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PNC's New Reward Credit Card Products

Monday, February 28, 2011 - 1:06 AM
PNC has overhauled the credit card products it inherited from National City.  The new cards are attractive:

Cash Back (12.99-20.99 APR, no annual fee): 1.25% cash back on all purchases.  Bonus: Spend $2,000 to $3,999.99 and get 1.50% cash back on all purchases during your next billing cycle; spend $5,000+ and it increases to 1.75%.  Or Relationship Reward: get 1.50% cash back on all purchases if you maintain a Performace checking account; get 1.75% if you maintain a Performance Select.

Points (10.99-18.99 APR, no annual fee): earn 4 points per $1 spent.  Relationship Reward: Virtual Wallet - 25% bonus on points earned, Performance - 50%, Performance Select - 75%.

Flex (10.99-17.99 APR, no annual fee): earn 4 points per $1 spent.  Relationship Reward: 100 points per $1 in interest billed if you maintain an average checking balance of $1,500+; get 100 points per $2 if you maintain an average checking balance of $500-$1499.99.

No limit on cash back or points earned. 

Consumer Credit Cards | PNC Bank

My thoughts:

-If you qualify for one of PNC's premium checking accounts, then their cash back credit card is among the market leaders.  If you don't, 1.25% is still above average.

-The best Points exchange is 100,000 for an airline ticket up to $500 within the continental USA.  At the maximum 7 points per $1, this would yield up to 3.5% cash back.  $100 cash redeems for 50,000 points (1.4% CB) while most $100 gift cards trade for 40,000 (1.75% CB).  Unfortunately, PNC has devalued the Points program and the already-weak lesser awards became even worse values.  If you're able to rack up huge points, there's some exotic vacation packages that would be great values but everything else is junk. 

-I'm surprised PNC's awarding points for accumulating interest charges.  Given that the card is marketed as PNC's low-interest card (although onpar with its other Points card), I suspect it's to entice those who are shopping for a credit card to carry a balance with, anyway.  Yet it's reminicent of a National City CC product (available in-branch only) that "rewarded" people who paid thier bills ontime with an interest rebate (and later, points).  Given that PNC's suppose to be seeking credit scores of 720+ for its CC products (vs. National City, who gave a credit card to pretty much anybody), I'm surprised.

SouthwesternSouthwestern23 posts since
Jan 25, 2011
Rep Points: 98
1. Monday, February 28, 2011 - 1:29 PM
Wonder how they would classify me.  When they moved me from National City I they changed my checking account to Performance Select but removed the minimal balance requirement.
dcurreydcurrey13 posts since
Feb 28, 2011
Rep Points: 70
2. Monday, February 28, 2011 - 8:20 PM
Minimum balace/relationship requirements apply in order to qualify for the relationship reward.

When I obtained a mortgage with National City, I was offered a 'free' Elite Checking account provided my loan remained with National City (this was listed as a standard waiver).  In late 2009, the servicing right of my mortgage was transferred to Greentree (essentially a debt collector handling bad loans). Yet my checking account continued to be free and was also converted to a 'free' Performance Select account.  Given that a mortgage is sufficient to qualify for the relationship rewards listed above, I ponder if PNC 'believes' I still have a loan with them.

(Interesting side note, PNC dumped my loan believing I was a credit risk - despite a high credit score, no negatives & no debt beyond the mortgage - yet mails me refin notices almost weekly.)
SouthwesternSouthwestern23 posts since
Jan 25, 2011
Rep Points: 98