Reviews Popular Community Bank Platinum Xtra card review
Popular Community Bank Platinum Xtra card review

Popular Community Bank Platinum Xtra card review

Published: August 15, 2017
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Ratings Policy
Rewards Rating:
0 rating
0 rating
0 / 5
Rewards Value 1.8
Annual Percentage Rate 4.6
Rewards Flexibility 2.5
Features 4.0

In a nutshell:

For $24 a year, the Popular Community Bank Platinum XTRA card offers a solid rewards rate and a decent return on spending, but restrictions and redemption fees drag down its overall value. This offer is no longer available.

Rewards Rate
1.5:1 general purchases

Sign-up Bonus
None

Annual Fee
$24, first year $0

Average Yearly Rewards Value ($1,325 monthly spend)
$222

APR
9.99-29.25%

Rewards Redemption
Pros

  • Pay for travel with partial points
  • Redeem points for gift cards, merchandise, travel, charity or statement credits
  • Transfer points from other Popular Community Bank rewards programs

Cons

  • $3 redemption fee each time you redeem your points.
  • Ticketing fee may apply for travel rewards
  • Points expire within 4 years
  • Maximum of 100,000 points can be redeemed each year
  • Blackout dates may apply
  • Can’t transfer points to outside loyalty programs

Other Notable Features: Travel assistance, discounted roadside assistance, purchase protection, extended warranty, bilingual customer service for Spanish speakers

This offer is no longer available.

For cardholders who prefer banking with community banks and credit unions, this card is a step up from what can usually be found through smaller institutions. For a modest fee, cardholders can earn an extra half-point for every dollar they spend and accumulate points more quickly than they would with a typical rewards credit card.

Popular Community Bank also offers bilingual customer service for native Spanish speakers, setting it apart from similar card-issuing institutions. However, the card is only available to a small number of consumers. Only cardholders living in New York, New Jersey and Florida are eligible to apply.

Effortless rewards
Unlike some rewards cards that require cardholders to keep track of various spending categories, the Popular Community Bank Platinum XTRA card makes it easy to earn amplified rewards every time you use the card. Cardholders earn 1.5 points for every dollar they spend, which is less than some rewards cards, but more than what’s typically available at smaller institutions. Rewards are capped at 100,000 points per year, though. So, big spenders who expect more earnings are better off looking elsewhere.

Modest value
At $24 a year, the annual fee for the Platinum XTRA card is relatively affordable. The card’s points are only worth about a penny each, so cardholders will need to accumulate a substantial number of points to redeem a more valuable reward. But, according to our calculations, cardholders who spend an average of $1,325 a month should accumulate at least $222 worth of rewards, which isn’t bad for such a low-fee card. Some cards with comparatively low fees offer significantly more, but they typically come from larger banks. The Platinum XTRA card doesn’t offer a sign-up bonus, though, so cardholders will have to wait before they can redeem a larger purchase.

Fee-heavy redemption
The most disappointing feature of this credit card is its redemption fee, which significantly lowers the card’s overall value – especially if cardholders redeem points in smaller increments rather than waiting to make one big purchase. Cardholders have to pay $3 every time they want to redeem points, which can add up significantly if cardholders opt for multiple redemptions. Cardholders may also have to pay additional fees when they redeem points for travel.

Restrictions on travel
Cardholders who want to redeem points for airfare are also limited by what they can buy with rewards points. Cardholders can choose from any U.S. airline, but they can’t fly anywhere they want. The program only covers flights within the contiguous United States or to Europe, so cardholders who want to fly to Hawaii, Alaska or to other non-European destinations are out of luck. Travel must be booked through Popular Community Bank, so cardholders could end up paying more for a redeemed flight than they would if they booked a flight themselves. On the plus side, Popular Community Bank lets you use partial points for travel, so you don’t have to wait as long to redeem your points.

Bilingual customer service
The most distinctive perk offered by the Popular Community Bank Platinum XTRA card is the option to take advantage of bilingual customer service. This could make the card more attractive to cardholders who are native Spanish speakers or who have non-English-speaking family members who will be authorized users.

Reasons to sign up for it:

  • You prefer to bank with a smaller community bank, but also want more rewards.
  • You’re already a Popular Community Bank customer and want a card from the same bank.
  • You’re looking for a card that offers bilingual customer service.
  • You prefer point rewards rather than straight cash back.
  • You want a simple way to earn points and don’t want to keep track of bonuses.

How to use it:

  • To get the most value from your spending, use this card for all your purchases, but repay your balance in full in order to avoid incurring interest charges.
  • Shop around before you redeem your points for airfare. You may get a better deal – and avoid incurring a ticket fee – by redeeming your points for a statement credit and purchasing a flight yourself.
  • Do the math when deciding how to redeem your points. You may find that certain types of rewards purchases are a better value than others.

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