Guide to Credit Card Offers from Smaller Banks and Credit Unions

Introduction

If you are involved with this hobby for long enough, you will start to run out of credit card products from the big issuers that you can apply for. This is the time when you should start branching out and finding other issuers. Below is a compilation of credit cards issued by smaller banks and credit unions. If there are any products we missed or that you would like to see included, please let us know in the comments!

Alliant Credit Union

Alliant Credit Union is based out of Chicago. They started as the United Airlines Employees Credit Union in the mid 1900’s and now represent one of the largest membership bases for any credit union in the United States. They are in the process of closing most if not all of their branches to pivot almost exclusively to online banking. There are a variety of ways to qualify for membership with Alliant.

See this DoC post from 2017 for additional specifics on Alliant.

  • Visa Signature – 2.5% cashback on all purchases up to $250 back ($10,000 spend) each statement cycle. Annual fee of $99 is waved the first year. No additional signup bonus. This card used to earn an unlimited 3% cashback in the first year, but that was changed in January 2020. No foreign transaction fees and comes with the standard Visa Signature perks.
  • Visa Platinum Rewards  – earn 5,000 points after $500 spend in 90 days. Earns 2 points per dollar spent and points are worth 1 cent each, making this effectively a 2% cashback card with a 10% return on spend for the signup bonus (12% total for the first $500 spent). There have been targeted signup bonuses of 35,000 points/$350 and 40,000 points/$400 sent out for both Platinum products. Note that if you are targeted for one of these offers, you can earn the bonus then upgrade to the 2.5% card.
  • Visa Platinum – 0% APR for 12 months on purchases and balance transfers (2% transfer fee). No annual fee and no rewards earning structure. This card is not worth considering without a targeted signup bonus offer.

Affinity Credit Union

Affinity Credit Union is based out of the greater New York City metro area and offers a wide variety of personal and business banking products, including miles/points, cashback, and rewards credit cards. There are a variety of ways to qualify for membership with Affinity. In our opinion. Affinity offers one of our most recommended products on this page in the:

  • Cashback Rewards Visa Signature – uncapped 5% cashback at all book stores (including Amazon), uncapped 2% cashback at restaurants, gas stations, and supermarkets, and 1% cashback on all other purchases. This is a great alternative to the Chase or Amex Amazon products for people that spend a lot at Amazon (including gift cards).

Banco Popular de Puerto Rico

Banco Popular is a financial services conglomerate owned by Popular, Inc. that has operated in Puerto Rico and the United States for 120 years and 50 years, respectively. The Popular Bank credit card offerings from the mainland-US arm include a number of 0% APR products. Banco Popular de Puerto Rico manages the Avianca Lifemiles credit card portfolio, including:

  • Avianca Vuela – recent high offer was 60,000 miles after first purchase. The annual fee of $149 is not waived the first year. Standard offer is 40,000 miles after first purchase, so we highly recommend waiting for the highest offer to return before signing up for this card.
  • Avianca Vida – recent high offer was 40,000 miles after first purchase. The annual fee of $99 is not waived the first year. Standard off is 20,000 miles after first purchase, so we highly recommend waiting for the highest offer to return before signing up for this card.

Click here for our guide on Avianca Lifemiles.

BB&T

BB&T is a for-profit bank based out of Charlotte, North Carolina that recently merged with Suntrust to create the Truist brand. At the time of this writing, BB&T was still operating independently. BB&T offers a variety of credit products. Of particular interest include the:

  • Spectrum Travel Rewards – earn 20,000 miles ($200 value) when you spend $2,000 in 90 days. Annual fee of $89 waived the first year. Comes with TSA precheck or Global Entry reimbursement and $50 airline incidental reimbursement. This represents good value for a card with no annual fee the first year.
  • Spectrum Cash Rewards – 0% APR on purchases and balance transfers for 12 months while earning 3% cashback on gas, 2% back on utilities and groceries, and 1% on other purchases. You earn a 10% reward on cashback earned (i.e. 3.3% on gas) if you deposit the cashback into a BB&T checking account. No annual fee.
  • Bright Card – 0% APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months. No annual fee.

BBVA

Formerly BBVA Compass, BBVA USA is based in Birmingham, Alabama and offers both personal and business  credit cards. Note these public offers sometimes fluctuate and/or become targeted. You must be a resident of select states to apply for a BBVA account.

