Reviews SunTrust Travel Rewards card review
SunTrust Travel Rewards card review

SunTrust Travel Rewards card review

Published: May 26, 2017
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Ratings Policy
Balance Transfer Rating:
3.8 rating
3.8 rating
3.8 / 5
Introductory Offer: 4.1
Net Value: 2.6
Features: 3.0

In a nutshell:

With a 15-month introductory period for balance transfers and a decent rewards rate, the SunTrust Travel Rewards card offers good value as a balance transfer card.

0% Introductory Period
15 months

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

Introductory Purchase APR
0%

Regular APR
11.74-21.74%

Annual Fee
$89

Other Notable Features: $100 statement credit every 5 years for global entry and TSA precheck fees, no foreign-transaction fee, car rental insurance, extended warranty, roadside assistance, trip cancellation/interruption insurance

Cash Back Rating:
2.1 rating
2.1 rating
2.1 / 5
Rewards Value: 0.2
Annual Percentage Rate: 3.9
Rewards Flexibility: 4.2
Features: 3.0

In a nutshell:

SunTrust bank account holders who spend a lot on travel can potentially earn a solid amount of cash back with this rewards credit card; but to get the most value, you’d need to book a lot of flights and hotel stays to make up for the card’s $89 annual fee.

Rewards Rate

  • 3% unlimited cash back on airfare, hotel and car rentals
  • 1% cash on general purchases
  • 50% bonus on cash back deposited into Suntrust checking, savings or money market account

Sign-up Bonus
5% cash back on airfare, hotel and car rental for first 12 months

Annual Fee
$89

Average Yearly Rewards Value ($1,325 monthly spend)
$103

APR
11.74-21.74%

Rewards Redemption
Pros

  • No limit to how much cash back you can earn
  • Minimum redemption amount is low ($25)
  • Redeem rewards for merchandise, gift cards, travel or cash back
  • Combine rewards from multiple accounts

Cons

  • Rewards expire in 5 years

Other Notable Features: $100 statement credit every 5 years for global entry and TSA precheck fees, no foreign-transaction fee, car rental insurance, extended warranty, roadside assistance, trip cancellation/interruption insurance

Rewards Rating:
2.2 rating
2.2 rating
2.2 / 5
Rewards Value: 0.1
Annual Percentage Rate: 4.3
Rewards Flexibility: 4.2
Features: 3.0

In a nutshell:

With a low APR and a triple point bonus on airfare, hotels and car rental purchases, this is a good card to use for travel; however, don’t count on using it for everyday purchases since you won’t get much value out of the card once you return home.

Rewards Rate

  • 3% unlimited cash back on airfare, hotel and car rentals
  • 1% cash on general purchases
  • 50% bonus on cash back deposited into Suntrust checking, savings or money market account

Sign-up Bonus
5% cash back on airfare, hotel and car rental for first 12 months

Annual Fee
$89

Average Yearly Rewards Value ($1,325 monthly spend)
$103

APR
11.74-21.74%

Rewards Redemption
Pros

  • No limit to how much cash back you can earn
  • Minimum redemption amount is low ($25)
  • Redeem rewards for merchandise, gift cards, travel or cash back
  • Combine rewards from multiple accounts

Cons

  • Rewards expire in 5 years

Other Notable Features: $100 statement credit every 5 years for global entry and TSA precheck fees, no foreign-transaction fee, car rental insurance, extended warranty, roadside assistance, trip cancellation/interruption insurance

Travel Rating:
2.2 rating
2.2 rating
2.2 / 5
Rewards Value: 0.1
Annual Percentage Rate: 4.2
Rewards Flexibility: 4.2
Features: 3.0

In a nutshell:

The SunTrust travel credit card offers a fair amount of value for heavy travelers, but the card’s limited rewards and modest travel perks aren’t nearly as generous as the perks offered by cards with similarly high fees.

