If saving up rewards for a new car appeals to you more than saving up miles for a vacation, the Nissan Visa and Visa Signature cards (issued by Synchrony) may be of interest.
Because the rewards program is somewhat limited, however (and requires brand loyalty), be sure you know all the terms before you apply.
Earning and using rewards
With both versions of this card (neither of which charges an annual fee), you will earn:
- 5 points/dollar at Nissan and Infiniti retailers
- 5 points/dollar on gas
- 3 points/dollar at restaurants
- 1 point/dollar everywhere else that accepts Visa
You can redeem your rewards the following ways:
- At a Nissan or Infiniti dealership: Redemption options include purchase or lease of a new, certified pre-owned or used vehicle; service; parts; and accessories. Your points are worth 1 cent each when redeemed this way. You must redeem in person (not via Nissan or Infiniti dealership websites). The rewards you redeem will be deducted from your purchase amount at the point of sale.
- Cash-back: This is rewarded in the form of a statement credit on your card. Your points are worth half a cent when redeemed this way. You can redeem a maximum of $300 in statement credits per year.
Your card benefits will depend on whether you’re approved for the Visa or Visa Signature version. Generally, when issuers offer two versions of a card like this, those with better credit will be approved for the Visa Signature version.
The Visa Signature tier will have more robust benefits, but it’s up to the issuer to decide which of the many Signature-tier benefits it wants to offer. Other Visa Signature cards on the market offer: rental car coverage, extended warranty, price protection, purchase protection, lost-luggage reimbursement, trip-cancellation/interruption coverage, travel-accident insurance, travel emergency hotline, concierge service and roadside dispatch. Visa Signature cards also unlock additional perks at partner hotels by giving you access to the Visa Signature Luxury Hotel Collection.
Expect the regular Visa version to have a more basic suite of benefits (likely along with a lower credit limit). The card’s website doesn’t list which ones to expect, so check your benefits guide upon approval.
Neither card charges an annual fee.
Both charge a 3 percent foreign transaction fee on purchases made from merchants outside the U.S. The late-payment fee is $38.
Should you get the card?
If you don’t own a Nissan and aren’t sure whether you want one as your next vehicle, stop here: Don’t get this card. The redemption value for cash is far too low to even consider it unless you’re buying a Nissan.
If you have and/or plan to buy a car from a Nissan or Infiniti dealership, you might consider the card. But keep in mind the following caveat:
You must redeem for a Nissan vehicle OR parts/service at a dealer and never ever, ever for cash back. This card makes it obvious how Nissan wants you to redeem – for cars and services from them. While you can technically redeem for cash-back statement credits, you’ll be cutting your redemption value in half. You’re also limited to $300 in cash-back redemptions per year. And, by the way, to get that $300 cash back, you’d have to cash in 60,000 points. If cash back is what you want, there are plenty of other cards that give you way more than $300 cash back for 60,000 points, including:
Even if you know you want a Nissan vehicle, you still may be better off with a more flexible cash-back card – because you can simply buy the car and then pay yourself back in saved-up cash-back. However, if accruing Nissan-branded points that can’t be frittered away on anything else keeps you happy and motivated as you save up for a vehicle, then by all means, get the Nissan credit card and put it to work. It may also be a good choice (alongside your other cards) if you spend a lot on parts and repairs at Nissan dealerships with your current cars, since this card rewards 5X points per dollar.
Why we gave it 3 out of 5 stars
We ranked this card based on our standards for co-branded loyalty cards, as the primary advertised mode of redemption is with Nissan.
|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 Nissan card, you get 5X with Nissan retailers and on gas and 3X on dining.|
|Rewards value: To earn this star, a card must guarantee a redemption value of at least 1 cent per point for one of its redemption options. This card offers that with redemptions for Nissan cars and purchases at dealerships.|
|Unique perks: This card doesn’t have any unique perks beyond Visa’s suite of benefits.|
|Fair annual fee: This card has no annual fee, meaning you don’t have to worry about “earning back” a fee each year.|
|Bonus opportunities: There is no advertised sign-up bonus or redemption bonus for this card, nor does it offer opportunities to earn rewards above the advertised value.|