  • Rewards Card– signup bonus of $100 after $1500 spend. No annual fee and earns 2% cashback if you have a direct deposit into a BBVA checking account.
  • ClearPoints Card – signup bonus of $100 after $1500 spend. No annual fee, earns 3x points in one category of your choice, earns two in additional categories.
  • Select Card – I can’t find any details on the signup bonus history on this card. It comes with a $125 annual fee and with very limited benefits.
  • Business Rewards – 0% APR on purchases and balance transfers for 9 months. No annual fee.

BMO Harris

BMO Harris is based in Montreal, Canada and offers a number of cashback and miles/points earning credit cards. Note that BMO “points’ are worth 1 cent per point.

  • Platinum Rewards Mastercard – earn 25,000 points after spending $3,000 in 90 days. No annual fee. Earn 2x on the first $2,500 spent per quarter on gas and groceries. 0% APR on balance transfers for 12 months. 10% bonus on points each year on card member anniversary.
  • Premium Rewards Business Mastercard – earn 35,000 points after spending $5,000 in 90 days. $79 annual fee waived the first year. Earn 3x on dining, hotel, and airfare on first $2,500 spent per quarter. 15% bonus on points each year on card member anniversary.
  • Cashback Mastercard – earn a $200 credit after spending $2,000 in 90 days. No annual fee. Earn 2% on the first $2,500 spent per quarter on gas and groceries. 0% APR on balance transfers for 12 months.

City National Bank (CNB)

CNB is owned by the Royal Bank of Canada and has branches located in eleven regions throughout the United States. They used to offer one of the best kept secrets in the credit card hobby in the CNB Visa Infinite (former 100k signup bonus, travel credits on all authorized user cards, etc), but that card been slowly nuked over the past couple of years. CNB generally (always?) require in-branch approval or the contact information of a friendly banker. For that reason, I can’t currently recommend any of their card products. CNB accounts earn bonus points at international locations.If I am overlooking some additional benefit to the CNB offerings, please leave a comment:

  • Visa Platinum – 1x point on all purchases, no annual fee (points are worth 1 cpp in the CNB travel portal). No foreign transaction fees.
  • Visa Signature – 3x points on gas stations, 2x on restaurants, grocery stores, 1x on all additional purchases. No annual fee, No foreign transaction fees.
  • Visa Infinite – 3x points on airline, hotel, transportation (including Uber and Lyft), and restaurants,  1x on all other purchases. $400 annual fee. $350 airline incidental credit per calendar year, $550 reimbursed towards lounge entrances with $50k spent per year, $100 Global Entry credit, Priority Pass membership w/ entrance for you and a guest, 12 GoGo Wifi passes, and primary car rental insurance.

Elan Financial Services

Elan Financial Services offers the Fidelity Rewards Visa Signature, which earns a straight 2% cashback on all purchases if you deposit rewards into a Fidelity deposit or brokerage account. No annual fee. Signup bonus offers range from nothing to targeted $200+ offers with a variety of spend requirements.

First National Bank of Omaha (FNBO)

FNBO is based out of Omaha, Nebraska and offers a number of travel-related credit cards. We highlight those here. For additional products, Doctor of Credit has put together a phenomenal resource on FNBO. We highly recommend reading that if you apply for one of their cards.

  • Complete Rewards – $50 signup bonus; earns 1% back on purchases, or redeem towards an FNBO-held mortgage, NEST 529, checking, or savings account for 2% back on purchases.
  • M Life Rewards – $100 signup bonus after $1,000 spend in 90 days; 3x at MGM properties, 2x on groceries and gas, 1x on all other purchases. Free parking, priority check-in, and automatic Pearl M-Life status.
  • Best Western Rewards Premium MasterCard – 70,000 point signup bonus broken down as 50,000 points after $1k spend in 3 months, and 20,000 points after $5k spend in each 12-billing cycle period. $59 annual fee, earns 10x points per $1 spent at Best Western.
  • Best Western Rewards Card –  32,000 point signup bonus broken down as 16,000 points after your first purchase and 16,000 points after your first stay at Best Western (paid for with the card). Earns 3x points per $1 spent at Best Western. No annual fee,
  • ANA USA Credit Card – 5,000 miles after first purchase, earns 1 mile per dollar spent. $70 annual fee.

HSBC

The Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation (HSBC) is based in Asia, but HSBC USA is headquartered in New York. Most people involved in this hobby know of HSBC because of their lucrative checking account promotions, but they offer a number credit cards with first-year value.

