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The GM Buy Power Card Is a Dog
The other day I received a mailer for the GM Buy Power Card. Here is how to card is advertised in the mailer:
Wow! 5% earning on my first $5k in purchases and 2% after that. That is great! Wait. Why do they use the term “earnings” and not cash back?
If you go to their website it is even more misleading. One of the titles on the page says this:
Earn on everything you buy. Redeem everything you earn.
Of course those words mean nothing. It doesn’t say what you can redeem the “earnings” on. As you may have guessed given the branding of the card, you can only redeem your earnings for a GM vehicle. They even restrict which vehicles are eligible.
To be fair they do make this clear on the website in smaller print and even at one place on the mailer. Here is the wording they use:
There is no limit to the amount of Earnings you can earn or redeem on a new vehicle. Your Earnings don’t expire. And there is no annual fee.
Not the most direct language, but good enough to avoid a lawsuit. I can definitely see where people would glance over that part though. Hopefully most people see the automobile redemption scheme before applying, since the ad is clearly designed to draw you in with the earnings.
Why Is This Card a Dog
This card stinks for a few reasons. First off, you can get either the Fidelity Amex or Citi Double Cash card and earn 2% in cash with no annual fee. So this card’s earnings end up being an extra 3% on your first $5k in purchases or $150. But those $150 aren’t real, they are GM play money and lock you into purchasing one of their vehicles.
The GM Buy Power card is also issued by Capital One. While Capital One in and of itself isn’t any better or worse than most other banks, they check all three credit bureaus for credit card applications. This very consumer unfriendly strategy means that you are taking 3x the hit to get a card.
Even if you only ever buy GM vehicles, I don’t see this card as being any good because of the restrictive nature of the rewards. My post of course is less about the GM Buy Power Card and more about quickly spotting when something looks too good to be true so you don’t waste your time.
Companies are always going to want to grab your attention, but it rarely is as good as it seems. Do you have this card? Can you name another card that looks similarly good on the surface, but isn’t quite what it seems? Let me know in the comments.
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