Car Buying Articles

Automotive Credit Cards

Spend Now; Save on a New Car Later

  • GM Card

    GM Card

    With four credit cards, GM has the most options based on your preferences. | July 30, 2010

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In recent years, many credit card companies have begun to offer reward programs as a means of getting their members to use the card more frequently. The automotive world is no exception. These automotive-branded credit cards have rewards that can give you cash back on parts and maintenance and potentially cut a few thousand dollars off the purchase of a new car.

We've gathered a short list of the most prominent automotive credit cards. If you are loyal to one car company or plan on purchasing from a certain maker in the future, you may be able to save some money while making everyday purchases.

BMW Platinum Visa
The BMW Platinum Visa cardholder earns a point for every $2 spent and double points for gasoline purchases. Points can be redeemed for up to $5,000 off a new car lease or loan. If you already lease a BMW, you can redeem 10,000 BMW reward points for a $100 lease certificate. This certificate can be used to pay off additional lease miles or any excess wear and use charges. The points can also be used for maintenance or for BMW merchandise. There is no limit to the points you can earn.

GM Rewards Cards
The GM Card, issued by HSBC Bank, is the fastest way to earn rewards toward the purchase of a new vehicle. It gives you 5 percent earnings on all credit card purchases. You can exceed the 5 percent cap and earn bonus rewards if you shop at participating retailers. Once you're ready to buy a vehicle, you can use your points on eligible vehicles. There is, however, a limit to the points that can be redeemed. This can range from $1,000-$3,000 depending on the model. The good news is that GM allows you to combine this discount with the majority of incentives it offers.

GM also offers three other credit cards based on your preferences. For consumers who want to earn vehicle rewards and get cash back, there is the GM Flexible Earnings Card. The new car earnings are limited to 3 percent, but you can earn 1 percent cash back on your purchases. The GM Business Card from Chase is noteworthy because there is no limit on the redeemable points and they never expire. Lastly, the rewards earned from the GM Extended Family Card can be combined with GM employee/supplier discount programs.

Lexus Pursuits Visa
Lexus Pursuits Visa cardholders earn five points for every dollar spent when they use the card at the dealership, and 1.5 points everywhere else. The point value is 1 percent — which translates to $100 for every 10,000 points. The maximum number of points you can earn in a year is 200,000. Points can be used for service or the purchase of parts at a Lexus dealership. For those who wish to use points toward the purchase of a vehicle, cardholders can redeem up to 10 percent of the negotiated price.

Mini Platinum Visa
Minis are known for their many customization options, and the company's credit card is no exception. The graphic on the Mini Platinum Visa can be designed to match your vehicle or to sport any other color you want it to be. You earn a Mini Motoring point for every dollar spent. Car-related purchases such as gas, service (at a Mini dealership), car washes and even bridge and toll-road fees will accrue double points. The points can be redeemed in $50 increments, which translate to 5,000 points. Up to $5,000 in Mini Rewards can be used toward the purchase of a new Mini. Cardholders can earn an additional $5,000 back if they finance or lease with Mini Financial Services.

Subaru Platinum MasterCard
The Subaru Platinum MasterCard lets you earn 3 percent on eligible purchases — up to $500 per year. These "Subaru Rewards Dollars" can be used on parts, service and toward the purchase of a new, used or certified pre-owned Subaru. For every $100 in Subaru Dollars you earn, the company will send you a coupon in your next statement.

Toyota Rewards Visa
Toyota Rewards Visa cardholders get five points for every dollar spent at participating Toyota dealerships and one point everywhere else. The reward points are worth $100 for every 10,000 points you accumulate. These can be used at any Toyota dealership toward the purchase of a new or leased vehicle, parts, service, accessories and car rentals from Toyota Rent a Car. Although there is a 200,000-point limit on the points you can earn in a year, there is no limit to the points you can redeem.

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