PenFed Platinum Cash Rewards Card 5% Cash Back Category
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PenFed Platinum Rewards Visa Card is one of the best cash back rewards credit cards. With this card, you can earn 5% cash back at gas station, 3% at supermarket, and 1% elsewhere. There's no limit on how much cash back you can earn and the rewards earned never expire. No annual membership fee and no foreign transaction fee.
Exactly one year ago this time, shortly before I got the card myself, I wrote about how PenFed was about to reduce the rewards that it offers through its Visa Platinum Cash Rewards Card. On March 1, 2011, rewards for PenFed Visa Platinum Cash Rewards Card cardholders on grocery shopping was cut in half, from 2% to 1%, but rewards for gas purchases reminded at the 5% level. The change didn’t affect my decision to get the card because I was only interested in using the card at gas stations, even though it didn’t make me feel any better to see a card that so many people like joined other big banks in reducing card benefits.
Well, looks like the change is not done just yet.
Early this week, I got an email from PenFed regarding a number of up coming changes to the Visa Platinum Cash Rewards Card. Among them, the reduction in rewards caught my eyes. According to PenFed, starting February 1, 2012, rewards for non-gas purchases will be further reduced from the current level of 1% to 0.25%. This is pretty bad compared with what other rewards credit cards have to offer. But if you are a current cardholder and only use the card to buy gasoline as I do, then the good news after February 1st is that you can still keep the 5% cash back on gas as that part will be kept intact.
To make the changes as seen less unfriendly to current card members, PenFed will also reduce the purchase ARP for new purchases starting February 1st, from a variable rate of 13.99% to a variable rate of 9.99%. If you are not carrying any balance on your credit card, which I hope you aren’t, then this lowered rate won’t benefit you anything. To me, I am more concerned about the reduction in rewards than in purchase rates.
Along with the above mentioned changes, PenFed also proposes to allow existing Visa Platinum Cash Rewards Card members convert their cards into PenFed Platinum Rewards Card, which, as the name suggests, no longer offers cash back. Instead, the PenFed Platinum Rewards Card gives cardholders rewards points, pretty much like what all other rewards credit cards are doing nowadays, even though the rewards look better than what the Platinum Cash Rewards Card offers. Particularly, with the new PenFed Platinum Rewards Card, you will be able to earn
- 5 points per dollar spent on gas purchases
- 3 points per dollar spent on supermarket purchases
- 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases
And to make the card more appealing to existing Cash Rewards Card members, PenFed is providing incentives for the conversion. For a limited time, if you switch your card, you can get 5,000 points the very first time you use your card and another 20,000 points when you spend $1,000 within the first 3 months after you begin earning points. The total bonus points are equivalent to $250 that you can use toward merchandise, gift cards, and other rewards.
Even though I am not really a fan of rewards points because I think the merchants always overcharge when accepting points for redemption. But $250 free money looks very attractive. So I guess I will make the switch
- 5% Cash Back
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