  • Premier World Elite Mastercard – 50,000 point signup bonus (worth $750 in airfare) after spending $4,000 in 90 days; 3x on travel, 2x on dining, 1x on all other purchases. Annual $100 airline incidental credit, $100 annual Uber or Lyft credit, one Global Entry or TSA Pre Check reimbursement every 54 months, Priority Pass membership, no foreign transaction fees. Also comes with trip cancellation and lost baggage insurance. Note this account requires a HSBC Premier Checking Account. 
  • Premier World Mastercard – 35,000 point signup bonus (worth $400 in airfare) after spending $3,000 in 90 days; 2x on travel, 1x on all other purchases. $50 annual Uber or Lyft credit, one, TSA Pre Check reimbursement every 54 months, no foreign transaction fees. Also comes with trip cancellation and lost baggage insurance. Note this account requires a HSBC Premier Checking Account. 
  • Cash Rewards Mastercard – earn 3% cashback on all purchases up to $10,000 in total spend in the first 12 months. 0% introductory APR for 12 months on purchases and balance transfers.

PNC

PNC Financial Services is based out of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Historically their products have not been that hard to acquire and churn. Click these links for a full list of PNC personal and business cards.

  • Premier Traveler Visa Signature – 30,000 points ($300 in travel rewards) after $3,000 spend in 90 days; earns 2x on all purchases. $85 annual fee is waived the first year.
  • Cash Rewards Visa – no signup bonus; earn 4% back on gas, 3% on dining, 2% on groceries, and 1% on all other purchases UP TO A TOTAL SPEND OF $8,000 in combined purchases per year. This very low cap makes this product less desireable.
  • Cash Rewards Business Visa Signature – $200 signup bonus after $3,000 in spend in 90 days; 0% APR for 9 months on purchases.

Suntrust

Suntrust Bank recently merged with BB&T to create Truist Bank, but as of now each bank is still offering their own credit card products.

  • Travel Rewards – $250 statement credit after spending $3,000 in 90 days; 0% APR on balance transfers for 15 months; earns 3% cashback on travel, 2% back on dining, and 1% on all other purchases. Receive a 50% loyalty bonus for depositing rewards into a Suntrust deposit account. Annual fee of $89 waived the first year.
  • Cash Rewards – earn 5% cashback on up to $6,000 in grocery and gas purchases in the first 12 months; 0% APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months after account opening. Earn 2% back on gas and grocery, 1% back on all additional purchases.

Synchrony

Synchrony Bank is the largest issuer of retail store-branded credit cards (over 100 products) in the United States. Doctor of Credit has put together a fantastic summary of all Synchrony products. For example, Synchrony offers the Sam’s Club, Amazon, and eBates credit cards. I highly recommend checking out the DoC post if you are interested in store-specific cards.

TD Bank USA

TD Bank USA is the American arm of the Toronto Dominion Bank based in Canada. There are three primary cards that might be of interest:

  • TD Cash – $150 signup bonus after spending $500 in 90 days; Earns 3% back on dining, 2% back in grocery stores, and 1% on all other purchases. 0% APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers. No annual fee or foreign transaction fees.
  • TD First Class – 25,000 miles ($250 in travel) after spending $3000 in 6 months; Earn 3x on travel and dining, 1x on all other purchases. $89 annual fee waived the first year. No foreign transaction fees.
  • TD Business Solutions – $300 signup bonus after spending $3000 in 90 days; Earns 3% back on phone, internet, and cable, 2% back on dining and gas, 1% back on all other purchases. 0% APR for 6 months on purchases. No annual fee.

UBS

UBS Group is a Swiss based investment company headquartered in Zurich. We do not know much about their approval process, but UBS appears to have one primary high-end luxury travel card of interest:

  • Visa Infinite – 25,000 points after spending $3,000 in 90 days. Points are redeemable for 1 cent per point in statement credit. There is also an option to redeem 25,000 points for $350 in travel, or 50,000 points for $900 in travel. Comes with a $250 annual airline fee credit, 12 GoGo WiFi passes, Global Entry or TSA precheck reimbursement, Priority Pass unlimited membership, trip delay, lost baggage, and travel accident insurance. No foreign transaction fees. Annual fee of $495 not waived the first year.

Union Bank

Union Bank is based on the west coast of the United States and offers a few products that may be of interest to readers:

  • Cash Rewards Visa – $100 signup bonus after $1,000 in spend in 90 days; 0% APR for 12 months on purchases; no annual fee
  • Travel Rewards Visa – 20,000 points after $1,500 in spend in 90 days; Earn 3x on up to $6,000 in travel purchases annually; 0% APR on purchases for 12 months; $49 annual fee waived the first year. No foreign transaction fees.

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