A. The full survey was originally done in June 2009 and it was updated in May 2012. However if there are any major changes to any of the headline cards listed we try to update those specifically.
A. The strength of rewards schemes and loyalty points are derived from three main factors; the value of a point in the scheme, how many points a card gives you when you spend (for credit card rewards), and how useful the rewards are for you.
We researched, number-crunched then evaluated all major loyalty points and rewards schemes and cards to uncover the real return you get. The same consistent methodology has been used for over 5 years.
Calculating how much a point is worth
When calculating the value of the points, we used what was closest to cash to compare (in many schemes gift cards were used).
Where other items were used the valuation assigned is its 'real' rather than recommended retail price. For example, while a points provider will often list a CD as being worth £13, if it's commonly available for £7, we only value it at £7.
These were then used to evaluate the points worth. So if 6,000 MSE points got you a £24 MP3 player, then one point is worth around 0.4p. Or if 6,000 points got you a £60 gift card the value would be 1p.
For flight points, where possible the same journeys were used for different schemes to give a consistent valuation. Though this does mean the valuation scheme doesn't included additional perceived value for travelling on some airlines.
Calculating how good a credit card reward scheme is.
Once we know what a point is worth, it is a question of establishing how many points you get when you spend.
For example the Ant scheme may have points worth a penny, for which you gain one per £1 of spending.
Meanwhile the Dec scheme has points worth 16p, but you only get one per £20 of spending.
So spend £100 on each card and the Ant scheme gives you £1 worth of points and the Dec scheme 80p.
When estimating annual rewards, any annual fee the card may charge is subtracted
Only includes currently available scheme incarnations.
When the research was updated in May 2012 it included all major loyalty schemes and rewards cards open to new customers at that point, plus some other popular schemes that are now closed for new applications. Yet it's possible you may be using an older, now unavailable scheme which pays better rewards, so always check.
If you spot a card or scheme that you think merits inclusion, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Only general spending counts.
Only rewards received on general spending are included, so if a card pays higher rewards in specific shops, that spending is excluded, as that's effectively a shopping loyalty bonus not a credit card reward scheme.
A. As long as never the twain shall meet that's fine. The golden rule (hopefully it's large enough above), is always pay the card off in full at the end of the month. So if you have one card for rewards you do that with, and a separate card for your debts (be it a new spending or balance transfer card) then that shouldn't be a problem.
A. This checker was updated in May 2012, and included all major rewards and cashback cards open to new customers at that point. Yet it's possible you may have an older, now unavailable card which pays better rewards, so always check.
If you spot a card that you think merits inclusion, please email email@example.com.
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