Credit Cards Credit Card Reviews

ABOC Platinum Rewards Mastercard Review

overall rating
3.4

ABOC Platinum Rewards Mastercard Review

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The ABOC Platinum Rewards Mastercard offers a lot of value through its rewards program and an introductory 0% APR, and there’s no annual fee to boot. But redemption options are somewhat limited if you want to maximize the value of your points.

ABOC Platinum Rewards Mastercard®

overall rating
3.4
ABOC Platinum Rewards Mastercard®
On ABOC's Secured Site.

Current Offer:

Earn a $150 statement credit after you spend $1,200 on purchases within the first 90 days from account opening.

Recommended Credit Score Our recommended ranges are based off of the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model. Credit score is one of the many factors lenders review in considering your application.
350 579
580 669
670 739
740 799
800 850
Excellent
Regular APR (%) 12.9% - 22.9% variable
Annual Fee $0
Rewards Earning Rate Earn Rewards Points on every purchase, every time. It's simple. $1 purchases = 1 Rewards Point.
INTRO PURCHASE APR 0% for 12 Months
Balance Transfer Fee 3% of each balance transfer (minimum $5)
Foreign transaction fee (%) 0%
how this card stacks up
When compared among all rewards cards in our database:
Rewards
Benefits
Low Fees
Security/Customer Experience
Low Interest
worst best

The ABOC Platinum Rewards Mastercard is not one of our top-rated rewards credit cards. You can review our list of the best rewards credit cards for what we think are better options.

Full Review of ABOC Platinum Rewards Mastercard

Pros
  • Strong rewards on rotating categories

Cons
  • Subpar redemption value

  • Few benefits

Pros Explained

  • 5% Rewards on Some Everyday Spending Categories: With the ABOC Platinum Rewards Mastercard, you’ll earn 5% cash back on purchases in spending categories, up to a quarterly maximum. The categories rotate, but typically include purchases made at grocery stores, gas stations, and online retailers. While you must register every quarter to receive these rewards, the 5% cash back rate beats what you can earn on everyday purchases with most other cards.

Cons Explained

  • Spending Limit on Bonus Rewards: While you can earn up to 5% cash back on select purchases, there’s a quarterly spending limit of $1,500 for such rewards. After that, further purchases will earn only the 1% rate that applies for all other spending. While the limit may often suffice, households that spend heavily in some categories reach it fairly easily. For example, combined quarterly spending on groceries and personal care items (purchases you might make at grocery stores, Walgreens, and CVS, all eligible for 5% rewards in the first quarter of 2020) averaged about $1,300 in 2018, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Given inflation since then, and perhaps a bigger-than-average household size, purchases of groceries and personal care items might readily hit the spending limit.  
  • Few Benefits: You don’t expect a no-fee credit card to be loaded with additional features. But the ABOC Platinum Rewards Mastercard has fewer than many competitors. It provides the customary security protections, along with an extended warranty provision and protection against price drops after you buy. But it lacks pluses such as auto-rental coverage and travel accident insurance, both of which the Platinum credit card from Capital One offers, for example.  

This Card is Best For

  • Avatar for Annual Fee Averse Persona
    Resists or refuses an annual fee on principle or due to cost
    Annual Fee Averse
  • Avatar for Rewards Strategist Persona
    Seeks to maximize points or miles earnings across spending categories
    Rewards Strategist

The ABOC Platinum Rewards Mastercard is for people willing to keep track of rotating spending categories in order to maximize their credit card rewards. Without activation every quarter of the category or categories eligible for 5% cash back rewards, the card earns a meager 1% in cash back. 

This card could also appeal to those who want to take advantage of the 0% APR provision for purchases for the first year of card membership that can used for making larger purchases and paying off the outstanding balances without the burden of interest payments.

ABOC Platinum Rewards Mastercard One-Time Offer

The card offers a $150 statement credit after you spend $1,200 in the first 90 days. While the bonus represents a strong 12.5% return on your spending, some other cards require you to spend just $500 for the same incentive.

Rewards Earning Details

The card offers 5 points per dollar on up to $1,500 spent each quarter in rotating categories. For 2020, those categories include:

  • January–March: Qualifying utilities, cell, cable, Amazon Prime and streaming subscription services purchases.
  • April–June: Grocery, restaurants, and transportation purchases.
  • July–September: Qualifying airline, cruise, car rental, hotel, travel agency purchases, gas, tolls, and rideshare purchases.
  • October–December: Qualifying department and electronics stores, superstores, Amazon.com, and other major online retailers.

You’ll earn 1 point per dollar on all other purchases you make with the card.

