Reviews DCU Visa Platinum Rewards credit card review
DCU Visa Platinum Rewards credit card review

DCU Visa Platinum Rewards credit card review

Published: July 18, 2017
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Ratings Policy
No Annual Fee Rating:
1.8 rating
1.8 rating
1.8 / 5
Rewards Value: 0.1
Annual Percentage Rate: 3.6
Rewards Flexibility: 3.5
Features: 2.0

In a nutshell:

The low rewards rate and the short lifespan of rewards on the DCU Visa Platinum Rewards card may make it difficult for cardholders to earn enough points to redeem for a reward.

Rewards Rate
1:1 on general purchases

Sign-up Bonus
None

Annual Fee
$0

Average Yearly Rewards Value ($1,325 monthly spend)
$159

APR
12-18%

Rewards Redemption
Pros

  • No limit on the number of points you can earn
  • No blackout dates
  • Redeem points for travel, gift cards, merchandise, experiences, charitable donations

Cons

  • Points expire after 4 years
  • Must go through the credit union to book travel
  • $31 fee for booking travel online; $36 fee for booking travel by phone
  • Can’t transfer points to other loyalty programss

Other Notable Features: Car rental insurance, late check-in at select motels, extended warranty, overdraft protection, travel and emergency services

Rewards Rating:
1.9 rating
1.9 rating
1.9 / 5
Rewards Value: 0.4
Annual Percentage Rate: 4.0
Rewards Flexibility: 3.5
Features: 2.0

In a nutshell:

This plain vanilla rewards card offers a low APR and standard benefits, such as travel insurance and extended warranty; but its bare bones rewards program won’t get you very far if you’re looking to quickly earn premier rewards.

Rewards Rate
1:1 on general purchases

Sign-up Bonus
None

Annual Fee
$0

Average Yearly Rewards Value ($1,325 monthly spend)
$159

APR
12-18%

Rewards Redemption
Pros

  • No limit on the number of points you can earn
  • No blackout dates
  • Redeem points for travel, gift cards, merchandise, experiences, charitable donations

Cons

  • Points expire after 4 years
  • Must go through the credit union to book travel
  • $31 fee for booking travel online; $36 fee for booking travel by phone
  • Can’t transfer points to other loyalty programss

Other Notable Features: Car rental insurance, late check-in at select motels, extended warranty, overdraft protection, travel and emergency services

Travel Rating:
1.9 rating
1.9 rating
1.9 / 5
Rewards Value: 0.5
Annual Percentage Rate: 4.2
Rewards Flexibility: 3.5
Features: 2.0

In a nutshell:

With a stingy card rewards program and high travel booking fees, the DCU Visa Platinum card ranks near the bottom of our list of travel cards.

Rewards Rate
1:1 on general purchases

Sign-up Bonus
None

Annual Fee
$0

Average Yearly Rewards Value ($1,325 monthly spend)
$159

APR
12-18%

Rewards Redemption
Pros

  • No limit on the number of points you can earn
  • No blackout dates
  • Redeem points for travel, gift cards, merchandise, experiences, charitable donations

Cons

  • Points expire after 4 years
  • Must go through the credit union to book travel
  • $31 fee for booking travel online; $36 fee for booking travel by phone
  • Can’t transfer points to other loyalty programss

Other Notable Features: Car rental insurance, late check-in at select motels, extended warranty, overdraft protection, travel and emergency services

If you’re looking for a rewards card to help you pay for travel, don’t settle for this mediocre credit union card. The DCU Visa Platinum Rewards card offers one of the least generous card rewards programs on the market, making it a poor choice for cardholders planning to use points for airfare or hotel stays. It also charges a steep travel booking fee, making the rewards you earn even less valuable once you factor in the fee.

The card’s modest APR is lower than the average rewards credit card, though. So if you’re just looking for a card to carry a balance on and earn some rewards, this can be a decent choice. However, access to the card is limited. Only cardholders living in Massachusetts or New Hampshire are eligible to apply.

Limited rewards 
You won’t earn much with this low-earning rewards card. The DCU Visa Platinum Rewards card offers just 1 point for every dollar you spend, which is about average for a small credit union card, but disappointing for a travel card. Unless you’re an especially heavy spender, you’ll just barely earn enough rewards to cash in a few gift cards every year.

By contrast, to redeem points for a more expensive travel purchase – such as a $400 airline ticket – you’d have to regularly spend thousands of dollars a month just to have a chance at a free trip in your card’s first or second year. If you can afford to spend that much each month, you’re better off picking a card that offers substantially more points. Unlike many travel cards, the DCU card doesn’t offer a sign-up bonus.

Pricey fees
The M&T Visa also charges some of the highest travel booking fees on the market. Cardholders are charged $31 to book travel online and $35 to book travel by phone. By contrast, most rewards cards that charge a booking fee only charge $15 to $25 to book rewards-funded travel. Meanwhile, many cards don’t charge a booking fee at all.

Like most rewards credit cards, the M&T Visa also makes you go through the rewards program to book rewards-funded travel, so you don’t have the flexibility to find better deals by booking through outside travel sites or directly with airlines. With such a steep travel booking fee and limited options for redemption, you are likely better off redeeming points for something unrelated to travel, such as gift cards or merchandise.

Competitive APR
That said, the M&T Visa card does charge a relatively low APR. So if you tend to carry a balance, this may still be a smarter choice than a pricier card with more extensive rewards and benefits. Cardholders with the best credit scores are charged a minimum APR of just 12 percent, which is well below average for a rewards credit card. The typical rewards card charges an average APR of 16.06 percent. Meanwhile, the most M&T cardholders with lower scores can be charged is a maximum APR of just 18 percent.

Few perks
The M&T Visa doesn’t offer a lot of extra perks. However, it does offer standard credit card perks such as car rental insurance and extended warranty. It also offers additional travel coverage through Visa and late check-in at participating hotels.   

Reasons to get it:

  • You want a low-rate card with some rewards.
  • You prefer to carry a card from a credit union rather than a large bank.
  • You plan to redeem points for gift cards or other rewards purchases rather than travel.

How to use it:

  • To maximize rewards earnings, use the credit card rather than a debit card for everyday purchases – such as gas and groceries – and pay off those purchases at the end of the month.
  • Don’t bother redeeming points for travel. You’ll get more value out of rewards earnings by redeeming points for gift cards, merchandise, donations or experiences.
  • Use the card for travel purchases, such as car rentals and hotel stays, to take advantage of the card’s travel benefits.

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