This story is part of CNBC Make It's One-Minute Money Hacks series, which provides easy, straightforward tips and tricks to help you understand your finances and take control of your money.
One of the biggest perks of using a credit card is earning points on your purchases.
Earning points is simple: credit card companies give you points when you spend money, sometimes double or triple the amount if you spend on certain categories like groceries or gas. You might also get a large sum of points in the form of a welcome bonus when you sign up for a new card.
While earning points might be easy, getting a good value out of them can be tricky. Though different card issuers have different points systems, a good rule of thumb to keep in mind is to think of 1 point as equal to 1 penny.
That means that if you have 100,000 points saved up, you should expect to get at least $1,000 worth of value out of them.
There's an easy way to calculate this on the fly. When you're paying for something and are given the option to pay with points, divide the number of points you'd need to pay by 100. This number will be the fair value of the points.
If a retailer is offering to let you pay 10,000 points for a $50 purchase, this quick math will show that they are actually asking for $100 worth of points. Instead of valuing your points at 1 cent each, this transaction would only value them at 0.5 cents each.
In this case, you should pay for the purchase with your card and earn points on it rather than getting a subpar value by paying with points.
To get even more value out of your points, look at your card's partners. Transferring your points to airline miles may allow you to get more than 1 cent per point and truly maximize their worth, but you will need to do your research and join whichever airline rewards program you want to transfer your points to.
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