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7 Ways You Lose Out On Credit Card Rewards

Friday, September 27, 2013 - 9:06 AM
From Credit.com:
The easiest way to rack up the most credit card rewards from spending is to take advantage of cards that offer bonuses for purchases from certain categories of merchants. These cards can offer anywhere from double rewards to 6x the points, miles, and cash back. For example, the Chase Ink Bold and Ink Plus cards offer five Ultimate Rewards points per dollar spent on office supplies and telecommunications services.

Yet, as exciting as it is to imagine your rewards multiplying, there is often a catch. Here are 7 ways that cardholders will fail to earn their bonus rewards:

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6
pearlbrownpearlbrown1,433 posts since
Nov 2, 2010
Rep Points: 6,255
1. Friday, September 27, 2013 - 11:40 AM
And #8 is when you get mixed up in this indecipherable "Thank You Points" rewards with Citibank, where you get one point per dollar spent, and you can cash it in on purchases from the listed online sellers (all expensive brands) at $1 of price matching 100 points, so 1%, or gift cards from certain stores at $1 of price matching 100 points, or 1%, or a a prepaid card, or credit against your bill, or a check.

What you can't find out until you try to cash it in, because the details are pages and pages down or links and links away, is that if you want a prepaid card, or credit against your account, or a check -- you do not get to cash it in at $1 of price matching 100 points! Even when you ask up front to the customer service people if you can get to cash in the rewards as credit to your account or for a check, they say yes, but make a point of not telling you that you only get 50¢ on the dollar for that -- even though you were already talking to them that the points in effect were a 1% cash back reward, and they say yes! Thus, where you thought you were getting a full 1% rewards, you were really getting only 1/2%! Unless you want to shop at some store you don't want and buy something you don't want and probably way overpriced.

This I found out last week, after running up what I thought was going to be $75 credit to my bill! 

I could have done better using one of my other cards -- and so, I feel shorted, cheated, especially since they chose to automatically covert my card from a regular cash-back reward card where I really would have gotten 1% (which is why I back then originally called customer service and asked about the points, as compared to the previous cash back rewards). 
3
me1004me1004370 posts since
Jan 16, 2010
Rep Points: 2,572
2. Friday, September 27, 2013 - 1:08 PM
ME1004:  Whew!  I thought I was the only one who felt there was a #8 like you described.  I have thousands of points just wasted because I refuse to spend all the money it takes to get back just a few dollars.  I don't even shop at the stores I would have to shop at or use all the restaurants they list to make the points worthwhile.  To me, it is all about getting us to spend more money just to think they are giving us the so called "rewards".  Not my type of game.  I save more than I can make on a Reward Card by just not spending all the money I would have to to use the points.  I would prefere them just taking a few dollars off of what I owe on my credit card but they won't.  I either play by their rules or I don't get to play.   Not my type of gimmick.   I prefere to find other ways to save money.
3
paoli2paoli21,372 posts since
Aug 10, 2011
Rep Points: 6,011
3. Friday, September 27, 2013 - 5:03 PM
You guys need Lake Michigan Credit Card. 3% off gas, 2% of groceries and 1% off everything else. When you get $50 call them. They will put the $50 in your checking account or on your credit card. Don't have to take a gift card or a debit card. 
4
Ally6770Ally6770912 posts since
Jan 16, 2010
Rep Points: 2,655
4. Friday, September 27, 2013 - 5:08 PM
Paoli2: If you are with Thank You Points via Citicard -- and maybe via anybody -- you can cash the points in for credit to your bill, or they will mail you a check. My point was that I was left to believe that what I would get back was going to be 1%, but I got only 0.5% when I tired to take it as credit against my bill -- because of tiny print maybe 10-15 page links away, and which shows up ONLY when you try to cash it in.

So, I was lured to make the purchases with that card (in fact, I partially paid for a car with it! I could have done better using a different card instead for that!), but then when I went to cash them in, I wasn't getting the 1% I was lured in with. 

I will say, I contested it with Citibank, and went up the ladder. All they did was point out an incredibly vague line in the disclosures that doesn't mean a **** thing, and say on the basis of what that says (or doesn't say), my complaint is misguided. (That line was even vaguer than the vague lines we/I have spoken about in other threads that are used to justify changing terms of the EWP for breaking CDs. That line they point to does NOT let a reader know what I am complaining about -- no one could guess it means this, as it basically means nothing.)

