Published: December 11, 2019 | Updated: January 27, 2020 | Posted by: Venus Zoleta | Credit Card
Earning and redeeming rewards for purchases is undeniably the most exciting part of using a credit card. Who doesn’t want to get rewarded and save money while spending? It’s most likely the reason you’re considering to apply for a rewards credit card.
But what are rewards credit cards, really? Are they worth it? This guide answers these questions and more about credit cards with rewards points in the Philippines.
Rewards credit cards are cards that provide incentives for frequent use. The more you use a rewards credit card, the higher the value of rewards you can qualify for.
Note, however, that rewards credit cards are different from rewards cards. Although both cards allow earning and redeeming points, they aren’t the same things.
Rewards cards such as SM Advantage Card and Laking National Card are issued by businesses to their loyal customers, which is why they’re also called loyalty cards. If you have one, you can let your family and friends use your card, so you can earn more points.
In contrast, rewards credit cards are issued by banks to approved credit card applicants. Points earned from these credit cards are non-transferrable, meaning only the cardholder—and nobody else—can use the card.
Credit card providers offer their own rewards program to entice their customers to use their cards more. This is how it works: Each time a qualifying purchase is charged to a rewards credit card, the cardholder automatically earns a rewards point.
In the Philippines, each reward point on credit cards is typically worth about PHP 20 to PHP 200. But the actual rewards rate varies per issuing bank and the spending category (e.g., shopping, dining, travel, groceries, online, overseas, etc.). For instance, some rewards credit cards offer the same rewards rate across all kinds of purchases, while others allow earning higher or lower points on certain spending categories.
Using a rewards credit card more frequently, especially for higher-value purchases (e.g., flights, gadgets, appliances, furniture, etc.), earns more points than smaller-value purchases such as groceries.
Certain transactions, such as cash advances and casino/gambling, don’t earn rewards points. Payments for credit card fees and charges don’t earn points, too.
Points earned on most rewards credit cards in the Philippines don’t expire, while points on a few cards are valid for up to two or three years.
Read more: Credit Card Rewards: When Do Points Expire?
The rewards points redemption process varies per credit card provider, as banks have their own rules and set a certain number of points for redeeming a particular reward.
Once sufficient points are accumulated, the cardholder can use them in exchange for benefits such as gift certificates, vouchers, cash rebates, air miles, merchandise, annual fee waivers, charity donations, and more.
Cardholders can view their points and choose their desired rewards online through the issuing bank’s website. Redemption can also be done online or through the bank’s customer service hotline.
Typically, only cardholders in good credit standing are allowed to redeem points. Those who max out their credit limit and fail to pay at least their minimum balance aren’t likely to qualify for points redemption. On top of that, instead of receiving rewards, they end up paying interest on the outstanding balance.
The concept of getting rewards for purchases made through a credit card sounds great, but it won’t work for everyone. A rewards credit card may be something you want, but you don’t probably need it.
Getting a rewards credit card is the right option for you under the following circumstances:
On the other hand, rewards credit cards might not be for you for the following reasons:
Here are the best credit cards with rewards based on how quick cardholders can earn points and how affordable it is to own a card (i.e., low or no annual fees). Remember that the best rewards credit card for you will still depend on your lifestyle, spending habits, and preferred rewards and extra perks, among other factors.
HSBC’s Accelerated Rewards program is among those that offer the most generous credit card rewards. Every PHP 20 charged to the HSBC Red Mastercard on a wide range of spending categories earns not just 1 but 4 bonus points.
Bonus points collected through the use of the Red Mastercard are valid up to three years and can be exchanged for gift certificates, special items, or air miles. To redeem points, cardholders must submit an accomplished online redemption form via the HSBC Philippines website.
To sweeten the deal for new cardholders, HSBC offers two choices of rewards as welcome gifts: no annual fee for life (valid until December 31, 2019) and free PHP 2,000 Lazada e-voucher (valid until February 15, 2020).
With Citibank’s rewards credit card, it’s quick to rack up points that can be redeemed for gift cards, merchandise items, free flights, or free hotel accommodations. You may even use your points to pay for purchases at Citibank’s partner merchants.
If you apply and get approved for a Citi Rewards Card until February 29, 2020, you’ll be entitled to Citibank’s No Annual Fee Forever promo (1).
One of the best rewards credit cards for women, the Metrobank Femme Signature Visa comes with not just a generous rewards program but also many exclusive perks for female cardholders who frequently travel abroad.
Points earned through the Femme Signature Visa can be redeemed for air miles or premium items from the Metrobank rewards catalog. Cardholders also have the option to use their rewards points to donate to ICanServe Foundation, an NGO that supports women with breast cancer.
The Metrobank Titanium Mastercard rewards frequent shoppers with twice the points when it’s used to pay for transactions in department stores, in restaurants, and over the internet. For other spending categories, it’s still quick to accumulate points, as you need to spend only at least PHP 20 to earn a rewards point.
The Rewards Plus Visa is one of Metrobank’s newest rewards credit cards. It specifically caters to people who often spend on gadgets, telco services (e.g., Globe, Smart, Sun, PLDT Home, etc.), transportation services (e.g., Grab, Victory Liner, etc.), and automotive services (e.g., Toyota, Mitsubishi Motors, etc.).
Accumulated rewards points through the Metrobank Rewards Plus Visa can be redeemed for gift certificates, annual fee waivers, rebates, air miles, and charity donations. To redeem your rewards, you just have to call Metrobank’s customer service hotline.
Most rewards credit cards in the Philippines charge annual fees. The only exceptions are AUB Mastercard credit cards with no annual fees for life. Apart from saving money on annual fees, the AUB Easy or Classic Mastercard lets you earn rewards points fast—each point is worth only PHP 20.
Points can be redeemed for dining/shopping gift certificates, cash rebates, air miles, or travel vouchers through calling the AUB customer service hotline.
This Security Bank rewards credit card is one of the easiest cards to get for low-income earners in the Philippines. It’s also among the rewards credit cards that allow collecting points quickly, with only PHP 20 required spend to earn 1 point.
You can use your points to redeem special items, electronic gift certificates, or air miles. Redemption can be done through Security Bank’s website or customer service hotline.
Maybank Standard Mastercard’s attractive rewards rate and low annual fee make it one of the best rewards credit cards in the Philippines. Accumulated points can be redeemed for cash credits or air miles from AirAsia, Philippine Airlines, Cathay Pacific, or Singapore Airlines.
Not sure which credit card with rewards suits you? You can use the Moneymax comparison platform for free to compare different rewards credit cards in the Philippines. You can sort or filter results based on your income, cards from a specific provider, cards with low or no annual fee, and other search parameters. In doing so, you avoid making an impulsive choice and regretting your decision later on.
Source: (1) Citi Rewards Card No Annual Fee Forever Promo
Venus Zoleta is a personal finance writer who started investing and bought a home in her early 20s. This crazy cat mom works hard to feed her furbabies. She eats ramen like there’s no tomorrow. You can reach her on LinkedIn (bit.ly/2yFSlhE).