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BBVA Select Credit Card Review – Double or Triple Your Rewards Earnings

At a Glance
bbva compass select credit card
4.2 / 5
Rating

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BBVA Select Credit Card

  • Sign-up Bonus: Earn 20,000 points ($200 value) when you spend $2,000 within 3 months of account opening; earn $100 account credit when you spend at least $20,000 in the first 12 months
  • Rewards: Unlimited 3 points in 1 category of your choice; unlimited 2 points per $1 spent in 2 additional categories; unlimited 1 point per $1 spent on everything else
  • Benefits: Complimentary Hertz Gold Plus membership; 24/7 concierge service; complimentary Visa Signature Luxury Hotel Collection membership
  • Fees: No foreign transaction fee; 4% balance transfer and cash advance fee (minimum $10)
  • Annual Fee: $125 (waived in the first year)
  • Credit Needed: Excellent

Advertiser Disclosure: This post includes references to offers from our partners. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. However, the opinions expressed here are ours alone and at no time has the editorial content been provided, reviewed, or approved by any issuer.

The BBVA Select Credit Card is an exclusive rewards card that blends elements of cash back rewards credit cards and travel rewards credit cards. Its $125 annual fee is waived during the first year, and its sign-up bonus (worth up to $300) further makes up for the recurring charge. The rewards program is pretty generous too: You earn 3 points per $1 spent in a category of your choice, 2 points per $1 spent 2 additional categories of your choice, and 1 point per $1 spent on everything else, all with no limits or restrictions.

You receive added bonuses for spending heavily in your first year – and, to a lesser extent, thereafter. Plus, this card has a slew of fringe benefits, including some complimentary memberships that are virtually certain to cut costs for frequent, savvy travelers.

The BBVA Select Credit Card is definitely a great credit card for people with ample budgets and spending priorities aligned with the favored categories, as long as they’re willing and able to stomach the annual fee. Here’s what you need to know.

Key Features

Sign-up Bonus

You receive 20,000 bonus points (worth up to $200) when you spend at least $2,000 within 3 months of opening your account.

If you spend $20,000 within your first year as a cardholder, you get an additional $100 account credit.

Earning Rewards

This card participates in BBVA’s Build Your Own Rewards program, which lets you customize its rewards structure to your liking. At your discretion, it earns unlimited 3 points per $1 spent in a single spending category of your choice. It also earns an unlimited 2 points per $1 spent in 2 additional categories of your choice. Eligible categories include: utilities, restaurants, groceries, travel (including airlines, hotels, and rental cars), gas, healthcare, office supplies, and department stores.

You can adjust your 2x and 3x categories once per quarter. All other purchases made with this card automatically earn an unlimited 1 point per $1 spent, regardless of category. If you have multiple BBVA credit card accounts, you can combine points earned on each to accelerate your progress toward redeeming for more valuable merchandise, gift cards, travel, or simply larger cash loads.

Remember to use your points! If your account lapses into inactivity for 12 months or longer, any unused points will begin to expire 36 months after they’re earned.

Monthly Spending Bonus

When you spend at least $5,000 in a statement period (month), you get 1,000 bonus points – a $10 value. There’s no limit to how many monthly spending bonuses you can earn.

Redeeming Rewards

You can redeem points for pretty much anything: for statement credits, travel (including airfare), general merchandise, gift cards, and more. At redemption, points are generally worth $0.01 apiece. However, their value is subject to change and may vary by redemption method.

Redemption minimums also vary by method – for instance, statement credits require a minimum redemption of 2,500 points (a $25 value). To redeem points in real time for everyday purchases, download BBVA’s free BBVA Wallet, a mobile wallet product. Once you have BBVA Wallet, simply complete the purchase transaction as you normally would, look for the alert sent to your mobile device, and follow the prompts to offset the purchase with points.

Important Fees

BBVA Select Credit Card’s $125 annual fee is waived during the first year. There is no foreign transaction fee, but the balance transfer and cash advance fees are both the greater of $10 or 4%. The returned payment fee is $27, and the late payment fee is $37.

Visa Travel Benefits

This card has a slew of Visa-backed travel benefits. The most noteworthy include:

  • Complimentary Hertz Gold Plus membership, a points-based loyalty program that entitles frequent Hertz customers to free rentals, skip-the-line reservations, and other benefits
  • Complimentary Visa Signature Luxury Hotel Collection membership, whose benefits include the guaranteed best available rate, complimentary room upgrades whenever available, and $25 food and beverage credits on each stay
  • Lost luggage reimbursement, up to $3,000 per trip – a nice travel insurance benefit
  • 24/7 concierge service for help with reservations, booking, local itineraries, and more

Additional Benefits

This card’s additional benefits include:

  • Extended warranties of up to 5 years on registered purchases
  • Complimentary rental car loss and damage insurance on rentals paid in full with your card
  • Travel accident insurance coverage

Credit Required

This card requires excellent credit. Any notable credit blemishes are likely to disqualify your application.