Citcaerd users: beware.
2
me1004me1004370 posts since
Jan 16, 2010
Rep Points: 2,572
5. Friday, September 27, 2013 - 5:21 PM
ME:   I have the AT&T Universal Platinum Card and I have asked them repeatedly if I can just get some cash for the points but they insist that is not the way my card works.  I either make the purchases listed on their webpage and get a small discount on what I buy or there is no other use for their points.  When I have more time, I may try to get one of those cards like Ally posted about.  That would be more useful to me.
3
paoli2paoli21,372 posts since
Aug 10, 2011
Rep Points: 6,011
6. Saturday, September 28, 2013 - 10:15 AM
Paoli2: that is the very card I was talking about. Yes, you can get a check (if you ask for cash, the idiots will say no, because they only know they offer a check!). Or a prepaid card (which I settled for), or credit to your account. The check or credit to your account effrectivley pays 1/2%, and the prepaird card effectively pays  2/3%. To get effectively 1%, you have to get a gift card for a particular merchant on their list or buy items from various merchants direct through the Website -- and definitely not at discounted prices.

I also note, their Website for it is nearly not navigatable -- and thus, you can't even find this info there. It is designed to hide it, nearly force you to buy online from the merchants. It is very difficult to find these other options.
3
me1004me1004370 posts since
Jan 16, 2010
Rep Points: 2,572
7. Saturday, September 28, 2013 - 10:32 AM
me1004  If the idiots don't know about the option for me to get a check or a prepaid card how can I convince them?  Is it written any place in their information which confirms what you wrote?  Thanks!
1
paoli2paoli21,372 posts since
Aug 10, 2011
Rep Points: 6,011
8. Saturday, September 28, 2013 - 11:19 AM
me1004:  I just got off phone with my credit card and they said my card has no option like what you wrote about.  They said the closest they have is with their "Thank You" card.  I spoke to their Citideals agent and he said the only thing they have available with my card where I don't have to spend money to get something is their "Auctions".  You can bid for an item and pay for it with your points.  I may try this to get rid of some or all of these useless points.  Has anyone here ever used their Citideals Auction with points?  Thanks.
2
paoli2paoli21,372 posts since
Aug 10, 2011
Rep Points: 6,011
9. Sunday, September 29, 2013 - 10:25 AM
Paoli2: Don't get me started about things Customer Service people at Citi say and assert as fact -- even people all the way up in the vice president's office! I learned a long time ago -- the horror, the horror -- that you cannot take ANYTHING at all that ANYONE at Citi says as being fact. You're on your own, buddy -- and they're out to get you. In fact, I have rarely gotten anything that is fact from anyone there. And this paragraph is the very short version, barely the tip of the iceberg -- don't get me started!

You can do it online. Log into your account. We are talking about a card that earns Thank You points. Thank You points has its own Website. Here is how to get cash or a prepaid card -- or whatever else. This took me plenty of time to find and figure out -- no thanks at all to customer service. My cards are supposed to arrive in the mail tomorrow:

Go to:

https://www.thankyou.com/gateway.jspx

At bottom left, click on "Redeem Rewards."

In the page that opens, click on "Shop All Categories."

In the page that opens, in the column at left, under "All Rewards," you can click on:

•Cash and Charity, and then on Cash

•Prepaid Cards

And then cash in as you chose.

 
3
me1004me1004370 posts since
Jan 16, 2010
Rep Points: 2,572
10. Sunday, September 29, 2013 - 10:56 AM
me1004:  You misunderstood my earlier post.  I do not have the "Thank You" card so I can't use it the way that card works .  Another agent on the citi-deals site told me I can use my card to bid on items on this auction they have and just use up the points that way.  After I get rid of all the points maybe I can cancel this card and get the Thank You card you are referring to.  Thank you for trying to help me anyway.
3
paoli2paoli21,372 posts since
Aug 10, 2011
Rep Points: 6,011
11. Sunday, September 29, 2013 - 3:13 PM
So, you're getting "points" but not "thank you points." OK. I don't know of other points they offer.

Still, I recommend checking online -- can't hurt, and you might find something they didn't tell you about.
2
me1004me1004370 posts since
Jan 16, 2010
Rep Points: 2,572
12. Sunday, September 29, 2013 - 4:45 PM
Everything I find online is about "Thank You" points and they are supposed to be different from the Platinum Card points.  For example, my card's points can be used on the Auctions.  I don't see anything about the Auctions on that site you sent.  They must be two different cards with different points.  If not, why do the cards have different names?
2
paoli2paoli21,372 posts since
Aug 10, 2011
Rep Points: 6,011
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