My GM Rewards Card™ review: An ideal rewards card for GM lessees
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My GM Rewards Card™ Overview
GM’s My Rewards Program already offers solid loyalty rewards for nearly all things GM: eligible new and used vehicles, parts and accessories, dealership service and more. But the My GM Rewards Card™ takes things up a notch, boasting a generous rewards rate on both everyday and GM-specific spending as well as several valuable perks, including a $100 annual statement credit each year you spend $1,500 on fuel.
That said, the card’s redemption restrictions and other fine print may leave you idling. Indeed, you can only redeem points toward an eligible GM purchase or — by taking a big cut in point value — for gift cards from a partner merchant.
While the My GM Rewards Card earns kudos for its low fees and high rewards rates, its limited redemption options make it worthwhile only for a niche audience: GM loyalists who plan to use the card for nearly all spending and save up rewards to offset the cost of a GM vehicle or other GM expenses. But since rewards can’t go toward fleet vehicles or be combined with employee discounts, this card is mainly helpful for leasing new vehicles.
What are the pros and cons?
- The 15,000-point welcome offer is only worth up to $150, but requires spending $1,000 within the first three months
- Unless you’re redeeming for a new vehicle, leased vehicle or non-vehicle GM purchases, your rewards have an annual redemption value cap: $250 per year for gift cards and $1,000 for eligible used vehicles
- Oddly, the high World Elite Mastercard benefit tier doesn’t include driving-based perks like roadside dispatch service, auto rental collision damage coverage, travel insurance or even basic purchase protections
A deeper look into the current card offer
- Rewards rate: 7X points on paid GM Certified Service, GM Genuine Parts, ACDelco Parts, eligible accessories and most OnStar and GM Connected Services plans; 4X points on all other purchases
- Welcome offer: 15,000 points after spending $1,000 on purchases within the first three months
- Annual fee: $0
- Purchase Intro APR: 0 percent intro APR for 12 months
- Balance Transfer Intro APR: N/A
- Regular APR: 17.24 percent to 27.24 percent (variable)
Current welcome offer
As a new cardholder, you can earn 15,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 on purchases within your first three months. This offer weighs in at a maximum value of $150 if you redeem for eligible GM purchases, though this can plummet to nearly $38 if you redeem points for gift cards instead.
On the one hand, welcome bonuses aren’t always available on niche co-branded cards and a $1,000 spend should be relatively easy to reach in the first three months, especially if you use the card for most of your everyday spending or large expenses like a car repair. On the other, a $150 bonus value is below average, even for a card with no annual fee. Many competitors offer at least a $200 value for the same (or a lower) spending requirement.
The GM Rewards card’s rewards program may seem a bit one-note at first: You’ll earn the most points on eligible purchases with GM, including servicing, parts and accessories, as well as a lower flat rate on all other purchases. Couple this with the linked My GM Rewards loyalty program, however, and you’ll earn rewards via a range of other GM purchases.
How you earn
The My GM Rewards Card earns 7X points on eligible GM purchases, including paid service, parts, accessories, WiFi at GM dealerships and select OnStar and GM Connected service plans. All other spending on your card will earn 4X points.
Luckily, you can also reap extra rewards on other GM expenses through the My GM Rewards program, including 1X points per $5 spent on new GM vehicles and leases at a GM dealership, 2,500 points per pre-owned vehicle purchased at a GM dealership and 2,500 points per Protection Plan (i.e., extended coverage for certain repairs) purchased at a GM dealership.*
To get a sense of how much you could earn by combining the card and GM loyalty program, let’s say you purchased a new 2021 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 LT 4WD (the best-selling GM vehicle of 2021, according to Kelley Blue Book) with a double cab and standard bed at the $37,210 MSRP. Factoring in a few GM rewards-eligible purchases and major first-year expenses (with taxes and fees, insurance and maintenance estimates based on Edmunds’ guide for this vehicle), here are the rewards you can expect to pocket, assuming a 1-cent-per-point redemption value:
- $37,210 new vehicle MSRP (1X points per $5 of the MSRP) = 7,442 points via loyalty program, a $74.42 value
- $220 MSRP for first row and second row GM floor liners (7X points) = 1,540 points via card, a $15.40 value
- $755 of Insurance (4X points) via card = 3,020 points, a $30.20 value
- $247 of maintenance (7X points) via card = 1,729 points, a $17.29 value
- $1,541 in taxes and fees (4X points) via card = 6,164 points, a $61.64 value</li>
- Protection Plan = 2,500 points, a $25 value
- $479.99 OnStar Essentials plan ($39.99 per month; 3X points) via card = 1,439 points, a $14.39 value
- Total: 23,834 points, a $238.34 value
This is a great value, even when you compare it to what you’d earn with the best 2 percent flat-rate cash back cards: Around $65 if you used it to cover everything but the protection plan and the car itself (a little over $3,200 in total charges).
Keep in mind a few caveats, though: You won’t earn points on purchases for business or commercial use (based on how the issuer reviews them), GM Fleet vehicles or work related to warranties, recalls or the body shop. This means that some of the people who can benefit most from the GM card may not earn points on the bulk of their GM spending.
