ABOC Platinum Rewards Card Review - Rewards, No Fee, Sign-up Bonus and More
The ABOC Platinum Rewards Card offers great rewards for those with moderate to good credit. But is it the right card for everyone?
- No annual fee
- Great reward options
- $150 bonus possible
I’ve been writing about credit cards for years now, and in almost every case, rewards cards without an annual fee leave a lot to be desired–be it a low earning rate, no sign-up offer, or no intro APR.
But ABOC is giving you all of those, all with no fee, on their Platinum Rewards Mastercard. So in this review, I’ll share more about the card so you can decide if it’s worth an application or not.
What is the ABOC Platinum Rewards Mastercard?
It might be the first time you’ve heard about the Amalgamated Bank of Chicago (ABOC), but that doesn’t mean they don’t have exceptional credit card offerings. The Amalgamated Clothing Workers Union (now called Workers United) founded ABOC in 1922. From the beginning, their main purpose was to serve the financial requirements of working people.
Currently, ABOC provides credit cards along with other banking services. The ABOC Platinum Rewards Mastercard specifically provides you with a few ways to earn and redeem points–including up to 5x reward points on specific categories of purchases that usually change every quarter. Combine that with no annual fee, as well as other purchase protection benefits, and this could be a worthwhile addition to your wallet.
ABOC Platinum Rewards Mastercard Features
Points On All Purchases
You’ll earn a baseline of 1 ABOC point for every dollar you spend, regardless of when or where you spend on the card. In addition, points never expire. You can accelerate those rewards by taking advantage of the 5x categories, too.
5x Rewards on Rotating Categories
You’ll earn 5x rewards on up to $1,500 in paired purchases every quarter in rotating categories. Here are the bonus categories for 2020:
- January – March: You can earn 5x points on insurance premiums, streaming subscription service purchases, Amazon Prime, cable, cell, and qualifying utilities.
- April – June: You can earn 5x points on several forms of transportation, restaurants, and grocery.
- July – September: You can earn 5x points on rideshares, tolls, gas, travel agency purchases, hotels, car rentals, cruises, and qualifying airlines.
- October – December: You can earn 5x points on Amazon.com, superstores, qualifying department and electronic stores, and other major online retailers.
You must have a registered account already with ABOCrewards.com to do this. Remember, however, that only the first $1,500 in eligible purchases receive the 5x rewards. Check out the full details here.
ABOC Platinum Rewards Card Sign up Bonus
ABOC will give you a $150 bonus (in the form of a statement credit) if you spend $1,200 on the card in the first 90 days after opening. This is pretty substantial, considering there’s no annual fee on the card.
You’ll get a 0% introductory APR for the first 12 months after account opening on purchases and 18 months from the account opening on balance transfers. After that, your APR will be 14.40% to 24.40% based on your creditworthiness.
No Foreign Transaction Fees
When traveling abroad, you will have no foreign transaction fees with this card. Generally speaking, it can be a huge money saver for those who are planning on making lots of purchases with your credit card while overseas.
Additional Mastercard Benefits
You’ll get the perks of having a Mastercard credit card, which includes things like:
- Zero liability for unauthorized purchases
- An extended warranty option that will extend the manufacturers’ warranty on purchases you make with the card
- 60-day price protection–meaning you can get a credit on items you buy if the price drops within this timeframe
And there’s a lot more you can take advantage of with Mastercard. You can see the entire benefits guide here.
The ABOC Platinum Rewards Credit Card comes with the following fees:
- Annual Fee: $0
- Minimum Balance Transfer Fee: $5
- Balance Transfer Fee: 3%
- Late Payment Fee: Up to $35
- Returned Payment Fee: Up to $25
You can see the full pricing terms and conditions here.
Signing up for the ABOC Platinum Rewards card is really easy. Head over to their online application and fill out some basic information and in a few days you’ll know whether you’re approved. Once approved, your card will arrive in about 7-10 business days and you have 90 days total to spend $1,200 so you can get your $150 statement credit.
Amalgamated Bank of Chicago is really serious about online security. And honestly, they are more transparent about security than almost any other credit card company I’ve seen. They have an entire section of their website dedicated to security – featuring tips, updates, and FAQs.
