The Most Unusual Credit Card Bonus Categories

Feb 22, 2019

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Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available. View the current offers here – Citi Premier® Card

This page includes information about the Discover it Cash Back that is not currently available on The Points Guy and may be out of date.

The travel rewards card market is undergoing a major shake-up, and it’s great for consumers. With a load of recent card launches and updates, issuers are feeling the pressure to become more creative with their offerings. Besides adding perks, such as retail shopping credits, dining credits, automatic top-tier elite status and increased earning rates for certain spend categories, some issuers have been introducing entirely new bonus categories.

It’s now possible to earn bonus points on a lot more than just travel and dining. Here’s a rundown of the most unique bonus categories and earning schemes in the market. For this post, we’ll focus on personal cards as small business owners have access to different bonus categories.

Round up to the Nearest 10 Points

The Citi Rewards+® Card and Citi Rewards+℠ Student Card offer a first-of-its-kind bonus multiplier in which earnings on all purchases are rounded up to the nearest 10 ThankYou points. So, paying 25 cents for a parking meter will earn 10 points instead of just 1, and paying $12.99 for a month of Netflix will earn 20 points instead of 13. This is especially useful for those who make a lot of small purchases as it guarantees a minimum of 10 points on every purchase and there’s no cap to the bonus. 

The information for the Citi Rewards+ Student Card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.          

These no annual fee cards also earn 2x ThankYou points at supermarkets and gas stations for the first $6,000 per calendar year (1x ThankYou points thereafter) so those purchases earn a minimum of 20 points. Even better, you’ll get 10% of your points back for the first 100,000 points redeemed per calendar year, so in reality the earning rates are slightly higher. Plus new cardholders of the Citi Rewards+ Card get a sign-up bonus of 15,000 points after spending $1,000 on purchases in the first three months.

These points on their own are worth one cent apiece, but if you carry the Citi Prestige or the Citi Premier® Card, you can convert them into full-fledged Citi ThankYou pointsworth 1.7 cents apiece based on TPG’s valuations. The information for the Citi Prestige has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

5% Back in Rotating Categories

The no-annual fee Chase Freedom and Discover it Cash Back cards both offer 5% cash-back in rotating categories each quarter upon enrollment and up to a $1,500 quarterly max in purchases. Plus, 1% cash back on all other purchases. The categories vary slightly between the two cards, but often include purchases made at gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants and Amazon.

The Chase Freedom (No longer open to new applicants) offers greater maximization potential on the long run as rewards could be converted into full-fledged Ultimate Rewards points if you have a card like the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card or Chase Sapphire Reserve. However, Discover will match cash back on all purchases during your first year of card membership so you’ll effectively be earning 10% back on bonus category purchases in year one with the Discover it Cash Back, which is amazing.

Bonus Points on Streaming Services

(Photo by Hero Images/Getty Images)
(Photo by Hero Images/Getty Images)

There are several other cards such as the  Citi Premier® Card, Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card and Sony Card from Capital One which offer 2x Citi ThankYou points, 4% cash back and 5x Sony Rewards points respectively for entertainment purchases such as concert tickets, as well as streaming services. The information for the Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

There’s also the Uber Visa Card, which offers 2% cash back on all online purchases, including streaming services, but with that rate of return it’d be better to use a card like the Citi® Double Cash Card, which offers 2% cash back on all purchases (1% when you buy, plus 1% as you pay) — not just streaming.

Bottom Line

It goes without saying that bonus categories are more diverse than ever before. However, the bonus earning opportunities don’t end there. You may be able to earn extra points for purchases that don’t fall under one of these categories by taking advantage of Amex Offers and Chase Offers, as well as other limited-time promotions.

Featured image by Hero Images / Getty Images.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

WELCOME OFFER: 80,000 Points

TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $1,650

CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 2X points on all travel and dining, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners

*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.

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More Things to Know
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. Plus earn up to $50 in statement credits towards grocery store purchases within your first year of account opening.
  • Earn 2X points on dining including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out and travel. Plus, earn 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,000 toward travel.
  • With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories.
  • Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on eligible orders over $12 for a minimum of one year with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
  • Get up to $60 back on an eligible Peloton Digital or All-Access Membership through 12/31/2021, and get full access to their workout library through the Peloton app, including cardio, running, strength, yoga, and more. Take classes using a phone, tablet, or TV. No fitness equipment is required.
Regular APR
15.99%-22.99% Variable
Annual Fee
$95
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good

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