Reviews PNC Points Visa review

PNC Points Visa review

Published: April 24, 2017
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Ratings Policy
Balance Transfer Rating:
3 rating
3 rating
3 / 5
Introductory Offer: 3.0
Net Value: 4.5
Features: 1.0

In a nutshell:

The PNC Points Visa card offers cardholders with excellent credit a relatively low interest rate and a modest 12-month interest-free promotion on purchases and balance transfers; however, the card’s rewards rate is less generous than it seems and its APR for some cardholders is high.

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0% Introductory Period
12 billing cycles

Transfer Fee
$5 or 3% (whichever is higher)

Introductory Purchase APR
0%

Regular APR
12.74-22.74%

Annual Fee
$0

Other Notable Features: Fraud coverage, travel and emergency assistance

No Annual Fee Rating:
2.9 rating
2.9 rating
2.9 / 5
Rewards Value: 3.1
Annual Percentage Rate: 3.9
Rewards Flexibility: 3.0
Features: 1.0

In a nutshell:

Though the rewards rate is inflated, the PNC Points Visa does offer a fairly valuable rewards program for a no-annual-fee card, as long as you manage to redeem your rewards before they expire in 48 months.

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Rewards Rate

  • 4:1 on general purchases
  • 7:1 with bonuses

Sign-up Bonus
None

Annual Fee
$0

Average Yearly Rewards Value ($1,325 monthly spend)
$267

APR
12.74-22.74%

Rewards Redemption
Pros

  • No point limits
  • Pay for travel with partial points
  • Redeem points for travel, gift cards, merchandise or cash back

Cons

  • Points expire after 48 months
  • No point transfer to other loyalty programs
  • Points are only worth a fraction of a penny

Other Notable Features: Fraud coverage, travel and emergency assistance

Rewards Rating:
2.5 rating
2.5 rating
2.5 / 5
Rewards Value: 2.2
Annual Percentage Rate: 4.1
Rewards Flexibility: 3.0
Features: 1.0

In a nutshell:

Despite its sky-high rewards rate, the PNC points Visa credit card is a run-of-the-mill rewards card dressed in a more generous card’s clothing.

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Rewards Rate

  • 4:1 on general purchases
  • 7:1 with bonuses

Sign-up Bonus
None

Annual Fee
$0

Average Yearly Rewards Value ($1,325 monthly spend)
$267

APR
12.74-22.74%

Rewards Redemption
Pros

  • No point limits
  • Pay for travel with partial points
  • Redeem points for travel, gift cards, merchandise or cash back

Cons

  • Points expire after 48 months
  • No point transfer to other loyalty programs
  • Points are only worth a fraction of a penny

Other Notable Features: Fraud coverage, travel and emergency assistance

Travel Rating:
2.4 rating
2.4 rating
2.4 / 5
Rewards Value: 2.1
Annual Percentage Rate: 4.0
Rewards Flexibility: 3.0
Features: 1.0

In a nutshell:

A closer look at this overrated rewards card shows that its heavily inflated rewards program is much stingier than it seems.

Learn more about this card

Rewards Rate

  • 4:1 on general purchases
  • 7:1 with bonuses

Sign-up Bonus
None

Annual Fee
$0

Average Yearly Rewards Value ($1,325 monthly spend)
$267

APR
12.74-22.74%

Rewards Redemption
Pros

  • No point limits
  • Pay for travel with partial points
  • Redeem points for travel, gift cards, merchandise or cash back

Cons

  • Points expire after 48 months
  • No point transfer to other loyalty programs
  • Points are only worth a fraction of a penny

Other Notable Features: Fraud coverage, travel and emergency assistance

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Looks can be deceiving with this rewards credit card. The PNC points Visa credit card offers one of the highest rewards rates in the industry, especially for cardholders who have a hefty amount of savings deposited with PNC Bank. But PNC rewards points aren’t worth very much when cardholders redeem them. Valued at less than a quarter of a penny, cardholders need substantially more points than they do with most credit card rewards programs to earn a decent reward.

Cardholders who are already PNC Bank customers may find the PNC points card more appealing, since they can earn bonus points just by holding an account.

Extremely high points rate

If your goal is simply to earn a lot of points, you can’t do much better than the PNC Points rewards credit card. Cardholders automatically earn four points for every dollar spent – more than four times what the typical rewards cardholder earns. For cardholders who are customers of PNC Bank, the opportunities to earn rewards are even more numerous. PNC customers who have a qualifying deposit account can earn an extra 25 to 75 percent bonus on their earnings, depending on how much money they have saved.

Additional earnings through participating merchants

Cardholders can earn additional rewards points through PNC’s Purchase Payback program. When you use the card at a participating retailer, you may get additional points in exchange for shopping at that retailer again. The Purchase Payback program requires some effort on the cardholder’s part: You have to periodically scan your credit card statement online to look for relevant offers. But it could help boost your rewards earnings if you tend to shop at the same stores.

Stingy points value

PNC is generous with the number of points it awards with every purchase, but it’s disappointingly stingy when it comes to actually redeeming them. PNC rewards points are worth less than a quarter of a cent each, so you need to amass a substantial number of points to redeem anything worthwhile. A $100 Amazon gift card, for example, requires at least 45,450 points to redeem, while a $100 cash award requires at least 50,000 points. By contrast, rewards points attached to other credit cards typically are worth at least a penny each – and often even more.

Decent redemption

On the plus side, PNC doesn’t limit the number of points you can earn, so if you’re a fairly heavy spender, you could amass a substantial number of points. If you don’t have enough points saved up to buy a full airline ticket or other travel purchase, you can also use the points you have to pay for just part of your ticket and pay the remaining balance with the card. PNC Bank doesn’t let you transfer rewards points to other loyalty programs, though, which is disappointing for frequent travelers. Rewards points also expire after 48 months, so you have to use them fairly quickly.

(Almost) no perks

Unlike many credit cards, the PNC points Visa card also comes with surprisingly few perks. Cardholders are automatically enrolled in travel and emergency protection and have standard card protections, such as zero fraud liability, but that’s about it. Most competitors, by contrast, offer a wide range of travel and purchase benefits, such as travel insurance, extended warranties and other cardholder protections. The PNC Points Visa does offer a year of interest-free purchases as well as a year-long zero-percent balance transfer offer, but cardholders can easily find similar promotions on cards with more valuable benefits.

Reasons to sign up for it:

  • You’re a PNC Bank customer and want a card with the same bank.
  • You have a lot of money deposited with PNC Bank and can earn a relatively high bonus.
  • You prefer point rewards instead of straight cash back.
  • You find it motivating to earn more points with every purchase.

How to use it:

  • Use your card for the majority of your purchases so you can earn enough points to redeem for more valuable rewards purchases.
  • Check the rewards site for deals of the week. You may be able to squeeze more value out of your rewards points if you redeem your rewards at a discount.
  • When you’re scanning your monthly statements, check for additional deals through the card’s Purchase Payback Program.
  • Do the math when deciding how to redeem your points. Rewards may have a greater or lesser dollar value compared to other rewards with the same number of required points. For example, a gift card may be worth $400 but a plane ticket may be worth only $300.

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