Rewards programs getting stingier than ever

You've probably heard about United Airlines recently changing its rewards program for next year.

Delta is set to do the same.

They'll be issuing rewards based on dollars spent instead of miles traveled.

Most think that will make it tougher for a lot of us to accumulate awards.

Southwest, Jet Blue and Virgin Atlantic also operate that way.

It’s happening with hotels too.

Marriott took about a third of its properties and moved them into a higher point category.

Hilton wants more points if you book during high demand times.

So I had to check around to see which companies offer the best rewards programs where you spend your money most.

Flyertalk.com, a travel website says American tops the list of Airline programs.

The airline is said to offer frequent upgrades and still offers rewards based on miles, not dollars spent.

And Starwood hotels, which runs Sheraton and Westin hotels, rank best when it comes to hotel programs because you can transfer points to a "wide" variety of partners.

When it comes to store programs, Consumer Reports picks Target at the top.

That's in part because you get 5% everyday by using the Target Red credit or debit card.

JC Penney follows because they give you $10 for every $100 you spend per month. 

Finally, let's look at credit cards.

If you use them anyway, why not accumulate some freebies?

Nerdwallet.com says the Chase Freedom card tops their list.

It gives you $200 for spending $500 after opening the account.

And they like the Discover card because of the 5% cash back on purchases and no annual fee.

A lot of credit cards also offer you a point per dollar spent.

They work best if the card has no annual fee and you pay off the entire bill every month, because the interest rates can be high.

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