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What holiday bonus rewards?

By Janna Herron ·
Wednesday, November 16, 2011
Posted: 5 pm ET

Did you know some credit card companies are boosting their rewards offers this Black Friday? If you did, you're in the minority. A whopping three-quarters of rewards credit card-carrying consumers surveyed by Capital One are in the dark about these promotions.

"There are some serious rewards opportunities available during the holidays that can give you even more value," says Amy Lenander, vice president of rewards programs at Capital One.

Bankrate recently outlined several specials that credit card companies are running this November and December. Issuers such as American Express, Capital One, Bank of America, Citibank and Chase all have promotions worth checking out.

Capital One's survey also found that more than a quarter of consumers would consider shopping online if it meant they could get bonus rewards. Cardholders should check to see if their issuers offer an online shopping portal that gives them more bang for their rewards points.

Another salient point from the Capital One survey: Of those who plan to redeem rewards this holiday season for gifts, 1 in 6 said they will buy gift cards. The plastic cards have been the No. 1 requested gift item for five years running, according to the National Retail Federation, so they're probably a good use of your rewards points.

(Here's another shameless Bankrate plug: Check out our gift card survey to compare the fees and features of popular gift cards.)

When it comes to travel during the holidays, cardholders seem more disappointed in their credit card rewards programs than pleased.

Last year, two-thirds of customers couldn't redeem their rewards for holiday travel because of blackout dates or no available rewards seats.  More than a third said they would consider traveling this festive season if they were guaranteed to be able to redeem their rewards for their flights.

Overall, customers were mostly satisfied with their rewards programs, the Capital One survey found. What remains on their wish list to Santa? More special deals with retailers, simpler rewards programs and no expiration dates on rewards.

How would you change your rewards program? And how are you using your rewards this holiday season?

Follow me on Twitter: @JannaHerron

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