ABOC Platinum Rewards Mastercard® Review: A Market-Leading Card for Average Credit

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If you're in the market for a rewards credit card or 0% intro APR credit card, you might have overlooked the ABOC Platinum Rewards Mastercard®. But this underdog has a lot to offer: automatic 5X points in rotating categories, a nice sign-up bonus, no annual fee, a 0% intro APR on purchases, and an even longer interest-free period for balance transfers. Even better, you don't necessarily need stellar credit to qualify.

Ratings Methodology
ABOC Platinum Rewards Mastercard® Credit Card
Rewards

5x rewards on up to $1,500 in combined purchases each quarter in popular categories such as dining, groceries, travel, and automotive

Annual Fee

$0

Intro APR

Purchases: 0%, 12 months
Balance Transfers: 0%, 18 months

Ongoing APR

14.40% - 24.40%, variable

Bonuses & Perks

$150 credit after spending $1,200 on purchases within the first 90 days

Highlights
  • 0% Intro APR on Purchases for 12 months and Balance Transfers for 18 months; after that the variable APR will be 14.40% – 24.40%, based on your creditworthiness
  • Earn $150 Statement Credit after you spend $1,200 on purchases within the first 90 days from account opening
  • Earn 5x rewards on up to $1,500 in combined purchases each quarter in popular categories such as dining, groceries, travel, and automotive
  • No upper limit on the points you can accumulate, and since points never expire, you can save up for a big award!
  • Earn Points on Every Purchase! It's simple: $1 = 1 Point
  • No Annual Fee or Foreign Transaction Fee
  • Select Your Rewards Your Way

Top perks

No annual fee: This card comes with a lot of benefits, and you won't have to pay an annual fee to get them. 

0% intro APR for 18 months for balance transfers: You'll get a full 18 months to pay off balance transfers, which can be a powerful tool to help you pay off debt faster. You'll need to complete the balance transfer within the first 90 days of opening the account to qualify, and you'll still have to pay a balance transfer fee of 3% (or $5, whichever is higher). 

0% intro APR for 12 months for purchases: You'll also get a full 12 months before you have to pay any interest on purchases.

$150 sign-up bonus: If you spend at least $1,200 on purchases within the first three months of getting this card, you'll receive a statement credit for $150. That spending threshold is a little higher than what some other no-annual-fee rewards cards require, but the amount of the reward is comparable.

Lower credit requirements: You often need excellent credit to qualify for a rewards card. That's not the case with the ABOC Platinum Rewards Mastercard®. The bank looks at many things when you apply, but you may be approved with just "fair to good" credit, which FICO defines as a score of 580 or higher. This is the standout feature of the card's perks, which compete with the best credit cards.

Up to 5X points: There are several cards that offer 5% cash back in rotating quarterly categories. The ABOC Platinum Rewards Mastercard® differs in a couple of ways. First, there's no need to opt-in to earn more: any bonus category spending automatically counts. And instead of earning 5% cash back, you earn 5X points on spending in bonus categories ($1,500 quarterly spending cap), which may be worth more or less, depending on how you redeem them. 

Broad bonus categories: Other rotating-category cards offer bonuses for narrower categories like fitness clubs, gas stations, or Uber and Lyft. The ABOC Platinum Rewards Mastercard® bonus categories cast a wider net:

  • First quarter: monthly bills (including utilities, Netflix, cell phone, etc.)
  • Second quarter: dining and transportation (including restaurants, gas, tolls, bus fares, etc.)
  • Third quarter: travel (including gas, airline tickets, hotels, rideshares, etc.)
  • Fourth quarter: department stores (including Amazon.com, Best Buy, Walmart, etc.)

What could be improved

Points redemption options: Your mileage may vary with the points you earn -- literally. You can redeem points through the ABOC rewards portal, but not all options are competitive with other rewards cards, including the redemption value for statement credits. The redemption values are as follows:

  • Statement credit: You can redeem your points for a statement credit for a flat rate of $0.0075 per point. That's around half of what your points are worth if you redeem them for travel.
  • Travel: The exact amount of points to redeem airfare, hotels, car rentals, and cruises may differ. According to a company spokesperson, however, you can expect a redemption value of around $0.013 per point in this category, which is very good.  
  • Merchandise: Although it's not a popular redemption method, you can redeem your points for merchandise. This largely consists of "union-themed apparel, coffee mugs, etc." It may be hard to find gems in this category.
  • Gift cards: The higher the value of the gift card you redeem, the fewer points it'll take. You can redeem gift cards starting at 3,250 points for $25 ($0.0077/point) all the way up to 50,000 points for a $500 gift card ($0.01/point).

