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Reward Cards 101

Cash Rewards

Cash rewards are the most straightforward and easiest to use, but they don’t always result in cold, hard dollars in your hand. Some programs allow you to redeem your cash rewards only as a credit to your account.

Rewards paid as a statement credit reduce your balance, but the redemption doesn’t count as a payment to your account.

Other cash rewards credit cards give you the option to cash in your rewards for a check or direct deposit to a bank account. You also may be able to redeem your cash rewards for gift cards with your card issuer’s merchant partners. There may be a minimum redemption amount—$25, for example—or a requirement to redeem your rewards in certain increments.

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