Alliant Credit Union Visa Signature Card Review: 2.5% Cash Back + 1st Year Promo

alliantccAlliant Credit Union, the 5th largest US credit union by assets, has launched their new Alliant Visa Signature Credit Card. This cash back rewards card is targeted towards high spenders, with a headline feature of 2.5% cash back with a $59 annual fee. As a first year promotion, they offer 3% cash back and the annual fee is waived. Here are all of the highlights:

  • 3% cash back in year one & 2.5% cash back after.
  • No limit to the cash back awards you can earn.
  • $59 annual fee, waived the first year.
  • No foreign transaction fees.
  • Works with Android Pay, Apple Pay and Samsung Pay.
  • You must be an Alliant Credit Union member to apply for this card.

Cardholders can choose to receive cash back rewards via a credit card statement credit (appearing within one billing cycle) or as a deposit into your Alliant checking or savings.

If you have an existing Alliant credit card, you can ask for it to be converted to this card. If the conversion is accepted, you will also receive the first year promotion of 3% cash back and no annual fee.

Comparison numbers against a 2% cashback card with no annual fee and no sign-up bonus. Instead of a flat sign-up bonus, with this card you are basically getting a 1% boost to your cash back in the first year. If you charge $1,000 a month, 1% more is $120 more cash back over a year. If you charge $4,000 a month, 1% more is $480 more cash back over a year.

After the first year, with this card you’ll get 0.5% more cash back and also pay the $59 annual fee. That makes the breakeven point $11,800 per year in annual spending (roughly $1,000 per month). If you spend more than that, the extra cashback will offset the annual fee. If you spend less, you will have more rewards with the 2% card.

Comparison numbers against a 1.5% cashback card with no annual fee and no sign-up bonus. Instead of a flat sign-up bonus, with this card you are basically getting a 1.5% boost to your cash back in the first year. If you charge $1,000 a month, 1% more is $180 more cash back over a year. If you charge $4,000 a month, 1% more is $720 more cash back over a year.

After the first year, with this card you’ll get 1% more cash back and also pay the $59 annual fee. That makes the breakeven point $5,900 per year in annual spending ($492 per month). If you spend more than that, the extra cashback will offset the annual fee. If you spend less, you will have more rewards with the 1.5% card.

Competition. The following cards currently offer a competitive level of cash back rewards. Please read my card-specific reviews for details.

Notably, the USAA card offers 2.5% cash back with no annual fee but also adds a direct deposit requirement. Perhaps more importantly, USAA membership is limited to members of the U.S. military and their immediate families.

Alliant CU membership eligibility. If you start the online membership application, it does a good job of walking you through their various eligibility options. The good news is anyone that is willing to donate $10 to Foster Care to Success is able to join. Here are their membership groups:

  • Any employee or retiree of a Qualifying Company.
  • Any member of a Qualifying Organization.
  • Any immediate family member of an existing Alliant member.
  • Anyone who lives or works in a Qualifying Chicagoland Community.
  • Anyone who is willing to make a one-time $10 donation to the Foster Care to Success charity group.

Bottom line. The Alliant Visa Signature Credit Card offers 2.5% flat cash back on all purchases with a $59 annual fee. As a first year promotion, they offer 3% cash back and the annual fee is waived. The annual fee makes it best for people that make a high amount of purchases on their credit cards, with the breakeven being $1,000 a month when compared against a 2% cash back card. Alliant Credit Union membership is open to anyone willing to donate $10 to Foster Care to Success.

Comments

  1. Rudi Pittman says:

    I looked at this card long and hard and came close to biting. This would be the first card I would own that had a yearly fee. After more analysis comparing it to my 2% citi doublecash with no fee I determined the difference would be so small it wasn’t worth all the hassle involved (on an estimated $20000 in purchases for the year it was a whopping $40 extra after subtracting the fee. That’s not counting the fee to join the association that makes you eligible for the credit union although that’s a one time fee. I also looked at their checking and savings to see if any were of interest..nothing else stood out. Wish I had access to USAA for MANY of their products. If I find a 2.5% no fee I’ll sign up so fast your head will spin. I’d love to find a reward checking with the higher interest rate that doesn’t require 10-20 debit transactions a month since I do all my purchases via credit card. Anyway thanks for the heads up.

  2. You can also join if you are a member of local PTA. Many people already belong to local PTA.

  3. Alliant CU also offers a free HSA for qualifying members. Not sure what the investment options are like, but if you’re looking for a place to park and spend HSA funds, it’s a good option.

  4. Mike,
    The HSA Savings is free, but if you want to invest the money, I believe the fee is $5.95 per month.

  5. HouseofG says:

    I’m an existing Alliant customer (and love them) and didn’t even know about this yet. Thanks for the heads up!

    The rep I spoke to said this was initially only going to be offered to existing members (though I’m not sure how that would work long term) but “then Nerdwallet got wind of it somehow”.

    Anyway, so glad I can finally get rid of my Fidelity Visa which was somehow getting compromised about every 6 months unlike any other card I use. This bank has outstanding customer service. They will get swamped with customers after issuing this card, so I hope that doesn’t affect their current feel.

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