sunny_socal wrote: ↑Wed Aug 03, 2022 6:27 am
Alliant doesn't have a 'record of downgrading.'
How long have you had your Alliant card?
When I got my card, it came with a promotional 3% cash back rate for the first year followed by 2.5% cash back the second year and beyond on all purchases limited only by the credit limit of the card. An annual fee of $49 was waived the first year but was raised to $99 before my first year ended so that’s the fee I paid during my first 2.5% year. I applied and was approved for the card at a local branch. The card was simplicity in itself and I used it exclusively for about 3 years until terms progressively changed beyond my liking. After accounting for the annual fee, my 2nd and 3rd year effective cash back rate worked out to be around 2.3 to 2.4%. Spending more than $10k/mo. happens maybe a couple times a year with the average well below that so a $10k cap would come into play from time to time.
The card now offers a flat 2.5% on the first $10k/mo. if certain terms are met, including opening a checking account that requires maintaining a minimum balance, direct deposit, and e-statements for a 3 month period prior to qualifying for the 2.5% cash back. Cash back above the $10k cap is earned at 1.5%. No annual fee is assessed but certain purchases (mainly manufactured spend related) are now disqualified and a promotional rate is no longer offered. Until then, cash back is earned at a 1.5% rate which means that one would lose either 1% using the Alliant card or 0.5% if using the Fidelity card during this initial 3 month period. While still somewhat simple, the card is no longer as simple as it once was, although it does effectively equal a true 2.5% rate for monthly balances of less than $10k.
Soon after I got my card, my local Alliant branch closed thus requiring on-line banking only. This was my first disappointment with Alliant as I prefer in-person banking and the convenience of walking into a branch for services when necessary. I admit that it bothered me when Alliant left the community and employees of that branch lost their jobs. Because Alliant was no longer willing to invest in the community, I began having doubts about Alliant. Even Navy Federal CU has committed to a local branch here and appears to be thriving despite being located a thousand miles from the nearest sea. Since initiation of the checking requirement change, I’ve discovered several local CUs that offer 3 to 5% cash back on selected major category spending, plus one that purports to offer 2.5% cash back for all spending. It’s a little more work but what’s not to like? I’m supporting local business while doing better than what Alliant has to offer. If I like a particular CU, I can always open a checking account later with no strings attached. And the ball point pens, lollipops, dog treats, and similar giveaways are free. Variety and competition are a good thing.
Regarding checking account minimum balances, I don’t know why that subject keeps coming up. Checking account balance minimum requirements are widespread and largely insignificant. Maybe I’m old school, but I simply don’t want another checking account at a bank that I can’t visit in person, don’t need and will not use. Over the past several years, Alliant has eliminated the promotional rate, increased the annual fee (now reversed to $0), limited cash back earnings, restricted certain purchases from earning cash back, added a checking account requirement with further qualifications, initiated a phase-in period for earning 2.5% cash back, and physically pulled entirely out of our local market. Some prefer these changes, some do not. For my purposes, I call it downgrading. After three consecutive years of changes to cc rewards terms, I have simply given up on Alliant as a reliable source for rewards planning. It’s still a good CU with a better than average rewards card provided one is willing to risk further changes in terms. I’m not trying to talk you out of the Alliant card, just providing recent experiences with mine in case anyone cares. Clearly, I’m not the kind of customer that they are trying to cultivate.
Between the idea And the reality...Between the motion And the act...Falls the Shadow - T. S. Eliot