BMW Credit Card Review

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Unless you’re planning to spend thousands of dollars a year on BMW experiences or expenses, you probably won’t earn a ton of rewards with this co-branded auto rewards card. However, when you compare it to other auto credit cards—many of which are much less consumer-friendly—the BMW Card stands out for its generous interest-free promotion, exceptional sign-up bonus, and solid rewards-earning rate on BMW-related purchases.

BMW Credit Card

overall rating
3.7
BMW Credit Card
Recommended Credit Score Our recommended ranges are based off of the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model. Credit score is one of the many factors lenders review in considering your application.
350 579
580 669
670 739
740 799
800 850
Good - Excellent
Regular APR (%) 14.74% - 25.74% variable
Annual Fee $0
Rewards Earning Rate Earn 3 points per dollar spent at BMW Centers, and 1 point per dollar on everything else.
INTRO PURCHASE APR 0% for 15 Months
Ratings Breakdown
for Interest
2.6
for Fees
4.3
for Rewards
4.0
for Credit
4.0

Earn 30,000 bonus BMW Reward Points when you spend $2,000 on purchases within the first 90 days after account opening. Redeem for exclusive BMW Rewards you won’t find anywhere else.

Who is This Credit Card Best For?

  • Avatar for Deal Seeker Persona
    Diligently searches for the best products and delights in a good bargain
    Deal Seeker
  • Avatar for Savvy Saver Persona
    Prioritizes sticking to their budget while buying what they want and need
    Savvy Saver

Any BMW owner who expects to spend a fair amount of money at a BMW Center should be able to get value out of the BMW credit card. BMWs—which are marketed as luxurious and innovative cars for affluent drivers—have a reputation for being expensive to own. New cardholders who are getting ready to service their BMWs will not only benefit from a substantial rewards bonus on their expenses, but they will also get access to a lengthy interest-free promotion, allowing them to spread out their car repair payments without having to pay interest.   

Car and motorcycle enthusiasts who dream of racing on a track will also benefit from the card’s healthy rewards-earning rate on BMW purchases and the introductory interest-free promotion. BMW offers a wide selection of driving classes and experiences that cardholders can pay for with their BMW Card.

Pros

  • Good rewards-earning rate on BMW purchases with a high rewards cap

  • Good sign-up bonus

  • Long introductory interest rate

Cons

  • Limited reward-redemption options

  • Modest rewards-earning rate on everyday purchases

Pros Explained

  • Good rewards-earning rate on BMW purchases with a high rewards cap: If you charge $4,300 worth of BMW expenses, you’ll earn 3 points per $1 spent, or 12,900 points, worth $129. Rewards points are capped annually at 240,000, which might seem disappointing, but to reach it, you’d have to spend $80,000 on BMW purchases (and a lot more on non-BMW purchases that earn just 1 point per $1).  
  • Good sign-up bonus: If you can afford to charge at least $667 a month during the first three months you have the card, you’ll qualify for a large enough sign-up bonus to shave roughly $300 off your BMW expenses. That’s a good bonus for a no-annual-fee card and is especially competitive when you compare it with bonuses from other auto cards.
  • Long introductory interest rate: One of the highlights of the BMW Card is its lengthy introductory interest rate promotion. Other auto rewards credit cards give cardholders just six to 12 months to spread out payments without incurring any interest—if they offer a 0% interest rate promotion at all.

Cons Explained

  • Limited reward-redemption options: If you aren’t sure you’ll stick with your BMW for much longer or don’t plan on taking your car into a BMW dealership for service, you may not get much value from this card. Since you’re locked into redeeming your rewards for BMW purchases, you risk forfeiting your rewards if you decide to look at another kind of luxury car. 
  • Modest rewards-earning rate on everyday purchases: You’ll earn just 1 point per $1 spent on non-BMW purchases. Some auto rewards credit cards offer better earnings rates at gas stations or restaurants, for example. As a result, it can be tough to rack up points if you don’t visit your local BMW Center frequently.

BMW Card’s Sign-Up Bonus

If you charge $2,000 within 90 days of opening your account, you’ll receive 30,000 bonus points that you can use for a variety of BMW purchases. You won’t get your points immediately, though, so you may want to wait to schedule any purchases that you’d like to pay for with points. It could take up to two months for your points to post to your account. 

The wait may be worth it if you’re looking at an expensive service or repair, however: 30,000 points will cut your bill by $300. Many no-annual-fee cash-back cards, by contrast, award just $150 to $200 as a sign-up bonus. Some auto rewards cards offer as little as $50. 

