If you carry and spend on rewards credit cards – because really, why wouldn’t you? – 2018 might be an exciting year for your wallet. Banks and issuers have been recognizing consumer trends and listening to cardholder requests recently, making a number of changes to their products. This means that 2018 is slated to be a great year for credit card rewards.
Increased Cash Back
Cash back credit cards have always been an excellent choice. After all, you might as well earn something back on those things that you buy every day anyway. Depending on how you stack your rewards and which cards you carry, this can result in hundreds of dollars back each year, just for buying like you normally do.
It’s no wonder, then, that Americans love their rewards cards. In fact, a survey last year found that 40% of respondents preferred rewards (cash back, miles, etc.) over a lower interest rate or introductory APR offer. Consumers want to earn on their purchases, and banks are listening.
That’s why cash back rewards are expected to improve this year, as credit card companies (and even banks) boost their offerings as they vie to draw in new, loyal customers.
New Products Drum Up Competition
If credit card issuers didn’t already feel the competitive pinch to lasso in new customers, they will this year. A number of new credit card products offering cash back rewards are slated to hit the market in 2018. This presents consumers with even more choices for their wallets.
Take the new Hilton Honors American Express Ascend card, which just released last month. It replaces the old Hilton Honors Surpass card, offering many new perks. Now, cardholders will take advantage of no foreign transaction fees in addition to 12 points per dollar at Hilton properties, 6 points per dollar on everyday spending (groceries, gas, and restaurants), and 3 points per dollar everywhere else.
If you want to take it up another notch, the brand new Hilton Honors American Express Aspire card is a high-end product for the Platinum-carrying types. It does have a high annual fee (like the Platinum card, it charges $450 each year), but it also offers a number of excellent perks. For instance, cardholders will enjoy a $250 annual airline fee credit, a $250 Hilton resort statement credit, top-tier Hilton Diamond status, and Priority Pass Select membership.
A credit card market with exciting new products, and excellent rewards worth even a high annual fee, only benefit consumers. This drummed up competition will only serve to deliver even more offerings from issuers.
Credit Cards Match Your Lifestyle
Now more than ever, credit card products are catering to consumers’ individual lifestyles. Through personalized rewards categories and branded cards, cardholders can choose rewards that best suit them and their preferences.
This is evidenced by products like the Capital One Quicksilver card, which offers cardholders half-price subscriptions for their Spotify accounts. And last year, American Express made customers very happy by offering a $50 credit to Hulu for those cardholders who subscribe to the streaming service. On top of that, they added a $200 credit towards Uber ride-sharing services for their Platinum cardholders. Given the popularity of these benefits, we can expect them to continue and possibly even improve, moving into 2018.
On top of that, we are beginning to see more and more branded (or co-branded) credit card products that are company-specific. Take, for instance, the Uber Visa card, which is co-branded with Barclays. It offers cash back in multiple categories, as well as a sign-up bonus, credits for streaming services, and cell phone protection. Of course, cardholders can redeem their earned rewards in many ways, including the ability to put them toward their Uber account, even while on-the-go.
Not available just yet, the Starbucks Rewards Visa (through Chase) will be rolling out later this year. It will have a sign-up bonus in the form of Starbucks “star” rewards. Cardholders can then redeem for their favorite beverages, food, or merchandise.
While it isn’t an ideal credit card for the occasional coffee drinker, those who frequent the chain may find it to be a great way to earn – and spend – their rewards.
No Longer One Size Fits All
Rewards credit cards are evolving, alongside consumer spending and trends. As cardholders’ preferences change, we can expect issuers to continue offering improved rewards, better bonuses, and even introducing brand new products. The market is being flooded with excellent, rewards-based products that catch the eye of consumers. It’s no surprise, then, that this competition is resulting in some of the best offerings we’ve ever seen.
Rewards are no longer one-size-fits-all. Instead, we are seeing issuers alter and even create products that match consumers’ own spending habits and rewards redemption preferences. The trend shows no signs of slowing, either. We can expect 2018 to bring with it unparalleled rewards and the announcement of exciting new credit card products.
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Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.