The next credit card battleground: rewards cards

Loyal reward card users should tread carefully. Make one misstep, such as a late payment or exceeding the credit limit, and you could lose your ability to redeem points. Even worse, if the credit card issuer decides to close your account for any number of reasons, you could end up losing all of your hard-earned points.

The Credit CARD Act reined in many of the all-too-common (and exploitative) practices employed by credit card companies, but rewards still remain one area that is loosely regulated. Card companies still have plenty of flexibility with the way in which they structure their rewards programs -- and many are using that flexibility to wipe out point balances for cardholders who don't follow the rules. The problem is that those rules are often buried in the fine print of a credit card agreement.