How to maximize your credit card rewards - Part 2

Check your stack of cards to see which one gives you the most points for the things you buy. You just got the American Express Blue Cash Preferred® Card, which gives you 6% cash back on the first $6,000 you spend at U.S. grocery stores in a calendar year (then 1 percent).

You should use your Amex card to pay for groceries instead of a card like the Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card, which gives you unlimited 2% cash back on all purchases. If you pay for groceries with your new Amex card, up to a certain limit, you'll get more rewards. If you always spend a lot on groceries, check out our list of the best credit cards for groceries.

Also, if your new card has bonus categories that change, you should turn them on as soon as you can. You should also look at the rewards calendar so that you can make plans. You might want to buy materials for a remodel during a quarter when home improvement stores give extra cash back on purchases, for example.

Get your welcome bonus

Many credit cards come with attractive sign-up bonuses that can earn cardholders hundreds of dollars in rewards if they meet certain requirements after opening an account. Most credit card companies require cardholders to spend a certain amount of money in the first few months after getting a card in order to get the sign-up bonus.

Read the terms of the bonus offer carefully and plan your spending around them to make sure you qualify. It might be worth it to get this bonus because it could help you in many ways financially. For example, you could use it to pay a monthly bill, make a big purchase, or pay for something else.

Even though you should never borrow more than you can afford and never spend more than you have, the time when you can get the welcome bonus is a great time to make any big purchases you've been planning. Here are the credit card sign-up bonuses that we think are the best.

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