Statement credit vs gift cards or other rewards

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kdm31091
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Statement credit vs gift cards or other rewards

Postby kdm31091 » Sat Dec 26, 2015 8:27 am

I always used to get into arguments with people on other forums because cards like the Sallie Mae Mastercard (as an example, there are other cards with limited options) basically only had a statement credit redemption option (or a Upromise deposit or loan payment), and I would say I found that aspect kind of limiting. There was no option to get any "stuff" from the rewards such as gift cards, travel plans, etc.

Of course, redeeming for a statement credit for $25 is the same value as getting a $25 gift card. You aren't getting any extra value by getting a gift card. But, I don't know. To me, a $25 statement credit just doesn't feel very...rewarding or significant. In terms of erasing everyday purchases, $25 is nothing. It takes very little time to spend $25 on day to day purchases. But a $25 gift card to go buy something extra for yourself feels more like a "reward". I understand it's purely psychological, but who else tends to find statement credits somewhat underwhelming? I tend to feel more like I'm "getting something" out of my cards if the rewards give me a gift card. What do you guys think?


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Re: Statement credit vs gift cards or other rewards

Postby Vermonster » Sat Dec 26, 2015 9:58 am

Well for some cards a statement credit is not as good as a gift card.

For DC, you don't earn your 1% so you actually do miss out on some rewards. Now a $25 credit is not really that much, but it adds up.

For other cards, statement credits don't count towards minimum payments. so say you're carrying a balance on a 0% offer, and you take the $25 statement credit. You also have to make a min payment, so you could be out $50 that month instead of the $25 min payment.

I know a lot of it is semantics, but as you say, it limits your options.
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kdm31091
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Re: Statement credit vs gift cards or other rewards

Postby kdm31091 » Sat Dec 26, 2015 10:35 am

It's just kind of baffling sometimes. I have a Quicksilver, and one of the advantages that people tout (and I have mentioned too) is that you can redeem anytime, any amount. While that's certainly nicer than needless restrictions, how rewarding does a 0.71 statement credit really feel? Not even enough for a candy bar lol. So in practice, I end up saving up rewards anyway until I can get a decent value gift card or something. There's not much point in redeeming tiny amounts (to me anyway). Of course it comes down to preference, but I find that cards whose only option is statement credit aren't really too appealing.

On one hand it really annoys me that my Amex only allows me to redeem in $25 increments, but on the other hand, I don't tend to redeem lower anyway, so I guess it doesn't matter too much.

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Re: Statement credit vs gift cards or other rewards

Postby Tubpbs » Sat Dec 26, 2015 10:45 am

kdm31091 wrote:It's just kind of baffling sometimes. I have a Quicksilver, and one of the advantages that people tout (and I have mentioned too) is that you can redeem anytime, any amount. While that's certainly nicer than needless restrictions, how rewarding does a 0.71 statement credit really feel? Not even enough for a candy bar lol. So in practice, I end up saving up rewards anyway until I can get a decent value gift card or something. There's not much point in redeeming tiny amounts (to me anyway). Of course it comes down to preference, but I find that cards whose only option is statement credit aren't really too appealing.

On one hand it really annoys me that my Amex only allows me to redeem in $25 increments, but on the other hand, I don't tend to redeem lower anyway, so I guess it doesn't matter too much.



I would say direct deposit is my preference. Statement credit is not my favorite option and I'd rather do it most other ways. Unlike you though, I also don't find the idea of receiving a gift card to be that thrilling either. If it was a scenario where I would be paying $20 for a $25 gift card or something like that, that's more appealing, but I definitely feel the same way about a statement credit. It was already gone before you got it. It doesn't feel as good and something separate to spend more directly how you please.
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kdm31091
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Re: Statement credit vs gift cards or other rewards

Postby kdm31091 » Sat Dec 26, 2015 11:01 am

Some cards, like Discover, do boost your rewards when used for a gift card i.e. $20 in rewards for $25 GC. If you know where you want to spend the money, may as well get a boost in the process.

