Did you know that there’s a BMW credit card? Or to be precise, that there are three BMW credit cards? There is a very interesting wrinkle to this card which is worth knowing about. Bear with me.
The first of the three cards is the plain-jane BMW Visa. It has no annual fee and it earns 1 point per dollar spent, with the exception of three points per dollar spent at BMW Centers. What’s a BMW Center, you ask? Good question! It is not just BMW dealers. Let’s go to the fine print:
You will earn Points for Net Purchases charged to your Account during each billing cycle at BMW centers and other automotive businesses based on the following retail merchant categories as defined by Visa USA: Automobile and Truck Dealers (New and Used) – Sales, Service, Repairs, Parts, and Leasing; Automobile and Truck Dealers (Used Only); Automotive Tire Stores; Automotive Parts, and Accessories Stores.
So it sounds like you get three points at any business with an automotive merchant category code, not just at BMW owned or affiliated places. That’s interesting. There’s no word on what rewards are worth, although the site notes you can redeem for purchase/lease credits, gift cards, and so forth.
Moving on up the food chain, there’s the BMW Signature Card. It has a $75 annual fee, but it gives you two points per dollar spent on gasoline and four points per dollar at “BMW Centers”. You also get the chance to redeem for travel rewards at the rate of 5,000 points for $50 in travel rewards.
Finally, we have the BMW Ultimate Card, by invitation only. How do you get invited? By spending a lot:
Offered by invitation only, the BMW Ultimate Card defines the best in premium performance, and rewards customers who spend at least $50,000 per year with a higher level of service, better points earnings, and a wealth of top-tier benefits, such as Visa Signature® Concierge.
The rewards increase to 3 points per dollar for gasoline purchases and 5 points per dollar at “BMW Centers”. But wait, there’s more: holders of the BMW Ultimate Card can also exchange 5,000 points for $75 in travel rewards, meaning that if you redeem for travel rewards you’re now getting 4.5% back on gas and an amazing 7.5% back for automobile-related purchases… but only after you’ve spent $50,000.
I’m not sure exactly what the best way to use this top-tier BMW credit card is, but there has to be somebody out there who knows what to do with an uncapped 7.5% back on car purchases. At least I think it’s uncapped, I don’t see any mention of a rewards cap anywhere, although I don’t see the word “unlimited” either.
Any takers on the BMW credit card? It’s the most interesting car / automobile credit card I’m aware of. There are reviews for it on other sites here, here, and here, though those all appear to be out of date. It’s issued by BMW Bank of North America, which also issues the Mini Credit Card so I have no idea how the credit lines would be, though presumably they’d be decent if you have to spend $50K to get an invitation.