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The Flagstar Visa Bonus Rewards Card is a general-purpose rewards card with no annual fee. It blends elements of cash back credit cards and travel rewards credit cards. Issued by Elan Financial Services and backed by Flagstar Bank – a popular institution with online banking capabilities and physical branches – it’s an ideal household credit card for folks who spend across a wide range of categories.
Flagstar Visa Bonus Rewards Card earns unlimited 1 point per $1 spent on all purchases, with no caps or restrictions on how many points you can earn. There’s also an automatic monthly bonus on point earnings and a special redemption rate for users who redeem their accumulated points for airfare. Other redemption options include cash back, merchandise, gift cards, and more.
Even if you’re not a Flagstar Bank customer or don’t live in an area served by the bank, you’re eligible to apply if you meet this card’s credit standards. Here’s a look at what to expect from Flagstar Visa Bonus Rewards Card and what you need to keep in mind before applying.
After your first purchase with your new Flagstar Visa Bonus Rewards Card, you get $25 bonus cash back, no matter how large or small the purchase.
Earning Rewards Points
Flagstar Visa Bonus Rewards Card earns unlimited 1 point per $1 spent on all purchases, with no caps or restrictions on your earning power, nor any bonus categories. Points expire 5 years after they’re earned, so you must redeem them before they lapse.
Redeeming Rewards Points
Points are redeemable for cash, merchandise, gift cards, travel, and other items.
Cash redemptions value points at $0.01 apiece and require at least 2,500 points ($25 equivalent) to initiate. Merchandise and gift card redemptions assign variable values to points and may require more points to complete. Airfare redemptions offer the best value as you can redeem 25,000 points, normally worth $250, for round-trip airfare worth up to $325.
25% Monthly Point Bonus
At the end of each month, you get a 25% bonus on all points earned during that period, for an effective earning rate of 1.25 points per $1 spent and a 1.25% return on spending when you redeem for cash.
There is a 6-month, 0% APR on purchases and balance transfers, beginning on the day you open your account.
Once the introductory APR period ends, the purchase and balance transfer APR rises to range between 13.49% to 24.49%, based on your creditworthiness. Thereafter, these rates can vary with prevailing interest rates. The cash advance APR is set at 25.49% on the day you open your account, but can also vary with prevailing rates. There is no penalty APR.
There is no annual fee. The foreign transaction fee ranges from 2% to 3%, depending on how the transaction is denominated. Cash advances cost the greater of $10 or 4%, while balance transfers cost $5 or 3%. Late and returned payments cost up to $37.
Overdraft Protection for Flagstar Bank Deposit Accountholders
This card comes with optional overdraft protection coverage for Flagstar Bank deposit account holders. When you conduct a checking account transaction that would normally result in a negative balance, Flagstar automatically draws a cash advance on your Visa Bonus Rewards Card’s credit line to cover the difference. This allows the charge to go through as it normally would.
There’s a $10 fee per occurrence, and overdraft cash advances immediately begin accruing interest at the cash advance rate.
Visa-Backed Cardholder Benefits
This card has a slew of Visa-backed benefits for all cardholders. These include:
- Complimentary extended warranties on items with existing warranties of 1 year or less
- Complimentary loss and damage insurance on rental cars purchased in full with the card
- Emergency travel assistance
- 24-hour cardholder service via phone
- Free extra cards (authorized user accounts) for family members
This card requires good to excellent credit.
- No Annual Fee. Flagstar Visa Bonus Rewards Credit Card has no annual fee. That’s great news for light spenders, who don’t have to worry about meeting an arbitrary spending (and point-earning) threshold to offset a recurring annual fee. It’s also nice for frugal cardholders who simply don’t like the idea of annual fees – certainly a fair position to take. Some competing cards, including Blue Cash Preferred from American Express ($95 annual fee), do charge recurring levies.
- Nice Introductory APR Offer. This card’s 0% APR offer for purchases and balance transfers last 6 months from account opening. For many new cardholders, that’s likely to be enough time to finance large purchases or transfer and pay down high-interest balances from other credit card accounts.
- Unlimited 1.25% Earning Rate. Thanks to the 25% monthly bonus and unlimited point-accrual capabilities, every purchase made with this card earns 1.25 points per $1 spent. That’s a better baseline than many cash back cards, including such stalwarts as Chase Freedom and Discover it.
- Above-Average Returns on Airfare Redemptions. It’s worth your while to save up your points and redeem for airfare. That’s because points are worth more when they’re exchanged for flights: 25,000 points, normally worth $250 when redeemed for cash, equates to up to $325 in round-trip airfare.
- No Penalty APR. This card has no penalty APR. If you miss a payment due to an unforeseen cash crunch, you won’t have to worry about a skyrocketing interest rate. Some competing cards, including BankAmericard Cash Rewards Credit Card, charge penalty interest as high as 29.99% APR.
- No Bonus Categories or Accelerated Earning Rates. Flagstar Visa Bonus Rewards Card doesn’t have any bonus categories or other ways to earn points at accelerated rates. The 1.25% earning rate is the best you’re going to do with this card, and the best value you can hope to get at redemption is approximately $0.014 per point ($325 in airfare for 25,000 points). Contrast that with cards like Citi Double Cash Card and Fidelity Cash Rewards, both of which offer unlimited 2% cash back. Likewise, popular competitors such as Chase Freedom and BankAmericard Cash Rewards Card have cash back tiers or bonus categories that push cash back earnings as high as 5%.
- Has a Foreign Transaction Fee. If you’re a frequent international traveler, you’ll be dismayed to learn that this card carries a foreign transaction fee of up to 3%. That’s more than enough to offset any points earned overseas.
- Points Expire After 5 Years. Infrequent users need to be aware that Flagstar Visa Bonus Rewards Card’s points expire 5 years after they’re earned. If you only occasionally use this credit card, make sure you redeem your points as soon as you clear the $25 (2,500-point) minimum to reduce the risk that your points will expire unused.
- $25 Minimum Redemption Threshold. This card’s $25 minimum redemption threshold is problematic for light spenders, who can easily take months to rack up the requisite amount of points. Likewise for folks who use this as their secondary or tertiary credit card. Many comparable cards, including Chase Freedom Unlimited, have no minimum redemption thresholds.
- Sign-up Bonus Isn’t Great. Flagstar Visa Bonus Rewards has a $25 sign-up bonus, which is better than nothing. However, it’s pretty paltry next to comparable cards’ sign-up bonuses – for instance, Blue Cash Everyday from American Express has a sign-up bonus worth $100.
Flagstar operates primarily in pockets of the Midwest and South. I only recognize its name because I once lived in central Michigan, where Flagstar has plenty of physical branches.
But the fact that Flagstar Bank isn’t a household name has no real bearing on whether the Flagstar Visa Bonus Rewards Card is a worthy alternative to big-name cash back and travel rewards credit cards. That’s up to you. After reading this review, hopefully you’re better equipped to make the right call for your spending needs.