Should you own a rewards card?

Almost everyone knows someone who has used rewards points to pay for a flight to Vegas, a flat-screen TV, or holiday gifts for the kids. Why shouldn't you be rewarded for the spending you had planned to do anyway?

For others, a rewards card can be a temptation to spend more than they can afford. Failure to pay off your account balance each month could wipe out the rewards benefit in interest charges or late fees. Rates on rewards cards typically are higher than fixed-rate cards, and a rewards card rate is variable, meaning your rate can go up or down, depending on your credit score.

Rewards cards can benefit those who have the discipline to pay off their account balance each month and are willing to spend a bit more time managing their accounts. STCU rewards points can add up even faster if you spend money on travel and set up monthly bill payments and other everyday spending through your credit card. There’s even a 2,000-point bonus for purchasing at least $1,000 during the first three months after you receive your rewards card! 

Take the test

To determine if an STCU rewards card is a good option for you, check all the following statements that are true about you:

_____ I like to earn cash, travel, or other rewards based on my spending.
_____ I can channel most of my spending through my credit card.
_____ I pay off my credit card balance each month.
_____ I can accept a higher interest rate or annual fee in exchange for the ability to earn rewards.

If you checked all four statements, then you are a good candidate to apply for an STCU rewards card. If not, then you may want to reconsider applying for a rewards card at this time.

Another option for many STCU members is the fixed-rate STCU Mastercard®. This card has no annual fee and a purchase rate ranging from 7.99% to 17.99% APR, depending on your creditworthiness.

How your rewards card works

Understanding how to earn and redeem rewards will help you to manage your account and set realistic rewards goals.

Earning points

The STCU Rewards World MasterCard® earns one point for every dollar in net purchases made with the card. (Net purchase is the amount spent less any returns, credits, or adjustments.)

Points add up faster with an STCU Premier Rewards World MasterCard®, which earns three points for every dollar in net purchases made in designated travel categories such as airline tickets, hotel rooms, and cruises.

The Premier Rewards card also earns two points for every dollar in net purchases made in two categories you can designate such as restaurants, gas, groceries, appliances, recurring bills, stuff from Amazon.com, and more. All other purchases on this card earn one point per dollar spent.

Redeeming points*

Regardless of how you earn them, each point is valued at one cent when you redeem them. For instance, to earn enough points for a $25 gift card, you would need to earn 2,500 points. To earn enough points for a $150 airline ticket, you would need 15,000 points. And so on.

It takes patience and discipline to reach your rewards goal, but savvy members know how to maximize their rewards.

First, collect the 2,000 bonus points mentioned earlier by making at least $1,000 in purchases during the first three months after receiving your new STCU Rewards or STCU Premier Rewards card.

Second, use the Premier Rewards card for all qualified travel purchases to earn three times the points. Spending $300 with a qualified hotel, for example, earns 900 points, three times more than the basic 300 points awarded for other purchases.

Third, use the Premier Rewards card to select the two eligible purchase categories that you are most likely to pay with your credit card to double your points. For example, you could choose the “Recurring Bills” category, and then set up automatic payment of your monthly phone bill on your Premier Rewards card. A $60 bill would earn 120 points; a $110 bill would earn 220 points, and so on.

Rewards cards are not for everyone, but for those willing to organize and manage their credit card account, STCU credit cards can be, well, very rewarding!


Terms, disclosures, and benefits

Compare benefits of STCU rewards cards
Benefits guide for STCU Rewards World MasterCard
Benefits guide for STCU Premier Rewards World MasterCard

*Examples only. Actual redemption value is subject to change under the STCU Rewards Program Terms and Conditions. Read the terms carefully for a complete understanding of how to earn and redeem your rewards!