SunTrust Cash Rewards Credit Card Review

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The SunTrust Cash Rewards Credit Card’s rewards rates are nothing to write home about, but it offers the chance for accelerated rewards for SunTrust banking and investment customers. Unfortunately, the best rates are reserved for high net worth clients, making it a so-so card for most.

SunTrust Cash Rewards Credit Card

Overall Rating
3.6
SunTrust Cash Rewards Credit Card
Recommended Credit Score Our recommended ranges are based off of the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model. Credit score is one of the many factors lenders review in considering your application.
350 579
580 669
670 739
740 799
800 850
Good - Excellent
Regular APR (%) 11.24% - 21.24% variable
Annual Fee $0
Rewards Earning Rate 2% cash back on qualifying gas and grocery purchases. 1% on all other qualifying purchases.
INTRO PURCHASE APR 0% for 15 Months
Foreign transaction fee (%) 0%
Ratings Breakdown
for Interest
3.6
for Fees
3.3
for Rewards
2.5
for Credit
3.7

Who Is This Credit Card Best For?

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    Savvy Saver

The SunTrust Cash Rewards Credit Card is best suited for people who have good or excellent credit and significant banking and investment balances with SunTrust Bank. The card’s regular rewards rates don’t stack up well against top cash-back credit cards, but the loyalty bonuses it offers make the card competitive for SunTrust customers.

You can get 10% more simply by redeeming your rewards through direct deposit to an eligible SunTrust bank account, but you’ll need some fairly large balances to qualify for the 25% or 50% bonuses, which is where the card’s real value lies.

Pros
  • Lengthy intro 0% APR on purchases and balance transfers

  • Loyalty bonuses for SunTrust Bank customers

  • Accelerated cash back the first year

Cons
  • Must have a lot of assets with SunTrust to get the best rewards rates

  • No traditional bonus for new cardholders

  • Charges a balance transfer fee

Pros Explained

  • Generous intro APR on purchases and balance transfers: The card offers an introductory 0% APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months. It’s not the longest such promotion out there, but it still gives you plenty of time to pay down your balance interest-free.
  • Loyalty bonuses for SunTrust Bank customers: You’ll get 10% more cash back if you redeem your rewards as a direct deposit to any SunTrust checking, savings, or money market account. The bank offers bigger rewards for customers with substantial overall balances in their SunTrust accounts (more on that later).
  • Accelerated cash back the first year: You’ll earn a solid 5% back on up to $6,000 in qualifying gas and grocery purchases during your first 12 months with a card. If you can max that out, you’ll earn $300 in cash-back rewards. Even if it’s temporary, there aren’t many cards that can beat that rate on those categories.

Cons Explained

  • Must have a lot of assets with SunTrust to get the best rewards rates: The card’s rewards rates that are available to everyone don’t stack up well against top cash-back credit cards. It’s possible to get there, but you’d need to have upwards of $100,000 of assets with SunTrust Bank to make it happen.
  • No traditional bonus for new cardholders: The accelerated rewards on gas and grocery purchases are nice, but you’ll need to spend $6,000 in a year to max it out, and it doesn’t all come at once. A lot of cash-back credit cards offer a one-time bonus after you meet a spending requirement—typically $500 or $1,000—within the first few months.

SunTrust Cash Rewards Credit Card Bonus for New Cardholders

The SunTrust Cash Rewards Credit Card doesn’t provide a traditional welcome offer to new account holders. However, during your first year, you can earn 5% cash back on the first $6,000 spent on qualifying gas and grocery purchases.

If you can max it out, you’ll earn $300 cash back. But since you’re technically only getting 3% more than the regular rewards rate of 2%, your net gain is just $180. That’s in the neighborhood of the bonuses some of the best cash-back credit cards offer, but they don’t require you to spend $6,000 over 12 months to get it.

According to Bureau of Labor Statistics spending data, the $6,000 limit should be easy to reach since the average household spends at least $6,500 in gas and groceries per year.

Earning Points & Rewards

The card’s ongoing rewards rates are 2% cash back on qualifying gas and grocery purchases after the promotional offer ends, and 1% cash back on everything else. 

However, if you’re an existing SunTrust Bank customer, you could earn 10%, 25%, or 50% more than those base rates:

  • Get 10% more back if you redeem your cash back as a direct deposit to any SunTrust checking, savings, or money market account. 
  • Get 25% more rewards if you have a SunTrust Advantage Checking, Signature Advantage Checking, or Exclusive Checking account and have between $25,000 and $100,000 in combined banking and investment account balances with the bank. 
  • Get 50% more back if you have a SunTrust Advantage Checking, Signature Advantage Checking, or Exclusive Checking account and have more than $100,000 in combined banking and investment account balances with the bank. 

On their own, a 2% bonus rate and a 1% base rate aren’t too appealing and even with the 10% and 25% bonuses, you can still get better with other rewards credit cards. But if you can qualify for the 50% bonus, having a 1.5% base rewards rate and 3% back on gas and grocery purchases may make the card worth considering.

Redeeming Rewards

The card offers several redemption options, including direct deposit, statement credits, gift cards, travel, and merchandise. Your cash back is worth its face-value for all redemptions but gift cards, which can vary.

Cash Back

You can redeem your cash-back rewards for any amount as a deposit into a SunTrust account (includes the 10% bonus) or as a deposit into an account with a different bank. 

