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SunTrust Cash Rewards Credit Card Review

At a Glance
suntrust cash rewards credit card
4.3 / 5
Rating

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SunTrust Cash Rewards Credit Card

  • Sign-up Bonus: Earn 5% cash back on gas and grocery purchases, up to $300 total, during the first 12 months
  • Rewards: After first 12 months, unlimited 2% cash back on gas and grocery spending; unlimited 1% cash back on everything else from the day you open your account
  • Benefits: Cash back bonuses (up to 75%) for SunTrust checking accountholders; free customizable card face; free FICO score every month; World MasterCard benefits
  • Intro APR: 0% APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months
  • Regular APR: 12.49% – 22.49% APR
  • Fees: No foreign transaction fee; 3% balance transfer fee (minimum $10); 4% cash advance fee (minimum $10)
  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Credit Needed: Good to excellent

Advertiser Disclosure: This post includes references to offers from our partners. We 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 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.

Key Features

Sign-up Bonus

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.

Important Fees

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.

Introductory APR

For 15 months following your account opening date, the purchase and balance transfer APR is 0%.

Regular APR

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

Credit Required

This card requires good to excellent credit. Any outstanding issues in your credit history may impact your application.

Advantages

  1. 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.)
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.

Disadvantages

  1. 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. 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.
  3. 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.

Final Word

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.

Verdict
suntrust cash rewards credit card
4.3 / 5
Rating

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SunTrust Cash Rewards Credit Card

The SunTrust Cash Rewards Credit Card is ideal for moderate gas and grocery spenders who can maximize the value of the 5% sign-up bonus period and subsequently use the card to cover the gas and grocery portions of their budgets. It’s also a useful temporary solution for people who want to take advantage of the sign-up bonus period and the 0% APR promotional period (whether to pay down high-interest balances, finance large purchases, or both).

However, it’s not an appropriate general spending card for those whose budgets cover a wide range of spending categories.

Key benefits include the lack of an annual fee and foreign transaction fee, potentially generous cash back bonuses for SunTrust account holders, the long 0% APR introductory period, the generous and flexible sign-up bonus, the free FICO score with your account, and the lack of penalty interest.

Drawbacks include the low baseline cash back rate, the fact that the 2% cash back only applies to gas and grocery spending, and the relatively high balance transfer and cash advance fees.

Overall, this is a solid gas and grocery card for people who spend heavily in those categories, and an above-average 0% APR balance transfer and purchase financing option for people seeking cash back rewards.

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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