GM BuyPower Card from Capital One review

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Annual Fee:
$0
Purchase Intro APR:
0% intro on purchases for 12 months
Balance Transfer Intro APR:
0% intro on balance transfers for 12 months
Regular APR:
15.24% - 24.24% Variable APR
Terms and Restrictions Apply | Rates and Fees

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Best for those in the market for a GM-brand car

  • Rewards rate: 5 percent on up to $5,000 each year in purchases, thereafter 2 percent unlimited
  • Welcome offer: None
  • Annual fee: $0
  • Purchase intro APR: 0 percent for the first 12 months
  • Balance transfer intro APR: N/A
  • Regular APR: 15.24 percent to 24.24 percent variable

The GM BuyPower Card from Capital One is a card you’ll want to keep in your wallet if you’re in the market for a new car, particularly a car in the GM family. Every time you swipe your card, you’re making an indirect contribution toward the purchase of a future car through the accumulation of points.

With this review, we flesh out ways to earn points, how to redeem your points and whether the BuyPower card is worth your while. We also take a look to see how the GM BuyPower Card stacks up against other rewards cards.

Current welcome offer

While there isn’t a traditional welcome offer with this card, new cardholders can take advantage of the 0 percent introductory APR on purchases and for 12 months. This can save you several hundred dollars on your credit card bill if you aren’t paying off the full balance. It’s important to keep an eye on your statements, however, as the APR will revert to 15.24 percent to 24.24 percent variable based on your creditworthiness in month 13.

Rewards

The earnings program on this card is ultimately one of the major drawings for new cardholders. But unlike most rewards cards, cash back earned with the GM BuyPower Card can only be used on purchasing or leasing a GM car.

Earnings

Cardholders can earn 5 percent of the first $5,000 in net BuyPower Card purchases. This is over a calendar year, and purchases that exceed this amount earn account holders 2 percent. There is no limit to the earnings within a calendar year. It’s important to know that certain transactions are excluded, such as transferred balances and cash advances. It’s also worth knowing that these earnings can’t be combined with earnings from other GM cards.

Redeeming your earnings

Purchases

As a cardholder, you can choose to use your earnings toward the purchase or lease on a new car. The brands that qualify include Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac.

Statement credits

These credits can be redeemed on qualifying purchases of in-dealership items such as vehicle care and GM extras. You can redeem up to $250 in credits each year.

Benefits

While 5 percent earnings on qualifying spending up to $5,000 annually is great, the earning potential doesn’t end there. After the $5,000 cap, you still earn rewards, albeit at a reduced rate of 2 percent. To sweeten the deal even further, these earnings are unlimited. The GM BuyPower Card has a few other offers, too.

Add the bells and whistles

Not only do you have an opportunity to use your earnings toward the purchase or leasing of a new car, but you can also use those earnings to kit out your car with added extras, like Sirius XM Radio and other accessories.

Your earnings don’t expire

As long as your account is open and active, your earnings will remain until you use them.

Opportunity to combine offers

When you’re ready to buy, keep an eye out for participating dealerships that have existing offers.

Access to World Elite Mastercard® benefits

All GM BuyPower cardholders have access to these benefits, which include price protection, extended warranties, travel perks and access to events.

Rates and fees

The fees are fairly low on the GM BuyPower Card, especially with the $0 annual fee. There are also no transfer fees and no foreign transaction fees, making it a great option for everyday purchases at home and abroad.

This card becomes pretty pricey when you’re doing cash advances, as they’re charged at 3 percent with a minimum of $10. There is also a late payment fee of up to $38.

How the GM BuyPower Card from Capital One compare to other rewards cards

The GM BuyPower Card works much the same way as cash back cards. One key difference is that the cash back here is referred to as earnings, which can only be used for purchasing or leasing a GM car. Two other cards that have similar rewards rate are the Discover it® Cash Back and the Chase Freedom Unlimited®. While they offer similar benefits, the GM BuyPower card falls behind ever so slightly due to its higher APR range and lack of a welcome offer.

Features GM BuyPower Card from Capital One Discover it Cash Back Chase Freedom Unlimited
Annual fee $0 $0 $0
Intro APR 0%  intro APR on purchases for the first 12 months 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for the first 14 months 0% intro APR on purchases for the first 15 months
Regular APR 15.24% to 24.24% variable 11.99% to 22.99% variable 14.99% to 23.74% variable
Welcome offer None Cashback MatchTM Earn a $200 bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening
Rewards rate 5% on the first $5,000, 2% thereafter 5% on rotating categories on up to $1,500 in purchases each quarter, then 1% (activation required) 5% on travel purchased through Chase portal, 5% cash back on grocery store purchases (not including Target® or Walmart® purchases) on up to $12,000 spent in the first year, 3% on drugstore and dining, and 1.5% on everything else

Best cards to pair with GM BuyPower Card

While the GM BuyPower Card offers some travel benefits such as lost luggage insurance and the concierge service, avid travelers should consider travel rewards cards such as American Express® Gold Card, with its attractive welcome offer and access to VIP travel perks. While this doesn’t include lounge access, passes can be purchased at a decent rate.

Another card that pairs up well with the GM BuyPower card is the Citi® Diamond Preferred® card, which offers a 0 percent intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 18 months (14.74 percent to 24.74 percent variable APR thereafter). Just keep in mind the balance transfer fee of 3 percent or $5, whichever is greater.

Bankrate’s Take—Is GM BuyPower Card worth it?

If you’re eager to get behind the wheel of a Chevrolet, GMC, Cadillac or Buick in a few years, the GM BuyPower card will help get you there. A quick calculation shows that spending $10,000 in an annual card cycle will earn you $250 (5 percent of $5,000) and $100 (2 percent of $5,000). If you have the card for a few years before your car purchase, that can translate to substantial savings on the purchase.

If, however, you’re not in the market for a car, but you’d like a cash back card, then you’d be better off with the Discover it Cash Back, Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card or the Chase Freedom Unlimited.

Pros

  • No annual fee
  • 0 percent introductory APR on purchases for the first 12 months (15.24 percent to 24.24 percent variable APR thereafter)
  • 5 percent earnings on up to $5,000 per annual card cycle and 2 percent after that
  • Access to the World Elite Mastercard program

Cons

  • High APR after the initial period
  • Earnings redemption limited to specific car brands