Credit card rewards are usually divided into two areas: challenging (upgrading to a first-class flight, getting a free hotel stay) or practical (making money back). But what if you could pay for a space trip or pay back your student loan?

Visa Inc., Mastercard Inc., and major banks are redesigning their rewards programs to appeal to younger customers who want to use their cards to build wealth or reduce debt – not just for gain. Financial technology or fintech upstarts offer niche rewards to better compete against the established players.

Companies are also re-evaluating travel rewards programs. According to Bankrate, about 30% of credit card holders failed to redeem rewards in 2020, leading some issuers to believe that there is a market for more innovative rewards. The pandemic’s impact on travel and food only compounded that surge. One day intrepid donors could redeem hundreds of thousands of card points for a ticket for the Orbit, according to Visa.

According to data from card industry executives and fintech companies, five reward offers will be offered in the coming years.

Shrink your student loan

With around 45 million Americans owing roughly $ 1.7 trillion in student loans, more and more lenders are considering rewards programs that allow cardholders to repay cash for loan payments.