How much do you love credit card rewards?


For many people the term ‘credit card’ has become quite scary as we have been convinced that all debt is bad. For a group of people though – known as churners – credit cards are actually a bit of a money spinner as they maximize the rewards available on some credit cards to their advantage, paying off the balance in full at the end of every month to avoid the interest but enjoying all of the not so hard earned rewards. Some people even spend on the cards, take the rewards on offer and then cancel the cards before you have to pay any of the fees on those cards.

The Difference between the US and the UK

As many of you will know, I’m actually based in the UK and over the past couple of years that I’ve been blogging I’ve noticed a huge difference in the way we Brits view and use credit card rewards in comparison to the way you use them here in the US. In the US – correct me if I’m wrong – you absolutely love your reward cards and it seems as though the rewards on offer would play a huge part in the card you would choose to go for. Here in the UK though I don’t think that the majority of people have really been using credit cards to the full in this way and I think that we look more at the length of any interest free periods more than we do at the rewards available.

Are the offers as good?

In the past I’ve often had a joke with my wife about certain things that we do in life that make us feel a certain way. For example ‘Do I drink too much coffee because I’m tired, or am I tired because I drink too much coffee?’ When I was a teenager the same thing cropped up with my parents about some of the music I used to listen to, ‘Do I listen to depressing music because I’m depressed or am I depressed because I listen to depressing music’? – You’ll be pleased to hear that this was just when I was a teenager though you can probably tell that I still think way too much about stuff. 🙂

I often wonder whether these scenarios apply to the way us Brits view credit card rewards. Do we not get as excited about rewards cards because the offers aren’t as good or are the offers not as good because we don’t get as excited about them?

To help my US readers understand just how vast the gap is between the cards on offer in the UK and those on offer in the US I just did a quick check on UK comparison site TotallyMoney to see how many rewards credit cards were available for comparison, there were 11 cards available. When I did a similar check on a Popular US comparison site though I found a staggering 70+ rewards cards on offer and some of the deals seemed great and well worth churning.

So how much do you love credit card rewards?

So am I right? Do you guys in the US love your rewards cards as much as I think and if you do, what is your card of choice? If you are one of our UK readers, do you get excited by rewards cards and do you churn them?

15 Responses to How much do you love credit card rewards?

  1. I recently signed up for the Barclays Arrival Mastercard. After spending $1,000 in the first 90 days, I will qualify for $400 in travel credit. If that’s not a good deal, I don’t know what is.

    …And I know it hasn’t changed my spending because my January expenses were less than ever.

  2. One of my good friends just received his credit card rewards. I’m not a fan of a credit card, but when he told me about his rewards, now I’ve been thinking if I should apply for a credit card.

  3. I used to not care about travel rewards, but now that there are two of us using one card, we are able to get the bigger rewards like airline miles. We certainly care about it now more than ever and plan on churning cards once we get out of our past debts.

    • Adam Buller says:

      Yeah, definitely a good idea to get rid of the debt first. It does make a difference when there are two of you building them up doesn’t it.

  4. Kathy says:

    We had a GM card where we got points toward the purchase of GM automobiles. We did redeem those points on a couple of times and got a real benefit from them. But during the GM bankruptcy proceedings we had about $35,000 worth of stock/bonds stolen from us by the company and government and it was given to the unions in the form of ownership in the company. Because of that, we have decided we will never again buy a GM vehicle so we no longer use the card. Because it is the card we have had the longest, we are holding onto it because of credit score effect, but it is just in our safe deposit box. We now use a card where we simply get cash rewards from 1% to 3% depending on how it is used. So GM lost our business both on its credit card and vehicle sales.

    • Adam Buller says:

      That’s a big hit to take Kathy, sorry to hear that. I’m not surprised you don’t want anything to do with them again.

  5. I don’t love credit card rewards….although it’s certainly possible to utilize credit cards to get some nice perks, the temptation to over use and abuse credit is too great for me. I’d rather just keep cash in my wallet and make sure I stick to my budget.

  6. Ha – I love your line of thinking, Adam!! Wisdom all over the place on that one. 🙂 I agree with you about the CC rewards too. We haven’t gotten into the game, simply because I don’t want to take the risk. We have one rewards card, and use it mainly for Rick’s car for gas. It nets us a bit over $100 a year in rewards for something we’d buy anyway, so it works out well for us.

    • Adam Buller says:

      Yeah as much as we’re not as into them here in the UK Laurie I do have some friends who use theirs to do their weekly shop and they manage to build up some decent rewards just from that. Not too sure about the wisdom of my thoughts, wish I could stop thinking at times! 🙂

  7. You know, I don’t really remember hearing a thing about rewards card when I lived over there from 2010-11, and I feel like there are offers just everywhere in the US – almost everyone seems to have some sort of rewards card.

    I’m getting closer and closer to churning rewards cards, but it still makes me a little nervous. Maybe as a way to fun FinCon for (almost) free?

  8. Scott says:

    I like rewards cards, but not enough to do what a lot of other rewards fanatics are willing to do. It’s hard enough to manage all of my finances without having to remember to cancel cards or pay off the balance to avoid the interest.

    • Adam Buller says:

      There is certainly a risk of things getting out of control if you’re not careful, better to be safe than sorry.

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