NFL Extra Points Card: Fumble or Touchdown?
The 2012 football season got off to a rocky start after the NFL locked out the referees. But now that the real refs have returned to the field, fans are renewing their passion for the grid iron. And with the World Series seeing its lowest television ratings ever, football can truly claim to be America’s favorite game.
But there is a problem for football fans.
Teams play only eight regular season games at home compared to 81 baseball home games. This makes tickets incredibly hard to obtain and increasingly expensive. According to the Team Marketing Report, the average cost of an NFL ticket in 2012 is $78.38, assuming you can find one. But wait — Barclay’s Bank offers its NFL Extra Points credit card that can earn rewards in the form of tickets to any regular season games and even the Super Bowl.
How the Card Works
NFL Extra Points cardholders earn rewards for spending in the form of points in the NFL rewards program. New cardholders will earn 10,000 points after $500 in purchases. After that, one point is earned per dollar spent on most transactions, with double points earned on purchases from NFLShop.com, team pro-shops, and merchandise purchased at games. There is no cap on earning points, and they never expire.
When it comes time to spend your points, you have several options.
3,550 points can be redeemed for a $25 gift card at the NFL shop. However, the same 3,550 points can be redeemed for one cent each as a credit on your statement (a “statement credit”), which is worth $35.50. Obviously, the statement credit makes more sense than the gift card. Here’s where it gets interesting — two regular season game tickets cost 25,000 points, and two Super Bowl tickets cost 200,000 points.
When I saw this, my first thought was that there must be some catch. Perhaps these are just prizes that cardholders are eligible to receive, but may not actually be available, just like so many frequent flyer mile awards? So instead of speculating, I reached out to my contact at Barclaycard to clarify:
Tickets to a game are available up to a week before the game. For regular season games, we disclose the specific sections of the stadium that are available for redemption for each team. For the Super Bowl, we do not guarantee specific locations — just that they will get a pair of tickets to the game.
The Value Equation
If an average ticket costs $78.38 and the NFL Extra Points card lets you redeem 25,000 points for two tickets, then you are only getting, on average, a substandard .63 cents in rewards per dollar spent on most purchases. But this calculation assumes that you could actually buy a ticket a week before the game at the regular price. And most of the time, you simply can’t. In fact, tickets for sale on the secondary market often start at hundreds of dollars each.
Bottom line? If you live in a football crazy town, and you want to see a game, earning rewards from this card might be the best way to go.
What About the Super Bowl?
With the Super Bowl, the equation is different.
While cardholders are told of specific sections where their reward tickets will be during regular season games, they have no idea where their seats will be during the Super Bowl, so prepare for the nosebleeds.
Next, those two tickets will cost 200,000 points, which is worth $2,000 as a statement credit. But it turns out that $1,000 per seat is a pretty good deal considering that the average price on the secondary market for a ticket to last season’s Super Bowl in Indianapolis was $3,127, while the lowest price found was $2,098, according to the Indianapolis Star. Of course this calculation assumes that you can rack up $200,000 in spending on the card, and that the rewards program doesn’t change before you are able to do that. Cardholders who use their credit card for business expenses that are reimbursed by their company will have an easier time reaching that goal.
NFL tickets aside, this card does offer a handful of other valuable features:
- All cardholders receive a 20% discount at NFLShop.com.
- As a Visa Signature card, NFL Extra Points cardholders are eligible for travel accident insurance, purchase protection policies, and a concierge program.
- Finally, there is no annual fee for this card.
As always, I strongly recommend against getting a rewards card if you do not plan on paying all of your balances in full. Those of us who have credit card debt should look for a product with the lowest interest rate and not be tempted to spend more to earn rewards.
- Access to NFL tickets. If having this card can get you into sold out games, or even the Super Bowl, a real football fan understands the value.
- Cash back rewards. If in the end, your mortgage comes before your team, you can always cash out your rewards.
- Perks. Don’t discount the free DirectTV packages and NFL store discounts, especially as this card has no annual fee.
- Sign up bonus. 10,000 points is worth at least $100 cash back. This is not an incredible sign up bonus, but it is respectable for a card without an annual fee.
- Only one point per dollar on most purchases. This nominal rate of rewards is like getting 1% cash back. Other cards offer bonus points for gas, groceries, or other common purchases.
- Stupid gift card option. I still can’t believe that a $25 NFL gift card is 3,550 points. Why not just redeem the same points for $35.50?
- Unsure Super Bowl seats. Before I go on a quest to earn 200,000 points for Super Bowl tickets, it would be nice to know approximately how good those seats will be.
Who This Card Is Best For
Since there is no annual fee for this card, it may be tempting to conclude that cardholders have nothing to lose for applying. Instead, you should consider what other rewards you could have earned if you spend the same amount of money on a different reward card. For example, $25,000 of spending on another card could earn $250 in cash back or a domestic round trip airline ticket instead of two NFL tickets. But if you would rather have two NFL tickets, then this is the card for you. Likewise, $200,000 of spending could earn enough frequent flier miles for two round trip business class tickets to Europe rather than two Super Bowl tickets. Again, the choice is yours.
If NFL regular season and Super Bowl tickets were widely available for purchase at regular price, this would be a terrible card. But since these are some of the most sought after and expensive tickets in the world of sports, this credit card can represent an excellent way for NFL fans to attend the game of their choice.