Instead, business owners should consider the GM Business Card™, which offers a slightly different rewards structure. If you’re considering pairing cards to cover your bases, it’s also important to note that you can’t pool rewards between GM cards or even hold multiple GM cards like other issuers may allow.
*Participating GM dealerships include Chevrolet, Cadillac, GMC and Buick dealership locations. Pontiac, Saab, Saturn, Hummer (H2, H3) and Oldsmobile owners may also be able to earn rewards on service, parts and etc. at these locations.
How to redeem
Though there are a ton of ways to earn rewards with the My GM Rewards card, the redemption process is tangled in restrictions.
You have two main redemption options: credit towards an eligible GM purchase or gift cards from partner merchants. And although it’s the only way to use your rewards outside of GM discounts, we’d recommend against redeeming for gift cards since this requires you to slash your point value by 75 percent down to 0.25 cents apiece.
There’s no limit to how many points you can redeem toward a new vehicle, vehicle lease or select non-vehicle GM purchases, but you can only redeem $1,000 worth of points (100,000 points) per year toward eligible pre-owned vehicles. Gift cards are limited to $250 worth of redemptions per year (100,000 points). To be fair, this may not be a big drawback for the average cardholder considering you’d need to spend approximately $14,300 to earn enough points to max out the $1,000 pre-owned vehicle redemption limit each year, or around $3,575 minimum to max out the $250 gift card redemption limit.
To cover your GM purchases, you can redeem your points either at the dealership or through your online account for a statement credit. Along with gift cards and new or used vehicles and vehicle leases, you can redeem for the following:
- Service at a GM dealership, including oil changes, tires, tire rotations, wiper replacement and brake and engine repairs
- Eligible accessories, including wheels and floor liners
- GM Genuine and ACDelco parts
- Select OnStar and GM Connected Services plans
- SiriusXM subscriptions
- GM Protection Plans for Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac vehicles
- GM Financial monthly charges
Of course, since you can only use your points once you receive your next billing statement, you can’t put the windfall of points you earn from buying a vehicle toward the cost of the vehicle itself. You’ll have to use your rewards toward future GM purchases, which means you’re essentially locked into buying from the dealership.
Unfortunately, you also can’t combine points with other discounts, packages or promotional offers, including the GM fleet vehicle incentive program or any GM or GM-affiliated company employee discounts. These audiences are perhaps some of the best potential cardholders since they’d be more likely to spend heavily on GM vehicles, parts and service for a dedicated credit card.
How much are the rewards worth?
Redeeming your rewards toward qualifying GM purchases will get you a value of 1 cent per point. Meanwhile, using points toward a gift card will force you to sacrifice point value, as points are worth just 0.25 cents apiece when redeemed this way.
Getting 1 cent per point essentially means the My GM Rewards card earns an incredible 7 percent back on eligible GM purchases and 4 percent back on everyday spending — easily beating out the typical 2 percent back you see on the best flat-rate cash back cards. However, since your points only carry full value toward GM purchases, these impressive reward rates might not be as lucrative in practice as they are on paper.
Other cardholder perks
When it comes to perks, the My GM Rewards card is a mixed bag. Though it carries automatic Gold Tier rewards program status and a couple of valuable annual statement credits for vehicle detailing and fuel or electrical charging, the card lacks many basic auto-centric perks. You’ll miss out on perks like roadside dispatch service, auto rental collision damage coverage, travel insurance or purchase and extended warranty protections for your large purchases.
Noteworthy benefits of the card include:
Higher redemption limits and automatic Gold Tier status
My GM Rewards members typically must rise through the loyalty program’s ranks to obtain higher annual redemption limits, but the My GM Rewards card gives you the highest limits right off the bat.
The card also starts you off with automatic Gold Tier status and gives you a card-exclusive way to step up to Platinum Tier by spending at least $15,000 in combined purchases each year. Without the card, qualifying for the Platinum Tier typically requires a three-year total spend of at least $110,000 on new GM vehicles or a combined spend of $1,500 to $2,499 on other GM purchases.
Considering Platinum Tier status only earns you an exclusive level of call center support and access to tickets for experiences like concerts and sporting events, this benefit doesn’t amount to much unless you’re a very big spender and use the GM Rewards card for most of your purchases.
Up to $150 each year toward fuel and detailing
Another card-exclusive perk is an up to $100 statement credit back on $1,500 of fuel at eligible gas stations per calendar year (after offer activation), or for six electric bill payments in the same timeframe if you’re charging an electric car (requires linking your electric vehicle to your My GM Rewards account). If you’re interested in a cosmetic touch-up, you can also get a $50 allowance toward vehicle detailing at a participating GM dealership as well (essentially a credit for the service if utilized; no activation required).
These two benefits are easily the card’s most valuable, and could net even average spenders at least $100 back in their wallet every year. However, the $50 detailing value isn’t as much of a bargain for any service besides a basic cleaning considering full detailing packages can typically cost upwards of $200.
