While we are in the process of choosing a credit card, one of the dilemmas we face is in deciding which type of reward card to choose. This is a common concern especially in a market like the UAE which has more than 200 different type of credit cards.

After being in the consumer banking industry for more than a decade, I personally find this an interesting dilemma to deal with. Rewards as we all know are ways of creating loyalty by banks while encouraging higher spends on their credit cards. Why do banks reward credit card usage? The obvious reasons are to increase spend on their products while also building loyalty. Banks employ experts who work on creating reward programs to attract their customers. They identify what the customers need or value the most and design the reward programs accordingly.

Please note that we are not referring to the various features and benefits commonly offered on most credit cards. These benefits can include dining discounts, complimentary golf access, valet parking, fitness club membership and so on. Reward programs are almost standard across the UAE market while specific designs and constructs are customized by each bank.


There are primarily three different types of rewards that customers can get in the UAE !

Cash Back Credit Cards

The most popular reward where customers receive a certain amount of cash back as a credit on the card based on their usage. The qualification and the reward rates may vary from card to card. This is very popular because it can be deemed to be a discount on the purchase.

Travel reward credit cards

Travel reward credit cards give you miles or travel points based on your card usage. The benefits don’t end there as free checked bags or airline fee credits may also be a part of the rewards package.

Reward Points Cards

These cards are popular among those who shop frequently. Banks offer reward points for spends incurred on their credit cards. These reward points can be redeemed in multiple ways including vouchers from your favourite malls or for purchasing, jewellery, holiday tours, electronics, beauty products and many more.

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