BMW Platinum Visa Credit Card Review

BMW Platinum Visa

bmw credit card Summary - The BMW credit card is a quirky credit card that is quite different from other auto credit cards. There is a no annual fee version and an annual fee version with some differences in rewards. The things you can redeem for your points is also slightly different from other auto programs. Let's really investigate this card now.

"Free Reward Program" (no annual fee) Version - With the BMW Platinum Visa Card, there are 2 tiers of reward program. The first is the "Free Reward Program". Under this program, you will earn 1 point for every 2 dollar spent on purchases using your BME Platinum credit card. You will also earn 2 point for every dollar spent on gasoline. You can redeem your rewards for car maintenance services, leases and loans, and BMW lifestyle products. The rebate percentage works out to 0.5% (quite low). Reward points expire in 5 years. Below is a brief summary of the types of reward that you can claim under the Free Rewards Program (specifically the points required to use for your lease and loans).

Rewards on BMW services lease and loans
Maximum rebate $5,000
Points needed for $100
Lease or loan certificate

Free Additional Lease Miles
Rewards Points Needed
1,000 Miles 20,000 points
2,000 Miles 40,000 points
3,000 Miles 60,000 points
5,000 Miles 100,000 points

Other than the rewards above, you can also redeem $100 with 10,000 points (similar ratio for increments) and use them for excess wear and use on your leases, to purchase BMW accessories and BMW merchandise. As you actually get $1 for every 100 points, and each point is earned by spending $2, the rebate percentage works out to 0.5%.

Platinum Benefits - Being a Platinum version of a Visa card, the BMW credit card offers the following Visa Platinum benefits.

24 Hour Customer Assistance - Customers can call anytime for any travel emergencies or for any matter.

Auto Rental Insurance - If you use the BMW card to pay for your car rental, you are automatically covered for damages. That means you can decline to sign the collision waiver. You have to bear in mind that the auto insurance goes for 15 consecutive days only (in the US), and 30 days (overseas).

Travel and Emergency Assistance - BMW provides a number 1-888-BMW-CARD to call for the following emergencies.

  • Medical Referral Assistance - in case you get sick when you are abroad.
  • Legal Referral Assistance - same as the above. It provides you with a referral service for English speaking attorneys in case you need one abroad
  • Trip Planning Assistance - this one is pretty self explanatory. But you can useful information like immunization issues, weather related issues from them
  • Emergency Message Relay Assistance - which may come in handy when you are abroad.
  • Up to $3,000 Lost Luggage Assistance - If you ever lose your luggage, you can get up to $3,000 in assistance
  • Emergency Ticket Replacement Service - This service will help you replace any lost tickets (though in this age of tickets sent by mail, I'm not sure if we will ever use it)
  • Emergency Transportation - This service provides transportation with medical supervision in case you ever need it
  • Prescription Assistance - This service can help with prescription assistance during unforeseen circumstances.
  • Document Delivery Service - Yes, you can even make a call to have your documents delivered wherever you want (though I can't help but think that calling the local Fedex or UPS is a much better idea)
  • Emergency Translation Service - This service will probably be most useful when you are abroad

  • Warranty Manager - Warranty Manager is now a standard feature in many credit card programs. You can get an extra year warranty beyond the manufacturer's warranty when you use your card to pay for your purchase.

    Travel Accident Insurance - The coverage is up to $250,000.

    Roadside Assistance - Roadside assistance covers broken-down car, flat tire, keys locked in your car, dead battery or when you run out of gas, towing. Non-emergency trip routing is also available for a small fee.

    Performance Plus Reward Program - Under the Performance Plus Reward Program, you earn 1 point for every dollar spent on your credit card. You can redeem points for airline tickets, Wyndham, Marriott and Ritz Carlton cash certificate and other shopping merchandise.

    For airline tickets, you need 25,000 points for a domestic flight, 35,000 to Canada, Mexico or Caribbean, and 40,000 to Hawaii or Alaska.

    For hotel rewards, you need generally need 10,000 points for a $100 gift certificate to a stay at Hyatt, Wyndham Hotels and Resorts, Marriott and Ritz Carlton Hotels. But there are a couple of other unique perks that are best explained when you look at the screen shot below.

bmw hotel rewards

For merchandise rewards, you can see their partners below.

bmw merchandise rewards

Fees - There is no annual fee for this credit card, though you have to pay a $50 annual fee if you wish to subscribe to the Performance Plus Reward Program.

Verdict - After looking through the details of this card, I have the feeling that BMW is making this card into a quasi reward card and less focused on being a pure auto credit card. And you can see it in the reward formula. Firstly, unlike other auto cards, you only earn one point for every two dollars that you spend on the card! Compare this with the GM Card or Toyota credit card that allows you to earn 5 points when you use your cards at dealerships! Even Chrysler and Subaru cards lets you earn 3 points for every dollar that you spend at their dealerships! So from a points earning view, this card fares pretty poorly against its' peers.

In terms of redeeming points, this card also differs slightly from other cards. If we look at the GM Card and Toyota card (the benchmark in this space), you can use reward points to redeem for a new or certified used vehicle. BMW allows you to use points to get discounts on leases and loans for your BMW. But what if you do not want to take a loan and instead can afford to pay for your car? This card appears not to address this issue.

Even though you can redeem your points for rewards and merchandises for the Performance Plus Reward program, you have to pay a $50 annual fee. There lots of reward cards that have better features than this. For example, the Chase Sapphire, Chase Freedom will beat the pants of this card is terms of rewards (without any annual fee).

Having said all this, if you are a true BMW fan, you might still get this card. However, I do not think this card is good at all. It is trying to be everything to everyone without being the best at anything.