New and Unique Credit Card Rewards Programs

New and Unique Credit Card Rewards Programs

December 2, 2019         Written By Bill Hardekopf

Credit card rewards used to come in three basic forms: cash back, points or miles. But the credit card industry is extremely competitive, and issuers are always looking for a way to make their card stand above the rest. That is why consumers are now seeing some new and unique credit card rewards being offered, all of which gives them more choices as well as a way to adapt the rewards to their specific tastes.

Here are some of the more unique rewards that have been introduced in the past few years:

Rounded Up Rewards

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The Citi Rewards+℠ Card was introduced in January of this year. The card is unique in that it rounds up the rewards points earned with each purchase to the nearest 10. For instance, if a purchase qualifies for 15 points, that reward will be rounded up to 20 points. This occurs for every transaction, no matter how small. The card features 15,000 bonus points when cardholders spend $1,000 on the card during the first three months of membership. The card earns two points per $1 spent at gas stations and supermarkets, for the first $6,000 in annual purchases made in those categories. All other transactions earn one point per $1. Cardholders will also get back 10% of their rewards for the first 100,000 points redeemed each year. The Citi Rewards+℠ Card comes with a 0% introductory APR on purchases and balance transfers for the first 15 months and has an ongoing standard APR of 14.99% - 24.99% (Variable), depending on credit worthiness.

Global Entry and TSA Pre✓®

If you are a frequent flier, you know the hassle airport security lines can present. Credit card issuers realize this is a hot button with many travelers, and there are now a number of cards that offer Global Entry and TSA Pre✓®.

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The Bank of America® Premium Rewards® Visa® credit card gives up to $200 in combined airline incidental and TSA Pre✓®/ Global Entry statement credits. Cardholders receive 50,000 bonus points after making at least $3,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of opening an account which is a $500 value. Consumers earn two points for every $1 spent on travel and dining purchases, and an unlimited 1.5 points per $1 spent on all other purchases. There are no foreign transaction fees on this card which can result in significant savings when traveling to another country. There is a $95 annual fee on this card.

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The Capital One® Venture® Rewards card is another valuable travel card in which consumers receive up to a $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®. Cardholders earn 2X miles on every purchase. New applicants earn a one-time bonus of 50,000 miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $500 in travel. There are no foreign transaction fees on this card and the $95 annual fee is waived for the first year.

Pick Your Own Bonus Category

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The Bank of America® Cash Rewards Credit Card is an outstanding cash back card. What makes this card unique is the offer of 3% cash back on the category of your choice: gas, online shopping, dining, travel, home improvement/furnishings or drug stores. It also pays 2% on transactions made at grocery stores and wholesale clubs, and 1% cash back on all other purchases. These increased payouts are applicable on up to $2,500 in combined choice category/grocery store/wholesale club purchases each quarter. Cardholders can update their choice category for future purchases once each calendar month using the Mobile banking app or Online banking, or do nothing and the category stays the same. If you’re a Bank of America Preferred Rewards member, you can earn 25% – 75% more cash back on every purchase. New customers can earn a $200 online cash rewards bonus after spending $1,000 in the first 90 days of opening an account. In addition, new applicants will get 15 billing cycles of 0% APR on both new purchases and balance transfers. The balance transfers must be completed within 60 days of account opening, and a 3% balance transfer fee applies. The card has an APR ranging from 15.49% - 25.49% Variable APR on purchases, depending on your credit worthiness. The card has no annual fee.

VIP Experiences

Who doesn’t like to sometimes feel like the rich and famous? A number of credit card issuers give you the chance to purchase VIP experiences that are exclusive to their cardholders. In addition, the issuers typically give you the chance to pre-purchase tickets to concerts and sporting events. Some examples of this can be found with Citi Private Pass, Chase Experiences, Mastercard Priceless Cities and VIP Event Access with American Express.


About Bill Hardekopf

Bill Hardekopf is the CEO of and covers the credit card industry from all perspectives. Bill has been involved with personal finance for over 15 years. He is a frequent contributor to Forbes, The Street and The Christian Science Monitor.
View all posts by Bill Hardekopf
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