Your home decor, clothing and car bumper already announce you as a fan of your team – so why shouldn’t your credit card?
There are plenty of options for getting a card emblazoned with your team’s logo. Even better, many of these cards offer some rewards as well, from cash back, to apparel discounts, to meet-and-greets with your favorite players.
Take a closer look at your options by using our table below (all cards listed can be customized with your favorite team) – and read on for some guidance in finding a card that duly rewards your loyalty.
|Credit cards for sports fans|
|Rewards earned||Redemption options||Other perks||Annual fee|
|NFL Extra Points from Barclaycard||2 points per $1 on NFL or team purchases - eligible game tickets, in-stadium and team pro shop purchases|
1 point/$1 on other purchases
|1 percent cash-back statements starting at 2,500 points|
Merchandise (such as a team jersey for 12,000 points)
Exclusive experiences (such as 2 Super Bowl tickets for 200,000 points)
|0% financing for game tickets for 6 cycles from the purchase date|
20% off at NFLShop.com
|MLB BankAmericard from Bank of America||3% back on gas (first $1,500 each quarter)|
2% back at grocery stores (first $1,500 each quarter)
1% back on other purchases
|Cash back into Bank of America account or statement credit||None|
|MLB Extra Bases card from Bank of America||1 point/$1||Tickets (5,000-6,000 points)|
Special MLB-related experiences
Memorabilia (such as autographed photos starting at 1,000 points)
Cash back (value ranges from 0.5 cents/point to 1 cent/point, depending on amount redeemed)
|PGA Tour Cash Rewards card from Bank of America||3% back on gas|
2% back at grocery stores
1% back on other purchases
|Cash back into Bank of America account or statement credit||2 tickets to the PGA Tour event of your choice (after $75 in purchases in first 90 days)|
Perks at TPC golf courses (discounted green fees, ability to bring up to 3 guests, discount at shops and more)
|NBA American Express card from BBVA Compass||5X points on all purchases during NBA All-Star Weekend and 2 weeks of NBA Finals|
3x points on qualifying NBA tickets, in-stadium purchases and NBAStore.com
2x points at supermarkets and gas stations
1 point on everything else
|Cash-back statement credits|
Products (merchandise, clothing) starting at 2,500
Perks: Pizza for family on game night or new TV
Privileges: face-to-face meeting with players (for 1 million points), VIP experiences at game (for 500,000 points)
|20% discount at NBAStore.com in the form of a statement credit||$50|
|NHL credit card from Discover||5% cash back in rotating categories|
1% cash back on other purchases
|Statement credit or deposit into bank account|
Pay with points on Amazon.com
|10% off at NHL.com||None|
A good play?
As with all credit cards, you’ll want to ask yourself how easy it is to rack up points – and how easy they’ll be to use. One-on-one time with your favorite player might be an exciting prospect, but how long will it take you to rack up the hundreds of thousands of points needed to do so?
Luckily, a lot of sports cards offer some more realistic redemption options to balance out the more lofty ones. For example, the BBVA Compass NBA card lets you redeem for some once-in-a-lifetime experiences – but also for cash back and pizza on game night. And the NFL Extra Points card has some lower-hanging fruit (apparel and cash back) for those who will never earn enough points for Super Bowl tickets.
These cards also generally offer some unique discounts and perks that fans will enjoy using. The PGA Tour Cash Rewards card offers avid golfers some VIP-treatment, for example. Meanwhile, the NHL card is basically identical to the Discover it cash-back card, except for the fact that it also offers discounts on NHL.com. In fact, several of the cards above offer online pro shop discounts of up to 20 percent, a bonus for those already outfitting their entire family in team apparel.
However, logically and mathematically breaking down these cards’ value may be beside the point. These cards are for fans, after all. The MLB Extra Bases card, for example, lets Milwaukee Brewers fans cash in 15,000 to hold the finish line during the time-honored sausage race at Miller Park:
Fifteen thousand points could be worth $150 cash back with another card. But for a fan, such a unique experience could be priceless.
More flexible options for more casual fans
If you like sports but aren’t rabidly devoted to any particular team, check out these more traditional rewards cards. They’ll let you enjoy the occasional game game or unique sports-related experience — but their suites of rewards also offer a competitive value on travel and other redemption options.
Citi credit cards
If you go for one of the cards in Citi’s ThankYou program (the ThankYou Preferred, ThankYou Premier or the Citi Prestige), you’ll earn double points on “entertainment” expenses, a broad category that includes professional and semi-professional sporting events.
Most Citi credit cards, meanwhile, get you access to the Private Pass program. It’s a special portal that allows cardholders into online pre-sales for sporting events, as well as into VIP events. In the past some special offers have included a three-for-one deal on tickets for Mets home games, discounts on Football ProCamps and VIP luncheons with players.
Cards from American Express (a CreditCardForum advertising partner)
American Express cardholders have access to the Membership Experiences portal, which, like Citi’s program, includes pre-sales and special experiences. Membership Experiences has a lot of options for fans whose tastes lie outside the American mainstream. Options for summer 2015, for example, include special packages for Wimbledon, softball games and minor league baseball games.
Most American Express credit and charge cards get you access to the program. If you’re looking for a no-annual fee card that gives extra cash back on regular daily expenses, consider the Blue Cash Everyday card.
Want higher-level perks and travel rewards? Take a look at the Premier Rewards Gold.
Updated August 1, 2016