So-called loyalty programs are on the rise, but unless you're careful, you can easily lose track of the rewards you've earned. There are two kinds...

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NEW YORK — So-called loyalty programs are on the rise, but unless you’re careful, you can easily lose track of the rewards you’ve earned.

There are two kinds of loyalty programs — those that use reward credit cards and those that use membership point cards. There is one common factor: After some period of time, the points expire.

Reward credit cards let you earn either rebates or points for purchases you make. Major credit-card companies and banks sponsor reward cards, so they can be used anywhere just like other credit cards.

Membership point cards, on the other hand, tend to come from specific companies — airlines, hotel chains, restaurants and retail stores. You register for the card and get points when you stay at the company’s hotels, travel with certain airlines or shop at affiliated stores.

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You probably have a few of these cards in your wallet. How can you keep track of them all?

Review your monthly statements. Points are added at the end of a billing period instead of after every purchase, so your most recent point total will be on the statement.

Read the fine print. Loyalty-program details will be listed on your credit-card or program agreement.

Check out www.MileTracker.com. The Web site allows you to track your point totals in 79 loyalty programs.