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The Santander Bravo MasterCard: A Go-To for Gas Rewards and More

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The Bravo Mastercard is a great option for anyone who spends heavily on gas, restaurants and groceries – which is a pretty solid number of us. It gives 3 points for every $1 spent on gas, groceries and restaurants, up to 15,000 points earned per quarter, and an unlimited 1 point per $1 elsewhere. That’s up to 3% rewards on bonus spending up to $5,000 spent per quarter. It also comes with a sign-up bonus: Special Offer! 10,000 bonus points (a $100 value!) when you spend $1,000 on new net retail purchases during the first 90 days of opening your account. The card has one of the best rewards rates on dining, period – and the gas and grocery option is icing on the cake. A good choice for both socialites and suburbanites alike, this card’s got a lot to offer.

In this article:

The Bravo Mastercard basics
Where it shines
Where it falls short
What is Santander?

The Bravo Mastercard basics

The Bravo Mastercard has a strong rewards rate, which we mentioned above, but has a few more perks to its name. Its APR is 0% for 18 months on purchases and balance transfers, and then the ongoing APR of 15.99% - 22.99% Variable. Plus, as a World MasterCard, it comes with great perks including concierge service and room service at hotels.

The card’s $0 the first year, then $49.

The card pays out in points, but unlike some point programs, redemption is simple and straightforward. You can redeem 10,000 points for $100 in airfare or a $100 prepaid card, so you effectively get 3% rewards on gas, groceries and dining out and 1% rewards elsewhere. The points you earn don’t require enrollment and have no expiration dates, keeping the program hassle-free.

Where it shines

The Bravo Mastercard is one of the best dining rewards cards on the market right now, period. And with solid gas and grocery rewards year round, it’s a great option for families who spend a lot on food and fuel. Plus, as a World MasterCard, it comes with perks to make travel even easier, from help booking hotels to getting through security lines faster.

The card’s value is maximized if you have a Santander Select checking account, so you’re best off if you supplement your Bravo Mastercard with Santander Select. Even though the Santander Select checking account isn’t out yet, Santander’s extra20 account is worth a look – we even named it the best checking account of 2013.

Where it falls short

The Bravo Mastercard is a great option for dining and gas rewards, but big supermarket spenders might be better off with the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express. That card has an annual fee of $95 and earns 6% rewards at U.S. supermarkets (up to $6,000 spent annually — then 1%), as well as as 3% at U.S. gas stations and select U.S. department stores and 1% elsewhere. Assuming that you can waive the Bravo card’s annual fee, if you spend at least $236.11 per month at the supermarket – about $59 per week – the higher rewards rate on the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express makes up for the annual fee. That’s because at $236.11 per month, the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express nets you about $170 in supermarket rewards, while the Bravo Mastercard earns you $85. At $217.95 per month on groceries, you earn enough grocery rewards on the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express to recoup the annual fee.

Also, while the Bravo Mastercard doesn’t have a signup bonus, the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express does: $200 statement credit after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 3 months. Terms Apply.

It’s also worth noting that the Bravo Mastercard has a 3% foreign transaction fee. If you’re looking for a solid $0 annual fee rewards card to take abroad, the Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card will do the trick. It earns an unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases, and as a Capital One card, it has no foreign transaction fee. It comes with a signup bonus: One-time $150 cash bonus after you spend $500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening.

What is Santander?

If you haven’t heard of Santander Bank, you’re not alone. Formerly known as Sovereign Bank, Santander Bank is the U.S. division of the Spain-based Santander Group. Globally, Santander has its strongest presence in Latin America and Europe. Stateside, it primarily serves the Northeast – Santander Bank is headquartered in Boston, and it has physical branches in Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island. Still, you don’t have to live in those states to apply for the Bravo Mastercard, as long as you’re comfortable with online banking. Santander has been around for a while – more than 150 years – and it has a solid reputation around the world.