World Elite Mastercard benefits
The My GM Rewards Card carries a bevy of World Elite Mastercard benefits, including partner perks and a few travel services. Highlights include:
- DoorDash: Existing DashPass members receive $5 off their first two orders each month, and new members get a free three-month membership
- Lyft: Receive a $5 credit each month after three rides or purchases
- HelloFresh: 5 percent back on purchases for future orders
- ShopRunner: Free two-day shopping on all orders
Rates and fees
Retail cards and other co-branded cards are infamous for parades of high rates and fees, but the GM Rewards card’s fees are among the best we’ve seen in this category. There are no annual fees, foreign transaction fees, balance transfer fees, cash advance fees or even a penalty APR to worry about. No annual fee cards are a dime a dozen and several of those waive foreign transaction fees and the penalty APR, however it’s very rare to find a card with no balance transfer or cash advance fees.
The card also comes with a 0 percent intro APR offer on new purchases for your first 12 months as a cardholder, after which the ongoing variable APR of 17.24 percent to 27.24 percent (based on creditworthiness) applies. While this is far from the longest intro APR period out there, it’s still a welcome feature, especially considering this card is geared toward auto spending and the intro APR could allow you to chip away at large expenses like car repairs while completely avoiding interest charges. The card does not carry an intro APR offer on balance transfers, but its low-end ongoing APR (17.24 percent to 27.24 percent variable) is just under the average credit card APR.
How the My GM Rewards Card compares to other rewards cards
Selecting rival cards to compare to the GM Rewards card is tricky since most cards don’t offer reward categories tailored to car dealership or automotive purchases. That said, a good zero-interest card or flat-rate cash back card could be a rewarding option for vehicle-related purchases if you have enough money in the bank to cover it.
My GM Rewards Card vs. Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card
The GM Rewards card’s 4X points on all non-GM purchases technically provides double the rewards value of the Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card, but the Active Cash has an advantage with its unlimited 2 percent cash rewards on purchases, which can go right into your wallet instead of into a GM discount. A 2 percent flat rewards rate is one of the best you’ll find on automotive purchases and the card’s $200 cash rewards bonus after you spend $1,000 spend in your first three months is great.
Plus, the Active Cash can keep interest at bay on upcoming auto expenses longer, for 15 months with its 0 percent intro APR on purchases and qualifying balance transfers from account opening (then a 17.24 percent, 22.24 percent or 27.24 percent variable APR; 3 percent intro balance transfer fee for your first 120 days, then up to 5 percent, $5 minimum).
What’s more, the Active Cash is a Visa Signature card that comes with a few benefits that may be more helpful for drivers than subscription service perks. These features can include 24/7 pay-per-use roadside dispatch, an auto rental collision damage waiver and Wells Fargo’s staple cellphone protection against damage of theft (up to $1,200 per year across up to two $600 claims, minus a $25 deductible).
My GM Rewards Card vs. Capital One Walmart Rewards® Mastercard®
Despite not offering an intro purchase APR or boosted rewards on GM purchases, the no-annual-fee Capital One Walmart Rewards® Mastercard® still stands as one of the better rewards cards for automotive-related purchases. Its 5 percent cash back at Walmart.com and 2 percent in-store (5 percent in-store during the first 12 months when using Walmart Pay) gives you excellent rewards earning potential thanks to the superstore’s sweeping auto department. The boosted cash back rate even applies to Walmart Auto Care Center service, tires, parts, accessories and more. You’ll also earn 2 percent back on travel, restaurant and Walmart fuel station purchases — handy categories for commuters and fans of road trips.
If you’re more of a wholesale shopper and prefer full-throttle gas rewards, the Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi is a good alternative for pit stops. Similarly, this card earns 4 percent cash back on eligible gas and EV charging purchases (on up to $7,000 per year, then 1 percent back), plus 3 percent back on restaurants and eligible travel. What may be more appealing to automotive enthusiasts is the 2 percent Costco and Costco.com cash back category, which covers a huge selection of tires, in-club vehicle services, parts, accessories and even garage flooring. Your card may also come in handy with the Costco Auto Program and its dealership partners’ prearranged vehicle offers.
Best cards to pair with the My GM Rewards Card
Since the My GM Rewards Card is only valuable for GM-brand spending, there’s a sea of rewards cards that can maximize your rewards on other purchases. A card like the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express could be great for gas and commuting via other means, and the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is a versatile option for a variety of purchases if you want to travel beyond your car.
With so many partner cards to choose from, finding which categories sync up with your biggest expenses is an excellent first step toward finding which rewards card is best for you.
Bankrate’s Take: Is the My GM Rewards Card worth it?
If you’re willing to funnel all your rewards toward the cost of a GM car or service, parts and repairs at a GM dealership, then the My GM Rewards Card can offer terrific rewards value and some solid perks with remarkably few fees.
That said, the card’s laundry list of restrictions narrows the already niche audience to the point that only GM loyalists who spend thousands on GM purchases each year are likely to see the benefit. You should mainly consider the My GM Rewards Card if you usually swap out leased vehicles or service several vehicles at the dealership.