Whenever a post extolling the virtues of travel cards or rewards bonuses appears on a social media site or travel blog, there’s usually at least one shrewd commenter eager to exclaim that people don’t get rich because of credit card bonuses. You know what? They’re right. The thing is, that isn’t the point.
Sure, some travel and personal finance bloggers are guilty of inflating the value of credit card rewards, but I’ve never seen one claim they lead to the path of financial prosperity. I say quite frequently that it’s important for consumers to establish their own value structure around credit cards. I’d never claim that frequent use of credit cards is a sign someone is financially healthy. However, for many, it can be a way to maximize value where there is otherwise none to be had.
It’s natural that I have a propensity to look for great travel cards with related perks and offers. They aren’t for everyone, though. Some cards simply offer straight cash back, of which you can use for virtually anything. There are several cards that offer a minimum 2% cash back on all purchases. You’re effectively locking down a 2% rebate on every dollar you spend. This certainly won’t advance you socioeconomically, but it’s still a productive way to spend when you have to.
Cash back and point redemptions don’t have to be used for first-class plane tickets or opulent suites. It’s useful to have a full rewards bank for potential, last-minute emergency flights or travel needs or potential cash on hand for an unexpected, unpleasant purchase.
Trust me, I know high net worth individuals don’t reach their status because they used credit cards well. I also know that high net worth individuals are opportunistic. This isn’t about getting rich. It’s about getting something for nothing.