Rewards Redemption Details

The card offers a handful of redemption options, but the value you get from your points can vary based on how you use them. According to online reports, here’s what to expect:

  • Travel: Up to 1 cent per point
  • Gift cards: Up to 0.93 cents per point
  • Statement credit: 0.75 cents per point
  • Merchandise: 0.75 cents per point

It’s pretty typical with most rewards programs to get less than 1 cent per point on merchandise. But with statement credits (and other forms of cash back), gift cards and travel, it’s standard to get at least 1 cent per point with most major rewards programs. Keep that in mind as you determine how much value you can get with the card.

For example, if you’re in it for the 5X rewards rate and prefer cash back, your effective rewards rate is just 3.75% with statement credits. In comparison, the Chase Freedom and Discover it offer a true 5% rewards rate, up to $1,500 in spending, on rotating bonus categories.

How to Maximize Your Rewards

The card’s bonus rewards rate is among the best in the business, so make sure you know what the current and upcoming bonus categories are so you can plan spending accordingly. Just be careful of spending money on something you don’t need for the sake of bonus rewards—the value you get back pales in comparison to the cost of the unnecessary purchase.

Also, plan to hold onto your points for travel redemptions only. That way, you’re not leaving money on the table with less valuable redemption options. 

And again, it’s best to avoid the card’s base rewards rate of just 1 point per dollar.

Standard Benefits

  • Extended warranty coverage
  • Price protection
  • Zero-liability fraud protection
  • Mastercard ID theft protection

Cardholder Experience

Amalgamated Bank of Chicago (ABOC) wasn’t included in the 2019 J.D. Power Credit Card Satisfaction Study, but the bank has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau

According to one of the bank’s representatives, its customer service team is available Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Central time, but you can reach someone outside of those hours if you’ve lost your credit card. With most national card issuers, 24/7 customer service is standard.

Also, unlike many major card issuers, ABOC doesn’t offer free access to your FICO or VantageScore credit cards.

Security Features

The ABOC Platinum Rewards Mastercard doesn’t offer any security features beyond the industry standard fraud protection.

Fees to Watch Out For

For the most part, the card’s fees are in line with credit card industry standards. One exception is that it doesn’t charge a foreign transaction fee. Some similar cards that offer rotating bonus categories or an introductory 0% APR promotion on purchases charge 3% on each purchase made abroad.

Our Verdict

The ABOC Platinum Rewards Mastercard has a lot of promise with its 5X bonus categories, but the card’s subpar redemption value with statement credits and gift cards should give you pause—especially considering you can expect this card’s maximum redemption value as a minimum with many other rewards credit cards. 

That said, if you like the card’s combination of bonus rewards and 0% APR promotion, and plan to use your rewards strictly for travel, you can avoid some of its drawbacks. Just plan to use the card in tandem with another one, so you’re not stuck with a lowly 1% rewards rate (or less) on most of your purchases.This setup isn’t out of the ordinary for cards with rotating bonus categories or a tiered rewards structure. But it may be best to pair it with a card that offers 1.5% or even 2% back on everything so you can take advantage of this card’s 5X bonus category without leaving money on the table with its low base rate. Consider getting another card, such as the Citi Double Cash card, which offers unlimited 1% + 1% cash back on everything—that’s 1% back on each purchase and another 1% back as you pay them off. Use the ABOC Platinum Rewards Mastercard for its bonus categories only and the Citi Double Cash card for everything If that’s your reason to get the card, though, consider also getting a credit card that offers more than 1 point per dollar as a base rewards rate. That way, you can use the ABOC Platinum Rewards Mastercard for its bonus categories and the other card for everything else.

Low Base Rewards Rate

You’ll earn 5 points per dollar on select bonus categories, but all of your other purchases will earn just 1 point per dollar. So unless you’re using the card only for its bonus categories, you’ll likely earn a mediocre rewards rate on most of your purchases. 

The ABOC Platinum Rewards Mastercard is designed for people who want to take advantage of its bonus rewards categories. Earning 5 points per dollar on everyday expenses can be very appealing, especially if typical spending matches up well with the new categories every quarter.

Subpar Redemption Value

It’s pretty typical with most rewards programs to get less than 1 cent per point on merchandise. But with statement credits (and other forms of cash back), gift cards and travel, its standard to get at least 1 cent per point with most major rewards programs. Keep that in mind as you determine how much value you can get with the card.

For example, if you’re in it for the 5X rewards rate and prefer cash back, your effective rewards rate is just 3.75% with statement credits. In comparison, the Chase Freedom and Discover it offer a true 5% rewards rate, up to $1,500 in spending, on rotating bonus categories.The best way to redeem your rewards is on travel, which offers up to 1 cent per point in value. But that rate is the standard minimum for most top rewards credit cards. And if you want gift cards, a statement credit or merchandise, you’ll get even less value out of your rewards.

