Getting the Right Reward Card

Everybody, it seems, is getting some kind of perk for using plastic: Frequent-flier miles. Cash back. Rebates on cars, free merchandise, hotel upgrades, theme park tickets. Your credit card can even help you save for college or retirement.

This proliferation of perks isn't problem-free, however. Card issuers have complicated their offers immeasurably in recent years by offering scores of ways to earn and redeem your rewards. Use your card at a certain grocery store, and earn more points. Redeem with a certain hotel, and get an extra day free. You get the picture.

That leads to a lot of second-guessing. Do I have the best card? Am I earning the most possible points? What's the best way to spend them?

The answers to ...

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