Still in the midst of the summer swelter, NFL players recently began reporting to their respective team’s training camp locations across the country. This means one thing: football is back! Fans of the college and professional game will have to wait a few more weeks for the real action to kick off, but that gives you time to game plan for not overspending this season.
According to Statista, a typical NFL ticket ran between $90-$110 in 2018. Factor in food, drinks, parking and price fluctuations, and you’re looking at a pricey gameday. Even if you prefer to watch at home, you still may want to buy team merchandise, premium TV packages and tailgate supplies throughout the season.
Here’s some good news: there are several credit card rewards that help you save on these expenses. Let’s go through our scouting report so you don’t take hits to your wallet.
Top cards for elite fans
Some of the most invested football fans around the country are season ticket holders. Those who want to purchase season tickets for home games will likely spend around four figures. Buying a season ticket package with a top-tier card can earn you tons of rewards points that you can use elsewhere.
After spending $4,000 on purchases in the first three months with the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, you’ll earn 60,000 bonus points which is the equivalent of $750 towards travel through the Chase portal . Additionally, you’ll earn 2x points on travel and dining around the world, which includes parking fees, hotels, transit and rideshare costs, with 1x points on all other purchases.
The travel allowance and easy-earning makes this a great fit for any football fan, and is the perfect excuse to finally make the trip to your bucket list game.
For die-hards who follow their team on the road, the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card should be your first option. You’ll earn 2x miles on all purchases and a generous 10x miles at hotels purchased through hotels.com/venture through Jan 2020. Offering a welcome bonus of 50,000 miles when spending $3,000 on purchases in your first three months, this Capital One card gives you a way to prep for week one when buying a season ticket package.
Cash back cards for tailgaters
Plenty of football fans around the country get just as fired up for the pregame festivities as they do for the game. Whether you’re headed to the stadium with a grill and a cooler, or preparing a feast at home, there are some cash back cards that will lead you to savings paydirt.
The Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card offers plenty of benefits for football fans. You’ll earn unlimited 4 percent cash back on dining and entertainment (including sporting events), 2 percent cash back at grocery stores and 1 percent on all other purchases. Cardholders will also be given a $300 bonus when spending $3,000 within their first three months, so you’ll want to come out strong in the first quarter.
Saving on food supplies is a necessity during football season, but the Savor also has a few trick plays up its sleeve. You’ll earn 8 percent cash back on tickets purchased through Vivid Seats all season long (through May 2020) and receive a monthly statement credit for a Postmates Unlimited membership (through December 2019) – two vendors that can be real difference makers come gametime.
With the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express, you’ll earn 3 percent cash back at U.S. supermarkets (up to $6,000 per year, then 1 percent), 2 percent cash back at U.S. gas stations and select U.S. department stores and 1 percent on other purchases. This card has a less lucrative welcome bonus than the other cards we’ve mentioned, but still gives you the chance to earn $150 after spending $1,000 in your first three months. A low maintenance option with solid all-around rewards makes this a go-to play for casual fans and families.
Fitting your style of fanhood
If you’re regularly flipping channels at home during the games, you surely don’t need to be told that VISA is the official sponsor of the NFL. Thanks to their partnership, you’ll be eligible to win various exclusive rewards, and may be able to customize your VISA card with the logo or colors of your favorite team.
In 2019, eight states passed bills to legalize sports betting, upping the nationwide total to ten (NV, DE, NJ, MS, WV, PA, RI, AK, NM and NY). If you’re a resident of one of these states and are looking for a little more action on the games, you’ll want a VISA, MasterCard or American Express card in your wallet. These providers have the most commonly accepted credit cards at online sportsbooks, so avoid the payment hassle to make wins feel sweeter and losses more bearable.
Build your rewards game plan
Maximizing the full fan experience can be expensive, but you can play the best defense with the right credit card usage. Victory in the credit cards game comes in preparing ahead of time. Every one of your decisions may not be perfect, but as Vince Lombardi once said, “Perfection is not attainable. But if we chase perfection, we can catch excellence.”