Many credit cards offer some sort of reward program if you use their card often. Amex, United etc. are two perfect examples. With the points you earn, you’re able to buy flights, gift cards and even golf merchandise. However, when it comes to redeeming your points, all things are not created equally. Buying flights with your points is your best return on your investment – everything else is quite marked up. Credit card companies, just like you, will also shop for discounts, getting the clubs for cheap and selling them to you at their original retail price and then some. You’ll notice that most reward programs offer clubs that have been in the marketplace for 1-3 years – I don’t think I need to tell you why.
Take a look at the chart below for some simple comparisons. We looked at Air Miles (1 Air Mile = ~$0.16), Amex Membership Rewards (1 pt = ~$0.0085) and United Frequent Flyer Miles (1 pt = ~$0.01). We got the average value of a point by dividing the average point cost of a $50 gift card.
As you can see, the reward programs are a rip-off, even with the included shipping. In this case, the rewards do take you further, literally. Consider this, a return flight from San Francisco to Paris with United using your Miles would be about 50,000 miles, little more than the cost of a Taylor Made r7 425 that was released in December 2005 and is now selling for as little as $100 (see http://www.golfwholesalestore.com )… you do the math! In short, keep your frequent flyer miles for flights.