Since I pay off my credit card balances every month, I make almost all my purchases by credit card in order to get the rewards points. I’ve switched the primary card I use a few times looking for the best rewards program, and recently I noticed the promotion for the American Express TrueEarnings card at the Maui Costco:
- 3% back for gasoline
- 3% back for restaurants
- 2% back for travel
- 1% back for everything else
Rebates come in the form of an annual rebate certificate that you can exchange at Costco for cash or purchases, and there’s no annual fee provided that you have a Costco membership automatically billed to the card (you get 1% back on this, too). Going over my expenses over the past year, it looks like I’ll get a rebate of 1.5%. You can go to their online calculator to calculate your annual rebate.
Personally I like American Express. The one time someone compromised my card, I received a phone call and was able to resolve the issue with no hassles. Other card companies sometimes treat you like an accomplice in the crime and demand notarized sworn affidavits in order to reverse charges. I’ve also taken advantage of their automatic no-cost rental car insurance when I was involved in an accident in a rental years ago. While it wasn’t completely hassle-free, it was a good enough experience that I’d definitely recommend using your AmEx for renting a car. AmEx also offers extended warranty coverage up to 1 year on your purchases, which a friend of mine used when his stereo died 9 months after the original warranty ran out. That, combined with a good deal he found, allowed him to upgrade to a much better system for free.
Have you found a better deal in a rewards program? Let me know in the comments.