There’s No Difference – The Rewards Are the Same

Last week I visited Bank of America to refill my very empty wallet, and the teller I approached began talking to me and eventually got around to asking if I wanted to apply for a Cash Rewards credit card.

‘Well,’ I figured, ‘Why not?’

In a couple of minutes I was seated with a banker who pulled out a three-fold brochure comparing the types of credit cards Bank of America offers. The first two were the Power Rewards card and the Cash Rewards card. I examined the comparison charts trying to figure out how one might be better than the other.

For the Power Rewards card, you earn one point for every dollar spent. (Right now there’s a promotion where customers get up to five times as many points up until the end of June.) There are a number of options to choose from in redeeming rewards, but redemption starts at 2,500 points, which gets you $25. (Assuming you’re not using the card during any promotional period, you have to spend $2,500 before getting $25).

The Cash Rewards card gives customers cash back on every purchase. For the first few months you get 3% cash back, and after that you get 1% cash back. As an incentive, if you earn $300 in cash back before you start redeeming the cash rewards, you get an extra $25.

If someone were to spend $100 using the Cash Rewards card, that person would get $1 in cash back. If a person spent $2,500, they would get $25. Before ever getting around to acquiring $300 in cash back, a person would have to spend $30,000. (A person working at minimum wage doesn’t even make that much money a year!)

With the unique promotions of each card aside, both credit cards yield the exact same cash rewards, and even before a person can qualify for money back, the person has to spend 100 times more.

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