Direct deposit isn't a bad choice either. Along the same line as a gift card, you're receiving the money and can do what you want with it.

Statement credits...meh. Unless you build up a TON of rewards, it's hard to even really notice $25 taken off of your total balance for a month or whatever (plus as stated above, you still have to make a payment).

I guess to me I'd rather be saving my rewards for "something", not just $25 off of my everyday expenses. I'd rather get a gift card (or the direct deposit or a check) and go buy something special, go to a nice dinner, etc. Feels like more of a "reward". Everyone's different though. I just find it funny when people had cards like the Sallie Mae and basically refused to admit the lack of redemption options as being a shortcoming, instead just hyping the card for anyone who would listen. When I recommend cards to people, I make sure to note that while I like them, they have shortcomings just like any other product.

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Re: Statement credit vs gift cards or other rewards

Postby Tubpbs » Sat Dec 26, 2015 11:05 am

kdm31091 wrote:Some cards, like Discover, do boost your rewards when used for a gift card i.e. $20 in rewards for $25 GC. If you know where you want to spend the money, may as well get a boost in the process.

Direct deposit isn't a bad choice either. Along the same line as a gift card, you're receiving the money and can do what you want with it.

Statement credits...meh. Unless you build up a TON of rewards, it's hard to even really notice $25 taken off of your total balance for a month or whatever (plus as stated above, you still have to make a payment).

I guess to me I'd rather be saving my rewards for "something", not just $25 off of my everyday expenses. I'd rather get a gift card (or the direct deposit or a check) and go buy something special, go to a nice dinner, etc. Feels like more of a "reward". Everyone's different though.


Agreed. I also save up my cash back rewards well beyond the redemption threshold.
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Re: Statement credit vs gift cards or other rewards

Postby CarefulBuilder14 » Sat Dec 26, 2015 12:09 pm

I'm not bothered that I can't get cheap gift cards with Sallie Mae. Generally, I dislike dealing with gift cards, but will in limited circumstances. If I can't use the rewards with transfer partners, statement credits are fine.

Most gift cards seem impractical to me:

1. In some cases, I can use a credit card to get decent savings at a merchant. Discover's Home Depot portal cuts into the savings from Home Depot gift cards, and my in-store purchases are for small, inexpensive things.
2. My spending somewhere might decline before I'd use the gift cards in full. I almost redeemed Discover rewards for Chipotle gift cards before e. coli struck not far away. I'll go back...eventually.
3. I just might not make purchases at the merchant often.

I guess it's not really an issue for me, since a fairly small share of my spending earns cash/statement credit rewards.

If you want gift cards, you could always take the cash and buy gift cards over the internet...although those may come with a higher risk of the funds being stolen.
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Re: Statement credit vs gift cards or other rewards

Postby RewardsHunter17 » Sat Dec 26, 2015 11:45 pm

If I wanted to get a gift card, I'd rather just buy the gift card and get the cashback on my purchase.

Although, Discover is a pleasant exception because some of their gift cards can be purchased for a lower number of points.

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Statement credit vs gift cards or other rewards

Postby KennethHardy » Sun Dec 27, 2015 9:45 pm

Well for some cards a statement credit is not as good as a gift card.

For DC, you don't earn your 1% so you actually do miss out on some rewards. Now a $25 credit is not really that much, but it adds up.

For other cards, statement credits don't count towards minimum payments. so say you're carrying a balance on a 0% offer, and you take the $25 statement credit. You also have to make a min payment, so you could be out $50 that month instead of the $25 min payment.

I know a lot of it is semantics, but as you say, it limits your options.
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Re: Statement credit vs gift cards or other rewards

Postby augiedog » Sun Dec 27, 2015 10:56 pm

I like the statement credits more than gift cards. You can use the money wherever you want and you're not restricted by terms of the gift card. Plus all the hassle of redeeming gift cards, putting them in your wallet, or storing them in your phone.

Although, direct deposits are even more exciting because I get to see the money in my checking account for a short amount of time!
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