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GM BuyPower Card® review

 /  5 min
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Snapshot

4.5

Bankrate rating
Info
Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

Bottom line

While the GM BuyPower Card® is no longer available, it’s an interesting card for car enthusiasts to keep in their wallets. Earning cash back to redeem for car purchases and leases can mitigate the cost of a new vehicle.

Image of GM BuyPower Card®

GM BuyPower Card®
*

4.5
Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5
Bankrate score
Info
Good to Excellent (670 – 850)
Info
Recommended Credit

N/A

Intro offer

Info

2% - 5%

Rewards rate

Info

Annual fee

Regular APR

On This Page

GM BuyPower Card overview

The GM BuyPower Card®* 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.

 

What are the advantages and disadvantages?

Pros

  • Checkmark

    No annual fee

  • Checkmark

    5 percent earnings on up to $5,000 per annual card cycle and 2 percent after that

  • Checkmark

    Access to the World Elite Mastercard program

Cons

  • The 5 percent cash back has a spending cap of $5,000

  • Earnings redemption limited to specific car brands

A deeper look into the current card offer

Quick highlights

  • 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

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 after the intro period.

Rewards rate

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.

How you earn

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.

How to redeem

Cash back redemptions are limited with this card. Cardholders can only redeem their rewards in one of two ways:

  • Purchases: You can 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.

How much are the rewards worth?

Like with many cash back credit cards, this card’s rewards values are static and don’t increase or decrease depending on how you redeem them. If you accumulated $200 in cash back with this card, the rewards will always be worth $200. 

Other cardholder perks

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.

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 compares 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 to consider are the My GM Rewards® Mastercard® and the Chase Freedom Unlimited®.

Image of GM BuyPower Card®

GM BuyPower Card®

Annual fee

$0

Intro offer

N/A

Rewards rate

2% - 5%
Info

Recommended Credit Score

Good to Excellent (670 – 850)
Info
Image of Chase Freedom Unlimited®

Chase Freedom Unlimited®

Annual fee

$0

Intro offer

Earn a $200 bonus
Info

Rewards rate

1.5% - 5%
Info

Recommended Credit Score

Good to Excellent (670 – 850)
Info
Image of My GM Rewards® Mastercard®

My GM Rewards® Mastercard®

Annual fee

$0

Intro offer

15,000 points
Info

Rewards rate

4X - 7X
Info

Recommended Credit Score

Good to Excellent (670 – 850)
Info

GM BuyPower Card vs. the Chase Freedom Unlimited

Because the GM BuyPower card only allows cardholders to redeem cash back for GM-related purchases, the Chase Freedom Unlimited outshines it. With the Freedom Unlimited, cardholders can earn in various categories, but most importantly, they can redeem for cash back or combine rewards with a Chase Sapphire card to pool points. The Freedom Unlimited’s tiered cash back categories also give cardholders the opportunity to out-earn the GM BuyPower Card, leaving it further behind. Furthermore, the Freedom Unlimited’s welcome offer, while modest, lets you earn 1.5 percent back on up to $20,000 in purchases your first year.

GM BuyPower Card vs. the My GM Rewards Card

The My GM Rewards Card is a clear upgrade from the GM BuyPower card. Because the My GM Rewards Card earns 7X points on GM purchases and 4X points everywhere else, it can easily outpace earning rewards with the GM BuyPower Card. However, the My GM Rewards Card can still limit cardholders’ rewards value, as the point value drops from 1 cent when redeeming for purchasing or leasing a GM vehicle to 0.25 cents when redeeming for gift cards from partner merchants.

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 for 12 months and on balance transfers for 21 months (18.24 percent to 28.99 percent variable APR thereafter; balance transfers must be completed within the first four months). Just keep in mind the balance transfer fee of 5 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 Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card or the Chase Freedom Unlimited.

*The information about the GM BuyPower Card® has been collected independently by Bankrate.com. The card details have not been reviewed or approved by the card issuer.

Written by
Courtney Mihocik
Senior Editor, Credit Cards

Courtney Mihocik is an editor at Bankrate Credit Cards and CreditCards.com specializing in credit card news and personal finance advice. Previously, she led insurance content at Reviews.com and worked as the loans editor at The Simple Dollar.

* See the online application for details about terms and conditions for these offers. Every reasonable effort has been made to maintain accurate information. However all credit card information is presented without warranty. After you click on the offer you desire you will be directed to the credit card issuer's web site where you can review the terms and conditions for your selected offer.

Editorial Disclosure: Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, and have not been reviewed or approved by any advertiser. The information, including card rates and fees, is accurate as of the publish date. All products or services are presented without warranty. Check the bank’s website for the most current information.