Great Rewards on Rotating Categories

The card offers a whopping 5 points per dollar on everyday spending categories that rotate every quarter. There aren’t many credit cards that offer this rewards structure—the Chase Freedom and Discover it are two notable alternatives. If you’re looking for an opportunity to maximize your rewards on different areas of your budget, this card may be a solid choice. The only drawback is that bonus spending capped at $1,500 per quarter, and all purchases after that net you just 1 point per dollar.Points are worth up to 1 cent apiece on travel redemptions and 0.75 cents each for statement credits

Apply Now
For ABOC Platinum Rewards Mastercard®
on ABOC's Secured Site.
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CURRENT CARD
ABOC Platinum Rewards Mastercard®
overall rating
3.4
Recommended Credit Score Our recommended ranges are based off of the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model. Credit score is one of the many factors lenders review in considering your application.
350 579
580 669
670 739
740 799
800 850
Excellent
Regular APR (%) 12.9% - 22.9% variable
Annual Fee $0
Rewards Earning Rate Earn Rewards Points on every purchase, every time. It's simple. $1 purchases = 1 Rewards Point.
Investopedia Credit Card Rating Methodology
Investopedia is committed to delivering the best credit card recommendations in the industry. We’ll tell you when a card is good, we’ll tell you when a card is bad, and we’ll only call a card the best if we would recommend it to our friends or family members.
Overall Star Rating Explained
To rate credit cards we objectively assess, score and weight nearly 100 individual card features which roll up into five major feature sets: fees, interest, rewards, benefits and security/customer service. Here’s how we weighted those feature sets for the overall star rating of a card:
We have applied our proprietary rating methodology to every generally-accepted credit card in the U.S. domestic market to allow consumers to make fully informed choices. It’s important to note that for our overall score that we make a number of assumptions about how you would be using your credit card:
  1. While we make no assumption as to whether balances are carried on a given card we do assign varying weights to all credit cards’ introductory APR (if present) in addition to the regular, long term purchase and balance transfer interest rates.
  2. We utilize BLS (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics) income and average category spending data to calculate annual earnings rates for rewards cards that offer cash back, points or miles rewards at a set rate on all spending or in consideration of bonus rewards for certain spending categories, like gasoline, groceries, restaurants or travel.
  3. We determine the maximum points value of rewards cards by dividing the points, cash back or miles required to exchange for the retail price of the most valuable redemption option (for example, in the case of a card that offers a domestic roundtrip airline ticket as a redemption option vs. another redemption option of lesser value that requires the same amount of points or miles to acquire, we would base the rewards value on the airline ticket).
  • Cards that are selected best overall in their respective categories generally feature most if not all of the following attributes:
  • Low or Reasonable Fees Credit card fees come in many forms but the primary ones involve those for annual card membership and balance transfer. There are a myriad of reward and non-reward card options that charge no annual fee but for the many that do assess an annual fee the cost is often justified by their lucrative ongoing rewards and initial signup bonuses. Balance transfer fees are occasionally waived during introductory periods with certain cards, a factor which is heavily and positively weighted in our scoring model for cards offering this benefit. When charged, balance transfer fees range between 3% - 5%, which we grade accordingly. Other standard fees can generally be avoided, such as those for paying late or taking cash advances but we rate those relative to other cards in the market for reference, though with less weight assigned
  • Competitive Interest Many cards offer 0% introductory APR on purchases and balance transfers for varying lengths and then revert to a permanent or regular APR (based on a variable rate tied to the prime rate) that applies to any balances not paid in full. We rate both introductory APR percentage and length (in months) along with the midpoint of the variable regular APR interest rate range.
  • Valuable Rewards Credit card reward programs can be based on cash back, points or travel rewards (which can be generic or travel partner-specific, as with airline and hotel co-brand card programs). For cards that offer rewards we determine the value per dollar spent along with average redemption values and assign more favorable ratings to cards that offer superior consumer value. We also assign value to sign-up bonus offers and their initial spending requirements, when present.
  • Excellent Benefits Credit card benefits cover a range of offerings like concierge service, TSA Pre-check, auto rental coverage, travel accident insurance, lost luggage assistance and free credit scores. We rate cards on the number and level of over a dozen standard and upscale benefits and provide extra weighting emphasis for those travel-related perks that apply to premium travel cards when present.
  • Solid Security/Customer Service Security and customer service features like lost or stolen card replacement, being able to lock one’s card from an issuer app and 24 hour customer support are becoming more standard across the card market and we provide a significant amount of weighting to features in this area.
  • You can also read the full version of our methodology for a more in-depth look at how we assess cards and award them the best in various categories.