A credit card is preferred not only because of the ease and convenience associated with it, but also because one can earn reward points on its use. These reward points can be redeemed to get attractive products for free or at a lower price. Till a few years back, encashing credit card points was only possible at the respective bank or credit card company whose card you are using. Now, many third party websites have come up, which allow you to encash your credit card points through their website.
You can encash your credit card points through a third party website only if your bank has a tie up with that particular website. For example, you may have a credit card with ICICI Bank, which has a tie up with a third party website like Payback. Based on this, you can earn and encash your credit card points via this third party website. In case you also hold a credit card from another bank which does not have a tie up with Payback and you wish to encash your points from this other credit card, this cannot be done.
In addition to having a tie up with your credit card company, these third party websites have tie ups with various retailers, both online and offline, where you can redeem your accumulated credit card points. Remember that spending at some of these retailers can also help you earn the points. Here are some things to remember while encashing credit card points via third party websites.
How to keep track of points:
You will need to log in to the third party website to keep track of your points. Usually, the third party website gives you a card number, which is linked to your credit card. This can be used to log in to the website. When you log in for the first time, you will be asked to set the PIN or the password. The default PIN is given using which you can reset the PIN. Generally, the mobile number or email id, which is the same as what you give your bank is used to validate the transactions.
When is the ideal time to utilize points?
The points accumulated can be utilized at any time when you wish to buy something from the website or its retail partners. However, the best time to use it would be when you get the maximum benefits, i.e. you get the maximum worth for the points. During festival seasons, many third party websites and/or their retail partners offer you products for fewer of your points. This means that you can buy more with the same points. Although there is no guarantee that this may happen, it pays to regularly check the third party website for such offers.
Do points have an expiry date?
Although credit card points as such do not have an expiry date, when used on a third party website, the points are converted to that website’s points before redemption. For example, your points on ICICI Bank credit card will get converted to Payback points if you choose to redeem it through the Payback site. These Payback points have an expiry date of 3 years from the date they have been earned. So you must check for this factor as well and not just with your bank.
How can one encash points by maximising benefits?
Maximising benefits is possible by making use of special offers, etc. Even otherwise, one can gain by encashing points, as you get products or services for a cheaper price. Let us take the example of Viren who has 2000 points on his credit card. He wished to encash this using a third party website, with which his bank had a tie up and where he already had an account. He followed the steps below.
Step 1: Logged into the third party website using the card number given to him
Step 2: Checked the points to his credit. Viren had 2000 points in his account which had a residual validity period of 2.5 years.
Step 3: Viren decides to redeem the points by booking air tickets, as he planned to travel the following month. A leading travel website is a retail partner of the third party website, and so Viren uses his points through this site.
Step 4: He clicks on the travel website icon, which takes him to his website. Viren books the air ticket. When Viren uses his credit card to make the payment, he gets further points credited.
Step 5: On the payments page, Viren chooses to redeem all the points he has, i.e. 2000 in all. He enters his card number and checks the value of 2000 points in rupee terms. He finds out that the 2000 points are worth Rs. 1200. So his ticket cost comes down by that amount.
Step 6: The actual cost of the ticket is Rs. 4500. Viren has used points worth Rs. 1200. So he makes the remaining payment of Rs.3300 through his credit card.