN technology, giving you the confidence that the card can be used overseas.

Reward flexibility

While we all have our favorite airlines and hotel chains, there are occasions when other travel brands work better with our schedules or budgets. You may want to consider a credit card that allows you to transfer miles and points to other rewards programs. For example, American Express Membership Rewards and Chase Ultimate Rewards both allow members to earn points and transfer them to retail and travel loyalty programs of your choice.

Also, be sure to research the ins and outs of using your credit cards rewards. Is there an expiration date on your rewards? Is there a minimum you have to spend to earn rewards? Is there a cap on redeeming your rewards? Are you familiar with all of the perks? Be sure to always read the fine print.

Signing up for a rewards credit card can help you rack up points and get you closer to redeeming them for flights, hotels, gift cards and shopping. Take full advantage and sign up for the loyalty rewards credit card that’s right for you.

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