Reviews BB&T Spectrum Rewards credit card review
BB&T Spectrum Rewards credit card review

BB&T Spectrum Rewards credit card review

Published: July 18, 2017
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Ratings Policy
Balance Transfer Rating:
3.1 rating
3.1 rating
3.1 / 5
Introductory Offer: 3.0
Net Value: 4.5
Features: 2.0

In a nutshell:

A good card for carrying a balance, the BB&T Spectrum Rewards card earns high marks for its affordable interest rate; however, the BB&T card’s rewards program and 0 percent balance transfer offer aren’t nearly as generous.

0% Introductory Period
12 months

Transfer Fee
$10 or 3% (whichever is higher)

Introductory Purchase APR
0%

APR
12.9-21.9%

Annual Fee
$0

Other Notable Features: Travel and emergency assistance, fraud coverage, warranty manager service and purchase security

Cash Back Rating:
2.2 rating
2.2 rating
2.2 / 5
Rewards Value: 1.0
Annual Percentage Rate: 4.0
Rewards Flexibility: 3.7
Features: 2.0

In a nutshell:

With a low APR and modest cash back program, the BB&T Spectrum Rewards card is a good pick for cardholders who need to carry a balance, but still want some rewards.

Rewards Rate

  • 1% cash back on general purchases
  • 5% on cash earned per year
  • 30% on cash earned per year if spending over 50,000

Sign-up Bonus
3% cash back on all purchases first 90 days

Annual Fee
$0

Average Yearly Rewards Value ($1,325 monthly spend)
$203

APR
12.9-21.9%

Rewards Redemption
Pros

  • No limit to how much cash back you can earn
  • Redeem rewards for airline tickets, hotels, car rentals, merchandise, gift cards and cash back

Cons

  • Rewards expire in 60 months

Other Notable Features: Travel and emergency assistance, fraud coverage, warranty manager service and purchase security

No Annual Fee Rating:
2.3 rating
2.3 rating
2.3 / 5
Rewards Value: 1.0
Annual Percentage Rate: 4.2
Rewards Flexibility: 3.7
Features: 2.0

In a nutshell:

Cardholders on the search for value may appreciate the low rates and fees on the BB&T Spectrum Rewards card, but the card’s modest sign-up bonus and low rewards rate are less exciting.

Rewards Rate

  • 1% cash back on general purchases
  • 5% on cash earned per year
  • 30% on cash earned per year if spending over 50,000

Sign-up Bonus
3% cash back on all purchases first 90 days

Annual Fee
$0

Average Yearly Rewards Value ($1,325 monthly spend)
$203

APR
12.9-21.9%

Rewards Redemption
Pros

  • No limit to how much cash back you can earn
  • Redeem rewards for airline tickets, hotels, car rentals, merchandise, gift cards and cash back

Cons

  • Rewards expire in 60 months

Other Notable Features: Travel and emergency assistance, fraud coverage, warranty manager service and purchase security

Rewards Rating:
2.2 rating
2.2 rating
2.2 / 5
Rewards Value: 0.9
Annual Percentage Rate: 4.7
Rewards Flexibility: 3.7
Features: 2.0

In a nutshell:

The BB&T Spectrum Rewards card may not offer the highest rewards rate, but its low APR and accessible sign-up bonus make it a good choice for cardholders who can’t afford pricier cards.

Rewards Rate

  • 1% cash back on general purchases
  • 5% on cash earned per year
  • 30% on cash earned per year if spending over 50,000

Sign-up Bonus
3% cash back on all purchases first 90 days

Annual Fee
$0

Average Yearly Rewards Value ($1,325 monthly spend)
$203

APR
12.9-21.9%

Rewards Redemption
Pros

  • No blackout dates
  • No point limits
  • Redeem rewards for cash, travel, gift cards or merchandise
  • Redeem partial rewards for travel
  • No advance notice required for travel

Cons

  • Rewards expire after 60 months
  • You must book travel through BB&T
  • Minimum rewards value for airline travel is $150
  • Points don’t transfer to other loyalty programs

Other Notable Features: Travel and emergency assistance, fraud coverage, warranty manager service and purchase security

Travel Rating:
2.3 rating
2.3 rating
2.3 / 5
Rewards Value: 1.1
Annual Percentage Rate: 4.1
Rewards Flexibility: 3.7
Features: 2.0

In a nutshell:

With an affordable APR and modest rewards, the BB&T Spectrum Rewards card is a good choice for carrying a balance; but don’t expect to earn a big return.

