Alliant Visa® Platinum Rewards Credit Card review
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Alliant Visa® Platinum Rewards Card Overview
The Alliant Visa® Platinum Rewards Credit Card combines the low interest rates of a credit union with the perks of a rewards credit card. With low-interest introductory offers and points that you can exchange for one cent each, there are a lot of upsides that come with this card—including benefits from everyday spending to paying off big purchases at a lower interest rate.
To apply for the card, you must become a member of Alliant Credit Union, which is easy. If you don’t qualify as a business or organization partnered with Alliant or you’re not an immediate family member of someone with an Alliant account, you can join by becoming a member of Foster Care to Success. Alliant will make the $5 membership fee donation on your behalf.
What are the pros and cons?
- Promotional period is shorter compared to other cards in the category
- No bonus spending categories
- Fewer additional benefits than other cards in the category
A deeper look into the current card offer
- Rewards rate: 2X points for every dollar spent
- Welcome offer: 5,000 bonus points after you spend $500 or more in qualifying purchases during the first 90 days of account opening
- Annual fee: $0
- Purchase intro APR: Introductory rates as low as 0 percent apply for 12 months on purchases after account opening
- Balance transfer intro APR: Introductory rates as low as 0 percent apply for 12 months on balance transfers after account opening
- Regular APR: 13.24 to 23.24 percent variable APR
Current welcome offer
There are two current welcome offers for new cardholders. First, members can earn 5,000 bonus Alliant Rewards points after spending $500 or more on qualifying purchases during the first 90 days of opening the account. When you use the points for travel, cash back or gift cards, the welcome offer is worth $50. This scales well with the amount you need to spend to earn the bonus but is relatively low compared to other options.
The card also comes with a no-interest or low-interest introductory offer for both new purchases and balance transfers. Based on creditworthiness, new cardholders can get an introductory APR of between 0 percent and 5.99 percent, after which a standard variable interest rate between 13.24 percent and 23.24 percent will apply.
Because the card is offered by a credit union, applicants do not need perfect credit to qualify. This opens both the rewards bonus and zero-or-low-interest introductory rate to a wide field of applicants, making it our choice for the best low-interest APR credit card from a credit union. Even at a 5.99 percent interest rate for one year (13.24 percent to 23.24 percent variable APR after), those who plan to make a large purchase or seek to reduce debt from a card with a higher interest rate could benefit greatly provided they pay their balances within the one-year period.
As its name suggests, the Alliant Visa Platinum Rewards offers cardholders points every time they use it. The points can be exchanged through the Alliant Rewards Catalog for travel rewards, cash back, gift cards or electronics.
Earning Alliant Rewards points
The Alliant Visa Platinum Rewards offers cardholders 2X points per $1 in eligible spending, with no limit on the number of rewards they can earn. This is a relatively fair rate and, because it earns without a limit, cardholders can continue to reap the benefits of this generous rewards rate year-round.
The eligible spending categories are mostly focused on everyday categories, such as groceries, online shopping and other similar activities. According to the program terms, you do not earn points for spending on cash advances, convenience checks, PIN-based purchases or “fees paid for prepaid and reloadable cards such as certain gift cards, or payments made for payment instruments that can be readily converted to cash.” That includes money orders or traveler’s checks.
Although the points are unlimited, they do come with a shelf life. If the points go unused, they will expire after five years on a rolling “first-in, first-out” system. For example, if you earn 5,000 points in March 2022 and you don’t use them by March 2027, they will expire—a loss of $50 in value.
Redeeming Alliant Rewards points
The Alliant Rewards catalog offers five different categories for rewards: cash rewards and gift cards, electronics, event tickets and travel rewards. The wide range of flexibility on redemptions is a major benefit to cardholders unavailable on some other cards, so it’s definitely worth considering as you shop for your next card.
While you can’t convert the points directly to cash, you can use them toward cash rewards in three different ways. You can deposit them into an Alliant Credit Union checking or savings account or put them toward credit card statement credits. You can also use them for gift cards at popular retailers including Amazon, Target and Walmart. However, if you decide to receive a gift card over a cash reward, you’ll pay a nominal fee for redemption.
Alternatively, cardholders can also convert their points for travel rewards, including airline tickets or hotel reservations. You must book both airfare and hotels at least three days in advance, but keep in mind that using points toward flights or rooms is final. If you miss your flight or have to cancel your trip entirely, the points won’t be refunded, and the rewards center cannot guarantee that they can recover credits toward future travel.
Through its Best Buy partnership, members can also redeem Alliant Rewards for almost anything the retail giant sells. The prices change as items go on sale, making the catalog actively dynamic.
Rewards members can also redeem their points for event tickets through the issuer’s portal.
Other cardholder perks
In addition to the low introductory interest rate and unlimited rewards, the Alliant Visa Platinum Rewards offers three additional benefits. Cardholders can take advantage of an auto rental collision damage waiver when renting cars, a debt protection program and roadside assistance.
Auto rental collision damage waiver
The auto rental collision damage waiver is a benefit offered by Visa through the card. To qualify, cardholders must pay for their entire rental car fee using the Alliant Visa Platinum Rewards card and decline the rental company’s collision damage waiver. In the event that you get in an accident in your rental car or somebody breaks into it, you can file a claim for the damage with Visa. This insurance is secondary to any coverage you may already have, meaning you may have to file with your car insurance company first.
Alliant also offers a debt protection plan in the event that the cardholder is killed, forced into disability or suffers the involuntary loss of their employment. The plans carry a monthly cost per $1,000 of outstanding balance on your credit card, ranging from $0.75 to $1.99 per month depending on your level of coverage. If you plan on taking advantage of the low interest rate on the card, this coverage may help you cover the debt with the onset of potential life-altering events.
