The 4 Stupidest Ways Credit Cards 'Reward' You for Spending

#2. This Fucking FarmVille Horse

Points: 1,100

Card: Citibank


While unquestionably cheaper than everything else on this list, any amount of points spent on a pretend horse for a Flash game is an unforgivable waste of money. Judging by the description, the horse doesn't actually do anything in the game, either. It's not like buying a pretend shovel or pretend plow that would make pretend farming easier; the only thing this Clydesdale does in the game is sit in a stable until it potentially produces another stupid Clydesdale to do the same thing.

Now, Citibank offers 1.2 points for every dollar spent, so technically this horse could be yours as soon as you spend just under a thousand dollars in your everyday life, but -- and I can't stress this enough -- it's a pretend horse that does nothing. You can't even show off the new purchase to anyone else without alienating yourself from every friend you have by being that person who sends FarmVille notifications. The only thing you can possibly gain from buying this clip art animal is experience points within FarmVille. Just to be clear, Citibank is offering you the opportunity to cheat at a game in which you are the only participant and in which there is no definitive end. Surely someone should be paying you instead to shoulder a humiliation that special.

#1. This Fucking Collage of Dirt

Points: 24,300

Card: Wells Fargo

Wells Fargo

There's a very good reason why professional baseball players toss foul balls into the stands instead of handfuls of dirt. Dirt is not a keepsake, it's just dirt. Yet Wells Fargo is insistent that used dirt from 14 different American League baseball stadiums is something that people might not only actually collect, but also display proudly in a framed wall mount, potentially between the chewed gum they gathered from movie theater seats in every state and that malnourished child they keep chained to the radiator. Yes, a dirt collage would really tie together a sociopath's living room.

It really looks best with natural light.

In addition to all that sweet used dirt you're getting with this reward, there's also an authentication hologram letting you know that it's been kicked around and spit on by real baseball players. In fact, if you pried open the glass, you could probably smell the mixture of dust, chaw and saliva in every capsule. All the best parts of baseball, distilled into tiny compartments. Surely only 24,300 points is worth potentially owning the crusted sheddings of professional athletes.

With any luck, even his mouth cancer will someday be memorabilia.

Though as absurd as used dirt may sound as a credit card reward, sadly, it demonstrates that Wells Fargo has a firm grasp on the weaknesses of their customers. They know that the people who will rack up over $20,000 on a credit card are probably the same people who would be out impulse-buying a dirt collage anyway. By offering it as a reward instead, those people feel like they're getting something for free when in fact it's sending them further into debt. Unless of course they're rich, but let's be honest, rich people don't get rich by paying for clumps of dirt. It's nice to finally see a credit card company listening to the wants and needs of the everyman.

Special thanks to Justin Viar, Adam Lind and Chris Radomile for their help with research for this column.

For more from Soren, check out The 7 Most Useless Skymall Products (Reviewed Accordingly) and My Ill-Fated Attempt to Save a 'Suicide Girl'.

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Soren Bowie

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