Living with credit, Rewards, Shopping, Travel

Big purchase, Neymar transfer-style? Don’t forget to cash in on rewards points

Taylor Tompkins

To the west of the Atlantic, we’re not too fond of the “other” futbol – yet. But Thursday heads across the globe turned toward a single soccer player who scored with a world record-breaking deal.

Neymar da Silva Santos Junior, better known around the world as Neymar, a 25-year-old Brazilian forward, was signed to Paris Saint-Germain from Barcelona with a 222-million euro fee. That would be about $263,902,500 in the U.S., according to a quick Google conversion when the trade was officially announced. There’s a lot of talk that PSG doesn’t have that kind of money or where they got it from – so what if they had bought Neymar on plastic (or maybe metal, in the case of elite cards)?

The interest alone on such a big purchase would be staggering, but let’s look at what kind of benefits the Parisian team could get if they put Neymar’s transfer bill on its credit card.

Cashing in on cash back, rewards, big-time
If the football club had used a Citi Double Cash card (with a completely hypothetical and mind-blowing credit limit), they could have made $5,278,050 in cash back just on that one transaction alone – so long as the club paid its balance in full at the end of the month. The Citi Double Cash card gives 2 percent cash back on general purchases. The card isn’t currently offering a sign-up bonus, but it would be fresh cash in the team’s pocket.

If the French team was looking to stock up some airfare with the fee they have to pay in full, they could have used the trendy nearly-year-old Chase Sapphire Reserve. But it wouldn’t have gotten them as far as you’d think. The team could cash in on the 50,000-point sign-up bonus, but would only get the general purchase one-point-per-dollar rate. That gives the team a total of 263,952,500 points, which would get it about $3,959,287.50 worth of flights, hotels or car rentals for PSG players. That’s enough for 4,060 nonstop round trips from Paris to Qatar, where the royal family owns the club.

And if PSG was trying to be practical, they’d go with a flexible card like the Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite Mastercard, which, including a sign-up bonus, would give the team 527,855,000 miles that could be redeemed for travel, cash back statement credit, gift cards or merchandise at differing values. This card would give the team the most general rewards for the money by giving two miles for every dollar spent, and if the team decided it wanted to use that to travel they would get even more. With an additional 5 percent bonus for redeeming on travel, the team could afford 98,972 round trip charter bus rides to rival Olympique de Marseille‘s home turf.

All-American rewards
For the rest of you who don’t care what is happening in the sports world across the pond, I didn’t forget about you. Here’s how some of America’s priciest athletes could cash in on rewards or cash back:

  • The Oakland Raiders would earn 25,075,000 points on quarterback Derek Carr‘s salary if they took advantage of the outlandish current 75,000-point sign-up bonus on the Citi Prestige card.
  • Golden State stands to make $520,238.25 back in cash just by using Capital One’s Quicksilver card to pay Steph Curry. That’s a lot of money for PB&Js.
  • Clayton Kershaw would rack up $2,150,000 of cash rewards for the Dodgers over seven years if they paid him with the Discover it card. Unfortunately, “pitching ace salary” is not one of the rotating 5 percent cash back categories Discover offers.

Now, buying players’ contracts with a credit card may sound ridiculous – well, because it is. But what isn’t ridiculous is finding big purchases that you can pay off immediately (or quickly enough that you can take advantage of a 0-percent offer or meet a new rewards card’s initial minimum spend to get the bonus) to put on your rewards or cash back card.

As you can see, it adds up quick. And hey, what do I know? You could be on the prowl for the next Cristiano Ronaldo to put on your payroll, or at least rack up some serious rewards points on that snazzy new TV set you’re planning to buy to watch your favorite sports games.

See related: 5 extraordinary ways to redeem your rewards points this summer, What’s the best reward card for a single big purchase?


Join the Discussion

We encourage an active and insightful conversation among our users. Please help us keep our community civil and respectful. For your safety, we ask that you do not disclose confidential or personal information such as your bank account numbers, social security numbers, etc. Keep in mind that anything you post may be disclosed, published, transmitted or reused.

The editorial content on is not sponsored by any bank or credit card issuer. The journalists in the editorial department are separate from the company's business operations. The comments posted below are not provided, reviewed or approved by any company mentioned in our editorial content. Additionally, any companies mentioned in the content do not assume responsibility to ensure that all posts and/or questions are answered.