credit & debt

How to Get Even Sweeter Rewards From Your Rewards Credit Card

Boost your rewards by opening a bank account.

If you have a checking or savings account with the bank that issues your rewards credit card, you may get a boost on cash back, points or miles. The new PenFed Power Cash Rewards Visa Signature card (9.24% to 17.99% annual percentage rate) pays an unlimited 2% cash back on all spending if you have an Access America checking account with Pentagon Federal Credit Union or if you have served in the military. Otherwise, you’ll earn 1.5% cash back on purchases. Anyone can join PenFed by paying a one-time, $17 membership fee to Voices for America’s Troops or the National Military Family Association.

Members of Bank of America’s Preferred Rewards program get a bonus on rewards with the Bank­Americard Travel Rewards card (0% for 12 months, then 15.74% to 23.74%). It offers a standard 1.5 points per dollar on all spending. But if you have a Preferred Rewards balance of $100,000 or more, you’ll get a 75% boost, earning an effective 2.6% back on spending to use toward travel purchases.

If you redeem cash back from a SunTrust credit card and deposit it into a SunTrust account, you’ll get a minimum 10% bonus on rewards. Customers who have a Signature Advantage checking account and keep less than $100,000 combined in bank and investment accounts get a 25% bonus; those with balances of $100,000 or more get a 50% boost. (Private Wealth Management clients get a 75% bonus.) One attractive option: The SunTrust Travel Rewards card (0% for 15 months, then 11.99% to 21.99%; $89 annual fee, waived for Premier, Signature Advantage and Private Wealth clients) offers 5% cash back on up to $6,000 spent on travel purchases the first year of card membership (3% thereafter) and 1% back on everything else.

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