Advantages

  1. Fairly Fast Rewards Earning Pace. This card’s flexible 2x and 3x spending categories make the somewhat hefty annual fee worthwhile. If you spend heavily the 3 domains that you choose as your 2x and 3x categories, your overall rewards rate could approach what’s possible with popular travel rewards credit cards such as Citi ThankYou Preferred.
  2. Can Choose 2x and 3x Rewards Categories. Thanks to BBVA’s Build Your Own Rewards feature, you have an unusual degree of freedom over your rewards. Plus, you can change your favored categories every quarter, which is great if your spending needs change with the seasons or life events. Some popular competitors, including Citi ThankYou Preferred and Chase Sapphire Preferred, do not let you choose your favored categories.
  3. Very Good Sign-up and First-Year Bonuses. The BBVA Select Credit Card has a very attractive sign-up bonus. It’s actually a 2-part deal: You get 20,000 bonus points, worth $200, when you spend at least $2,000 within 3 months of opening your account, followed by an additional $100 account credit if you spend at least $20,000 in your first year. All told, that’s worth up to $300.
  4. Additional Benefits for Heavy Spenders. The bonus-earning potential doesn’t stop after the first year. When you spend $5,000 or more in a single month, you get an additional 1,000 bonus points – worth up to $10. There’s no limit to how much you can earn.
  5. Lots of Travel and Non-travel Fringe Benefits. This card has a slew of travel and non-travel benefits, including genuinely valuable perks such as Hertz Gold Plus and Visa Signature Luxury Hotel Collection memberships. If you travel frequent, these benefits could go a long way toward offsetting the card’s annual fee.
  6. No Foreign Transaction Fee. This card has no foreign transaction fee. That’s great news for frequent overseas travelers. Many competing cards, including some lower-tier BBVA products, charge foreign transaction fees as high as 3%.
  7. No Penalty APR. This card doesn’t charge penalty interest. That’s great news for cardholders who occasionally miss payments due to liquidity issues or other problems. Some fellow rewards cards charge penalty interest indefinitely, at rates up to 30% APR.

Disadvantages

  1. Charges an Annual Fee. The BBVA Select Credit Card has a $125 annual fee after the first year. That’s troublesome for frugal cardholders. Some fellow premium cash back and travel credit cards, including Blue Cash Preferred from American Express and Chase Sapphire Preferred, have lower annual fees – $95 per year, in both cases. Others, such as Discover it, waive annual fees altogether.
  2. Requires Excellent Credit. This card requires excellent credit. Any credit blemishes, however trivial-seeming, could disqualify your application. That’s a disappointment for prospective cardholders in the process of rebuilding their credit – though BBVA does offer lower-level credit cards for such customers.
  3. High Balance Transfer Fee. If you’re thinking about transferring existing high-interest credit card balances to your newly opened BBVA Select Credit Card account, the 4% balance transfer fee may give you pause. Some competing cards, including Chase Slate, waive balance transfer fees for a limited time on new accounts. And plenty of other cards charge 3% or less on balance transfers – savings that can quickly add up on larger balances.

Final Word

The BBVA Select Credit Card is an unusually flexible credit card that lets you choose how and when you earn rewards. If your spending priorities are aligned with any of the optional 2x and 3x categories – most of which are pretty broad – then you should at least take a closer look at this product.

Then again, you’d be forgiven for hesitating to pay the $125 annual fee, which is considerably higher (to the tune of $30 to $40) than many comparable cards’ annual levies. Before you put in your application, sit down, crunch some numbers, and figure out whether BBVA Select is the right credit card for your needs and budget.

Verdict
bbva compass select credit card
4.2 / 5
Rating

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BBVA Select Credit Card

The BBVA Select Card is an ideal primary credit card for heavy spenders whose top spending priorities align with any of the favored 2x or 3x categories, which cardholders can change as often as once quarterly. Thanks to its above-average travel benefits, and the fact that some favored categories involve travel, this card is especially useful for frequent travelers.

On the other hand, BBVA Select is decidedly not appropriate for people with modest budgets, nor anyone with reservations about paying a $125 annual fee.

The BBVA Select Credit Card‘s key advantages include its above-average rewards earning pace, the ability to choose your 3x and 2x categories, excellent sign-up and first-year bonuses, ongoing bonuses for heavy spenders, lots of travel and non-travel benefits (including benefits with tangible monetary value), no foreign transaction fee, and no penalty APR.

Its principal drawbacks include its $125 annual fee, the requirement that applicants have excellent credit, and the high balance transfer fee.

Overall, this is an excellent card for heavy spenders and frequent travelers (or both) who don’t mind the high annual fee.

Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any bank, credit card issuer, airline, or hotel chain, and has not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, not those of the bank, credit card issuer, airline, or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Brian Martucci
Brian Martucci writes about frugal living, entrepreneurship, and innovative ideas. When he’s not interviewing small business owners or investigating time- and money-saving strategies for Money Crashers readers, he’s probably out exploring a new trail or sampling a novel cuisine. Find him on Twitter @Brian_Martucci.

Comments Disclosure: The below responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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