2018 is approaching with speed, and Christmas will soon be over. While reviewing your personal finances might not be at the top of your to-do list right now, it's worth taking a few minutes to check your credit cards for any reward points you need to use up before the end of the year.

Although many newer credit card accounts offer a rewards system where points never run out, others still provide travel miles and rewards with an expiry date. The research firm Colloquy released a report in 2011, which showed that $16 billion worth of rewards went unredeemed during that year.

It's worth taking time out of your holidays to log into your various credit card accounts and check whether you have any rewards balances you need to use up. It might be that those forgotten points can be put towards extra gifts or food for the upcoming festivities, or those travel miles put towards a January vacation. Some firms even allow expired miles to be restored for a small fee.

If there are points that you won't be able to use up, then you can also consider donating them to charity. Organizations like the Make-A-Wish Foundation need huge donations every year to keep going. Miles from frequent flyer programs with United, Delta, and American Airlines can be donated to this charity. Just be aware, though, that donated miles and points are not tax-deductible.

It might not be a priority right now, but checking your credit card accounts for perks is a good idea. There might be a welcome surprise waiting for you.

If you want more credit, check out our list of credit card offers.


Photo ©iStockphoto.com/robertindiana

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