Dedicated to Deposits: Deals, Data, and Discussion
Featured Savings Rates
Featured Accounts

Signs Of Devaluation Of PenFed Platinum Rewards Credit Card Points

Sunday, August 18, 2013 - 2:30 PM
CreditCardWatcher has a useful summary of reports at FW that PenFed points may be going down in value. As suggested in the article "it seems wise to cash out your points as soon as possible under the current rates."

Ken TuminKen Tumin5,472 posts since
Nov 29, 2009
Rep Points: 125,708
1. Sunday, August 18, 2013 - 3:12 PM
"Back then, PenFed offered 25,000 points, redeemable for a $250 Visa gift card, for switching their cash-back Platinum Visa Cash Rewards card to the points-based PenFed Platinum Rewards card."

I never did make the switch but decided to remain with the Cash Rewards card for the 5% per gallon off on gasoline purchases. It's about all I use the card for, unless I make overseas trips. That's why I requested the chip enhanced card, which is the type practically required to make credit card purchases in foreign countries.  Suprisingly, upon receipt of the chip enhanced card I found that PenFed had doubled my credit limit without me requesting it. Sometimes I wonder about this credit union that at one time was considered a premier institution. Non-competitive deposit rates and diminishing cash rewards are starting to take their toll on customer loyalty. Of course, that's speaking only for myself as a long-time member of PenFed.
ShorebreakShorebreak2,695 posts since
Apr 6, 2010
Rep Points: 14,611
2. Sunday, August 18, 2013 - 7:21 PM
Thanks for the post Ken; I had been letting my PenFed points
accumulate to get to the next tier of their VISA prepaid card.
I'll now redeem them immediately to avoid the forthcoming
cumuluscumulus363 posts since
Jan 16, 2010
Rep Points: 1,701
3. Sunday, August 18, 2013 - 8:26 PM
Thanks for the post, Ken.  I had redeemed points on 8/13 and 8/14 at the former rate and as usual had made screen prints of the details of the transactions.  When I saw the FW discussion, I logged in to my PlatinumRewards account and confirmed that my earlier transactions had already completed. 

However, I also contacted PenFed to discuss the change.  Customer Service could not tell me anything about the reward program changes - they were unaware of the update themselves.  The CSR I spoke with actually logged into her own account and confirmed the info I was telling her, then went offline to discuss with a supervisor.  She confirmed that they had just been notified of the change that day.  I asked to be transferred to the Rewards program CSRs, who had no further details either, and confirmed they had also been caught by surprise. 

If memory serves, the Rewards program is run by Maritz, and based on several poor experiences with them early on in my relationship with Penfed, they make the Keystone Cops look like a regimented marching band.   It would not surprise me to learn they had jumped the gun and made changes to the point structure too early - or that they were doing 'what if' testing and accidentally made the test version of the tables a live file. 

Edited to add:  For the record, the PremiumRewards program has been devalued also.  I used to be able to redeem 10,000 points for a certain $100 giftcard, and now it requires 11800 points. 
pearlbrownpearlbrown1,485 posts since
Nov 2, 2010
Rep Points: 6,454
4. Monday, August 19, 2013 - 8:50 PM
Credit to NEDeals at FW for the following info updated today in the thread referred to by Ken in his OP:

Per PenFed Corporate, the redemption changes are set to change on AUGUST 23 2013. Apparently someone jumped the gun and prematurely changed the website a week too early.
It is back to 1:1 points to cents for the next few days only. The new redemption rail will be 1:0.082.

They were supposed to notify everyone (apparently) about the change but it seems like their reward contractor didn't do that or Pen Fed didn't do it--sounds like a lot of confusion.

Existing cardholders that originally had 5/3/1 earning will continue to receive this until June 2014 unless you change to Signature. New customers receive less. However, the reward structure is being slowly phased out. Eventually (post June 2014) it may go away entirely. At the present time, they aren't offering Signature cards with EMV as others have speculated. (The representative didn't know why.)

So resumptions are being devalued and accrual is being devalued (eventually). Best redeem any points right now.

pearlbrownpearlbrown1,485 posts since
Nov 2, 2010
Rep Points: 6,454
5. Monday, August 19, 2013 - 9:43 PM
Clarification on the August 23 date per conversation with PenFed a few moments ago:  the redemption changes will happen at midnight Thursday the 22nd of August, so if someone has points to redeem they should so so quickly.

The CSR had no information on whether the apparent devaluation of the Premium (AmEx) Rewards program to correspond with that of the Platinum (VISA) Rewards program will also be reversed temporarily. 
pearlbrownpearlbrown1,485 posts since
Nov 2, 2010
Rep Points: 6,454