ABOC Platinum Rewards by MasterCard: No Bells & Whistles But It Still Has A Lot to Offer

Marcy Bialeschki
May 7, 2020

The Amalgamated Bank of Chicago is changing the rules when it comes to rewards cards. The ABOC Platinum Rewards card has an impressive 5x the rewards categories with an attractive sign-on bonus, and you don’t have to have excellent or good credit to get it. No annual fee sweetens the deal even more. True, the ABOC Platinum Rewards card doesn’t have a lot of other amenities, but the specifics of the sign-up bonus should make you interested. Let’s take a look at the details and see if it’s right for you.

ABOC Platinum Rewards by MasterCard offers new account holders $150 in statement credit if they spend $1200 in the first 90 days. This bonus seems relatively easy to achieve at $400 charged per month. The ABOC Platinum Rewards card also has a 0% APR on purchases for 12 months and 18 months for balance transfers. This bonus invites people who need to transfer a balance from a higher interest rate card over to the ABOC Platinum Rewards card. For their effort, they will enjoy 18 months of no interest as they pay down the principle, and they can use the $150 bonus to pay off new charges. Additionally, people who are planning to make a big purchase, have the freedom of no interest for 12 months.

Another attractive feature of the ABOC Platinum Rewards MasterCard is the rewards program. Rewards come in points: $1 spent earns 1 point. The ABOC Platinum Rewards card has a 5X the points rotating category system. Categories for the extra points are divided quarterly with a $1500 cap across all groups per quarter. After you have earned the maximum 5x the rewards, other purchases make 1 point per dollar until the quarter ends and the groups change again. One exceptionally nice feature of the ABOC Platinum Rewards MasterCard is owners only have to activate the quarterly rewards one time per year. Other similar cards require cardholders to activate rewards each quarter.

Unlike some rewards cards, the points you earn on your ABOC Platinum Rewards card are unlimited and never expire. The rewards earned can be used for statement credit, travel, gift card purchases, and merchandise. When redeeming rewards, point values are not constant among the choices, however. People who plan to use their points for travel will receive the best value with points equaling one cent each. Those who plan to redeem their points for statement credit or gift cards will be sacrificing some of their value. Points redeemed for statement credit are worth 0.75 cents each, and when used to purchase gift cards, the amount drops even more to 0.70 cents per point. In other words, while you earn one point for every dollar you spend, the value of that point is determined by how you spend it. One of the risks with a category card is not knowing if you will be able to fully utilize the 5x rewards every quarter. The choices for the maximum rewards may not appeal to your needs or likes; however, cardholders can usually find at least one option per quarter to help them achieve max rewards. Let's look at the 2020 quarters and categories.

January-March: Utilities, Dining, Groceries, and Parmacy

April-June: Dining, Grocery, and Transportation Expenses

July-September: Dining, Entertainment, Travel, and Travel Expenses

October-December: Holiday SHopping (including Amazon.com)

A unique category on this list is utilities in the first quarter. Most other cards with a category rewards plan exclude some of the items, such as streaming services. A negative aspect of category cards in 2020 is the lack of access to places such as restaurants, movie theaters, and other entertainment venues due to restrictions created by the COVID-19 pandemic. In a typical year, however, many people would be able to max-out their cap of $1500 per quarter. The categories rarely change from year to year. If you do not think you could receive maximum rewards in almost every quarter, there is most likely a better card for you since the rewards program is the main feature of the ABOC Platinum Rewards card.

Who Needs This Card?

The ABOC Platinum MasterCard is a welcome choice for people with fair credit who want a rewards program to recoup some perks for their purchases. While it has an attractive sign-up bonus, many competitive features, and no annual fee, it is absent of the bells and whistles some cards boast. With these facts in mind, who should put this credit card on their short-list?

People who plan to make a large purchase can relax, knowing the ABOC Platinum Rewards card has a 0% APR for 12 months.

People who need to transfer a balance have 18 months to pay it off, interest fee.

People who want to use their rewards points for travel expenses will receive maximum value at one cent per point when redeemed. Additionally, the ABOC Platinum card has no foreign transaction fees and is accepted world-wide.

People who can easily rack up the 5x rewards in all quarters are prime candidates for this card.

A Summary of Details

Finally, here is a breakdown of what the ABOC Platinum Rewards card has to offer:

Sign-Up Bonus: $150 in statement credit for $1200 of purchases in the first 90 days. Plus, 0% APR on purchases for 12 months and 18 months for balance transfers.

No annual fee

$0 fraud liability

5x the rewards categories with a $1500 cap per quarter

One-time activation for rewards categories per year

No late payment APR hike

Unlimited points that never expire

APR after the introductory period is a low 12.90% - 22.90% variable

Cash Advance APR = 24.99% variable

Cash Advance Fee = 5% of each advance with a $10 minimum

Balance Transfer Fee = 3% of the amount of each transfer with a $5 minimum

Up to a $35 late payment fee

Up to $25 returned payment fee

Fair credit with a 630+ credit score is required

No foreign transaction fees

World-wide acceptance

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