Car breakdowns happen, and often at the most inconvenient times. Through Visa, the card also comes with roadside dispatch support. For a fixed price per call, you can get towing, help changing a flat tire, five gallons of fuel delivered (plus the cost of the gas), lockout help and standard winching.
How much are Alliant Rewards points worth?
Alliant Rewards change in price based on how you use them. The best way to use them is for cash rewards or statement credits at a value of 1 cent per point.
While you could use the points for travel, it may not be the best decision due to the program restrictions. If you need to change your flights or cancel a hotel reservation, you must rely on the rewards program to request new flights and get travel credits toward future trips. Instead of using the points exclusively for travel, consider using your card to book trips and the points to “erase” the charges as statement credits. This is a stronger strategy that will actually make your points worth more on redemption, and it protects you in the event of trip cancelation because it’s easier to refund a charge on your card than it is your reward points.
Also, when you use Alliant Rewards points for gift cards or electronics, the value of your points decreases. Although you can get gift cards valued at 1 cent per point, the nominal redemption fee slightly devalues your rewards.
The worst way to use the points is for electronics because when you shop through the catalog, your redemption rate is 0.6 cents per point. For this reason, it’s not recommended that you exchange points for merchandise, but instead redeem points for statement credits following any purchase you make to neutralize some of the cost.
Rates and fees
What makes the Alliant Visa Platinum Rewards so appealing is its overall lack of fees. The card comes with no annual fee to keep the account open and an introductory interest rate between 0 percent and 5.99 percent for the first 12 months. Once the promotional period is over, your APR for purchases and balance transfers will increase to between 13.24 percent and 23.24 percent, based on your creditworthiness.
If you make a late payment or make a payment that is returned with this card or any other credit card you hold with Alliant, you could be subject to the penalty APR of 25.24 percent.
Other fees include:
- Minimum interest charge: No less than $1
- Balance transfer fees: Either $5 or 2 percent of each transfer amount, whichever is greater
- Cash advance fees: Either $10 or 3 percent of the cash advance, whichever is greater
- Late payment fees: Up to $27
- Returned payment fees: Up to $27
- Overlimit fees: None
How the Alliant Visa Platinum Rewards Credit Card compares to other cash back cards
Among cash back credit cards, the Alliant Visa Platinum Rewards is a strong option. Between unlimited rewards and a very low introductory interest rate for purchases and balance transfers, this card offers points toward cash back or travel while helping new cardholders pay off higher balances from other cards.
Alliant Visa Platinum Rewards Credit Card vs. Discover it® Cash Back Card
When compared to other cash back credit cards with no annual fee, the Alliant Visa Rewards card doesn’t necessarily offer the best welcome offer, rewards or introductory interest rate period. A great alternative option is the Discover it® Cash Back card which potentially offers a better welcome bonus depending on how much cash back you earn for the year, along with a longer low-interest APR period for new purchases and bonus point categories. If you are looking for a card to earn more rewards on purchases with a longer no-interest period to pay off your balance, you may be served better by Discover’s offering with its cash back card.
However, you will have to align your spending each quarter to meet the spending requirements of the Discover it card’s bonus categories. While this can require a bit more maintenance on your end, the earning rate in bonus categories is 5 percent back on up to $1,500 in rotating category purchases each quarter when you activate the bonus category (then 1 percent), as well 1 percent cash back on all other purchases; a substantial increase over Alliant’s current rewards rate.
Alliant Visa Platinum Rewards Credit Card vs. the Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card
If you want to earn a steady, 2 percent flat rewards rate on purchases with no annual fee and want to retain the flexibility to redeem rewards in a variety of ways, the Wells Fargo Active Cash card is a great option. You’ll earn 2 percent back on purchase you make without an annual limit, and redemptions are similar to those on the Alliant Visa Platinum Rewards Credit Card. Additionally, there’s no annual fee, and the card’s welcome bonus is proportionately twice as large as the Alliant Visa card’s. You’ll need to spend twice as much, but the return is much larger than the 5,000-point offer (a $50 value) available through Alliant’s card.
If you want a low maintenance, generously rewarding card option that provides you the flexibility to redeem how you want with various options, then the Wells Fargo Active cash card is the better choice. But if you want to curb your regular APR, the Alliant Visa Platinum rewards card is lower on the low end and the high end.
Best cards to pair with the Alliant Visa Platinum Rewards Credit Card
The best ways to use the Alliant Platinum Rewards points are toward statement credits or cash back, effectively making this a cash back credit card. For smart spenders who want to double-down on earning a rewards bank for the future, the card pairs best with those that offer bonuses in targeted areas. Both the Discover it Cash Back and Chase Freedom Unlimited offer categories in which you can earn more rewards compared to the Alliant Platinum Rewards, complementing your overall strategy.
If using cash back toward travel is your ultimate goal, then you should consider pairing the Alliant Visa Platinum Rewards with another points-earning card. If you don’t have a preferred airline credit card or hotel credit card, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card offers flexible points you can use toward travel at a value of 1.25 cents per point and also offers the chance to transfer points to partner airlines and hotels for direct rewards.
Bankrate’s take — Is the Alliant Visa Platinum Rewards Credit Card worth it?
The Alliant Visa Platinum Rewards combines solid returns with a lower interest rate and is available to a wide range of consumers. When you use it for cash back rewards, this card is a great option for those who prefer the lower costs and community focus that comes with a credit union. Of course, this includes the added benefit of a low regular APR as well.
Before you apply and join the credit union, be sure to do some comparison shopping to see if another card makes more sense for your spending habits. If you have a big purchase in mind instead of a balance transfer, another card may offer you a longer 0 percent interest payoff runway with bonus categories to earn more rewards. Additionally, you may also benefit from a welcome bonus on another card that has a higher spend requirement and therefore rewards more for meeting it.