Ever feel overwhelmed by all the credit card offers you receive in the mail? I know I am. Last week alone, I received three credit card mailings at home, plus many more since the beginning of 2014.
It’s clear as the economy recovers that credit card companies are once again ready to extend attractive offers like these:
“15,000 Membership Reward Points … $0 introductory annual fee for the first year.”
“3 bonus points per dollar spent on selected purchases through December 15, 2014.*”
“Earn 30,000 bonus points … see details inside.”
“1% cash back everywhere, every time…2% cash back on groceries…3% cash back on gas. See inside for details.”
When you see words like “details inside” or those pesky little asterisks tied to credit card offers, it’s important to be aware of what you’re actually getting to be sure it’s what you think it is.
Most credit card reward offers you receive never show you exactly what you can get for the points you earn in the mailing itself. They typically wait until the card is issued and then include a “reward chart” showing the value of your points. What you’ll sometimes see is the redemption levels required to reach certain rewards can be high, meaning your points may not be worth as much as you'd hoped.
Recently, I saw an offer for 3 points on all gas purchases. When looking closer at the disclosure for the offer, there was a requirement to “opt in” to the promotion and it was tied to a one-month window of time to earn the points.
We also see no annual fee promoted all the time. Whereas the one described above is pretty clear that it’s “$0 introductory annual fee for the first year,” many cards aren’t as up-front and you’ll end up seeing fees of up to $85 or more the second year and beyond.
We encourage our policyholders to look closely at offers and be wary of those that appear too good to be true – they usually are.
If you're considering a business card we invite you to check out our MilesAway® MasterCard® that offers no annual fee with rich, honest and upfront rewards.