I've talked about credit card rewards points several times in my blog and I have made no secret about my dismay at how sad our rewards system is, specially when compared with the US. Seriously, they get hundreds and thousands of airline miles just for signing up with a credit card and I get about Php2,000 as cash back credit after I spend about Php200,000? Baduy lang ha.
I've had my RCBC Bankard credit card for almost 10 years now and I've always been impressed with how pro-active and helpful RCBC's customer service is. I remember when I arrived from the US after a vacation, I received a call from RCBC informing me that they had locked my credit card since a charge was made in the US and they were concerned that it was fraudulent (it wasn't, I confirmed that purchase was mine). And how can I forget that time I caught 2 fraudulent charges on my credit card because of RCBC's text alert? Yup, I'm a very happy RCBC credit card customer.
But one thing I've always hoped that RCBC would improve on was its rewards points. Right now, purchases made using an RCBC card are categorized into either service (supermarkets, drugstores, gas stations) or non-service, and you earn 1 point for every Php125 (service) or Php36 (non-service) spent. In my post "Are Credit Card Rewards Programs Worth the Points?" I wrote:
So forgive me if I've never been the biggest fan of credit card rewards programs.
However, RCBC's All In Rewards Online is a big improvement from its normal rewards programs since the reward points can go as high as 23 points per US$1 spent** (McAffee). Yes, it is as awesome as it sounds because remember that I am currently receiving only 1 point per Php125/Php36 spent, but by shopping with All In Rewards Online, my Php125 has the potential to get me at least 46 points. I'm no math major, but I do believe that 46 points is so much better than 1 puny point.
Check out some of the more popular partner sites in the portal and their corresponding points per dollar spent:
Most of the partner sites are foreign brands so I recommend using a shipping service like POBox.ph or LBCShippingCart.com, in order to bypass the aggravation that is the Philpost. I personally didn't want to pay extra anymore, so I looked for locally available partner sites and was happy to find out that my online favorites of Zalora and Lazada were present. Travel junkies will also get a kick out of the fact that airlines, hotels and hotel booking sites are well represented in the site. Imagine the points you can earn by booking an Emirates or Qatar Air ticket!
All in Rewards Online is available to RCBC Bankard credit card customers and to be able to avail of the beefed up points, all you need to do is login the All in Rewards Online portal with your RCBC Bankard credit card.
After logging in, you can then browse through the different partner sites and click on "Shop Now" to be directed to the retailer's website where you can shop as normal. RCBC will track your purchases automatically and calculate how many points you've earned. Your points will show in the All-In Rewards Online My Account section as "Pending" within 5 working days and will eventually be consolidated in your existing RCBC Bankard rewards program (I usually avail of the cash rebate offer). Please click here for the full details on how the process works.
As for me, I finally signed up for my first 5k run and so I set my sights on some athletic wear from Under Armour to add to my training wardrobe (read: ratty shirts and leggings with holes).
After checking out, my bill amounted to Php4,084 or US$87.92, which should net me a total of 261 AiR points (US$87 x 3 AiR points). About a day or two after my purchase, I received an email saying that my purchase has been endorsed by Under Armour to RCBC, and when I opened my All in Rewards Online account, I saw that I was actually credited with 329 points! I don't know why it's more than what I computed, but I'm not complaining:p If I bought the same items without passing through the All in Rewards portal, my accrued points would only be about 113 (Php4,084/ Php36).
But since this is a personal finance blog after all, let me end by saying that although I'm ecstatic that my RCBC Bankard credit card now offers more points for my purchases, this does not mean that I will go nuts with online shopping just to rack up points. Sure it's nice to get points every time I shop, but the points are just an extra added bonus when I buy things that I actually need. If the points were my primary consideration for my purchases, then I would be neck deep in debt in no time at all. Frugality dictates that you make the most out of your money and that means: (1) being smart by buying only what you need; (2) comparing prices to get the most savings, (3) paying in cash or using a credit card that will reward you generously for your purchase and then (4) paying off that credit card bill in full when the statement arrives.
To my readers, what other credit card rewards programs would you recommend?
** US$1 = Php46.45 as of publishing