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UPDATE Sept. 2, 2020: This article has been updated to reflect a change in rewards-earning ability with the PayPal Extras Mastercard®. There is no longer an annual cap on the number of points you can earn.
If you’re a frequent PayPal user, you might be considering the PayPal Extras Mastercard®. Issued by Synchrony, it earns bonus points on everyday spending categories such as gas stations and restaurants, as well as on PayPal and eBay purchases.
However, it also comes with plenty of roadblocks, including lackluster point value, minimum redemption requirements and a slew of restrictions on travel booking. Even PayPal diehards can do much better with other rewards credit cards — including a different option offered by PayPal, detailed below.
Here are five things to know about the PayPal Extras Mastercard®:
1. Dining and gas expenses earn the most points back ...
The $0-annual-fee PayPal Extras Mastercard® earns:
3 points per dollar spent on gas and restaurant purchases.
2 points per dollar spent on PayPal and eBay purchases.
1 point per dollar spent on other purchases.
That's a decent return in terms of point rates.
2. ... But point value is low and you need a minimum amount to redeem
With the PayPal Extras Mastercard®, if you want cash back you'll have to amass 6,000 points first, which you can then redeem for a $50 PayPal credit.
That works out to a value of only 0.83 cents per point, which is below the industry-standard value of a penny per point for cash back.
Non-cash-back redemption options also require minimum point thresholds:
You need at least 800 points to start redeeming for gift cards for restaurants, gas, retail and more.
Collect 3,000 points and you can use them toward merchandise such as household items, electronics and sports equipment.
At 15,000 points, you can get a travel voucher for plane tickets, hotel stays or car rentals.
Points expire 24 months after they were initially accrued.
3. Travel redemptions pose particular hurdles
Beyond the required 15,000-point minimum, know that you'll have to plan far ahead to use points for travel. Flights must be booked at least 21 days in advance, can be redeemed only for coach seats and sometimes require a Saturday night stay.
Stopovers can’t exceed four hours, and you must complete travel within 30 days of the original departure date.
Hotel stays and car rentals also require booking 21 days in advance, and they come with blackout dates.
4. You need a PayPal account first
Setting one up is free and relatively easy to do. But if you don't already have a PayPal account before applying for the PayPal Extras Mastercard®, you'll be asked to create one first.
5. It's not the only choice for PayPal loyalists
The PayPal Extras Mastercard® is one of two co-branded credit cards from PayPal and Synchrony. The other is the PayPal Cashback Mastercard®, which has a different rewards structure. It earns a flat 2% cash back on everything — no varying point values, no categories to keep track of, and no minimum redemptions to worry about.
If you have one of these cards already, you cannot get the other.