American Express charges $0.0006 per point for domestic frequent flier point redemptions, with a maximum fee of $99. The charge offsets the federal excise tax American Express pays when these redemptions are processed, the credit card issuer said.
At Wells Fargo, you have to pay a $24 fee for each airline ticket issued through the bank's rewards vendor.
"That just defeats the whole purpose of the rewards in the first place," said McBride. "When signing up for rewards programs, you need to evaluate all the benefits relevant to the costs, and redemption costs clearly erode the benefits."
But for now, these redemption fees are the exception rather than the rule, so you can still find banks that won't charge you anything to cash in your points, said McBride.
From avoidable ATM fees to expensive coffee and impulse deal-buying, here are 10 ways you're wasting your money. More
|Wall Street bears warn: We're on verge of crisis|
|China issues scathing report on Alibaba|
|74.5 million iPhones is ...|
|Apple has mind-boggling $178 billion in cash to spend|
|When Silicon Valley takes LSD|