GM Flexible Earnings Card From HSBC Bank

A more flexible credit card

The GM Flexible Earnings Card from HSBC Bank is, as the name says, "flexible." In fact, GM has "totally re-engineered" its industry-setting rewards card, introduced back in 1992. While the newer GM Flexible Earnings Credit Card is not as rich as on the original card, the rewards redemption feature is a lot more flexible (hence the name).

Who the GM Flexible Earnings Card Is For

  • GM fans interested in saving money on their next vehicle purchase.

    Pros of the GM Flexible Earnings Card

    • Generous rewards package - 3 percent rebate if used to buy a GM vehicle.
    • 1 percent cash back if you don't buy a GM car.
    • No limit on annual rewards earned.

    Cons of the GM Flexible Earnings Card

    • High minimum rewards redemption threshold ($100) if you opt for cash back.
    • Rewards expire after seven years.

    Rewards

    • 3 percent rebate on spending good towards purchase or lease of a GM vehicle, or
    • 1 percent cash back.

    Annual Percentage Rates (APRs)

    • 0 percent APR for first 12 months on purchases and balance transfers.
    • 15.99 percent APR after 12 months.
    • Default APR: 30.99 percent.

    Fees

    • No annual fee.
    • Balance transfer fee: 3 percent of balance.
    • Late payment fee $19-$39.
    • Over-the-limit fee: $39.
    • Return check or return payment fee: $39.

    Card Review

    The GM Flexible Rewards Card pays a still-generous 3 percent rebate on spending that can be used toward the purchase or lease of a new GM vehicle.

    The original GM Card paid a whopping 5 percent reward. However, 3 percent is still one of the best rewards in the credit card market and the most generous among the vehicle rewards cards.

    GM and long-time bank partner HSBC have fixed one of the drawbacks of the original card. Now, if you later change your mind and don’t buy a new GM vehicle, you have the option of redeeming your rewards for cash.

    In its original version, if you didn't buy a GM car, the rewards you earned were worthless and all that spending was for naught.

    Reward Program Drawbacks

    The GM Flexible Rewards Card's reward program has two drawbacks. First, if you opt for cash back, you only get a 1 percent reward, not 3 percent. Second, you must earn a minimum of $100 in rewards ($10,000 in spending) before you can redeem them.

    You can earn an unlimited amount of rewards in any given year, but rewards dollars do expire after seven years. However, you can continue to earn rewards after that, with the dollars earned in the eighth year replacing those that expired in year one, and so on.

    There are limits (what GM calls "Redemption Allowances") on the amount of rewards you can redeem, and they vary by the make and model vehicle you want. For example, you can redeem up to $1,000 on a Chevy Malibu and up to $3,000 on a GMC Savana. All GM brands are eligible, including Cadillac, although not every model qualifies. Card rewards can be used in addition to any other discounts or incentives GM dealers are offering at the time, except the employee discount program.

    Recommendation

    While the rewards are less generous than on the original GM card, they're still very good, and the cash-back option makes up for some of that loss.

    Nevertheless, this card will likely appeal to you only if you're a diehard GM fan. Consumers looking for a cash-back card should probably stick to Discover, where you can redeem your rewards when they reach $20.