Is your credit card company trying to get you to redeem your points or miles for merchandise or a concert or something similar? Should you do it?

I got two beautiful catalogs recently, one from American Express and one from Diner’s Club. The Wall Street Journal reports more and more credit card issuers are trying this pitch because the redemption for anything other than cash or travel is generally at a lousy payback rate.

There may, of course, be an exception here or there. But as a general rule, the value you receive for your accumulated credits is lousy.

These offers started popping up because of the frustration people felt trying to redeem their frequent flyer miles. Plus, to a person who charges their card while traveling for business, they may not want more travel as a reward!

So I would encourage you to get a straight cash-back card. There are no expirations and no restrictions on cash.

Yet if you do travel all the time for business, it can be restorative from time to time to go front of the plane to an exotic place somewhere around the globe. It sure is better than going to a business meeting who knows where in America!

But with these rewards cards, I still say cash is king.

Image of Clark Howard About the author: Clark Howard

Clark Howard is a consumer expert whose goal is to help you keep more of the money you make. His national radio show and website show you ways to put more money in your pocket, with advice you can trust. View More Articles

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