New Yorkers love their credit cards. If you couldn't tell by all of the debt that the average New Yorker carries, then you have to see it by how much money we've spent during the 2023 holiday shopping season.

On Black Friday alone, nearly $10 billion was spent by consumers, with a vast majority of that spending going on various credit cards. All of that credit card spending will also result in something that lots of people look forward to when using their credit cards: credit card rewards and points.

New York State Changes Rules For Credit Card Points

Credit card companies spend much time and energy researching the best rewards programs to encourage people to sign up for the products. Their research often works as millions of Americans sign up for credit cards in the hope of getting some special perk or advantage when using that card.

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Whether it's cash back with purchases, free air travel, or other benefits like free food at certain restaurants, credit card rewards are often pretty valuable for people and help drive a lot of debt activity. However, as popular as these programs are, many credit card companies have pretty strict and unclear rules on how rewards can be used and how people can lose their rewards.

I, like many people, lost several thousand air miles from a particular credit card company at the end of the COVID-19 pandemic from the lack of use. "How could I could I possibly use my air miles when no one was able to travel?" is a question I asked myself many times...

It seems like I'm not the only person who asked this question, as New York has made a pretty significant change to how credit card points and rewards are treated.

Protecting New Yorker's wallets is a top priority and we’re helping families save money this holiday season... With this law taking effect, New Yorkers can rest assured that they won't lose the credit card rewards they’ve earned.
-Kathy Hochul, Governor of New York State

Effective Sunday, December 10, 2023, New York residents will have greater consumer protections when it comes to these rewards and points.

New York State Senate Bill S133B / Assembly Bill A05698-B now requires credit card companies to take additional steps to make sure people don't lose points or rewards when programs are changed or canceled.

Credit card issuers have 45 days to provide notice to cardholders when any existing credit card account or rewards program is cancelled or closed or modified in a way that is less favorable to the consumer. This includes any change that eliminates or reduces the value of a consumer’s points, makes it harder to accumulate points, limits rewards availability, or otherwise diminishes the value of the rewards program. From the day the credit card issuer sends this notice, consumers have 90 days to redeem their accrued points or rewards in accordance with the program’s original terms and conditions. While consumers often cash in their rewards before closing their accounts, the law requires a grace period after any account is closed.
-New York State Division of Consumer Protection

You can find out more information about these new protections here on the New York State Consumer Protection Website.

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