BuyPower Card Review

Our rating

3 stars3/5

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See breakdown of this card’s rating

The BuyPower Card (formerly known as the GM Card) used to have some red tape that made it a less-than-stellar offer. But, after being taken over by Capital One (which bought HSBC’s U.S. credit card business in 2012), the card underwent some major changes in late-2013 that make it a better option for anyone interested in focusing their rewards on a new GM product.

Click here to apply for the BuyPower Card from Capital One

So what’s changed?

The card still has no annual fee and allows you to earn back a percentage of your spending, which you can then put toward an eligible new GM vehicle (retail purchase or lease).

You can earn:

  • 5% back on the first $5,000 in purchases every year
  • 2% back on all purchases the rest of the year without limit

Below are the major differences between the old GM Card and BuyPower Card:

BuyPower is now a World Elite MasterCard: That means it offers an array of additional benefits and protections beyond the perks offered by the issuer. Many of the World Elite MasterCard benefits are designed for travelers, and that’s fitting because the card (just like all Capital One cards) has no foreign transaction fees.

Here’s a run-down of some of them:World Elite MasterCard

  • Trip cancellation insurance: This coverage refunds any non-refundable purchases you’ve made for a trip (hotels, flights) if you have to cancel or end your trip early for a covered reason.
  • Luxury Hotel & Resorts program: For hotels in MasterCard’s portfolio, get complimentary room upgrades, late check-out, early check-in and free breakfast (availability permitting)
  • Discounts on limos: Get between 15 and 25 percent off on limo and chauffeured car services from participating companies.
  • Flight upgrades: You get discounts for certain airlines and itineraries and, sometimes, even complimentary seat upgrades.
  • Concierge service: Available 24/7, this service will help you with tasks and chores like finding hard-to-find items, plan travel and make reservations.

No more redemption limits: In the past, the GM Card had what were called “redemption allowances.” Only a certain amount of the rewards you earned could be used toward your car purchase. That ceiling was as low as $500 for some vehicles and went up to $3,000 for others.

The BuyPower Card has no such limits. You can redeem as many rewards as you earn, up to the full price of a new GM vehicle (if you’re so lucky).

Rewards do not expire: Previously, rewards expired seven years after they were earned. Coupled with the redemption allowances, this was a double hit for cardholders; if you maxed out your redemption allowance you would have to buy a new vehicle within seven years to take advantage of remaining rewards, otherwise they would be lost.

Now, rewards earned via the BuyPower Card never expire. So, even if you don’t plan on getting a new car for a while, you can simply bank your rewards as long as needed. This makes perfect sense for a long term, high value reward target like a new or used GM vehicle.BuyPower Card from Capital One

Cool new design: The previous traditional horizontal design of the original GM card has been rotated 90 degrees with a distinctive vertical design. The only other credit card on the market featuring this design ethic is the Virgin America card. The cobalt blue background is truly eye-catching and the silver MasterCard logo indicates that this is a special piece of plastic. Of course, you should choose a card based on more than good looks but luckily this card has looks and substance.

Other GM cards

In addition to the BuyPower credit card, Capital One offers one more option for consumers: The GM Extended Family Card. With the regular card, you can’t redeem you rewards in combination with an employee or supplier discount. The Extended Family card allows you to do that, although it also decreases the rewards earnings — you get a steady 1 percent back on all your purchases. The card does have a unique perk, though: If you don’t want to cash your rewards in for a car, you can get them as cash back in $50 increments.

For business owners, there’s another option: The GM Business Card. It gives 5 percent back on GM parts, accessories and service at GM dealers; 3 percent back at gas stations, restaurants and office supply stores and 1 percent back on everything else. It also offers a $100 statement credit if you spend $500 in the first three months. Rewards are good toward a new GM vehicle.

Is it a good deal?

There are a few other cards out there that offer a 5% cash back rebate structure on category spending that rotates each quarter (the Chase Freedom and some Discover it cards among them). In theory, you could get one of them and save up the cash back toward a new car. Yet, that 5 percent back is often tied to very specific and rotating categories, and the cash-back rate often falls to 1 percent after that. With the BuyPower card, you get 5 percent back on the first $5,000 you spend each year (on absolutely anything) and 2 percent after that. That’s a pretty strong weighted average cash back percentage for most people, but you would need to do the math for your own spending.

The card’s biggest potential drawback is that, as with many loyalty cards, the redemption options are pretty limited. The card is clearly meant for customers who have extreme brand loyalty to General Motors. Unless you have the Extended Family Card (which gives you the option for cash back), your points must be redeemed for a new GM vehicle. Change your mind about buying or leasing with GM? Your points are useless.

If you aren’t a fan of GM, you probably wouldn’t have this card in the first place, but make sure your budget can handle a new GM vehicle. Even if you spend $10,000 on the card per year, you’d have just about $1,750 after five years. That’s not enough to entirely cover the cost of a new vehicle, and probably not even the sales tax when you really crunch the numbers. So, if cost is a concern, you can certainly save money by forgoing the card altogether and buying a used car.

The bottom line: If you intend to buy a GM vehicle and nothing else will do, the BuyPower card can be an understandable choice, given the user-friendly changes to the program and a simple rewards structure that lets you stockpile cash back on all your purchases. With no more redemption ceilings and expiration dates on rewards, you can rack up enough points to get a significant discount on your dream car and wait until the right time to buy it. However, if you don’t anticipate sticking with GM for years to come, there are lots more flexible rewards cards on the market that will get you a nice return on your spending over the long term.

[Commercial] Capital One BuyPower Card TV Spot – Something Great from Avant Artists on Vimeo.

Why we gave it 3 out of 5 stars

We ranked this card based on our standards for co-branded loyalty cards, as points earned must be redeemed within GM.

