SunTrust Travel Rewards card review

SunTrust Travel Rewards card review

Published: May 8, 2020
Published: May 8, 2020
Ratings Policy
Balance Transfer Rating:
2.9 rating
2.9 rating
2.9 / 5
Introductory Offer: 2.9
Net Value: 1.8
Features: 3.0
Customer Experience 1.0

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

Very Good

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

Excellent

Introductory Purchase APR
None

Poor

Regular APR
13.24-23.24% (variable)

Very Good

Annual Fee
$89

Poor

Customer Experience

  • Consumer Reports rating: 84 (79% of issuers ranked higher)
  • 24/7 customer service?: No
  • Online chat available?: No
  • Google Play Store mobile app rating: 4.2/5
  • Apple Store mobile app rating: 4.1/5
Fair

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:
2.3 rating
2.3 rating
2.3 / 5
Rewards Value: 0.3
Annual Percentage Rate: 3.4
Rewards Flexibility: 4.2
Features: 3.0
Customer Experience 1.0

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.

View similar cash back cards

Rewards Rate

  • 3% unlimited cash back on airfare, hotel and car rentals
  • 2% cash back on dining
  • 1% cash on general purchases
  • 50% bonus on cash back deposited into Suntrust checking, savings or money market account
Fair

Sign-up Bonus
$250 if you spend $3,000 in first 3 months

Very Good

Annual Bonus
$100 statement credit every 5 years for Global Entry and TSA PreCheck fees

Very Good

Annual Fee
$89, $0 first year

Fair

Average Yearly Rewards Value ($1,325 monthly spend)
$256

Fair

APR
13.24-23.24% (variable)

Excellent

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
Excellent

Customer Experience

  • Consumer Reports rating: 84 (79% of issuers ranked higher)
  • 24/7 customer service?: No
  • Online chat available?: No
  • Google Play Store mobile app rating: 4.2/5
  • Apple Store mobile app rating: 4.1/5
Fair

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

Low Interest Rating:
1.9 rating
1.9 rating
1.9 / 5
Rates, Fees, Penalties: 1.7
Rewards: 1.5
Features: 3.0
Customer Experience 1.0

In a Nutshell:

The SunTrust travel card features a low APR and a long 15-month 0-percent introductory period for balance transfers, but unfortunately doesn’t include a 0-percent APR for new purchases and charges a high annual fee to boot.

Regular APR
13.24-23.24% (variable)

Very Good

Introductory Purchase APR
None

Poor

Introductory Balance Transfer APR
0% for 15 months

Excellent

Fees

  • $89 annual fee
  • 3% balance transfer fee
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • 4% cash advance fee
Very Good

Penalties

  • $38 late payment fee
  • No penalty APR
  • $38 returned payment fee
Average

Customer Experience

  • Consumer Reports rating: 84 (79% of issuers ranked higher)
  • 24/7 customer service?: No
  • Online chat available?: No
  • Google Play Store mobile app rating: 4.2/5
  • Apple Store mobile app rating: 4.1/5
Fair

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.

Low APR

The APR, which ranges between 13.24 and 23.24 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 currently stands around 16 percent, while rewards cards average an even higher 17 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; 2 percent cash back on dining and 1 percent cash back on general purchases. There is also a substantial $250 bonus if you sign up for the card and manage to spend $3,000 in the first three months.

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.

Why get the SunTrust Travel Rewards card?

  • You spend a large portion of your income on travel.
  • You want to transfer a large balance at 0 percent.
  • You’re already a SunTrust Bank customer and want a card with the same bank.

How to use the SunTrust Travel Rewards card:

  • Use the card when traveling abroad to take advantage of the 0 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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