by beconrad

Many people it seems are working for their credit cards, heading off each day to jobs they hate just to be able to pay the minimum balances on their cards each month.…  Credit card companies love these types of consumers, often encouraging them to take on more and more debt.…  But there is another type of consumer — savvy shoppers who actually allow the credit cards to do the work.

With a little bit of savvy and a lot of financial discipline you can actually make your credit cards work for you, instead of the other way around.…  By taking advantage of the many bonus offers and reward point programs smart consumers can enjoy hundreds of dollars worth of perks without ever paying a dime in interest charges.

The success of this strategy hinges on being able to pay your credit card bills on time and in full, so if finances are tight this is not the strategy for you.…  But if you are good at managing your money and want to enjoy some great freebies you may want to start looking around for some of those bonus offers.

Take Flight with Your Credit Cards

For instance many airline-affiliated credit cards offer bonus miles for new customers.…  In many cases those bonus miles are enough to redeem for a free flight.…  So if you have been wanting to get away head over to the website of your favorite airline and start looking for credit card offers.…  These credit card offers change all the time, but it is worth your while to wait for a truly spectacular offer before taking the plunge.…  If you already have accumulated miles on a given airline you can fly free even faster.

Keep in mind that many of these airline credit cards do carry annual fees, so you will have to weigh the cost of that fee against what an airline ticket would cost on the open market.…  The good news is that the annual fee is often waived for the first year as part of the promotion, so if you are diligent about cancelling the card after a year has passed you can enjoy all the perks with none of the costs.

Shop Till You Drop

Many credit card companies have begun to offer merchandise rewards for their new and existing cardholders.…  These offers are intended to build brand loyalty, and also to encourage consumers to spend more.…  The key to making these programs work for you is to spend the money you would spend anyway — and no more — but to put every penny you do spend on that rewards card.…  This practice will help you build up those rewards faster, and once you have enough rewards you can redeem them for everything from gift cards to one of a kind vacation experiences.

Like the airline-affiliated cards these reward cards often offer bonus points just for signing up.…  These bonus offers vary, but in some cases you may get bonus points equal to $100, $150 or even $200 worth of gift cards.…  If you play your cards right you could be hitting the malls on the credit card company’s dime.

Cold Hard Cash

Some credit card offers go even further, offering cold hard cash to new owners of their products.…  On occasion credit cards affiliated with such household names as Chase, Citibank and Bank of America have offered statement credits of $50, $75, or even $100 to those who sign up for one of their cards.…  Like all credit card offers these cash bonuses are a moveable feast, but it is worth your while to look for them.

These types of offers often appear as banner ads on popular websites like Yahoo and MSN, so it pays to look carefully before clicking away.…  If the thought of getting the credit card company to pay you is appealing it is definitely worth your while to seek out these intriguing offers.