Alliant Platinum Rewards Review: Solid No-Fee Option for Fair Credit

The card earns a flat 2 points back on all purchases, and while point values are relatively low, redemption options are flexible. You'll need to join the credit union first, but that's relatively easy to do.

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Our Take

4.7

NerdWallet rating 

The bottom line: It's a decent option for those with fair credit (FICO scores of 630 to 689). But points are worth less than the industry standard of a penny each, and if your credit is better than average or you don't want to join a credit union, better options exist.

Alliant Credit Union Platinum Rewards Visa Credit Card

Alliant Visa® Platinum Rewards Credit Card

Annual Fee

$0

Regular APR

13.24% - 23.24%, Variable

Intro APR

As low as 0% intro APR 12 months on purchases and balance transfers

Recommended Credit Score

Quick Facts

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Qualify with average credit

  • No annual fee

  • Intro APR period on Purchases and Balance Transfers

Cons

  • Must be a credit union member

Compare to Other Cards

Alliant Credit Union Platinum Rewards Visa Credit Card

Alliant Visa® Platinum Rewards Credit Card

NerdWallet rating 
NerdWallet rating 
NerdWallet rating 
Annual Fee

$0

Annual Fee

$0

Annual Fee

$0

Regular APR

13.24% - 23.24%, Variable

Regular APR

13.99% - 23.99% Variable APR

Regular APR

11.99% - 22.99% Variable APR

Rates & Fees

Intro APR

As low as 0% intro APR 12 months on purchases and balance transfers

Intro APR

0% intro APR on Balance Transfers for 18 months

Intro APR

0% intro APR for 14 months on purchases and balance transfers

Recommended Credit Score
Recommended Credit Score
Recommended Credit Score

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Full Review

The Alliant Visa® Platinum Rewards Credit Card isn't a bad choice for those with average credit (aka "fair credit," meaning FICO scores of 630 to 689), as it features flat-rate rewards and a $0 annual fee. But there are some caveats.

First, while the card's rewards are flexible, point values are lower than the industry standard of a penny each. Secondly, you need to be a member of Alliant Credit Union to get the card. You don't have to meet any special criteria to do so — it's possible to join by opting to support Alliant's partner charity — but it's still an additional hoop to jump through.

If what you actually have is good credit or higher (FICO scores of 690 or above), you have better options.

Nerd tip: Alliant Credit Union also offers the Alliant Cashback Visa® Signature Credit Card, for an annual fee of $0 intro for the first year, then $99. It earns 2.5% cash back on up to $10,000 in purchases each billing cycle and requires good or excellent credit.

Alliant Visa® Platinum Rewards Credit Card: Basics

Card type: Rewards; fair credit

Annual fee: $0.

Sign-up bonus: Earn 5,000 bonus Alliant Rewards points after spending $500 or more in qualifying purchases during the first three billing cycles after the account is opened.

Rewards: 2 points for every $1 spent on qualifying purchases. One point is worth about 0.67 cent each no matter how you redeem it. That's lower than the industry standard of one full cent per point, giving the card an effective rewards rate of around 1.34% back on everything you buy.

Redemption options: Points can be redeemed by logging into your Alliant Credit Union account and selecting one of the following options:

  • Cash back, starting at $20 redeemed as a deposit to your Alliant savings or checking account, or as an account balance credit to your Alliant Visa® Platinum Rewards Credit Card account.

  • Travel.

  • Merchandise.

  • Event tickets.

  • Activities.

  • eGift cards and gift cards.

  • Charitable donations in the form of a gift card to the charity of your choice.

APR: As low as 0% introductory rate for 12 months on purchases and balance transfers, and then the ongoing APR of 13.24% - 23.24%, Variable

Foreign transaction fee: 2%

Other features: Auto rental collision damage waiver coverage, access to roadside dispatch services.

Benefits of the Alliant Visa® Platinum Rewards Credit Card card

Simple flat-rate rewards

The card's effective rewards rate (about 1.34% back on all purchases) is lower than the current industry standard of 1.5% — but in terms of cards specifically for fair credit, it's actually a bit above-average. Some cards for fair credit earn just 1% back on everything; others don't offer rewards at all.

The card comes with good redemption options, too; you can use points for cash back or travel, among other things.

There's also a sign-up bonus, which is unusual among no-annual-fee cards in its class: Earn 5,000 bonus Alliant Rewards points after spending $500 or more in qualifying purchases during the first three billing cycles after the account is opened.

No annual fee

The annual fee on the Alliant Visa® Platinum Rewards Credit Card is $0. That makes it easy to come out ahead on rewards, no matter how much you spend.

Attainable FOR those with average credit

It's not easy to find good cards for fair credit, and the ones that do exist tend to charge annual fees or offer few if any incentives. For those with less-than-perfect credit scores looking for a cost-effective card that earns rewards, this can be a good choice.

Downsides and alternatives

credit union membership required

The eligibility requirements to join Alliant's Credit Union are pretty accessible to most. If you don't live or work in one of the qualifying communities or jobs, or aren't related to someone who fits the description, you can join by opting to support Foster Care to Success, Alliant's partner charity. Alliant will make a $5 donation on your behalf, which will make you eligible for membership.

But if you're not interested in joining a credit union, you could consider a different card for fair credit, like the Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Credit Card. It does charge an annual of $39 — but it earns a higher flat rate of 1.5% and doesn't require a membership; you don't have to bank with Capital One to apply.

And if what you actually have is good to excellent credit, you may have your pick of any number of rewards credit cards that feature no annual fee and much richer rewards. One example for excellent credit is the Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer. It also earns 2% back on everything: 1% back when you make a purchase and another 1% back when you pay your bill. There's no special membership required, and you don't have to bank with Citi to apply. The annual fee is $0.

0% APR isn't a sure thing

The card does have an introductory APR on purchases and balance transfers, but the rate you get is based on your creditworthiness. Only those with the best credit will get a 0% intro APR offer, and you won’t know if you qualified until after applying.

If getting a 0% APR period is a priority for you, go with the Chase Freedom Unlimited®. It comes with this offer: 0% intro APR on Purchases for 15 months, and then the ongoing APR of 14.99% - 23.74% Variable APR. It also earns 1.5% cash back on most purchases (plus some extra category bonuses earn 3-5%) and features a nice sign-up bonus: Earn a $200 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening. You don't have to bank with Chase to qualify, but you need at least good credit (FICO scores of 690 and higher).

Is the Alliant Visa® Platinum Rewards Credit Card right for you?

If you have only fair credit and are looking for flat-rate rewards for no annual fee, yes, it can be — as long as you don't mind joining the credit union.

Comments

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