Earning Points & Rewards

Collecting points on the BMW credit card is simple. You’ll get 3 points for every $1 you spend on BMW goods and services and 1 point per $1 on every other purchase. You’ll have up to five years to spend them. 

BMW caps the number of points you can earn at 240,000 points a year, allowing you to earn a maximum of $2,400 back. However, you’d need to spend at least $80,000 a year before hitting that ceiling. For most budgets, that effectively makes the card’s points earning unlimited—which is generous for a rewards category that can easily add up. Some BMW experiences, for example, cost more than $1,000. However, heavy spenders may want to supplement with other cards that offer better points earning on everyday purchases. 

The biggest downside to the BMW Card’s rewards program is that the 3 points per $1 rewards-earning rate is reserved for BMW purchases, making it tough to justify using this card for everyday expenses. A number of auto credit cards, by contrast, award more points on common purchases, such as gas and dining.

Redeeming Rewards

You won’t be able to redeem your BMW rewards points for cash, travel, or other rewards. However, you will be able to choose from a variety of BMW purchases, including a credit for leasing or purchasing a BMW, car repairs, and BMW accessories.

Currently BMW is transitioning its credit card operations to US Bank, and BMW isn’t sharing specific details about the current rewards program, nor what it may look like under US Bank. 

The focus on BMW products and services can help shave the cost of owning and maintaining your BMW. The downside, though, is that it sharply limits your options. If you aren’t strongly attached to the BMW brand, the card’s limited redemption options may feel restricting. 

How to Get the Most Out of This Card

Wait to set up your next service appointment until you’ve been approved for the card and have received it in the mail. That way, you can use the card’s lengthy introductory zero-interest period to spread out your payments on any service charges or unexpected repairs. 

Rather than wait for a service appointment to come up, you could use your points to help fund a BMW experience instead. BMW offers a variety of classes and experiences for car and motorcycle enthusiasts. For example, you could use your points to help pay for a drive in a MINI John Cooper Works or a course on performance driving at a racetrack. 

Customer Experience

The BMW Card is currently issued by BMW Bank, which does not offer any special customer service perks. However, US Bank will soon take over BMW’s line of credit cards, which could affect customers’ experiences. US Bank ranks relatively low in J.D. Power’s 2019 Credit Card Satisfaction Survey, finishing eighth out of 11 major banks.  

Security Features

The BMW Card does not offer any of the enhanced security features provided by major card issuers such as fraud monitoring or zero fraud liability. In fact, you could be liable for up to $50 of fraudulent charges on your card, the legal limit. 

Fees to Watch Out For

The BMW Card’s fees are standard for a rewards card. However, its penalty APR is notably high. 

For BMW Credit Card
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See how this card stacks up to the competition
CURRENT CARD
BMW Credit Card
overall rating
3.7
Recommended Credit Score Our recommended ranges are based off of the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model. Credit score is one of the many factors lenders review in considering your application.
350 579
580 669
670 739
740 799
800 850
Good - Excellent
Regular APR (%) 14.74% - 25.74% variable
Annual Fee $0
Rewards Earning Rate Earn 3 points per dollar spent at BMW Centers, and 1 point per dollar on everything else.

Our Methodology

  • At The Balance, we are dedicated to giving you unbiased, comprehensive credit card reviews. To do this, we collect data on hundreds of cards and score more than 55 features that affect your finances.
  • Our Reviews Are Always Impartial: No one can influence which cards we review, the way we present them to you, or the ratings they receive. The scores and reviews come directly from the data we collect and our editorial expertise, and we focus on three areas:
  • How Much Does It Cost? With credit card debt at an all-time high, we believe you should know the cost of carrying a balance. Because of that, we give regular purchase APRs significant weight in overall scores, and cards receive low marks if they have an array of pricey fees.
  • What Are the Rewards Worth? Cards accumulate rewards in different currencies—points, miles, cash back—and their values vary widely. To simplify the problem, we built a system that fairly compares rewards and gives them a dollar value. We do this by looking at the ways you can earn and use rewards, which includes evaluating Americans’ typical spending habits and analyzing common travel patterns.
  • Does It Make Your Life Easier? Our scoring system favors cards that accept a wide range of credit profiles and offer simple solutions for things like checking your credit score or contacting customer service. Finally, we give preference to credit cards that have several tools for dealing with fraudulent charges.
  • For every review on The Balance, we hold the credit cards to these standards, and we set the bar high. While we recognize the appeal of splashy features like six-digit sign-up bonuses, our approach ensures that credit cards with the best combination of value, affordability, and accessibility receive the highest scores. See our full methodology for more details.