The SunTrust Cash Rewards Credit Card is a cash back credit card with no annual fee and a rewards program that focuses on gas and grocery spending. Like BankAmericard Cash Rewards Credit Card and Blue Cash Everyday from American Express, it has a tiered cash back program that’s relatively straightforward.
After a 12-month introductory period during which gas and grocery spending earn 5% cash back (up to $300 in total bonus earnings), SunTrust Cash Rewards Credit Card earns unlimited 2% cash back in those categories and unlimited 1% cash back on everything else. SunTrust deposit account holders earn bonus cash back when they redeem their earnings, resulting in cash back boosts as high as 75%.
This card has some other useful features, including a 15-month 0% APR introductory promotion on purchases and balance transfers, plus a lineup of World MasterCard benefits for frequent travelers and big-ticket buyers. Best of all, it’s open to folks without SunTrust accounts.
If you’re intrigued by the SunTrust Cash Rewards Credit Card, read on for more detail about its features, advantages, disadvantages, and overall suitability.
For the first 12 months, you get a special promotional cash back rate on gas and grocery spending: 5%, up to $6,000 in total spending and $300 in total bonus cash back. Once you hit the $6,000 spending threshold, your cash back rate in those categories drops to 2%.
Earning Cash Back Rewards
Following the end of the promotional period or the accumulation of $300 in bonus cash back on gas and grocery spending, the SunTrust Cash Rewards Credit Card earns unlimited 2% cash back in those categories, with no caps or restrictions. All other spending earns unlimited 1% cash back.
Redeeming Cash Back
Once you’ve earned at least $5 in cash back rewards, you can redeem for statement credits or direct deposits into the deposit account of your choosing. Alternatively, you can redeem for gift cards, travel, special experiences, and general merchandise, though redemption values may vary versus traditional cash back.
Cash Back Bonuses for SunTrust Deposit Accountholders
SunTrust offers potentially generous bonuses for deposit account holders who redeem their cash back into SunTrust accounts.
Clients with SunTrust checking, savings, or money market accounts earn 10% bonuses on their deposits, turning $100 in cash back rewards into $110.
Clients with SunTrust Signature Advantage Accounts and less than $100,000 in combined deposit and investment account balances earn 25% bonuses, turning $100 in cash back into $125.
Clients with SunTrust Signature Advantage Accounts and more than $100,000 in combined deposit and investment account balances, or clients enrolled in the Premier Banking Program, earn 50% bonuses: $100 in cash back becomes $150.
And SunTrust Private Wealth Management clients earn 75% bonuses, or $175 on original cash back loads of $100.
This credit card has no annual fee or foreign transaction fee. Balance transfers cost the greater of $10 or 3% of the transferred amount. Cash advances cost the greater of $10 or 4%. Late and returned payments cost up to $38.
For 15 months following your account opening date, the purchase and balance transfer APR is 0%.
Once the introductory period ends, the purchase and balance transfer APR rises to range between 12.49% and 22.49%, depending on prevailing interest rates and your personal creditworthiness. The cash advance APR is set at 26.24% from the day you open your account. There is no penalty APR.
Free FICO Score and Credit Insights
Your account includes a free FICO score each month. It’s viewable in your online account portal, along with a slew of information and tools that help you use credit responsibly.
World Mastercard Benefits
This card comes with a nice lineup of World Mastercard benefits. These include:
- Complimentary loss and damage coverage on rental cars charged in full to the card
- Extended warranties on purchased items with original manufacturers’ warranties of 2 years or less
- Price protection for 120 days on certain items purchased in full with the card
- No Annual Fee. The SunTrust Cash Rewards Credit Card has no annual fee. There’s little downside to keeping it in your wallet, even if you only pull it out at the gas station or grocery store. Some premium cash back cards, such as Blue Cash Preferred from American Express, do charge annual fees. (Blue Cash Preferred charges $95 per year, for example.)
- Excellent Bonuses for SunTrust Accountholders. When you redeem your accumulated cash back into SunTrust deposit accounts, you’re eligible for bonuses as high as 75% – though, for most cardholders, the highest attainable bonus is likely to be 25%. Still, that’s a nice boost that raises your effective cash back rate by a substantial amount – boosting a fully-realized sign-up bonus from $300 to $400, for instance. Many competing cards, such as the Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card and Chase Freedom, don’t offer such bonuses.
- Flexible, Easily Attainable Sign-up Bonus. This card’s sign-up bonus is very nice. When fully realized, it’s worth $300 during the first 12 months your account is open. The only comparable card offer that comes close is the first-year double cash back offer for Discover it family cards, including NHL Discover it and Discover it Chrome.
- Long 0% APR Introductory Period. This card’s 0% APR introductory period is unusually long – 15 months from account opening. It also covers purchases and balance transfers – another point in its favor. If you’re looking for a cash back card that can accommodate your plans to pay down debt, the SunTrust Cash Rewards Credit Card should be high on your list.
- No Foreign Transaction Fee. This card has no foreign transaction fee. If you regularly travel outside the U.S., this can save you a significant amount. The standard foreign transaction fee on entry-level credit cards is 3%, which often negates cash back earnings.
- Free Credit Score With Your Account. SunTrust provides you with a free FICO score that’s easily visible in your account dashboard. It’s surrounded by a slew of useful credit tools and content that can help you better understand your credit – and how to improve it. Needless to say, this is a better deal than paying $10 per month for a credit monitoring service.
- No Penalty APR. The SunTrust Cash Rewards Credit Card does not charge penalty interest. That’s great news if you’ve occasionally missed payments in the past due to liquidity issues or cash crunches.
- Low Baseline Cash Back Rate. The SunTrust Cash Rewards Credit Card has a mediocre baseline cash back earning rate – just 1% on all purchases. If you don’t spend heavily in the 2% (gas and grocery) categories, you’d be better served by cards that earn higher baseline cash back, such as Citi Double Cash Card (unlimited 2% cash back on all purchases).
- 2% Cash Back Only Covers Gas and Groceries. This card’s unlimited 2% cash back tier only covers gas and groceries. What’s more, 2% is the maximum you can earn once the introductory sign-up bonus period ends. If you spend heavily on gas and groceries, this is fine, but if you don’t have a huge driving or home cooking budget, you’d be better served by the BankAmericard Cash Rewards Credit Card’s 3% gas tier, whose $10,000 annual spending cap is generous enough for most people.
- Fairly High Cash Advance and Balance Transfer Fees. This card’s cash advance and balance transfer fees are on the high side, cutting into the argument that it’s an outstanding balance transfer option.
SunTrust is a major financial institution. If you live in the southern United States, you’ve probably heard of it. There’s a good chance you or someone you know has a SunTrust account.
The good news for folks interested in the SunTrust Cash Rewards Credit Card – and, in particular, its attractive cash back bonuses for SunTrust deposit account holders – is that you don’t need to live near a SunTrust branch to open an online account. As long as you’re a U.S. resident with a valid ID, you’ll likely qualify. Your eligibility promises to open a whole bunch of doors to financial opportunity, including the company’s full lineup of rewards credit cards.