Credit Cards

Do Credit Card Rewards Programs Round Up or Down to the Nearest Dollar Spent? [A Rookie Wednesday Post]

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Rene’s Points For Better Travel, a division of Chatterbox Entertainment, Inc. has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Rene’s Points For Better Travel and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.


RenesPoints Rookie

Welcome to a regular feature on the Renés Points blog. This blog series covers in a “rookie” way either a Delta or travel-related theme and attempts to break down to a basic level each topic. You can read up on all the previous posts HERE. Now on to this featured topic.

Most of my purchases (and I assume yours, too) aren’t in the amounts of whole dollars (i.e. $100, $42, $14, etc.). Thanks to various prices, taxes, and fees, we have totals like $100.17, $42.76, and $14.50.

But nearly all loyalty programs don’t include award fractions of points. Whole numbers are much easier for everyone. For example, you may have 162,555 SkyMiles. Not 162,554.65 SkyMiles.

So what do credit cards rewards programs do with everything right of the decimal point on your purchases? 

Based on everything we’ve found, it simply depends on how much you spend.

The half-dollar (.50) mark seems to trigger whether your points earnings are rounded up or down. . Everything at and above that .50 level gets you kicked up to the nearest dollar’s earnings. Forty-nine cents and lower knocks you down to the dollar’s “base” number, if you will.

Here’s an example from the Points Summary of my American Express account:

Membership Rewards points earned across several purchases made with American Express cards.

The Best Buy purchase was $98.53 and rounded up to 99 Membership Rewards points earned. (Plus, I got $50 back thanks to an Amex Offer!)

You’ll see the Amazon purchase was $25.40. But that got shoved down to 25 points.

Meanwhile, the Fields Market purchase earned 16 points. I used my American Express Gold Card — which earns 4X at U.S. supermarkets. The $3.79 rounded up to $4 — and that multiplied by 4X, earning 16 points. But what’s interesting here, though, is that 3.79 X 4 = $15.16. So it’s the original price that gets rounded up before any bonuses are triggered.

Chase Ultimate Rewards: Slightly Different

Chase Ultimate Rewards awards point earnings to the exact cent on individual purchases. Here’s another example from Fields Market. I used my Chase Sapphire Reserve, which earns 3X on groceries through April.

Grocery store earnings on a purchase made with a Chase Sapphire Reserve card.

My $31.55 purchase was bonused 3X and earned 94.65 Ultimate Rewards points. The total amount of points earned will be rounded up or down when my statement hits.

Final Approach

This may seem trivial — but I asked several credit card holders if they think points get rounded up or down. They had no idea. So while earnings pretty much shake out even-ish in the long run, I figured it’s still something interesting and fun to explore.

Rene’s Points For Better Travel, a division of Chatterbox Entertainment, Inc. has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Rene’s Points For Better Travel and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.


Responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

2 Comments

    • Jack! You hadn’t given us a snarky comment in a while. I was getting worried. Glad you’re OK, buddy. 😉

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