The Flagstar Visa Bonus Rewards PLUS Card is a general-purpose rewards card with a $50 annual fee. It’s basically a grown-up version of Flagstar Bank’s Visa Bonus Rewards Card, a no-annual-fee product that mixes aspects of cash back credit cards and travel rewards credit cards. It’s issued by Elan Financial Services and backed by Flagstar Bank, a Michigan-based consumer bank with robust online banking capabilities and physical branches scattered throughout the Midwest and South. Overall, it’s an ideal general spending card for households that spend across a wide range of categories.
Flagstar Visa Bonus Rewards PLUS Card earns unlimited 1 point per $1 spent on all purchases. There are no caps or restrictions on how many points you can earn, though points do expire after five years. Every month, your total point earnings get a 50% boost – for instance, turning 1,000 points into 1,500 points. Plus, when you redeem points for airfare, you get a special redemption rate that’s roughly 40% higher than the standard fare. If you’re not much of a traveler, you can also redeem for merchandise, gift cards, cash back, and more.
Don’t bank with Flagstar Bank? Don’t worry. Even if you live outside its service area, you’re eligible to apply for Flagstar’s Visa Bonus Rewards PLUS Card if you meet its credit standards. Let’s see if this card is right for you.
Once you make your first purchase, no matter how large or small, you get a one-time cash back bonus of $50.
Earning Rewards Points
Flagstar Visa Bonus Rewards PLUS Card earns unlimited 1 point per $1 spent on all purchases. There are no caps or restrictions on how many points you can earn, nor any earning tiers or bonus categories. Points expire five years (60 months) after they’re earned.
Redeeming Rewards Points
Accumulated points are redeemable for travel, gift cards, cash, merchandise, and more. In most cases, redemptions require at least 2,500 points. Cash redemptions value points at $0.01 apiece, while gift card and merchandise redemptions often assign lower values and may require higher redemption minimums.
If you travel regularly, you can also redeem points for airfare at a special rate: up to 40% higher than the cash redemption rate. Airfare redemptions require at least 25,000 points, which equates to as much as $325 in round-trip airfare.
50% Monthly Point Bonus
At the end of each month, you get a 50% bonus on all points earned during that period. That equates to an effective earning rate of 1.5 points per $1 spent, or a 1.5% return on spending when redeemed for cash and a 2.25% return on spending when redeemed for airfare.
Starting on the day you open your account, balance transfers and purchases accrue no interest (0% APR) for 6 months.
Once the introductory APR period ends, Flagstar Visa Bonus Rewards PLUS Card’s APR rises to range between 13.49% to 24.49%. The exact figure varies based on your creditworthiness and prevailing interest rates.
From day one, the cash advance APR is set at 25.49% but can vary with prevailing rates. There is no penalty APR.
There is no foreign transaction fee, but the annual fee is set at $50 and is not waived during the first year. Cash advances cost the greater of $10 or 4%. Balance transfers cost $5 or 3%. Late and returned payments cost up to $37.
Overdraft Protection for Flagstar Bank Deposit Accountholders
If you have a Flagstar checking account, you can take advantage of this card’s optional overdraft protection coverage. When you attempt a checking account transaction (such as a debit card purchase) that would normally result in a negative balance, Flagstar automatically executes a cash advance on your Visa Bonus Rewards PLUS credit line to offset the negative portion of the transaction. The charge then goes through as intended, less a $10 fee charged to your credit card account.
Overdraft cash advances begin accruing interest immediately after they occur, at the cash advance rate, so it’s in your best interest to pay them off as soon as practically possible.
Visa-Backed Cardholder Benefits
Flagstar Visa Bonus Rewards PLUS Card has a nice lineup of Visa-backed benefits for all cardholders. The highlights include:
- Complimentary loss and damage insurance on rental cars purchased in full with the card
- Complimentary extended warranties on items with existing warranties of 1 year or less
- 24-hour customer service by phone
- Free extra cards for family members (authorized users)
- Emergency travel assistance for travelers more than 100 miles from home
This card requires excellent credit. If you have any blemishes on your credit history, your application may be jeopardized.
