Full Review of PNC points Visa Credit Card
High rewards rate on purchases
Points bonuses for PNC banking customers
Flexible redemption options
Points are worth less than with most cards
Points expire and can't be transferred
Not ideal for travel outside the U.S.
- High Rewards On All Purchases: The PNC points Visa offers strong points rewards. All purchases earn a flat rate of four points per dollar. And where some other cards offer a high points earning rate only on select categories, the PNC points Visa provides it universally, with no need to activate or track bonus categories to earn it.
- Points Bonuses for PNC Banking Customers: This card becomes more rewarding if you bank with PNC. You can earn between 25% and 75% more bonus points for having an eligible PNC Bank checking account and meeting minimum deposit and balance requirements.
- Flexible Redemption Options: Points earned with this card can be used in a number of ways, including redemptions for gift cards, hotel stays, and rental cars. You can also use points to make purchases with PNC Pay.
- Points Worth Less Than with Most Cards: While you can earn a lot of points with this card pretty easily, you're not necessarily getting as much value for each of them as you do with other rewards credit cards. The points earned with most cards are typically worth a cent or more, according to Investopedia's valuations. But we estimate that each point you earn with the PNC points Visa is worth less than a quarter of that amount—0.22 cents to be precise. With the PNC points Visa providing 4 points per dollar spent, its overall rewards are worth a little less than 1 cent per dollar spent. That's a low rate for all purchases made with a card.
- Points Expire and Cannot Be Transferred: Your rewards earned with this card expire, but you have a full 48 months from the time you earn points before you’re at risk of losing them. Unlike the many other rewards cards that let you transfer points to travel partners, the PNC points Visa offers no such option. To directly use the points you earn for travel, you must book travel directly through the PNC points rewards portal.
- Not Ideal for Travel Outside the U.S.: While you might be interested in redeeming points for international flights, you may want to pack another card for making purchases while you're away. Like many cards, the PNC points Visa imposes a 3% foreign transaction fee on purchases made abroad, which can make using it when traveling outside the U.S. pricier than with cards that imposes no such charge.
This Card is Best For
Resists or refuses an annual fee on principle or due to cost
Seeks to maximize points or miles earnings across spending categories
The PNC points Visa credit card is best suited to PNC banking customers, who can earn bonuses of up to 75% on the card’s rewards earnings. Those bonuses help make this card’s fairly standard rewards more appealing and more competitive with those of competitors, as the 75% bonus would net 3 additional points per dollar spent, or a total value of approximately 1.54 cents each (higher than the 1.5% cash back cards that are somewhat standard in the market).
PNC points Visa Credit Card One-Time Offer
As mentioned, this card does come with a one-time offer for eligible cardmembers. The bonus is 50,000 points, which is worth about $110 by our calculations, and you can earn it by making $750 in purchases within the first three billing cycles after you open an account. Both that bonus and its spending requirement are lower than those with most other cards.
Rewards Earning Details
The PNC points Visa credit card has a simple and straightforward rewards program. For each dollar you spend on eligible purchases, you'll earn four PNC points. However, those points are of relatively meager value, at less than a quarter-of-a-cent each. Points are typically credited to your account within 10 business days.
If you have an eligible PNC bank account, then you're automatically eligible to qualify for bonus points.
The 25% bonus kicks in if you simply have one of these PNC accounts: the PNC Virtual Wallet, PNC Virtual Wallet Performance Spend, PNC Virtual Wallet Performance Select, PNC Performance, or PNC Performance Select Checking accounts.
