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Best CU CCs?

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CL-Addiq
Valued Member

Best CU CCs?

I just discovered the world of credit union credit cards and figured I'd join MF to get some advice on how to get started. What cards should I be applying for to maximize my rewards before they go away? I have excellent credit. I'm only interested in cards I can actually get, not cards that are discontinued (AOD) or geofenced (VantageWest, PCM).

Since I'm too late to get AOD, I might settle for Alliant as a general no FTF card for when I travel. I'm intrigued by Affinity and Nusenda. Perhaps Langley, but I can't tell if that's rotating or just limited choices.

 

My preference is to PIF via autopay from my primary checking account. It seems like that's not always available. I prefer to use my rewards for either transferable points or discounted gift cards but simple statement credits are acceptable.

 

I hope that's not too vague. Thank you for your consideration.

Goals: Wishes:
Message 1 of 26
25 REPLIES 25
creditfan
Established Contributor

Re: Best CU CCs?

your best bet for everyday card https://www.alliantcreditunion.org/bank/visa-signature-card

2.5% CB up to 10k monthly spending, not to mention their checking  is one of the best features

Lastly, anyone can join

Message 2 of 26
cashorcharge
Community Leader
Senior Contributor

Re: Best CU CCs?

In checking out Affinity, you'll find their bonus categories rotate on top of the 2% offered.  However, this is now the 2nd quarter in a row they've offered another 5% on gas, giving you a total of 7%.  Yes, rotations can be challenging though compared to some others.

Message 3 of 26
JNA1
Valued Contributor

Re: Best CU CCs?

Affinity's Signature VISA is fantastic and since the AOD card is now closed for new apps, the Alliant Signature VISA is the about the best general spend out there. 

Our credit card journey started 3/2018

Hover over cards to see limits and usage. Total CL - $502,550. Cash Back and SUBs earned as of 8/31/22- $12,541.05
CU Memberships

Goal Cards:

Message 4 of 26
MechEngineer
Established Member

Re: Best CU CCs?

I have both Affinity Cash Rewards and Nusenda Cash Rewards, both of which are great cards. Affinity has been seeing most of my spend recently with the Gas category, and their 5% categories stack on top of existing earn rates, which can be a really great return. Affinity is not geo-fenced, and in my opinion has better categories and better flexibility of spend within those categories (Costco sometimes internally codes as grocery, which can net 7% during quarters with grocery spend). Nusenda is a very good card as well, but it's categories haven't been as lucrative recently. Both of these cards offer cash back redemption for earning, not transferrable points. Langley is a rotator, except it rotates monthly instead of quarterly. I've also been looking at the Abound Visa Platinum for a permanent 5% on gas and rotating categories.

 

Generally speaking, I think that the vast majority of CU cards operate on cash back, save for a few of the big ones such as NFCU and PenFed, which can redeem points for travel and gift cards.



Sock Drawer:


Message 5 of 26
MechEngineer
Established Member

Re: Best CU CCs?


@cashorcharge wrote:

In checking out Affinity, you'll find their bonus categories rotate on top of the 2% offered.  However, this is now the 2nd quarter in a row they've offered another 5% on gas, giving you a total of 7%.  Yes, rotations can be challenging though compared to some others.


If I'm remembering correctly, this is actually the third quarter that Affinity has offered an additional 5% on gas! I don't expect it to last for much longer, I can't imagine that it's very profitable for Affinity, but I'm taking advantage of it while I can!



Sock Drawer:


Message 6 of 26
CL-Addiq
Valued Member

Re: Best CU CCs?

Abound isn't bad. Thanks for the tip!

 

Alliant requires maintaining a checking account to get the full 2.5%. Do Affinity, Nusenda or Abound require any further relationship or can I just get the CC?

 

Goals: Wishes:
Message 7 of 26
coldfusion
Community Leader
Mega Contributor

Re: Best CU CCs?

You need to be a member of the credit union as a condition of receiving the card, and membership generally comes with it the requirement of some kind of share savings account.  That account would have a mininum balance requirement that varies for different credit unions but is usually somewhere between $5 and $50 deposited.

 

Most credit unions can process the application for membership and the application for a credit card at the same time.

(11/2022)
FICO 8 (EX) 836 (TU) 837 (EQ) 839
FICO 9 (EX) 850 (TU) 850 (EQ) 850

$1M+ club

Artist formerly known as the_old_curmudgeon who was formerly known as coldfusion
Message 8 of 26
SouthJamaica
Mega Contributor

Re: Best CU CCs?


@CL-Addiq wrote:

I just discovered the world of credit union credit cards and figured I'd join MF to get some advice on how to get started. What cards should I be applying for to maximize my rewards before they go away? I have excellent credit. I'm only interested in cards I can actually get, not cards that are discontinued (AOD) or geofenced (VantageWest, PCM).

Since I'm too late to get AOD, I might settle for Alliant as a general no FTF card for when I travel. I'm intrigued by Affinity and Nusenda. Perhaps Langley, but I can't tell if that's rotating or just limited choices.

 

My preference is to PIF via autopay from my primary checking account. It seems like that's not always available. I prefer to use my rewards for either transferable points or discounted gift cards but simple statement credits are acceptable.

 

I hope that's not too vague. Thank you for your consideration.


I'm not an expert in maximizing rewards but I like the PenFed Power Cash Rewards Visa.  You get 2% cash back on everything (so long as you make direct deposits totalling $500 or maintain a minimum balance of $500, each month).


Total revolving limits 721200 (619200 reporting) FICO 8: EQ 725 TU 723 EX 700

Message 9 of 26
CreditCobra
Regular Contributor

Re: Best CU CCs?

Alliant seems like a great so far, but it takes a while to get to where you can get the 2.5% on their card. You need to park $1,000 in a checking account there and have you average balance over $1,000 for each month of a quarter prior to getting the 2.5%. So, say you get your Alliant card in April (like I did), and you don't have your $1,000 in that account until June, you'd be waiting until October to get that full 2.5%. Still, I consider this a good card.

 

Affinity has been my most used card this year. The extra 5% on gas has been awesome. Also, the additional 5% on Grocery (and Costco coded as grocery), and now this quarter, gas again, and Warehouse Clubs (so Costco again). This has been hard to beat, I hope they keep it up for years to come.

 

Langley seems like a great card, but the rotators roll over every month, and there's no advance calendar of what they're going to be ahead of time. Also, they're more limited than Affinity.

 

Abound, seemed like a great card at the start of the year. They publish their calendar in advance and they have a year round 5% on gas. That seemed awesome in February when I picked it up. But Affinity has edged them out of most of my gas purchases so far for the year, but this is now getting some action on Streaming, Cable, Internet, and Mobile Phone bills. This is one of my lowest limit cards. So there's that to consider.

 

I have a multi-year plan that involves a lot of rotators, and siloed cards, plus my Citi Custom Cash that will likely go back and forth between grocery and dining.

Current Cards:

Prospective Cards:

Stats (updated: 11/28/2022):


Message 10 of 26
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