- Unlimited 1.5% Earning Rate. Thanks to the unlimited point-earning capabilities and 50% monthly bonus on all earned points, every purchase made with this card effectively earns 1.5 points per $1 spent. By comparison, many entry-level cash back cards (including stalwarts such as Chase Freedom and Discover it) set their baseline earning rate at just 1%.
- Nice Introductory APR Offer. Flagstar Visa Bonus Rewards PLUS Card’s 0% APR offer for purchases and balance transfers stretches 6 months from account opening. If you play your cards right (no pun intended), you can use that time to pay down a high-interest balance transfer or finance a large purchase without paying a penny in interest.
- No Foreign Transaction Fee. If you regularly travel overseas, you’ll love the fact that this card waives customary foreign transaction fees, which can range as high as 3%. Depending on how much you travel, this perk alone could offset the $50 annual fee.
- Above-Average Returns on Airfare Redemptions. This card’s best redemption deal is undoubtedly airfare. When you redeem at least 25,000 points for round-trip flights, you get up to $325 in airfare. That values each point at $0.014, or 40% more than the standard $0.01-per-point cash redemption rate. Most competing cash back cards, not to mention premium travel cards such as Chase Sapphire Preferred, value points at $0.0125 or less.
- No Penalty APR. Flagstar Visa Bonus Rewards PLUS Card has no penalty APR. If you occasionally miss a payment due to an unforeseen liquidity issue, you can safely put any worries of skyrocketing interest rates to bed. That’s not the case with many popular competitors: BankAmericard Cash Rewards Credit Card charges penalty interest at 29.99% APR, for instance.
- Has an Annual Fee. This card’s $50 annual fee is problematic for light to moderate spenders, who likely won’t spend fast enough (and therefore earn rewards quickly enough) to offset the recurring charge. Most cards with comparable earning rates, including Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card, have no annual fee.
- No Bonus Categories or Accelerated Earning Rates. Flagstar Visa Bonus Rewards PLUS Card has no bonus categories or tiers. You can’t earn points faster than the 1.5% effective rate, no matter how much you spend or what you buy. Likewise, the best value you can get at redemption is approximately $0.014 per point ($325 in airfare for 25,000 points). By contrast, popular competitors such as Citi Double Cash Card have 2% cash back baselines, while Chase Freedom and Discover It boast rotating 5% cash back categories.
- Points Expire After 5 Years. Flagstar Visa Bonus Rewards PLUS Card’s points expire five years after they’re earned. Even if you only use this card on an occasional basis, members must redeem periodically – or else you’ll lose your rewards.
- $25 Minimum Redemption Threshold for Cash Redemptions. This card requires at least $25 (2,500 points) to process cash redemptions. That’s a problem for light spenders and those who use this as their second or third card, both groups of whom can go months without hitting that threshold. Many comparable cards, including Discover it Chrome, have no minimum redemption thresholds.
- Sign-up Bonus Isn’t Great. Flagstar Visa Bonus Rewards PLUS Card has a $50 sign-up bonus. That’s better than nothing, but not exactly stellar, especially given the card’s $50 annual fee. Popular no-annual-fee competitors, including Blue Cash Everyday from American Express and Chase Freedom Unlimited, have far more generous sign-up bonuses.
Flagstar Bank isn’t exactly a household name. It operates mostly in the industrial Midwest and a few areas of the South. I’m one of the few Americans with direct experience with the bank thanks to a four-year stint in its Michigan homeland.
So while Flagstar Bank keeps a low profile, the Flagstar Visa Bonus Rewards PLUS Card is still a strong contender in the increasingly crowded rewards credit card category.
Not sure Flagstar Visa Bonus Rewards PLUS Card is right for you? When you choose the right rewards credit card and use your spending privileges responsibly, you can earn $100s, or even $1,000s in extra income each year. To see how much you could earn, check out our other credit card reviews.