There are many rewards programs in the marketplace, offered by banks, grocery stores, airlines, and more.
It seems like every company in every industry has a program in place to make sure you buy your goods and services from them. Because there are so many brand loyalty programs out there, we thought it might be helpful to share with you a few which our team members really like.
Citi Double Cash credit card – Casey Robinson, CFP®
The Citi Double Cash credit card is a no annual fee, cash back rewards card. The card offers 1% cash back on items purchased and 1% back when you pay, effectively making it 2% cash back on all purchases. The rewards are offered on all purchases, no exclusions and no limits. You can apply cash rewards towards your statement balance or deposit them as cash into your bank account.
Chase Sapphire Reserve credit card – Casey Robinson, CFP®
The Chase Sapphire Reserve card is a premium travel rewards card. This card provides significant benefits, but only makes sense if you spend $2000+ on travel each year. The annual fee is $450 plus $75 for each authorized user – but if used correctly, it can yield rewards in the thousands. To start, you automatically get credited $300 on the first $300 you spend on travel every year. So, your fee nets to $150 + $75 for each user. You accumulate Chase Ultimate Rewards points at a rate of 3 points for every $1 spent for travel & dining and 1 point per $1 on everything else. Chase Ultimate Rewards points can be redeemed for nearly everything, including cash. The bonus element of this program is that when you redeem points to pay for travel, you receive a 1.5x boost on your points. For example, if you spend $1,000 on a flight you will receive 3,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points, worth $30. If you redeem those 3000 points to book another flight, you receive a 1.5x rewards boost, yielding 4,500 points, worth $45. This yields 4.5% cash back on a $1,000 flight. In addition to the rewards, this card also gives you access to all Priority Pass airport lounges where you have access to complimentary food, beverages and private WiFi.
Chase Amazon Prime Rewards credit card – Oliver Cohen
Every holiday season, and throughout the year, when I need to buy someone a present, I tend to use Amazon. For most purchases they don’t charge sales tax, shipping is free, and their prices are better than what I find at brick and mortar stores. And returning a shirt that’s too big or that you simply don’t want is simple, so long as you do it within 30 days. Since I do most of my gift shopping at Amazon anyway, an Amazon credit card made perfect sense for me. As an Amazon Prime member, I get 5% back on anything that I buy on Amazon, 2% back for all restaurant, pharmacy and gas station purchases and 1% back on all other purchases. And If you aren’t an Amazon Prime member, the rewards on Amazon purchases is still 3%. For me, this amounts to hundreds of dollars in points earned each year. The points show up as a payment method when I log into my Amazon account, so often-times when it’s time to buy someone a present, or to buy myself a present, I have enough points to pay for it. For me the key is gas and restaurants. I am spending this money anyway, but at least now, I am accruing points which I will definitely use. I’ve used points to buy a lawn mower, clothes, a grill and jewelry. If you already shop on Amazon, this is a great way to reap tangible rewards for your purchases.
Giant Eagle fuel perks – Ali Postlewaite, CFP®
I utilize Giant Eagle Fuel Perks to the full extent. I regularly purchase gift cards at Giant Eagle to accumulate Fuel Perks – currently the offer is $.20 off per gallon of gas per $50 you spend on gift cards. My strategy for maximizing Fuel Perks is to purchase gift cards for retailers I shop at regularly (Amazon, TJ Maxx, Target) with the benefit of drastically decreasing the amount I spend on gas. And when my husband and I recently went through our basement renovation project, we purchased thousands in Lowe’s gift cards for the materials we needed. This resulted in enough Fuel Perks for me and my husband get free gas for an entire month after the renovation.
For any rewards program, it’s always important to read the fine print to make sure you understand the restrictions and fees, and to determine if your spending behavior aligns with the particular reward structure. But for what it’s worth, these are programs that our team members use, often, and have found to provide valuable benefits for purchases we are already making.
The opinions expressed about these programs are the opinions of the individual team members, and do not reflect those of Waldron Private Wealth. Waldron Private Wealth has no reciprocal relationship with any the companies whose rewards programs our team members have reviewed.