Qualifying for the 50% points bonus requires both a PNC Virtual Wallet Performance Spend or PNC Performance Checking Account and meet one of the following requirements:
- An average monthly balance of $2,000 or more
- A qualifying aggregate monthly direct deposit of $2,000 or more
- A combined average monthly balance of $15,000 or more across all your accounts
You can snag the 75% points bonus if you have either of the same accounts—the PNC Virtual Wallet with Performance Select or PNC Performance Select Checking. You also need to meet one of the following requirements:
- An average monthly balance of $5,000 or more
- A qualifying aggregate monthly direct deposit of $5,000 or more
- A combined average monthly balance of $25,000 or more across all your accounts
Rewards Redemption Details
When you're ready to redeem your PNC points, you have several options, including:
- Gift cards
- Apple purchases
The travel category includes everything from flights and hotels to car rentals, cruises and vacation packages. The catch is that to use your points for travel, you must book through the PNC Points Redemption Center. You can't transfer points to hotel or airline loyalty programs or combine them in any way with those of another credit-card rewards program.
How to Maximize Your Rewards
Making the most of the PNC points Visa credit card obviously involves using the card frequently much matter what you buy with the card, since every purchase earns a flat 4 points per dollar spent. However, PNC banking customers receive points bonuses that increase earnings to between 5 and 7 points per dollar spent. If you're also shopping for a ba, then, consider opening a PNC account in order to benefit from these enhanced rewards. The more you keep in the account, the higher the rewards. The bonuses can really add up. For example, say your average yearly spend with the card is $24,000 or $2,000 per month. At four points per dollar, you'd earn 96,000 points on purchases. But here's what your points earnings could look like if you qualify for a bonus:
- 25% bonus = 120,000 points
- 50% bonus = 144,000 points
- 75% bonus = 168,000 points
Say you use your card to charge all your monthly bills and everyday spending, with expenses from the occasional trip also thrown in. You're not currently a PNC banking customer.
If you spend $2,500 a month on average, you could earn 120,000 points annually. During your first year, you could increase that to 210,000 points if you qualify for the full 75% bonus from being a PNC banking customer. That would make rewards worth $264 without an account with a high balance worth $462, or more than $100 more, if you had an account with a balance of $5,000 or more.
Now, let’s assume that your monthly spending is $1,500 higher than the previous scenario, and so averages $4,000 a month. With just the four points per dollar you'd earn as a baseline, you’d earn 192,000 points per year. If you're eligible for the 75% points bonus, you could increase your total rewards points to 336,000. With no bonus earnings, the rewards would be worth $422. If you qualified for the 75% bonus, you’d earn points worth in excess of $300 more, at $739.
- Travel and emergency protection
- Contactless payment capability
- Integration with PNC Virtual Wallet
- Online account management tools
- Electronic bill payment
PNC Bank didn't receive a rating in J.D. Power's 2019 U.S. Credit Card Satisfaction Study for national issuers. Among regional issuers, however, it landed in the number two spot after BB&T with a satisfaction rating of 810.
PNC offers numerous ways to manage your account, including mobile and online banking and PNC Virtual Wallet. You can also call, tweet, email or visit your nearest branch if you need help with your account or have questions.
This card comes with several handy security features for managing your account. PNC Easy Lock, for example, allows you to lock your card to prevent new purchases if it's lost or stolen. PNC Security Assistances protects you against credit or identity fraud and a $0 liability guarantee means you won't be held responsible for unauthorized purchases.
Hidden Fees to Watch Out For
This card's fees are typical of most other rewards credit cards. There are no real surprises, other than the difference in how balance transfer fees can increase depending on how soon after account opening you execute one.
Fees to Watch Out For
The primary fee to keep in mind is the 3% foreign transaction fee. If you're looking for a credit card that's great for earning rewards but doesn't charge a foreign transaction fee, you may want to look elsewhere.
The PNC points Visa offers remarkably meager rewards. With earnings of 4 points per dollar spent, with each point worth less than a quarter of a cent, it still rewards you with less than a cent per dollar spent. Practically every other card on the market has a better earning rate than that. Even for PNC banking customers, who qualify for points bonuses, the rewards with this card are relatively modest.
This card might be a passable choice for PNC banking customers who want a card that’s convenient to acquire, even if it rewards you little and offers few features. For all others, a different card would surely be a better fit.