I’m a longtime fan of my local credit union which has been offering much better interest rates than most local banks. About 15 years ago I opened a credit card account through my credit union which earns CU Rewards Points.
What is CU Rewards? It is an awards program designed for many credit union credit card customers. My Credit Union Visa card has a really low interest rate and I will occasionally use it for large purchases that I don’t plan to pay off in the first billing cycle.
In the past I never paid much attention to the CU Rewards Program as they mostly offered merchandise for reward redemption and I would redeem points for things like cutting boards or a small tool box. Initially there were no options for gift cards or travel when I first opened the account. This past weekend I decided to log back into my CU Rewards account and I was quite surprised that there were options to redeem points for gift cards and travel that I had never noticed before. I had 7,117 CU Rewards points and decided to look around and see what I could get with those points.
First I looked at gift cards and found that the redemption point value for most of them were at .007 cents each. Not too bad since I didn’t have much use for CU Reward Points before. Next I decided to look at some travel redemption options. CU Rewards has a partnership with a travel agency called Montrose Travel. For Air travel redemption CU Rewards Points have a one cent point value as noted in this chart.
Next I decided to check hotel redemption options and found the redemption values were between one and two cents per point. Then lastly I decided to check rental car redemption options and was quite surprised. I plugged in details of an upcoming trip to Newark NJ and found that I could reduce the rate of a car rental from Enterprise Car Rental from $366.42 (price listed on Enterprise site for same car) to $113.01 with my existing 7,117 CU Rewards Points making them worth over 3.5 cents each.
Screenshot from Enterprise.Com:
Screenshot from CU Rewards, Exact Same Car, Dates, & Time:
Needless to say I was quite surprised at this redemption value and decided to make a reservation. I really like the idea of being able to utilize these points in this manner and that CU Rewards allow you to pay cash for the difference when you’re short on points for car rental redemption. Most likely I will not use CU Rewards Points for air/hotel redemption as I prefer to book directly with the hotel and airlines but I can definitely see myself utilizing CU Rewards Points again for car rentals. Who knew that CU Rewards Points could be so valuable?
If you have interest in CU Rewards check with your local credit union to see if they participate. The Consumer’s Credit Union based in Illinois will allow consumers anywhere in the US join for a $5 membership fee and they offer a Visa Signature Rewards Card that earns 3x points on Groceries, 2x points on gas, and 1x points on all other purchases.