Points, Rewards and Cashback

Hi All,

Sorry if this has been asked before. I’ve a bunch of cards such as Amazon, Amex Gold, John Lewis and I am trying to work out which gives the best return.

Amazon say for every £2 you get three points for Amazon Purchases and 1 point for every £2 elsewhere (at 1000 points you get a £10 voucher)

Some cards talk about 0.5% cashback and others give rewards etc.

I’m trying to write an excel formula(s) that basically works out the rewards yield or how much you have to spend to get the value of £x and also in reverse - if you spend X this is what you can get back if you use this card.

I know to take into account membership fees etc, but I’m struggling to workout the formula to workout the value of a point in order to compare my cards?

Does that make sense, so I guess I’m trying to create a cashback/rewards calculator. (I know there are online ones - but I want to code all the different schemes here)

Thanks in advance…

What would you (realistically) buy with the points?

Well if its the Amazon Card that returns the best, then I would use the Amazon Vouchers, if Amex, then flights? or redeem against the bill?

I can’t help you with the formula, but I’ve been looking for something like this for a while. I currently have

  • Amazon – (Points)
  • IHG (Premium) – Rewards/Points
  • Santander All in One – Cashback.

If you need a tester…! :wink:

Exactly, what is the value of the purchase you make with points. Do you purchase flights for Europe in economy on quiet days, or are you flying business class to Asia at peak times? The genuine cash equivalent is what you need to evaluate the value of each point.

Amazon is effectively 0.75% if you shop at amazon and 0.25% if you shop elsewhere with the restriction you can only spend that reward at amazon.

If you spent 10k in a year at amazon you’ll have 75 quid to spend at amazon

If you spent that 10k at amazon on an amex you would have 75 quid to spend anywhere. (5k 0.5% second 5k 1%) (plus more offers picked up along the way (small shop))

If you’re spending away from amazon don’t use amazon credit card it’s not worth it.

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You’ll need two columns for each card - one for the spend, one for the rewards calculation, then a row for the type of spend. You’ll probably need multiple rows, as the Amazon card has different rewards depending on where you’ve spent, Amex may have multiple cashback rates depending on how much you’ve spent that year (e.g. 0.5% up to £5,000, 1% for all spend above that…), etc.

You’d then need a separate calculation on each cell to work out the reward/cashback for each card, then total everything to give you a comparison between cards.

Hope that makes sense - unfortunately I don’t think there’s a golden bullet formula that will calculate it all as the different card schemes vary quite a lot. I’ll have a quick look and knock something up as an example.

Have a look at this, see if it helps at all:

It’s just a quick and dirty spreadsheet. You could expand it to have a config/rules sheet where you could set up the various parameters for each card, rather than have them hard-coded in the formulae.

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American Express usually offers the best rates for cash back, which for the free card can go up to 1%, then 1.25% for the paid cashback version. They also have a number of other cards with different perks / offers.

I usually use my Amex first wherever I can (supermarkets, petrol, travel etc) then have a rewards visa as a catch-all.

When you’re trying to work out the best value, make sure you will actually use the reward. £100 back in cash will beat £150 in airline travel points if you either don’t want to use that airline or don’t want to travel. Plus most of the time you have to spend a lot just to use the points anyway - a prefer cash / vouchers every time.

Just out of interest, what card is your rewards Visa?

I’m only aware of Co-operative Bank and their Smile brand currently offering cashback on a Visa credit card?

Nationwide used to, with their Select Credit card, but I believe that’s recently been scrapped.

There may still be a Barclaycard with some kind of cashback too, I’m not sure, but that probably depends on when you took it out?

Hi Seb, I have the Barclaycard Freedom Rewards card, not sure if you can get it any more, although it’s around 0.3% cashback but it’s rewarded as points. Thankfully the points can be exchanged for quite useful stores, like supermarkets, restaurants and takeaways so pretty much as good as cash in my opinion.