I am a firm believer in not carrying credit card debt.
That said, we use our credit card (note that I said card, singular) for all of our gas purchases and for online bills such as our internet, satellite, and phone services. We also put all major purchases on the card, too. We pay the bill in full each month.
We do this to earn the credit card rewards. We have a Citibank credit card, and over the course of several years we have collected hundreds of dollars in gift cards for simply spending money we would normally be spending.
The “Thank You Network” as it is called at Citicards, awards one point for every dollar you charge on the card. Shop with certain merchants and get even more points.
The program has gotten more difficult to earn rewards. It now takes 6000 points to get a $50 Target gift card. And don’t even think about trading points for merchandise: Inconvient Truth on DVD will cost you 4,000 points. That’s a lot of points for a $12 video, especially when you could just get a gift card for much less.
So imagine my surprise when I saw the notice in my bill saying that I could buy rewards points.
The idea is that if you’re only a few points away from an award, you can buy points to reach that award.
The catch is that the minimum number of points you can buy is 1,000. And they’ll set you back $25!
So let me get this straight. Let’s say I have 5,000 points racked up on my card, and that I’ve charged $5,000 worth of stuff just to get to that number of points. I’d only have to shell out $25 more to get a $50 reward gift card, instead of the additional $1,000 I’d have to spend.
Okay, that doesn’t seem like such a bad deal.
But here’s the thing…. isn’t this supposed to be a reward? I mean, how am I being rewarded for shopping with merchants if I’m just throwing extra money at my credit card company? Seems kind of ridiculous to me.
Either have some patience and wait until you’ve earned enough points for the reward, or just go to the store and buy the gift card outright. You don’t need to buy rewards. Credit card companies make enough money already.