NEW YORK ( LowCards.com) -- If you pay off your credit card balance on time every month, using a credit card can actually make you money. That's because of the rewards that come with over half of the credit cards on the market.The rewards come in many popular forms, such as cash back, airline miles or points. But they can also be things such as merchandise from your favorite NFL team, NASCAR souvenirs and discounts at bookstores or home improvement stores. But consumers should realize they don't "own" rewards points, and there are ways to lose them. That can be very costly if you have accumulated a significant amount. Here are seven ways to lose your credit card rewards and how you can protect them. LUV) informed members this week that its Rapid Rewards frequent-flier program is increasing the number of points needed to get the cheapest tickets. The "Wanna Get Away" reward flight bookings made on or after March 31 will require 70 points per dollar -- a 16.7% increase from the 60 points per dollar needed currently. 6. Inactivity. You can lose rewards on some cards if you don't use the card within a certain time. If you plan to use the card only sporadically, read the fine print to learn what could happen to your rewards. Some airline rewards expire after 18 months of inactivity. Make a small purchase each month to keep your account active, or set up a recurring payment on the card. 7. Returned purchase. If you return a certain purchase, you forfeit the rewards and they will be deducted from your account. Protect your points by using them. Letting your points accumulate forever carries the risk of losing them. Have a plan for your rewards and find the way to make them work for you.