Credit Card Rewards Are Rip-Offs

If you've ever tried to redeem frequent flier miles from your credit card rewards only to find that it's nearly impossible to book a flight (or worth the hassle as the airlines want you to fly the most inconvenient flights like red-eye or multiple connections), then you already know this: credit card rewards are a real rip off.

Jessica Dickler of CNN Money has the story:

About 85 percent of U.S. households participate in at least one rewards program, according to a study released Monday by Consumer Reports. And though rewards do spur consumers to spend more, the study found that confusing rules and restrictions make most reward cards more trouble than they're worth.

"They make it 100 times more complicated," said a former marketing executive at CitiCards, referring to the popular rewards programs. For example, when you read the fine print, you might find that some rewards are limited to certain brands, or expire if not used within a certain timeframe.

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Well, Wells Fargo just turned its Reward Program into a ripoff operation. Just got my June 2009 credit card statement and it announced that 2,843 points had expired last month and that 510 more would expire this month. But there was nothing on my last month's bill about points expiring. Now, I knew that I been repeatedly told that I had some points expiring December 2009, and planned to redeem those before then, but Wells Fargo saw an opportunity to steal back some promised benefits. Turns out they snuck some small print into the April bill about changing the expiration from 5 years to 60 months, and rather than wait until points would expire anyway decided to schedule it for mid-year. And the bank didn't think it necessary to point out that this meant points would be expiring sooner than it had previously said. Full page ads in the bill urging me to earn points, but nothing about the upcoming loss of six months worth of points until after they'd cancelled them. Thank you, Wells Fargo!
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I bought 2 gift cards for my daughter and her husband for Christmas. They waited to use the cards because they wanted to add additional cash for a larger purchase. When they finally went to buy the item they were told the cards were no longer the amount shown on the face. They went to the website and found that after six months they were deducting two dollars and ninety five cents every month. Companies are using our money and charging us for that privilege. They should be paying us for using our money. I consider this a rip off. Needless to say from now on I am warning gift recipients use it within six months or watch it dwindle down to nothing.
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the real rip off is that stores increases prices to pay for transaction costs on credit cards purchases so that people who don't use cards end up paying the cash back and other rewards for people who use the cards
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I'm looking at getting a Wachovia checking account. Their ads say they deposit $1 for every transaction into a savings account. Seems like that could add up quick. Anyone know what the catch is on that? Minimum purchase amount?
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