Rewards Training Camp: Using your credit card rewards during football season

Football player snapping the ball

You know when the fall season is here— college football season kicks off. Rooting for your favorite team is the easy part. But traveling to games with friends, stocking up on your favorite team’s merch and picking up everything you need for the best tailgate parties can get pricey. You can use your rewards cards to take the pressure off your budget by redeeming your earned points to cover football season costs.

Go-to rewards cards before kick off 

Leveraging your credit card to maximize rewards important to you is what it’s all about. If you’re big on entertainment spending, these cards will reward you with cashback:

Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card

Earn unlimited 4 percent cashback on dining and entertainment, 2 percent at grocery stores and 1 percent on other purchases. If you love going to the movies, you’ll earn 8 percent cashback on Vivid Seats tickets through May 2020. Spend $3000 on purchases in the first 3 months and earn a one-time $300 cash bonus. So, you should have no problem earning fast cash for college football season.

Deserve Pro Mastercard 

Even if you have less-than-perfect credit, you can approved for this card by meeting income and employment verification requirements. You’ll earn 3 percent cashback on travel and entertainment charges, 2 percent back at restaurants and 1 percent back on all other purchases.

First quarter cashback cards

Stocking up on team merch and everything you need for that tailgate party adds up. The following cards have got you covered on everything from gas to grocery shopping and merch. 

Amex Blue Cash Preferred 

This may be the best tailgate season card around. You’ll earn 3 percent cashback on gas station purchases, 6 percent back on the first $6,000 per year spent at grocery stores plus 1 percent back on all other purchases.

Barclay NFL Extra Points Card

If you’re a big NFL fan, this card rewards you with 2 cents cashback for every dollar spent on NFL tickets, stadium purchases, team pro shops and You’ll also get 20 percent off at and have access to exclusive team experiences and NFL rewards. Accrue enough points and you can redeem them for tickets to the Super Bowl.

Second quarter travel cards

Want to follow your team cross country for crucial games? These travel cards make it possible to travel free by using points for your trip:

Chase Sapphire Preferred

Earn 2 points for every dollar spent on dining and travel and 1 point on everything else, which can be redeemed for any airline or hotel. The sign-up bonus is impressive – 60,000 bonus points after you charge $4,000 in the first 3 months after sign up. That’s $750 toward travel through Chase’s Ultimate Rewards® travel portal.

Capital One Venture Miles

Earn 2 points on every dollar spent plus get a sign-up bonus of 50,000 miles after spending $3000 the first three months. The signup bonus is worth $500 in free travel.

Third quarter card perks

There are rewards credit cards that offer extra perks perfect for getting to your local or away game. 

Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards

Capital One has been an NCAA sponsor since 2010. They don’t offer a co-branded credit card, but you can get access to special NCAA promotions when you own this card.

Wells Fargo Propel American Express

For the most flexibility, this option from American Express rewards you for traveling, or staying home and watching the game from your couch. You’ll earn for every dollar spent:

  • 3X dining out or ordering in
  • 3X on streaming services
  • 3X on gas, rideshares and transit
  • 3X on travel including hotels, flights homestays and vehicle rentals

Fourth quarter rewards plans

Don’t fumble your finances. A good budgeting game plan and solid payment habits will save you from overspending and affecting your credit score negatively. With a little pre-planning, you can set up next year’s college football season now. 

Start putting away as little as $20 – $30 per month to cover next year’s tailgating season expenses. Spend wisely and pay with your rewards credit cards so you have enough cash back, rewards or points available for next year’s team goals.


Leveraging your rewards cards is the key to getting free travel and cash to finance your college football fandom. You’ve got to spend money every day on coffee, food and gas anyway. So why not also earn a few extra perks while you do?