If you’re dreaming of a shiny new car with a big red bow on it, certain credit cards can help take the edge off of the cost. The Toyota Rewards Visa® and Lexus Pursuits Visa® both offer a high earnings rate when you use them at Toyota and Lexus dealerships, respectively.
You can redeem points at dealerships, too. Add in extra cash back on dining and entertainment, and you have two cards that may be especially appealing if you plan to buy a new car or make significant repairs to the car you already own.
1. The two cards are similar, with one big difference
The main difference, as their names imply, is that one card is focused on Toyota, while the other is aimed at Lexus.
Otherwise, you earn points much the same way — and that extends to the cards’ sign-up bonuses. The Toyota Rewards Visa® offers 5000 points for spending $500 within first 90 days outside of a dealership. The Lexus Pursuits Visa® offers 5000 points for spending $500 in 3 months outside of a dealership.
- Earn 5 points per dollar at the dealership: With the Toyota Rewards Visa®, those extra points are earned at Toyota dealerships only. With the Lexus Pursuits Visa®, you’ll have to spend money at a Lexus dealership.
- Earn 2 points per dollar spent on gas, dining and entertainment: This broad category includes the expected restaurants and bars, but also the unexpected — amusement parks, carnivals, aquariums, bowling alleys, cable TV subscriptions, country clubs, golf courses, movie theaters, music and record stores, video game arcades and more.
- Earn 1 point per dollar everywhere else.
2. You can redeem points for a statement credit …
Exchange your earnings for cash back in the form of a statement credit at a value of 1 cent per point. Statement credits are issued in $25 (or 2,500-point) increments.
You can also redeem for merchandise, gift cards or travel. These awards are governed by third-party companies, so the value of your points may vary and redemption terms may change without notice.
3. … or at a dealership
The ability to redeem for statement credits makes for two downright decent cash-back cards. But what really sets these cards apart is that you can redeem points to pay for service, parts and accessories at Toyota dealerships (for the Toyota Rewards Visa®) and Lexus dealerships (for the Lexus Pursuits Visa®). You can even cash in points toward a new car for any amounts due at signing. For redemptions at a dealership, points are valued at 1 cent apiece and there’s no minimum redemption amount.
According to the fine print, the option to redeem points at Toyota or Lexus dealerships isn’t available in Hawaii. If you live there, that makes these cards significantly less appealing, since it’s the benefit that differentiates them from other rewards cards.
4. Redeeming for travel comes with a lot of restrictions
Here’s just a taste of some of the rules you’ll have to follow when redeeming points for travel:
- You must book travel at least 21 days in advance.
- Your trip must begin in one of the lower 48 states (apologies again to Hawaii residents and fresh apologies to Alaska residents).
- Your trip requires a Saturday night stay and may be subject to blackout dates.
If your goal in getting a rewards card is to use it to save on travel, consider a more general travel rewards card that lacks the limitations that the Toyota Rewards Visa® and Lexus Pursuits Visa® have.
5. Other rewards cards may offer you more
As with car buying, it can pay to shop around when looking for a new credit card. The rewards for the Toyota Rewards Visa® and Lexus Pursuits Visa® are decent, but the sign-up bonus is only worth $50 if redeemed for 1 cent per point, ranking it behind cash-back cards that offer more upfront. Travel rewards cards give you much more redemption flexibility and bigger sign-up bonuses.
Where these cards shine is at Toyota or Lexus dealerships — you earn 5 points per dollar spent there and can cash in points to pay for service, parts or even a down payment.