To use the most overused word in tech, disruption has been needed in the UK credit card game. I still can’t use Google Pay on my premium airline card! WTF! Fortunately, it’s starting to trickle in with companies like Yonder.
The UK hasn’t been a wildly competitive credit card market and metrics like welcome bonuses and bolted on benefits tend to lag those found in countries including the US, Canada and Australia, just to name a few.
Outside of airline miles, there hasn’t been enough reward opportunity for everyday but aspirational things like dining and experiences.
Yonder came along last year and started to change that, with a niche focus on dining around London. The card introduced UK firsts, like up to 5X points on dining, with big redemption options offering more than 2.5 cents per point of value. Now, the credit card with no foreign exchange fees and an enviably functional app is expanding its rewards. It should be great news for just about everyone.
Yonder Card: My Experience(s)
I’m a paying Yonder Card member and have received enough value and inspiration from the card to prioritize spending and earning rewards with the card over many other UK rewards cards.
That should continue with news that the company is expanding its rewards categories.
I still value earning things like a British Airways Companion Voucher with the UK Amex, but many places still don’t take Amex, and I also spend enough to want to earn other rewards for things I do more often, while in the UK.
On that front, Yonder partners with some of the most sought after restaurants each month to bring enhanced earning rates and great redemption options. They’re now expanding into wellness, travel, cultural and at home rewards.
I’ve tried fun dining spots like Fallow thanks to prompts from the app and had £280 of the bill covered using points, with an easy ability to slide how much I’d like to split the bill between points and cash. In that instance Yonder was offering circa 2.5 cents per point, which is a fabulous return on every day spend.
Value Outside Of Rewards
I love the earning and burning and am glad to see the breadth expanding, but the “secret sauce” of the card has been the curation and inspiration of actually great experiences, and many you’d really have to follow the ‘scene’ to be aware of.
No disrespect to Pizza Express, but that’s not the kind of recommendation I take seriously. Fortunately, Yonder’s curation team has been sharply focused on very well executed food and beverage that would stand up to a review from food critic Jay Rayner.
If that angle on quality over quantity continues with their expanded rewards program, there should be a lot to love. I actually think it’s quite interesting, given how much the likes of JPMorgan Chase and American Express in the US are spending to acquire food and dining curation content companies like the Infatuation and Resy.
What The Expanded Yonder Program Means
I asked Yonder to expand on what a broadened rewards program looks like, and it seems to be legit. For fitness, partnerships like F45 and BXR access are part of the launch. On the travel front, experiences like high end staycation and digital detox options from Ashore and unplugged are early features.
The “at home” portion is particularly interesting. I’m used to leaving the house to enjoy credit card rewards, but Yonder offers elevated redemption and earning rates with the “at home” curation including Peckham Cellars, the online wine shop and meal prep service Lions Prep.
Being able to get good value for rewards, again often up to 2.5 cents per point or much higher, without the hurdles of vacation time, airline seat availability or hotel blackouts is a nice complement to aspirational, but tricky to lock down travel offered by other cards.
In addition to expanded earn and burn offerings, Yonder has added increased functionality to their app, which I can honestly say you have to experience for yourself to believe that a credit card company could build something so functional.
- Map Filters: Users can now filter categories on the experiences map based on the type they are most interested in, from Dining to Fitness
- ‘For You’ category: Specific experiences will now be recommended to members based on data provided during onboarding
GSTP Take: I’m A Yonder Fan
I like the Yonder story and I love a challenger brand coming in. If Yonder continues to create the credit card experience people would like, others will have to answer.
The key to me will be expanding rewards without ever jumping into platforms which simply provide a lot of access. Most rewards offerings are managed by third parties and are just a plug and play way to get into things. Yonder seems to be taking a more measured approach, onboarding things 1:1 which is much harder to scale quickly, but could prove to be the slow burn needed to be successful.
With a recent funding round of £62.5 million, it’s clear that Yonder is here for the long run. I enjoy the card enough to say it’s one really worth a gander from any UK rewards fans looking to complement or their rewards. With no foreign transaction fees it’s also a great card to put spend on abroad.