Suggested credit score

This card is best for people with a fair to good credit rating. According to FICO, that translates into a score of 580 or better. This makes the card much easier to qualify for than its competitors, especially if you have a lower credit score. Worth noting: Approval depends on a combination of other factors, including your income level and other aspects of your credit report.

Alternatives to consider

If a rotating-category card piques your interest but you want a better-defined rewards program, consider the Chase Freedom®. You earn the same bonus of $150, but only need to spend $500 within the first three months. Plus, you earn Chase Ultimate Rewards® points, which are a valuable currency. These points are worth $0.01 each towards cash back, travel, gift cards, and more, which makes knowing your redemption options ahead of time easier. 

A flat-rate cash-back card like the Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer might be worth considering as well. This card offers 1% cash back when you make a purchase, plus another 1% cash back when you pay it of -- an effective cash-back rate of 2%. This might be a good secondary card to have on hand even if you do choose the ABOC Platinum Rewards Mastercard®, because you can use it to get a higher rewards rate on non-bonus-category purchases, which earn a measly one point per dollar spent.

As of Mar. 18, 2020
Chase Freedom® Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer
Rating image, 4.5 out of 5 stars.
4.5 stars
ToolTip Icon for Star Rating. We want your money to work harder for you. Which is why our ratings are biased toward offers that deliver versatility while cutting out-of-pocket costs.
Our ratings are based on a 5 star scale. 5 stars equals Best. 4 stars equals Excellent. 3 stars equals Good. 2 stars equals Fair. 1 star equals Poor.
Rating image, 4.5 out of 5 stars.
4.5 stars
ToolTip Icon for Star Rating. We want your money to work harder for you. Which is why our ratings are biased toward offers that deliver versatility while cutting out-of-pocket costs.
Our ratings are based on a 5 star scale. 5 stars equals Best. 4 stars equals Excellent. 3 stars equals Good. 2 stars equals Fair. 1 star equals Poor.
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Credit Rating Requirement: Good/Excellent Clickable tooltip icon for credit rating info.

Credit Rating Requirement: Good/Excellent Clickable tooltip icon for credit rating info.

Bonus: $150 after spending $500 within three months Bonus: N/A
Rewards Program: 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate, 1% on all else Rewards Program: 2% cash back: 1% when you buy plus 1% as you pay
Intro APR: Purchases: 0%, 15 months Balance Transfers: 0%, 15 months Intro APR: Purchases: N/A Balance Transfers: 0%, 18 months
Regular APR: 16.49% - 25.24% Variable Regular APR: 13.99% – 23.99% (Variable)
Annual Fee: $0 Annual Fee: $0

Highlights:

  • Earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening
  • Earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate. Enjoy new 5% categories each quarter!
  • Unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases - it's automatic
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 16.49 - 25.24%.
  • 3% intro balance transfer fee when you transfer a balance during the first 60 days your account is open, with a minimum of $5.
  • No annual fee
  • Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open and there is no minimum to redeem for cash back.
  • Free credit score, updated weekly with Credit Journey℠

Highlights:

  • Earn cash back twice. Earn 2% on every purchase with unlimited 1% cash back when you buy, plus an additional 1% as you pay for those purchases.
  • To earn cash back, pay at least the minimum due on time.
  • Balance Transfer Offer: 0% intro APR on Balance Transfers for 18 months. After that, the variable APR will be 13.99% – 23.99%, based on your creditworthiness.
  • Balance Transfers do not earn cash back.
  • If you transfer a balance, interest will be charged on your purchases unless you pay your entire balance (including balance transfers) by the due date each month.
  • There is a balance transfer fee of either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
  • The standard variable APR for Citi Flex Plan is 13.99% – 23.99% based on your creditworthiness. Citi Flex Plan offers are made available at Citi's discretion.

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This credit card is right for you if:

The ABOC Platinum Rewards Mastercard® is one of the more underrated rewards cards, and that's why we think it deserves your consideration. That said, there are some people it might serve better than others. That might be you if:

  1. You have a fair credit score and want access to perks generally only available for cards requiring excellent credit. There aren't many options for rewards cards or ones with long 0% intro APR offers if your credit isn't good or excellent. If you're still working on it, this is one of the few rewards cards you may qualify for. 
  2. You want the higher rewards of rotating-category cards, but you don't want to remember to activate them. Most rotating-category cards require you to activate them each quarter before you start earning the higher bonus rewards. That's unfortunate if you ramp up your spending only to forget this key detail. You won't have to do that with this card -- you'll earn the bonus rewards automatically. 
  3. You want to travel more and use credit cards to get there. You'll get the most value with this card if you redeem your points for travel. Points are worth around $0.013 each, in this case. Even with some of the biggest no-annual-fee travel rewards cards, your points are only worth $0.01 each, so your points will stretch further with this card.

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