Rewards Rate

  • 1% cash back on general purchases
  • 5% on cash earned per year
  • 30% on cash earned per year if spending over 50,000

Sign-up Bonus
3% cash back on all purchases first 90 days

Annual Fee
$0

Average Yearly Rewards Value ($1,325 monthly spend)
$203

APR
12.9-21.9%

Rewards Redemption
Pros

  • No blackout dates
  • No point limits
  • Redeem rewards for cash, travel, gift cards or merchandise
  • Redeem partial rewards for travel
  • No advance notice required for travel

Cons

  • Rewards expire after 60 months
  • You must book travel through BB&T
  • Minimum rewards value for airline travel is $150
  • Points don’t transfer to other loyalty programs

Other Notable Features: Travel and emergency assistance, fraud coverage, warranty manager service and purchase security

For a rewards card, BB&T’s Spectrum card is a rare breed. It offers one of the lowest interest rates on the market, making it a safer choice for cardholders who might one day carry a balance. It also offers a fairly generous sign-up bonus and a decent return on spending.

This card’s audience is relatively limited. Only cardholders who live in one of 15 states – including Texas, Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky, West Virginia, Maryland, Virginia, Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama and Florida – can apply. But for cardholders who already have an account with BB&T, the Spectrum Rewards card could be just what they need to earn some value from their spending without paying a hefty annual fee or risking their credit with a high APR.

Disappointing promotional offer
The BB&T Spectrum Rewards card gives cardholders just 12 months to pay off a balance before the card’s standard interest rate applies. This makes it a poor choice for cardholders who have a considerable amount of debt to clear. If you have a large balance, you’re better off looking for a balance transfer offer that lasts at least 15 to 18 months. This card is best for borrowers who have just a small amount of debt to repay and plan to use the card for regular spending from the day they activate the card. Cardholders are given 12 months to make interest-free purchases, so you can continue using the card while paying down your balance.

Affordable balance transfer fee
The balance transfer fee is also set at just 3 percent or $10 (whichever is higher), making it relatively inexpensive to transfer a balance. Some balance transfer cards charge as much as 5 percent to transfer a balance. BB&T also makes it easy to transfer a balance from another card. Unlike some balance transfer credit cards, the BB&T Spectrum Rewards card doesn’t set restrictions on when and how much you can transfer.

Low regular interest rates
The most attractive feature of the Spectrum Rewards card is its low interest rate. Cardholders with excellent credit can qualify for an APR as low as 12.9 percent. Even on the high end at 21.9 percent, the rate is relatively low for a rewards card. This makes it a good deal for cardholders looking to transfer debt from higher-rate cards. In addition, the Spectrum Rewards card doesn’t charge a penalty APR, so if you accidentally miss a payment, you won’t be stuck with a sky-high APR.

Average rewards
The rewards offered by the BB&T Spectrum Rewards card aren’t the most generous on the market, but for a card with such a low interest rate, they’re pretty good. BB&T Spectrum offers cardholders 1 percent cash back on every purchase as well as a 5 percent bonus at the end of the year. Heavy spenders may be able to earn up to 30 percent of their earnings back if they spend at least $50,000. If you’re looking for more generous rewards with your spending, you can easily find better rewards through other cards, but you’ll pay for it with a higher APR.

Accessible sign-up bonus
The Spectrum Rewards card also offers an attractive sign-up bonus that doesn’t require huge amounts of spending to redeem. For the card’s first three months, you can earn 3 percent cash back on all your spending, which can add up if you use the card for every purchase. For example, if you spend $1,500 a month in the card’s first three months, you’ll pocket $135.

Reasons to get it:

  • You have a fairly small balance and only need a year to pay it off.
  • You tend to carry a balance each month and want a card with a lower interest rate.
  • You still want to earn rewards with your spending and prefer cash back instead of points.
  • You want a safer card that doesn’t charge a penalty APR.

How to use it:

  • Take advantage of the card’s three-month sign-up bonus by using your card for the majority of your purchases, but be careful not to overspend.
  • Be aggressive with payments so you can whittle down as much debt as possible before the card’s standard interest rate kicks in.
  • If you have multiple cards with higher rates, consider consolidating them onto your Spectrum Rewards card to save money on interest and simplify monthly payments.
  • Take advantage of the card’s automatic payments feature so you don’t forget any payments.

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