Rewards Rate

  • 3% unlimited cash back on airfare, hotel and car rentals
  • 1% cash on general purchases
  • 50% bonus on cash back deposited into Suntrust checking, savings or money market account

Sign-up Bonus
5% cash back on airfare, hotel and car rental for first 12 months

Annual Fee
$89

Average Yearly Rewards Value ($1,325 monthly spend)
$103

APR
11.74-21.74%

Rewards Redemption
Pros

  • No limit to how much cash back you can earn
  • Minimum redemption amount is low ($25)
  • Redeem rewards for merchandise, gift cards, travel or cash back
  • Combine rewards from multiple accounts

Cons

  • Rewards expire in 5 years

Other Notable Features: $100 statement credit every 5 years for global entry and TSA precheck fees, no foreign-transaction fee, car rental insurance, extended warranty, roadside assistance, trip cancellation/interruption insurance

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Designed for cardholders who like to roam the globe, the SunTrust Travel Rewards card is nice to have if you spend a lot of money on travel. The card offers 3 percent cash back on travel purchases and 1 percent cash back on everything else.

It also has some pretty favorable terms for transferring a balance. The card gives you 15 months to pay off a balance with zero percent interest, which is better than average for an introductory period.

Long introductory period
The 15-month introductory period for balance transfers is on par with the best introductory offers, which last between 15 and 21 months. The SunTrust Travel Rewards card also offers a zero percent APR on new purchases for 15 months, which could be a good deal for cardholders seeking to finance a big-ticket item.

Low APR
The APR, which ranges between 11.74 and 21.74 percent, is fairly low for a card that offers a rewards program and a zero percent balance transfer offer. The average APR of the balance transfer cards that we’ve reviewed is more than 17 percent, while rewards cards average an even higher 19 percent.

Good rewards for frequent travelers
On the plus side, the Travel Rewards card offers a decent return on spending for frequent travelers. Cardholders are awarded 3 percent cash back on airfare, hotels and car rentals and 1 percent cash back on general purchases. There is also a substantial 5 percent cash-back bonus on the first $6,000 worth of qualifying travel purchases in the first year.

Unfortunately, the bonus rate is restricted to the travel category, which covers a narrow range of travel purchases. If purchases on hotels, airfare and car rentals constitute a large portion your budget, the SunTrust Travel Rewards card could be a good fit for you. However, if you spend more on other items (for instance, gas and groceries), or your budget is disbursed across a variety of spending categories, you will likely be better off searching for a cash-back card that more closely fits your spending patterns.

Large annual fee
The main drawback of the card is the annual fee. At $89, it is on the high side for a balance transfer card. Many premium rewards cards, which come with high annual fees, also come with colossal sign-up bonuses, high rewards rates and premium perks. SunTrust can’t quite compete with these cards.

The high fee probably makes it impractical for value-minded cardholders who are looking to cut costs on a revolving balance. The card may offer the greatest appeal to two types of cardholders: those who spend a large portion of their budget on travel, and those want to transfer a balance or finance a new purchase at zero percent, and are hoping to find a card that offers valuable rewards and benefits once the introductory period expires.

Some good travel perks
The SunTrust Travel Rewards card also comes with a respectable list of travel benefits. The card offers car rental insurance and trip cancellation and interruption insurance. It also offers no fee on foreign transactions, making it a solid card for travel purchases both domestically and abroad.

Reasons to get it:

  • You spend a large portion of your income on travel.
  • You want to transfer a large balance or finance a new purchase at zero percent.
  • You’re already a SunTrust Bank customer and want a card with the same bank.

How to use it:

  • Use the card when traveling abroad to take advantage of the zero percent foreign-transaction fee.
  • Calculate how much you need to spend each month to pay off your transferred balance in a year and then try to pay more than that until your balance is cleared.
  • To avoid paying an above-average interest rate, pay off all your new purchases in full after the end of the card’s promotion.

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