The PayPal Extras Mastercard is one of two credit card options exclusively for Paypal customers with good credit, and it’s by far the less flexible. (The PayPal Cash Back Mastercard offers a very competitive 2% cash back on all purchases, and redeeming rewards is not nearly as complicated.)
Still, if you tend to eat out and spend a lot of time on the road, the PayPal Extras Mastercard could be the better choice. Earning 3 points per $1 spent on gas and restaurant purchases is better than 2% cash back in those categories, assuming the points are worth more than 0.67 cents each when you redeem them. The problem is PayPal doesn’t make it easy to figure out point values. When you redeem your points for cash, you get 0.83 cents per point, but the value for other redemption options is less clear. (More on this below.)
Decent rewards rate on gas and restaurants
Low redemption value
No bonus for new cardholders
- Decent rewards rate on gas and restaurants: The chance to earn 3 points per $1 on gas and restaurant purchases isn’t the highest rewards rate you’ll find, but it’s as good or better than many.
- Low redemption value for cash: A good earnings rate only matters if the rewards have a good value. If you redeem your points for cash into your PayPal account, you’ll only get 0.83 cents per point—less than the standard 1 cent sought by rewards chasers. And PayPal doesn’t disclose other redemption values until you get the card, so we can’t say whether you’ll get a good deal by using your points to book travel or buy gift cards.
- Redemption hurdles: If you want the ability to redeem your rewards at any time and for any amount, you’ll have to look elsewhere. You’re restricted to specific redemption tiers and payout options.
- No bonus for new cardholders: Many rewards credit cards attract new customers with a lucrative bonus, but the PayPal Extras Mastercard doesn’t provide that incentive.
- High interest rate: The high end of the variable APR range—26.99%—is well above the average for rewards cards. Even the most creditworthy applicants can only hope to qualify for a 19.99% variable APR.
Earning Points & Rewards
The PayPal Extras Mastercard offers 3 points per $1 spent on gas and restaurant purchases, 2 points per $1 spent via PayPal and eBay, and 1 point per $1 spent on everything else. While these earning rates aren’t bad, taking into account redemption values gives a more complete picture.
Redeeming the rewards you’ve earned isn’t as simple as it is with the PayPal Cash Back Mastercard, and you’ll get a meager 0.83 cents for each point if you use them like cash. Even worse, you have to have a certain number of points before you can use them. To redeem for $50 credited into your PayPal balance, you must have 6,000 points.
Other redemption options also apparently require certain thresholds to be met, though the numbers are relatively meaningless without knowing what you can get for them (and a PayPal spokesperson didn’t respond to our inquiries). Once you have your card, you must call PayPal or log into your account online to obtain the number of reward points required for a particular award.
The information advertised on the card’s website is limited to:
- 800 points for gift cards for restaurants, gas, retail and more
- 3,000 points for merchandise including housewares, electronics, and sports equipment
- 15,000 points for a travel voucher for future airfare, hotel, or car rental
Keep in mind, too, that you must have an active PayPal account linked to your credit card. To add your rewards to your PayPal balance—which can be used to send money to friends or make purchases—you’ll need a PayPal Cash or PayPal Cash Plus account. If you have a personal PayPal account, your only option is to transfer your rewards to a linked bank account or debit card.
One other drawback: Unused points expire 24 months after they were first accrued.
Earning 2 points per $1 on PayPal and eBay purchases may seem like a decent rewards rate, but you may get more value for the same purchases with the PayPal Cash Back Mastercard. If you redeem your rewards for cash, you’ll get the equivalent of 1.66 cents for every $1 spent on the Extras card, versus 2 cents for every $1 spent on the Cash Back card.
How to Get the Most Out of This Card
Since the gas and restaurant rewards are the main selling point, make sure you pull this card out of your wallet every time you eat out or are filling up at the pump. And your points don’t last forever, so don’t wait too long to redeem them.
If you want to redeem your rewards for travel, be aware of a few restrictions. You must book at least 21 days before you travel. With airfare, a Saturday night stay may be required, stopovers of more than four hours are not allowed, and you must complete your travel within 30 days of your original departure.
In addition, use another credit card when you’re making purchases in foreign currencies since the card charges 3% of the purchase amount as a foreign transaction fee.
Synchrony Bank, the issuer of the PayPal Extras Mastercard, ranks below average in J.D. Power’s 2019 customer satisfaction survey, scoring 780 out of 1,000 among national credit card companies. Some of the worst marks were in categories related to interaction, benefits, and key moments.
You’ll have plenty of access to customer service, however. You can call the service center 24/7 or use the live online chat function 9 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. ET seven days a week. And there's a PayPal mobile app you can use to spend or transfer cash rewards redeemed to your PayPal account.
The PayPal Extras Mastercard comes with identity theft protection if you enroll in the service. You’ll get 24/7 monitoring of suspicious online activity and can even ask that specific domain names be checked regularly. Plus, you’ll get help with disputes so you’re not held responsible for fraudulent transactions.
Besides the foreign transaction fee of 3% and hefty APR, the fees on the PayPal Extras Mastercard are in line with the rest of the industry. Like many cards in the rewards category, there is no annual fee.