Rewards earning rate: This card meets our standards for no-annual-fee cards by offering at least 1X on all spending and at least 2X in 2 bonus categories. With the BuyPower card, you get 5 percent on the first $5k spent each year and then 2 percent back.
Rewards value: This card meets our requirements by having a 1 percent (ie, 1 cent per “point”) return on spending.
Unique perks: The card doesn’t have any unique or extra consumer-friendly perks.
Fair annual fee: This card has no annual fee to “justify” each year.
Bonus opportunities: This card has no advertised sign-up bonus or any ways to earn rewards above advertised value.

The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

I was approved for this card with a high 500 low 600 credit score. Given a $2,000 limit. I attempted to make a $200 purchase and was declined. When i called up they informed me that the fraud alert had been triggered. However, they could not release the hold because the website i was purchasing from had a lot of fraud ( I explained that what they were saying was ridiculous and i’ve never had a credit card that could not release the hold once my identity was confirmed… they said, “sorry, but there is nothing we can do”.

Imagine I was stranded somewhere and needed to use my card… totally unacceptable. Cancelling it today.

GM loathes you! read on –
We currently have the GM card…soon to go in the trash. GM “generously” sent out a notice that in Feb 2016, they will Top Us Off from our $900 in GM points to $2900. Sounds good right!? I don’t see anyone touting that type of bonus with the BuyPower card.

However, and it is a BIG HOWEVER, when we went to the GMC dealer to look at purchasing a vehicle with our “massive” $2900 in GM points…they refuse to bargain on their prices AS IF they are a (now defunct) Saturn dealer! They would only come off the MSRP for a $40k+ vehicle by $1100…we tried multiple dealerships in 2 states. I know there is at least a $3000 holdback on that vehicle and they are NOT sharing it at all.

In addition, there were people coming in and buying the vehicle we wanted for $4000 less! But because we are not teachers, recently out of the military, Farm Bureau clients OR have a purple-polka-dot tail…we could not get any of the rebates they had available.

I do not plan on changing my career, my buying habits OR my tail to make GM happy. Our conclusion is that they DO NOT want business from politically-incorrect people like us.

We eventually got so disgusted that we even tried looking at FORD vehicles. Not only did a comparable Ford start at a base $4000 LESS than the GMC…as soon as we walked into the dealership they sliced another $3500 off of the MSRP BEFORE we even started talking about rebates! At that point we could not care less about the “bonus” points GM had offered to us. Ford knew how to earn MY business. As far as I am concerned, GM can take their points and shove them! As far as I can tell, FORD is giving rebates to EVERYONE.
GM we’ll see you at the NEXT bankruptcy!

Does any one know if the top off offers are still being received with this card after switching to Capital One. When is the top off offer expected for 2016?

Also, if yes, what is the earning you have to have for $1000, $2000 or $3000 offer? I know that used to be the case in past but the question is if anyone has received it with Capital One and if anyone received it in 2016 (this year)? Thanks

I have been a GM Card customer since GM introduced their card. That is several decades. Capital One GM card recently issued a new chipped card. I did not immediately activate the new card. When I attempted to use the current card I discovered that it had been deactivated by Capital One GM with out notification to me. Of course the new chipped card was not activated either. The deactivated card expiration date was 8 months in the future, was not compromised, and had a zero balance because it had been fully paid the previous month. This arrogant disregard for long time quality card holders is inexcusable. There are many other choices available. These people do not deserve your business.

I think this is a scam of some sorts. I did the exact same thing as TB. Signed up, endless loop of numbers, etc. I’ll be keeping a close eye on all my accounts etc. Hopefully, I didn’t make a monumental scam mistake. It’s odd as they seem to have a legit website, etc.

I agree with the first review completely. It is impossible to activate this card. All the numbers on the card just give you loops of advertisements and you can’t talk to anyone. The websites don’t work and terrible customer service.

This is the worst card experience I have ever had. I call to speak with customer service and I get an endless loop of advertisements, you’ve won this, take advantage of this, free trip to wherever on a cruise only pay $$$.I haven’t yet been able to talk to a single person in the months that I’ve had this card to get it activated. It’s a complete joke. I’ve wasted hours of my life trying to get this card sorted out it’s a waste of time. I am concerned that it’s actually a fraudulent card. I’ve already notified the authorities, and capital one that I suspect this is a fraudulent enterprise.all of this, after I submitted with perfect credit score and their unwillingness to activate the card because “they suspect fraudulent activity” then they asked me for tons of documentation the day then reject and expect more excessive documentation. None of the phone numbers work, the website and apps don’t work, the thing is a total cluster. Stay as far away from this card is possible. The only redeeming factor is that the car doesn’t need to be activated before you can start using the excellent world elite status MasterCard concierge service. That was the only reason I got this card to begin with. So… Whatever. Avoid this mistake,save the hours of your life and the headache. And just find a different card.

I just bought a new 2015 after being a gm card holder for over a decade. I was vertmy suprised that my earnings could not be used entirely on the purchase. I was duped.

Best super

Will my accumulated money from my Gm card transfer ?

I guess the ” no annual fee” is because they give $500 credit limits!!! Who needs that from a ” World Elite MasterCard”???

did the old gm card automatically convert to the new buypower card? thanks

Mine didn’t appear to…

When I log into earnings, it shows $4600, but still a $1000 max allowance for most vehicles, making this card essentially useless.

I still have redemption allowances per the rules on my GM card this year. I get top-off offers on occasion which are a good deal. The card by itself is great, especially with no annual fee.

This is actually a World Elite MasterCard. That comes with it’s own share of nice perks. And it’s one of the few World Elite MasterCards without an annual fee.

Thanks so much for pointing that out! The article has been updated.