You have the wrong rewards card if …

Hands holding fanned-out credit cards

Credit card rewards are terrific perks. They let you rack up airline miles, free nights at a hotel or discounts at your favorite store.

But if you're not paying attention, that great rewards card might turn out to be a dud.

Here are a few signs your reward card isn't for you:

You’re not getting the right type of reward. Even if the interest rate is low and the reward points add up fast, carrying a card that scores you airline miles when you’re not fond of flying doesn't do you much good.

Sidestep this snafu: Before you apply for -- or accept a preauthorization for -- a rewards credit card, ask yourself “Will I use the reward?” If all those airline miles will go to waste -- or worse, be lost because they expire if not used within a certain time -- then this card isn’t for you.bo

There’s a hefty spending limit. The Chase Sapphire Card offers new cardholders a generous 25,000 bonus points, the equivalent of $250 toward an airline ticket.

But there’s a catch: You have to spend $3,000 within the first three months to get this bonus.

That’s great if you need to purchase a new furnace or have big travel plans. But if you’re simply looking to pay for a few groceries, you could be disappointed.

Sidestep this snafu: Read all the fine print before committing to a card.

You forget all about your rewards. A recent study from Colloquy, a marketing firm, and Swift Exchange, a rewards card industry group, showed the average household failed to redeem a third of its rewards. That’s around $205 consumers throw away each year.

That’s no way to reward yourself for earning all those reward points and perks, is it?

Sidestep this snafu: Keeping track of your rewards saves them from going down the drain.

Some strategies to make sure you remember your rewards include setting a reminder to call your credit card issuer quarterly to ask about your reward program, posting a note on the fridge about the reward you’re working toward or reviewing your reward progress every time you pay your credit card bill.

If your card no longer works for you, compare rewards credit card offers in our extensive database.

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