If you've ever tried to redeem frequent flier miles from your credit card rewards only to find that it's nearly impossible to book a flight (or worth the hassle as the airlines want you to fly the most inconvenient flights like red-eye or multiple connections), then you already know this: credit card rewards are a real rip off.
Jessica Dickler of CNN Money has the story:
About 85 percent of U.S. households participate in at least one rewards program, according to a study released Monday by Consumer Reports. And though rewards do spur consumers to spend more, the study found that confusing rules and restrictions make most reward cards more trouble than they're worth.
"They make it 100 times more complicated," said a former marketing executive at CitiCards, referring to the popular rewards programs. For example, when you read the fine print, you might find that some rewards are limited to certain brands, or expire if not used within a certain timeframe.