Amalgamated Bank of Chicago credit card customers, welcome to the rotating-bonus-category community.
The issuer has revamped the rewards program for its consumer Mastercard products including the Amalgamated Bank of Chicago Union Strong Mastercard® Credit Card and ABOC Platinum Rewards Card, transforming a basic earnings rate of 1 point per dollar spent into a potentially much more lucrative system.
As of Q1 2019, cardholders can earn 5 points per dollar on up to $1,500 in combined spending on categories that change each quarter, much like with the Chase Freedom® and select Discover cards.
For 2019, these categories are:
- Jan. 1 through March 31: Grocery, pharmacy and restaurant purchases.
- April 1 through June 30: Home improvement, home supply, warehouse and wholesale club purchases.
- July 1 through Sept. 30: Airline, cruise, car rental, hotel and travel agency purchases.
- Oct. 1 through Dec. 31: Auto parts, service and repair purchases.
Once you hit the $1,500 spending cap in these categories, you’ll revert to earning 1 point per dollar spent in those categories for the quarter. All non-bonus-category purchases earn 1 point per dollar spent.
For the first half of the year, anyone whose card is registered on ABOCRewards.com will automatically be eligible to earn the 5X bonus. However, starting on July 1, cardholders must activate the bonus each quarter.
Rewards can be redeemed for statement credits, gift cards, merchandise and travel.
New cardholders are also eligible for a sign-up bonus, regardless of the ABOC card they choose: Earn $150 statement credit after you spend $1,200 on purchases within the first 90 days from account opening.
Both cards previously offered occasional opportunities to earn bonus points on certain spending categories, but those promotions were more limited.
Rotating-bonus-category cards require more maintenance than flat-rate rewards cards. You’ll have to keep track of categories, and (as of July 1 in this case) you’ll also have to remember to activate them each quarter to be eligible for the 5X bonus. And unlike with the Chase Freedom®, bonus rewards won’t be retroactive, so you’ll want to activate those categories as early as you can.
But you can also rack up rewards much more quickly in a rewards system like this, especially when your spending habits dovetail with the card’s bonus categories that quarter.