Statement Credit

You can use your cash back to get a statement credit to help pay down your balance. Keep in mind, though, that it won’t count toward your minimum payment.

Gift Cards, Travel, and Merchandise

These redemptions are available through SunTrust’s online rewards portal. You can choose between gift cards (more than 300 retailers available), travel, and merchandise ranging from electronics and jewelry to sports and recreation, baby and kids, and handbags and luggage.

Gift card redemptions may require more cash rewards than the actual value of the card. 

How to Get the Most Out of This Card

The best way to maximize your value with the SunTrust Cash Rewards Credit Card is to maintain all of your assets—or at least enough to meet the loyalty bonus requirements—with SunTrust Bank. It makes the most sense to get the card if you can max out the 50% bonus.

Even if you don’t yet qualify for the higher loyalty bonuses, it may make sense to open a SunTrust Bank account and deposit your cash back there just to get the 10% bonus. Also, make sure you use it for all your gas and grocery purchases to take advantage of the bonus rewards during the first year. 

Excellent Perks 

The SunTrust Cash Rewards Credit Card offers some solid benefits to cardholders, which could help make up for the lower rewards rates:

  • Baggage delay reimbursement: Get up to $100 for up to three days if your baggage is delayed by a common carrier.
  • Trip cancellation: If your trip is canceled or interrupted for a covered reason, you can qualify for up to $1,500 in reimbursements for eligible expenses.
  • Cellphone protection: If you use your card to pay your cellphone bill, you’ll be covered if your phone gets stolen or needs repairs. You’ll get up to $800 per claim and a maximum of $1,000 per year.

Other Features 

  • Insurance for stolen or damaged purchases
  • Roadside assistance hotline
  • Rental car collision insurance (secondary to your own policy)
  • Travel and emergency hotline
  • Free shipping through ShopRunner membership
  • 10% discount when you use your card to book rental homes through onefinestay.com 

Customer Experience

SunTrust Bank ranks fourth among regional credit card issuers, with a rating that’s slightly below the industry average, according to the 2020 J.D. Power Credit Card Customer Satisfaction Survey.

The bank offers complimentary FICO score access, plus some information about the factors affecting your score and some credit education to help you improve it. If you have a question, you can reach the card issuer’s customer service team 24/7. You can also manage your account through online banking or from the SunTrust mobile app.

Security Features 

For the most part, the card’s security features are standard for the industry. You’ll also get access to the complimentary Mastercard ID theft protection benefit, which provides security alerts and identity monitoring.

SunTrust Cash Rewards Credit Card’s Fees

The card’s fees are standard for most cash-back credit cards for the most part. One exception is that this card doesn’t have a foreign transaction fee, where many cash-back cards charge up to 3% on international transactions.

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CURRENT CARD
SunTrust Cash Rewards Credit Card
overall rating
3.6
Recommended Credit Score Our recommended ranges are based off of the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model. Credit score is one of the many factors lenders review in considering your application.
350 579
580 669
670 739
740 799
800 850
Good - Excellent
Regular APR (%) 11.24% - 21.24% variable
Annual Fee $0
Rewards Earning Rate 2% cash back on qualifying gas and grocery purchases. 1% on all other qualifying purchases.
Our Methodology
At The Balance, we are dedicated to giving you unbiased, comprehensive credit card reviews. To do this, we collect data on hundreds of cards and score more than 55 features that affect your finances.
  • Our Reviews Are Always Impartial: No one can influence which cards we review, the way we present them to you, or the ratings they receive. The scores and reviews come directly from the data we collect and our editorial expertise, and we focus on three areas:
  • How Much Does It Cost? With credit card debt at an all-time high, we believe you should know the cost of carrying a balance. Because of that, we give regular purchase APRs significant weight in overall scores, and cards receive low marks if they have an array of pricey fees.
  • What Are the Rewards Worth? Cards accumulate rewards in different currencies—points, miles, cash back—and their values vary widely. To simplify the problem, we built a system that fairly compares rewards and gives them a dollar value. We do this by looking at the ways you can earn and use rewards, which includes evaluating Americans’ typical spending habits and analyzing common travel patterns.
  • Does It Make Your Life Easier? Our scoring system favors cards that accept a wide range of credit profiles and offer simple solutions for things like checking your credit score or contacting customer service. Finally, we give preference to credit cards that have several tools for dealing with fraudulent charges.
  • For every review on The Balance, we hold the credit cards to these standards, and we set the bar high. While we recognize the appeal of splashy features like six-digit sign-up bonuses, our approach ensures that credit cards with the best combination of value, affordability, and accessibility receive the highest scores. See our full methodology for more details.

Article Sources

The Balance requires writers to use primary sources to support their work. These include white papers, government data, original reporting, and interviews with industry experts. We also reference original research from other reputable publishers where appropriate. You can learn more about the standards we follow in producing accurate, unbiased content in our editorial policy .
  1. SunTrust Bank. "Cash Rewards Credit Card With Cash Back." Accessed Sept. 25, 2020.

  2. Bureau of Labor Statistics. "Consumer Expenditures - 2019." Accessed Sept. 25, 2020.

  3. SunTrust. "SunTrust World Mastercard." Page 7. Accessed Sept. 25, 2020.

  4. J.D. Power. "2020 U.S. Credit Card Satisfaction Study." Accessed September 25, 2020.