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SunTrust Cash Rewards Mastercard
SunTrust Cash Rewards Mastercard
What we like:
5% cash back on gas and grocery purchases for the first year
|Rewards Rate||5% cash back up to $6,000 spent on gas and grocery purchases in the first 12 months|
2% unlimited cash back on gas and grocery purchases after that
Unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases
|Regular APR||0% APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months; after that, 13.49% to 23.49% variable APR|
- Flexible redemption options
- Free access to your FICO score
- SunTrust World Mastercard Benefits, including extended warranty, price protection, and travel assistance services
- No foreign transaction fees
- Cardholders with low SunTrust checking account balances won’t qualify for the best loyalty bonuses
- 5% cash back rate capped at $6,000 in purchases during the card’s first year
- Must wait until the close of the billing period to redeem rewards
- Customer service reviews tend to be negative with this card (and for SunTrust in general)
- 3% balance transfer fee (minimum $10)
Recommended Credit Score
- Excellent credit
SunTrust Credit Card Review: A Good Card for Existing SunTrust Customers
If you’re already loyal to SunTrust and have existing deposit accounts with the bank, the SunTrust Cash Rewards Mastercard may be a strong credit card option for you. The card offers competitive rewards rates in certain categories, especially during the first 12 months. However, many of the best perks are geared toward existing customers who bank with SunTrust. If that’s not you, you might want to look elsewhere — or consider opening a SunTrust account to maximize rewards.
In this review:
- Benefits of the SunTrust Cash Rewards Mastercard
- Downsides of the SunTrust Cash Rewards Mastercard
- SunTrust Customer Service
- How it Compares to Similar Cards
Benefits of the SunTrust Cash Rewards Mastercard
The SunTrust Cash Rewards card stands out for its bonus rewards and reasonable APR.
This card doesn’t come with a traditional signup bonus that requires you to spend X amount within a certain number of days to get a certain number of rewards points. Instead, the signup bonus offers a generous 5% cash back on up to $6,000 in combined gas and grocery purchases in the first 12 months of opening an account. This makes the value of this bonus around $300, on par with the typical signup bonuses you’d find with many competing cards.
SunTrust Credit Card Rewards
After the first year, cardholders earn 2% unlimited cash back on gas and grocery purchases, as well as unlimited 1% cash back on all other qualifying purchases from the day of account opening.
Cash Bonuses for SunTrust Customers
The SunTrust card’s Loyalty Cash Bonus is available to cardholders who redeem their cash back directly into a SunTrust checking, savings, or money market account. You must redeem a minimum of $5 for either a statement credit or an ACH credit to a deposit account. The loyalty tiers are:
- If a client redeems Cash Rewards through a direct deposit into a SunTrust checking, savings, or money market account, they receive a 10% Loyalty Cash Bonus.
- There is a 25% Loyalty Cash Bonus for clients who have an Advantage Checking, Signature Advantage Checking, or Exclusive Checking account, with a combined balance between $25,000 and $100,000.
- There is a 50% Loyalty Cash Bonus for clients whose qualified accounts have a combined balance of more than $100,000.
- SunTrust Premier Program and Private Wealth Management Clients receive a 50% Loyalty Cash Bonus.
For example, someone eligible for a 10% Loyalty Cash Bonus with $100 in base rewards would earn an additional $10, bringing their total earnings to $110.
The SunTrust Cash Rewards card offers a $0 introductory APR on both purchases and balance transfers for 15 months after a new customer opens an account. After that, there is a competitive variable APR starting as low as 13.49%, depending on creditworthiness.
In addition, the card has no annual fee and no foreign transaction fees. It also comes with standard Mastercard perks such as EMV chip technology and travel protections.
Downsides of the SunTrust Cash Rewards Mastercard
If you aren’t already a SunTrust customer or are unwilling to make the switch, this probably isn’t the card for you. The primary way to maximize the card’s rewards is by transferring rewards directly into a SunTrust account. The more you have deposited in eligible SunTrust accounts, the greater the loyalty bonus.
Other potential downsides to the SunTrust Cash Rewards Mastercard include:
- Narrow application restrictions: If you don’t have a SunTrust bank account, you must be a resident of Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, Washington, D.C., or West Virginia to be eligible to apply. (U.S. residents who have an account and who live in any state except Vermont can apply.)
- Poor customer reviews: SunTrust has earned a lot of poor marks when it comes to customer service.
SunTrust Customer Service
To contact SunTrust customer service, you can visit their website or call 1-800-SUNTRUST to speak directly with a representative. New card applicants can call 1-800-279-4824.
How it Compares to Similar Cards
The SunTrust Cash Rewards Mastercard is a strong option for existing bank customers, but there are other cash back credit cards you might want to consider, particularly if you have an excellent credit history.
SunTrust Cash Rewards Mastercard vs. Discover it
The Discover it Cash Back is one such card that may be a worthy alternative to the SunTrust card. The Discover it rewards cardholders with 5% bonus cash back in rotating quarterly categories, with unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases. In lieu of loyalty bonuses for cardholders with Discover deposit accounts, though, the Discover it automatically matches all the cash back you earn at the end of your first year, with no limits.
Like the SunTrust Cash Rewards, the Discover it has no annual fee and offers flexible redemption options. It also has a 0% introductory APR on both purchases and balance transfers for 14 months, just one month shy of the SunTrust card’s intro APR.
At the end of the day, the Discover it Cash Back card has fewer eligibility restrictions when it comes to applying. Unless you already have a SunTrust bank account, the Discover it might offer the benefits you need with fewer strings attached.
Because of the eligibility restrictions and narrow qualifications for loyalty bonuses, the SunTrust Cash Rewards credit card is somewhat of a niche offering. To fully maximize the card perks, you should be a SunTrust customer and preferably hold a relatively high balance in your SunTrust accounts. You should also be a big spender in the gas and grocery store categories. If you don’t meet these criteria, there may be better cards for you, like the Discover it.
Author: Jeff Gitlen
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