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In the world of travel credit cards, the SunTrust Travel Rewards Credit Card is a relatively buttoned-down, straightforward option.
With an annual fee of $0 the first year, then $89, it packs only a modest sign-up bonus: $250 Statement Credit after you spend $3,000 on qualifying purchases in the first three months after account opening. Its side benefits, while useful, don’t exactly scream “Look at me!” But even so, it might woo you with its strong core value — namely, with its robust ongoing rewards on travel and dining and generous loyalty cash bonuses for qualifying customers.
Before pouncing on this offer, here’s what you need to know.
1. You can apply as a nonmember — with some restrictions
Don’t bank with SunTrust? You still can apply for the SunTrust Travel Rewards Credit Card if you live in:
- North Carolina.
- South Carolina.
- Washington, D.C.
- West Virginia.
If you already have a banking relationship with SunTrust, these geographic restrictions don’t apply. Members can apply for this card from any state, with the exception of Vermont, the issuer confirms. Of course, applying doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be approved. Approval depends on your credit, eligibility factors and other requirements.
2. It offers plenty of redemption options
The SunTrust Travel Rewards Credit Card markets its rewards as cash back, promising:
- 3% cash back on qualifying travel purchases.
- 2% cash back on qualifying dining purchases.
- 1% cash back on all other purchases.
But redeeming for cash back isn’t your only play here. You can also redeem for:
- Gift cards.
- Experiential rewards.
Redemption values vary. For example, $1 of rewards could get you as much as $1.15 worth of travel. But if you keep a lot of money with SunTrust, redeeming for cash back might be your best bet. That’s because when you meet certain requirements and deposit cash back rewards in a qualifying SunTrust account, you could earn loyalty bonuses of up to 50%, depending on your combined balances. Potentially, that could get you up to $1.50 in cash for every $1 in rewards earned. (More on that later.)
The rewards on this card are fairly generous overall. There are no limits on how many bonus rewards you can earn on this card, and you can start redeeming with as little as $5 worth of cash back. Perks and bonuses aside, you’d have to spend at least $2,967 on this card after the first year to earn enough cash back to make up for the annual fee — an easy hurdle for frequent travelers.
3. The card offers a credit for Global Entry or TSA Precheck applications
The SunTrust Travel Rewards Credit Card could help you move through the airport security line faster.
That’s because it offers a reimbursement credit for Global Entry or TSA Precheck applications for up to $100, which is available every five years. (Global Entry or TSA Precheck memberships also last five years each.) To get the credit, you need to charge the application fee ($100 for Global Entry and $85 for TSA Precheck) to your card.
4. It doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees
Like all good travel cards, the SunTrust Travel Rewards Credit Card doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees, those pesky charges some cards tack on to international purchases. That makes it a good card to take on trips abroad.
5. SunTrust customers could qualify for bonus cash
When you have the SunTrust Travel Rewards Credit Card, it pays to be a loyal customer. If your bank account balances meet certain thresholds, you could qualify for large loyalty bonuses, boosting your effective rewards rate when redeeming for cash back. You’ll get a:
- 10% loyalty cash bonus if you redeem through direct deposit into any SunTrust checking, savings or money market account. (For example, say you had a SunTrust bank account and qualified for the 10% bonus. When you deposit $100 of rewards into a qualifying account, you’d get an extra $10 boost for a total of $110 in rewards.)
- 25% loyalty cash bonus if you have a SunTrust Advantage Checking, Signature Checking or Exclusive Checking account and have combined consumer deposits and investment balances totaling between $25,000 and $100,000.
- 50% loyalty cash bonus if you have a SunTrust Advantage Checking, Signature Checking or Exclusive Checking account and have combined consumer deposits and investment balances totaling more than $100,000.
|Qualifying travel purchases||3%||3.3%||3.75%||4.5%|
|Qualifying dining purchases||2%||2.2%||2.5%||3%|
|All other purchases||1%||1.1%||1.25%||1.5%|
If you keep large balances with SunTrust, these loyalty bonuses could be a game-changer, potentially helping you earn far more in rewards than you might on other credit cards with similar annual fees.