Credit Cards with rewards, are they worth it?

I’ve seen a bit of chat in the Tandem feedback thread about cashback and Amex cards etc. Are they actually worth having?

I don’t really understand all the schemes and what Avios points etc are worth but for normal day to day spending do you get enough points to make them worthwhile?

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100% yes.

Why would you not? Providing you aren’t in financial trouble, are responsible with your spending and don’t need the analysis tools that Monzo offer - I see no reason why people would not want to get something for nothing?

With the sign up bonus from Amex on certain cards, and a few years of continued spending - I saved £1,500 on flights (family of 4 to Lanzarote).

Even things like the Tesco credit card which you can cash in for trips out with kids etc are better than putting everything though on a debit card.

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Free money, what’s not to like?

The Costco Amex has 1-3% cashback depending on where you use it. I just got a cheque for £275!

I use the Amazon card just for bonus spending whenever I buy from amazon. It also provides points for everyday spending which can be used on amazon. It’s a money saver working in the background.

I am surprised they post cheques. Wouldn’t it be easier for them to add the money to your CC account?:joy:

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Writing a cheque is easier than making punched cards I guess. :joy:

For me the answer is no; to get substantial cashback/rewards you have to put pretty much all your spending on the card which makes Monzo’s (or other modern bank’s) budgeting tools useless and could cause you to miss a payment (so fees, etc) or overall not manage your money well (so even though you get “free” money you end up spending more than you should).

For me the budgeting tools of Monzo are worth way more than a few hundred quid a year.

I’d like to add, even if you think it’s free money because you are good at finances and always pay on time & don’t incur fees, doesn’t mean everyone else is the same. Screaming “get a rewards/cashback card it’s free money” could be counterproductive as a lot of people will listen to the advice, get such a card but then fall behind on the payments or get caught off guard by fees on things like foreign transactions, etc (those fees actually make the whole “free money” thing sustainable).

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I think you are right @anon23935806. If this kind of reward schemes work for legacy banks, it means that they probably don’t work for the users. Those who are good with money will get their freebies, the rest will fall in the trap of fees, missed payments and debt. :grimacing:

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I’ve got an amex but I’ve not used it since the Monzo current account came out and everything has been going through that as it’s much easier to keep track of the household spending.

Having said that I’m missing the cashback and might start moving spending back over.

I do seem to remember @tom mentioning in one of the talks about an integration with amex so you can see the transactions on Monzo but don’t know if anything will happen with that :neutral_face:

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I’ve been pulling back from credit cards for the last few years and have reached a point where I use them for specifics but never general stuff.

I don’t spend enough for the rewards to amount to much and it’s just easier to keep an eye on what’s going on this month rather than constantly checking what I’ll need to pay off next month.

I’ve just got a Tandem card for occasional use, or perhaps I’ll stick all the food on it and earn a bit more, but it’s never going to make me a lot.

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@anon23935806 that’s a really interesting insight!

Integrating third party card and accounts into Monzo is on my fantasy wish list, precisely for this reason. I pay my Amex balances via Monzo but the lack of granular detail does render any spending insight useless.

OT: I do think a hot coral Amex would be an interesting tie up for the two businesses, offering Monzo users an entry point to quality credit card provision and I expect there’d be a big behind the scenes business benefit from that sort of collaboration, plus an income stream for the market place. Monzo? What you say?!

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I just use Emma

I saved over £14,000 against buying 2 first class flights to Mumbai last year by using our points/AMEX 2-4-1s.

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It’s certainly not for everyone, and if you are someone who struggles to keep on top of things, I can see why the analysis offered from someone like Monzo is potentially better.

But for those who are comfortable managing their finances a little more manually (or using services like EMMA), it can save a huge amount of cash for things like air tickets.

Even the small day to day spend @Feathers, I just find that it all adds up, and before you know it you have enough points for another family holiday.

Integrating third party card and accounts into Monzo is on my fantasy wish list, precisely for this reason.

My concern with this is that the legacy systems may not support it completely. Sure, you can pull data from your legacy bank to Monzo, but what good does it do if that data is still 3 days out of date? For accurate budgeting you need transactions to arrive immediately, otherwise it’s useless.

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Not sure I fully agree if the purpose is to carry out meaningful spend, categorisation and saving analysis rather than real time budgeting. But yes, for the purpose of accurate budgeting, real time positions are essential.

WRT Amex specifically, I get instant notifications, often though not always on contactless payments too - depends on the merchant and payment processor. My Amex account is updated with a list of transactions pending, (merchant, date and amount) with global balance updated within 24-36 hours.

Most of my spending is done with DD and bank transfers. I could potentially earn £50-£100 in cashback a year if I switched back to using AMEX card but I’m happy with my setup in Monzo. I don’t have to budget with Monzo as I’m always on top of exactly what I’ve spent and where my money is going, the same can not be said when I’m using a credit card, I don’t get into trouble with it but I have to be more mindful of spending. I don’t need air miles or anything like that either. I only go on holiday once a year and probably save money flying somewhere within Europe than I would using air miles, upgrading seats and flying half way across the world

Are you all paying annual fees for these cards? Most of the Amex ones seem to carry around a £140 fee after a year, or is it a case of cancel after 12 months and find the next best deal?

I pay for my Amex plat because of the benefits I get -

  • worldwide travel insurance for me and 5 supplementary card holders plus their families (I used to give one to my parents who travelled a lot and travel insurance for over 65s is very expensive). Claims on this have regularly covered the annual cost of the card
  • CDW cover on hire cars - the insurance on hire cars is often as much as the hire itself
  • my BA Premium card is zero cost to me (but this is no longer available) (it costs £195 normally)
  • unlimited Lounge access for me, my partner and 2 guests
  • status in many hotel and hire care schemes - free breakfasts, late checkouts etc
  • a few others

So if you travel a lot it is worth the cost.

I too have saved thousands on business or first tickets through my BA Premium card, spend 10k and you get a voucher that effectively doubles your Avios.

If you do want the plat, drop me a PM cos there is a referral deal that gets you more rewards points than you would otherwise get and I get a kickback too.

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From what I understand the best rewards are for the airmiles cards but I’ve never really put the effort in to understand how to make the most of them.

I prefer straight cashback which is simple to understand and compare across cards. I used to use my Amex for everything but since they cut the cashback rates I only use it for their special cashback offers (which it’s definitely worth having an Amex for).

There’s definitely something to be said for the spending data that Monzo gives you (which is why I’d love a Monzo credit card!) but if you can manage your money it really is money for old rope as long as you’re not buying stuff that you otherwise wouldn’t be.

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My platinum card is free. I used to (gladly!) pay £25 for the old platinum when it had better cashback but it’s no longer cost effective for me.