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Automotive credit cards

Here's an article in on the top ten automotive credit cards.

Top 10 Automotive Credit Cards
By Nate Chapnick

In their quest for a new car, Harry and Charlotte Siegel of Boynton Beach, Florida, are considering a variety of crossover vehicles. General Motors is the only brand on their radar screen. How did GM create such incredible loyalty? "Not entirely because of their products," says Harry Siegel, "but because we have a GM credit card."

For smart shoppers like the Siegels, a strategically used credit card can save thousands of dollars on the cost of a new vehicle. From rebates that offset the cost of a new vehicle to discounts on parts and service, automotive-branded credit cards increase buying power by making the most of your daily purchases.

GM Card
Since GM initiated its automotive credit card program in 1992, more than 5 million consumers have redeemed their GM credit card earnings. This successful credit card program allows users to earn 5 percent on all purchases with no limit, and with no annual fee. However, your GM card earnings may be redeemed only for new GM vehicles, which are subject to varying redemption limits. For example, a Cadillac SRX has a $3,000 redemption cap, while the hot-selling Cadillac Escalade has a $1,500 limit. The GM credit card gives you the highest return of any automotive credit card, but the redemption restrictions may prevent you from taking full advantage of your accumulated rebate dollars.

Mercedes-Benz Visa Signature Card
Of a status comparable to driving a Mercedes-Benz, the Mercedes-Benz Visa Signature Card is offered only to Mercedes-Benz owners. This exclusive card earns 1.5 points for every dollar spent. Thrifty Mercedes-Benz owners who spend $10,000 will receive a $150 coupon to defray the cost of a new Mercedes-Benz vehicle, parts or service. Plus, there's no limit to the number of accruable points, though they expire after five years. A Visa Signature Card brings enviable perks with it, including a free concierge service to help you obtain reservations at popular restaurants or tickets to sold-out Yankees games. Most Mercedes-Benz cardholders will probably not be fazed by the card's $90 annual fee.

Citi Driver's Edge Platinum Select MasterCard
Citibank's Driver's Edge card is the only credit card on the Top 10 list with rebates applicable toward the purchase of any vehicle brand, new or used. Cardholders earn 1 percent on all purchases, except for gas, drugstore and supermarket purchases, on which they earn a whopping 6 percent during the first year. Afterwards, earnings on these purchases drop to 3 percent. Plus, earn $1 for every 100 miles you drive, up to $500 or 50,000 miles. Miles are verified by Citibank when you submit a receipt for scheduled maintenance showing your odometer reading. Rebates are capped at $1,000 per year. For discerning car shoppers who don't want to be locked into buying a particular brand, the Citi Driver's Edge MasterCard is the perfect solution.

Subaru Platinum MasterCard
Next to the GM card, Subaru's 3-percent rebate on all purchases is the most rewarding automotive-branded credit card. However, the Subaru card limits earnings to $500 annually and a maximum of $2,000 over a four-year period, when they expire. Subaru rebates are redeemable for new cars, parts, accessories and service at Subaru dealerships throughout the continental United States.

Lexus Pursuits Visa
Lexus' program earns cardholders five "points" (i.e., 5 percent) for every dollar charged at a Lexus dealership, and 1.5 points (1.5 percent) for every dollar charged anywhere else. Need a new Lexus or service on your existing one? Spend $5,000 and receive a coupon for at least $75, redeemable at a Lexus dealership. Unlike the BMW Visa card, Lexus' card charges no annual fee.

Chrysler Rewards Visa
With the Chrysler Rewards Visa, cardholders earn five points for every dollar charged at Chrysler, Jeep or Dodge dealerships and one point per dollar charged everywhere else. Unlike most other automotive credit cards, these points can be redeemed for a new or used Chrysler. The Chrysler Rewards card has no annual fee and no caps, though points expire after five years.

Mini Platinum Visa
As hip as the car itself, the coolest credit card on our list is by far the Mini Platinum Visa: It allows cardholders to customize their credit cards to look exactly like their own Mini. Wheels, mirrors, add-ons and colors can be configured to make your Mini card unique. Mini Motoring Rewards offers users one point per every dollar spent and two points for car washes, gasoline, tolls and similar car-related purchases. Cardholders earn up to $10,000 off their next Mini purchase or lease ($5,000 off on a purchase or lease and an additional $5,000 off if financed by Mini Financial Services).

Audi Visa Signature Card
Audi's exclusive Visa Signature Card rewards Audi enthusiasts with one point per dollar spent anywhere, and two points on all purchases at participating Audi dealers. Points can be redeemed for a new Audi and Audi parts, accessories and services. Though the Audi points program is less economically rewarding than some others, exclusive perks such as concierge services and travel assistance help make the Visa Signature Card a great choice for any Audi aficionado.

Volkswagen Platinum Visa with Rewards Card
For every dollar spent on the Volkswagen Platinum Visa (subject to a $500 annual earnings cap), you receive one point that can be used toward Volkswagen purchases (new vehicles, accessories, service and parts). If you're a hard-core VW fan and wish to wear your VW on your credit card, then this is the card for you.

BMW Platinum Visa
BMW owners rejoice with the Platinum Visa, which allows cardholders to earn up to $5,000 off on a BMW financial services lease or loan. Earn one BMW reward point for every $2 spent with your card, i.e., 0.5 percent. For example, with this card, if you charge $20,000, you'll earn 10,000 BMW rewards points. These can be redeemed for a $100 lease or loan coupon from BMW Financial Services or applied to parts, accessories, lease-mile extensions and service costs.

Please note that any links directly to card product offers are provided for informational purposes only. Any descriptions within this post about an offer may not necessarily align with the offer to which these links connect.


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