What to Look Out For When Choosing a Rewards Card

What to look for when choosing a rewards card

Free e-gift certificates, merchandise items, and annual fee waivers as rewards? Why not?

Redeem different merchandise items, cash vouchers, air miles, and so much more. Here are some of the best rewards credit cards in the Philippines that you can choose from.

Credit Card Minimum Annual Income Requirement  Spending Category
Security Bank Classic Rewards Mastercard P180,000 Shopping
Metrobank Classic  P180,000 Shopping, Dining, and Utility
BPI Blue Mastercard P180,000 Shopping, Fuel, and Dining, 
HSBC Red Mastercard P200,000 Dining, Shopping, and Travel
Bank of Commerce Mastercard Classic P240,000 Shopping and Dining
Citi Rewards Card P250,000 

(if no credit card with other banks)

Dining, Shopping, and Travel
Citi Grab Card P250,000 

(if no credit card with other banks)

BDO Visa Gold P420,000 Dining, Entertainment, Shopping, and Travel
AUB Gold Mastercard P600,000 Dining, Shopping, and Travel
Citi Prestige Card  P1,000,000 Travel

But before applying for any of these rewards credit cards, it’s important to ask yourself these four important questions.

#1 Do you meet the rewards card minimum annual income requirement?

Rewards cards unlock perks, discounts, and exciting promos, depending on your lifestyle and spending habits. But before you get too excited about which items you want to redeem, first make sure you meet the minimum annual income requirement.

Thankfully, banks like Metrobank, Citi, BPI, Bank of Commerce, HSBC, and Security Bank offer entry-level rewards cards with low minimum annual income requirements ranging from P180,000 to P250,000.

Citi is less strict with applicants who already have credit cards from other banks. Their minimum annual income requirement is P180,000 if you’re applying for a rewards card or the Citi Grab card.

#2 What is the minimum spend to earn one reward point?

Rewards cards can be tricky, too. While it’s tempting to sign-up for generous free welcome e-gifts and vouchers, you might find yourself disappointed with the Rewards Catalogue where you only have limited choices once you’re already a cardholder.

Some rewards cards have low rate multipliers. You can earn 1 reward point for every P20, P30, or P35 spend depending on the card.

When applying for a rewards card, consider how much you need to spend in PHP to earn one reward point. The last thing you want to do is overspend just to accumulate points and redeem, say, a P1,000 gift certificate.

Unlike cashback credit cards that have a maximum cap on monthly rebates, most rewards cards don’t have a cap or limit on earned points. Most rewards points are non-expiring, too, helping you to redeem major items, like air miles or cash vouchers.

But it’s best to read the terms and conditions and manage your expectations regarding rewards points. For your reference, here’s a table of the peso equivalent per spend to earn 1 reward point.

Credit Card Earn 1 reward point every Peso spend
Citi Grab Card 1 = P30 

10x Citi Grab Points on all Grab spend, and 3x Citi Grab Points on dining, entertainment and online subscriptions

Citi Prestige Card  1 = P30 

5x points on shopping, dining and foreign currency spend here and abroad

Bank of Commerce Mastercard Classic 1 = 25 

5x rewards points on shopping and dining at participating establishments

HSBC Red Mastercard 1 = 20 

4x rewards points on dining, shopping, and overseas transactions

Citi Rewards Card 1 = P30 

3x rewards points on shopping and dining transactions

BDO Visa Gold 1 = P50
BPI Blue Mastercard 1 = P35
Security Bank Classic Rewards Mastercard 1 = P20
Metrobank Classic  1 = P20
AUB Gold Mastercard 1 = P20

#3 Does the rewards card match your lifestyle?

Before getting one, make sure your lifestyle and spending habits match what the rewards card is offering.

Are you a professional living in Metro Manila, spending a lot of time commuting? The Citi Grab card is a good option for you because it offers 10x rewards for all your Grab spending.

But if you see yourself buying a car in the next few months (or your company providing a service car), it won’t be as useful. Because by then, most of your expenses will be on fuel and toll fees.

The HSBC Red Mastercard rewards not only your dining, shopping, and online purchases. You can also earn a 3% rebate on your Caltex purchases, so this card makes it a good option for you.

If you’re a heavy spender and traveller, the Citi Prestige is a card that you can consider.

Check the spending categories that the card lets you earn reward points. If most of your expenses fall under those spending categories, it’ll be easier to go with that card and earn points much faster.

#4 What can you redeem from the rewards catalogue?

Before you submit your credit card application, don’t forget to take a look at the rewards catalogue.

Not all rewards catalogues are created equally. Most banks have tie-ups or partnerships with merchants and establishments, so ask yourself if those are the types of rewards you want to redeem once you have accumulated the points.

In one of our previous posts, we compared the Citi Rewards Card and the Security Bank Classic Rewards Mastercard.

Although the Citi Rewards Card offers 3x rewards on specific spending categories, we found out that the Security Bank Classic Rewards Catalogue has more relevant offers and options (gift certificates, merchandise items, vouchers, tour packages, and more) than the Citi Rewards Catalogue.

Ask yourself whether the items in the rewards catalogue are realistic, relevant, and useful items worth redeeming.

Choose the right rewards card, spend wisely, and earn rewards points. Let us know which among these rewards cards sound ideal for you in the comments section below.