ABOC Platinum Rewards card review

3 stars 3/5

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See breakdown of this card’s rating

Amalgamated Bank of Chicago (ABOC) is a small bank with just two locations. Its roots are in serving employees of the Amalgamated Clothing Workers Union, and it still markets itself to the labor community. However, its ABOC Platinum Rewards MasterCard is open to all. This review will help you understand this under-the-radar product.

The basics

The ABOC Platinum Rewards card charges no annual fee and offers a 0 percent intro APR for the first 12 months. If you use a card at a non-U.S.-based merchant, you’ll be changed a 3 percent foreign transaction fee.

ABOC guarantees that late payments will not result in a higher penalty APR. However, that doesn’t apply to the introductory 0 percent APR, which you can indeed lose if you pay late, according to the card’s terms and conditions.

How the rewards work

You’ll earn 1 point per dollar spent. Points can be redeemed in ABOC’s rewards program for travel, cash (via statement credit), gift cards and merchandise. The value of your points will vary, depending on how you redeem, and there is no public information regarding redemption value prior to approval.

You can also earn extra points by shopping online through ABOC’s bonus-shopping portal or by utilizing its bonus-shopping promos.

Your points will never expire, as long as your account remains in good standing.

Sign-up bonus: Currently, the card is offering 10,000 bonus points to applicants who are approved and then spend $1,000 on purchases within the first 90 days.

A good choice?

The ABOC Platinum Rewards card is a simple-to-use, flexible rewards card. It doesn’t have many flashy perks, but it promises a steady 1 point per dollar on spending – and the ability to cash in your points for a variety of very useful rewards (including cash back and gift cards). In other words, it’s a good entry-level card if you’re new to the rewards world.

It’s hard for us to assess the exact return on this card, since the rewards-program terms are revealed only once you’re approved. We will also add that the rate of 1 point per dollar is comparatively low in the industry for cards of this type (although that can sometimes be made up for with strategic redemptions).

However, if you’re not concerned about maximizing for luxury travel or earning the most cash-back possible on every purchase, this card provides a low-maintenance vehicle earning rewards. Just be extra careful when redeeming for merchandise, as the redemption value for that tends to be lower, as a rule, in these types of reward programs. For example, if you can get a $100 gadget for 30,000 points, first make sure you can’t get a $250 gift card for the same amount.

That said, if you DO want to maximize rewards and have the time and patience to do so, there are plenty of intermediate-level card options to explore:

Why we gave it 3 out of 5 stars

We based this card’s rating on our standards for flexible-rewards cards (because the card earns points that can be converted to a variety of rewards, including travel, gift cards and more).

Rewards-earning rate: This card doesn’t meet our standards for no-annual-fee cards, as it offers a flat 1 point per dollar spent. We require no-annual fee cards to offer above 1 percent on all spending, or offer a permanent bonus category.
Rewards value: The rewards value (how many cents per point) is not publicly disclosed.
Unique perks: This card offers the consumer-friendly perk of no rate hikes for late payments
Fair annual fee: This card offers no annual fee, so there’s no need to worry about “earning back” a fee via rewards each ear.
Bonus opportunities: This card offers a sign-up bonus, as well as a bonus-shopping program.

Written May 15, 2017

 
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