Consumer Confidential: Cash rewards top cardholders' list; Exxon rakes in the bucks
Here's your throat-warbler-mangrove Thursday roundup of consumer news from around the Web:
-- So what's the most popular credit-card reward out there? Not airline miles, it turns out. Credit-card users value cash-back rewards more than any other type of perk, according to a report from comScore. A hefty 57% of cardholders say getting some sort of rebate is the best possible reward for using their plastic. "Merchant rewards" and "flexible points" tied for second, with airlines miles coming in third. Surprisingly, gas rewards came in fifth with a 5% vote of confidence. My guess is that as pump prices keep creeping higher, those percentages will change.
-- Speaking of which, I'm pleased to report that our friends at Exxon Mobil are now about $11 billion richer. The world's biggest publicly traded company pocketed $10.65 billion in the first three months of the year, which will no doubt draw cheers of support from drivers facing the highest gas prices since 2008. In fact, the quarter was Exxon's best since it earned a record $14.83 billion in 2008's third quarter. Anticipating a strong reaction from drivers and politicians, Exxon says on a company blog that it has little control over the price of oil, which has risen to near $113 per barrel. Unsaid was whether Exxon will use more of its profit to develop alternative energy sources so we aren't stuck with sky-high oil prices forever.
-- David Lazarus