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- Credit card issuers are too caught up in quantity of benefits instead of focusing on quality.
- Cards like the Chase Sapphire Reserve® and Platinum Card® from American Express
potentially offer thousands of dollars in niche benefits.
- Many of these benefits have nothing to do with the average cardholder profile.
- Read Insider’s guide to the best rewards credit cards.
Banks have recently added a host of new features and benefits to their premium credit cards. A few of them are valuable, but in many cases they are incredibly specialized and not very useful.
For example, the Chase Sapphire Reserve® offers great perks that can save frequent travelers a lot of money. It also comes with benefits like these:
That’s $800 in theoretical value that revolves around ether. That you can capture it all is very quota.
Those of us with the Chase Sapphire Reserve® ($550 annual fee) opened the card for a very specific reason: we travel a lot and the card’s benefits save us hundreds of dollars every year in beyond what we pay in annual fees. anyone who doesn’t traveling often should not consider the card.
So when benefits are added to cards like this that do not necessarily correspond to the profile of a traveler, it’s weird. I seriously doubt that the prospect of meager Gopuff credit handed out each month is the deciding factor in whether or not someone opens that card – if they use the travel benefits, they will open it.
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Earn unlimited 3x points on restaurants, travel, gas stations, public transport, popular streaming services and phone plans. Earn 1x points on other purchases.
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Earn 3x ThankYou® points in restaurants and supermarkets. Earn 3x ThankYou® points at gas stations, air travel and hotels. Earn 1x ThankYou® points on all other purchases.
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Earn 5x points on all trips purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards. Earn 3X points on meals, including qualifying delivery services, takeout and restaurants. Earn 3x points on select streaming services. Earn 3x points on online grocery purchases (excluding Target, Walmart and wholesale clubs). Earn 2x points on other trips. Earn 1x point per dollar on everything else.
60,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 on purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
All this to say: credit card issuers, please stop investing in tiny untied perks and pool your resources to even one advantage that corresponds to the target audience of each card.
We focus here on the rewards and benefits that come with each card. These cards aren’t worth it if you’re paying interest or late fees. When using a credit card, it’s important to pay off your balance in full each month, make your payments on time, and only spend what you can afford.
Credit card issuers are caught up in quantity at the expense of quality
In addition to those offered by the Chase Sapphire Reserve®, here are a few other cards with peripheral benefits that have been popping up in the credit card world lately:
To be clear: credits like these are handy for some cardholders – but they just make the card look messy. I’d rather have a card with five amazing perks than a card with 12 cool perks. This for three reasons:
1. These niche advantages don’t inspire me to try new things
I have both the Platinum Card® from American Express and the Chase Sapphire Preferred® card. Their side benefits didn’t entice me to try anything I wasn’t already using:
- The annual $300 in Equinox credits that come with the Platinum Card® from American Express aren’t enough to enroll me in a fancy fitness club that charges thousands of dollars a year for most membership plans.
- Grocery delivery has to do with travel — so the six-month Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card Instacart+ subscription and up to $15 per quarter in Instacart credits (until Dec. 31, 2024) doesn’t help. than those who were already interested.
- The Platinum Card® from American Express with a $300 credit on a SoulCycle home bike reduces the cost of a bike to around $1,600 (when there’s a sale). Those expensive stationary bikes are a lifestyle I don’t live.
It’s also worth pointing out that, while technically geared towards travel, the Business Platinum Card® from American Express’ Wheels Up discounts probably doesn’t convince its average cardholder to kick the tires on a private jet charter.
2. The Structure of These Perks Makes Money Run Down the Dresser
Some cards offer perks that entice you to spend more than necessary. For example, the Platinum Card® from American Express comes with $12.95 monthly credits for Walmart+** membership. That’s an annual value of about $155 per year.
Walmart+ costs exactly $12.95 per month, which means you’ll get Walmart+ for free as long as you have the card. But if you pay annually instead of monthly, you’ll only pay $98. In other words, to get the free subscription, you will have to pay the (more expensive) monthly price.
It doesn’t make sense to me. Instead, Amex could forfeit the $12.95 monthly refund, give us $98 annual statement credit to Walmart+, and funnel the remaining $57 into another card benefit.
The card’s digital entertainment credit works the same way: you’ll receive up to $240 in annual credits (up to $20 per month) for subscriptions to Audible, Disney+, The Disney Bundle, ESPN+, Hulu, Peacock , SiriusXM and The New York Times. With a $20 credit, you can get two or three of these services for free each month. But if Amex made this credit an annual installment instead, you could get way more value. Paying annually for the above services is considerably cheaper than paying monthly.
3. These perks are often for high-paying services
If you’ve never used services like DoorDash, Instacart, Gopuff, etc., they’re loaded with fees. If nothing else, you are expected to tip the drivers after dropping off your items. You technically don’t have to do it, but you should.
In my experience, free subscriptions to these services along with monthly credits give you a tolerable delivery per month. After that, the services are too exorbitant to use on a regular basis.
If you’re the kind of cardholder who has spent some of your disposable income on the convenience of these apps, you’ll appreciate the benefits offered by Chase Sapphire Reserve®, Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card and others. .
At the end of the line
I wish banks would drop those niche benefits and focus their resources on giving us a single benefit that better fits the demographics of the card. I’d trade thousands of dollars in annual random perks for a really useful perk of still meager value — or a mere $50 reduction in annual fees, for that matter.
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