Here’s how they protect your information:
“Our internet banking uses secure technology to encrypt your personal information such as User IDs, Passwords and account information over the Internet. We also have visual end user verification on our internet banking websites. Extended Validation (EV) certificates provide you the end user a way to visually verify the security of the ABOC website before entering your online banking password or supplying answers to security questions. The EV will cause the secure browser’s address bar to turn GREEN when an end user accesses an EV secured site. It also identifies the legitimate owner of the website, which in this case is Fiserv, Inc.”
ABOC’s customer service is available through email or phone and agents are available 24/7. You can see the full list of numbers to call, depending on what your need is, on their contact page.
Pros and Cons of the ABOC Platinum Rewards Card
- Great rewards structure — You’ll earn 1 point per dollar spent on all purchases and can maximize that earning by taking advantage of the rotating categories throughout the year.
- Competitive 5x program — The range of categories ABOC uses is broader and has less restrictions than competitors. Signing up for each quarterly program is not required, though. Once you have an account at ABOCRewards.com, you will automatically be included in every future 5x offer. For example, ABOC covers just about every aspect of travel during their 3Q promotion such as hotels, car rental, airlines, travel agencies, ridesharing, tolls, and even gas. It is much easier to get to the $1,500 cap with ABOC than with competitors. Compare that with Discover (only gas and ridesharing in 2020) or Citi Dividend (in 2019, gas and airlines or car rentals in different quarters).
- No annual fee — The fact that you get a sign-up bonus, intro APR, and earn points on a card with NO annual fee is pretty sweet.
- Intro APR — The introductory APR on both balance transfers and purchases is among the best I’ve seen with new cards.
- $150 bonus — If you spend $1,200 in the first 90 days you’ll get a $150 statement credit, which is basically like getting a 12.5% ROI since you’re not paying interest on purchases for 12 months.
- No foreign transaction fee — This is a great card to travel with since you won’t pay foreign transaction fees and you’ll get the additional travel-related benefits Mastercard has to offer.
- Poor cash redemption value — As with most cards, points are geared toward things like travel redemption. If you want to redeem your points for cash, you’ll probably be disappointed as the redemption value is low.
- Rotating rewards bring complexity — Every three months, you’ll have to keep track of the rotating bonus categories. For those who would like to keep things simple, a flat-rate cash-back card would be more of your speed.
- Low base-earnings rate — 1 point per dollar these days isn’t all that attractive, so you’ll definitely want to leverage the rotating categories. That said, there’s no fee on the card so it’s tough to complain here.
ABOC Platinum Rewards Card Alternatives
Chase Freedom is an obvious alternative since the two function very similarly. You’ll earn 5% cash back on select categories each quarter, while all other purchases get 1% cash back. And like the ABOC card, you can earn a $150 sign-up bonus.
Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card
The Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card is also similar, in that you earn 1.5% cash back on every purchase and won’t pay an annual fee. The difference here is that it’s a flat earnings rate, so no rotating categories. You’ll also get a 0% intro APR on both purchases and balance transfers for the first 15 months after opening the account.
Who is the ABOC Platinum Rewards Mastercard for?
I’d recommend the ABOC Platinum Rewards Mastercard for individuals looking to earn an extra bonus on certain categories of purchases that usually change each quarter. However, since there are a lot of credit card companies that offer cards with a similar rewards structure, the ABOC card is also good for those who would like to partner with a considerably smaller bank.
As I mentioned above, ABOC is the Amalgamated Bank of Chicago, and it dates back almost 100 years. Still, it’s dedicated to being a bigger player in the entire U.S. credit card market.
The card gives 5x points for every dollar–up to $1,500–you spend every quarter on purchases from specific merchant categories. For all other purchases, it’s one point for every dollar. With its proprietary rewards program, it enables you to redeem points for travel reservations, merchandise, gift cards, or statement credits.
However, since you can’t transfer your points to hotel points programs or airline miles, this card tends to be appealing to award travelers who lack the patience or time to deal with the complexity that comes with those options.
In other words, if you want a plain and simple card with no fee that still earns decent rewards, take a strong look at the ABOC Platinum Rewards Mastercard.
I have to be honest, I’m pretty impressed with this one. While their website and mobile app look like they’re from the early 2000s, the perks that ABOC is offering with its Platinum Rewards Mastercard are pretty great.
It’s not often you’ll find a sign-up bonus, intro APR, AND rewards on a card that doesn’t charge an annual fee. My guess is they’re trying to make a name for themselves as a legitimate player in the credit card space. So take advantage of their deals while you can.