Kathleen Finlay—Getty Images/Image Source
By Megan Leonhardt
December 5, 2016

Credit card perks are at record highs and are likely to keep rising in 2017, says analyst Matt Schulz, of CreditCards.com. Among premium cards, the new $450 Chase Sapphire Reserve—with up to a $1,500 bonus—is expected to draw copycats.

“It wouldn’t surprise me much if we saw somebody try to match what the Chase Sapphire Reserve is offering—or even top it,” Schulz says.

And the sweet lures aren’t just for big spenders: Cash-back cards now offer an average of $100 to new cardholders, triple what they paid in 2010. Here’s what you should probably be doing differently in 2017.

Don’t ignore free money

If you pay your bill monthly and don’t have a rewards card, you’re missing out. Several new cards have emerged recently, offering 1.5% cash back on all spending—although none of them match the no-fee Citi Double Cash, one of MONEY’s 2016 Best Credit Cards, which pays out a flat 2%.

Pick the right perks

If you spend a typical $2,000 monthly, with $500 on travel and restaurants, you’ll do best long term with a cash back card like the Double Cash, instead of a travel card.

Also note that if you’ll need a vacation splurge to earn a sign-up bonus, apply for a card a few weeks before you leave (or before you book the trip, if you’re going to be paying big costs in advance).

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