Alliant Credit Union Visa Signature Card Review: 2.5% Cash Back (Up to $10k/Month)

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Updated with new spending caps. Alliant Credit Union, the 5th largest US credit union by assets, has updated the terms of their Alliant Visa Signature Credit Card. This cash back rewards card has a headline feature of 2.5% cash back. However, they have now added a spending cap of $10,000 per monthly billing cycle (i.e. you can get $250 cash back max per month). The $99 annual fee is waived during the first year (note that the 3% cash back promo during the first year is also gone). Here are all of the highlights:

  • 2.5% flat cash back with no categories to track.
  • Maximum cash back is $250 ($10,000 in qualifying purchases) per billing cycle.
  • $99 annual fee, waived the first year.
  • No foreign transaction fees.
  • 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.

The $10,000 spending cap per month will also apply to existing cardholders.

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 0.5% boost to your cash back in the first year. If you charge $1,000 a month, 1% more is $60 more cash back over a year. If you charge $4,000 a month, 0.5% more is $240 more cash back over a year.

After the first year, with this card you’ll get 0.5% more cash back but also pay the $99 annual fee. That makes the breakeven point $19,800 per year in annual spending (roughly $1,650 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.

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

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 $99 annual fee. As a first year promotion, the annual fee is waived. The annual fee makes it best for people that make a high amount of purchases on their credit cards, at least $20,000 a year just to break even with a 2% cash back card. Alliant Credit Union membership is open to anyone willing to donate $10 to Foster Care to Success.

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  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. 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.

  6. DollarBill says

    If you want to avoid the $59 annual fee after one year, be sure to close the account BEFORE the annual fee posts to your account. Unlike many other credit card issuers, Alliant will not waive the annual fee if you cancel the card upon receiving the statement on which the annual fee is billed.

  7. Financial wizard says


    YOU MUSTVPROVIDE YAX RETURNS FOR A CREDIT CARD. They don’t tell you this anywhere until after they run your credit. It doesn’t matter how strong your credit is.

  8. I’m lucky I have a Usaa credit card that gives me 2.5% cash back with no limits or annual fee, although I do have to have 1k in direct deposits each month to get the higher level of cash back.

    Thanks grandpa for letting me use Usaa 🙂

  9. Jonathan, I would list the Bank of America Premium Rewards card as a competitor to this. If you’re in the highest tier of the Preferred Rewards program, the Premium Rewards card has an annual fee of $4 less, and gives you an additional 0.125% on non-bonused spend compared to this Alliant card (in addition to bonus rates on travel and dining and the travel statement credits). Unlike Alliant, BofA does not waive the annual fee for the first year – but that can be more than offset by the signup bonus.

    • The BofA card also includes an annual travel incidental credit which more than offsets the annual fee if you use it. Also, if you happen to charge travel and dining on that card for simplicity, you’ll get an extra 1% back over the Alliant card (though there are other cards that can beat that…if you’re willing to play that game).

  10. Synchrony has a 2% back Mastercard I just got. They give you the 2% back immediately in the form of a statement credit rather than having to request and wait. No fee. Only PTIA is the inability to automatically download to Quicken. But my Citibank 2% suddenly stopped doing that too and everyone at Quicken is perplexed. Horrible POS that Quicken, I would love to see a piece on any alternatives Johnathan. MS Money was the best and only IMO and a resent not keeping it going at all costs after 2011.

    • Quicken stinks but somehow there isn’t anything else out there that can track everything as well as Quicken. I find myself having to reset the online services constantly. Sometimes by deactivating individual accounts and reactivating them within Quicken, the link magically works again.

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