About PNC Premier Traveler Visa Card

By J.R. Duren
HighYa Staff Published on: Aug 16, 2017

If there’s one corner of the credit card world that best describes the PNC Premier Travel Visa Signature, it’s travel rewards.

More than ever, techniques and methods to using cards like the PNC Premier Travel card can be found on every credit card rewards site as well as broader consumer sites like HighYa. Why? Simple; people love free travel and credit cards, when used the right way, are a great way to pay very little for a plane ticket or hotel room.

This review of the PNC Premier Travel card is basically a guide to understanding how you can use it to maximize your rewards and get as much free travel as possible.

Yes, it’s as simple as that. However, in order to get to the point where you feel confident in maxing out the potential of this card, you’ll need to understand more than just what you get for free. A few of the topics we’re going to cover are:

  • What this PNC credit card gives you up front
  • What this PNC credit card will give you in the long run
  • The rates and fees that could hurt you
  • How other people view this card

Throughout each of these sections, we’ll provide you with tips and insight into how you can make the most of what the PNC Premier Travel has to offer.

We’ll wrap things up with an overview of the cards pros and cons, as well as a little section highlighting who we think might benefit from this card the most.

What the PNC Premier Travel Visa Signature Gives You Up Front

A travel rewards card’s up-front bonuses are very similar to looking for a restaurant in Tijuana, Mexico.

You see, before the PNC Premier Travel card existed and before I became a full-time personal finance reporter, I lived in San Diego and liked to go to Tijuana for cheap tacos and ice-cold bottles of Mexican Coke and Pepsi.

Walking the streets of Tijuana to look for a taco shop was a little overwhelming because, like the travel rewards card world, there were too many choices.

So, to literally stand out in the crowd, these restaurants would send guys out into the street and woo you with Spanglish sales pitches like, “Oye, you want tacos? Margaritas? Cervezas? Come inside! This is the real McCoy!”

The PNC Premier Travel card’s up-front benefits are that guy calling you into the restaurant; they’re designed to get you in the door.

30,000 Bonus Miles

If you can spend $3,000 within the first three months of owning this card, PNC will deposit 30,000 rewards points to your account within 60 days of hitting the spending limit.

These points can be redeemed one of three ways: for past travel purchases, for future travel purchases and for cash/merchandise.

We’ll focus on the travel related purchases since the PNC Premier Travel is a travel card.

Points are redeemed at a clip of $0.01 per point. Based on that conversion rate, the 30,000 intro points are worth $300.

The redemption of points for past travel purchases is only allowed to happen within 90 days of the purchase.

So, if you book a flight from L.A. to New York, you have 90 days to apply your points balance to that purchase.

Using your points for that purchase is as simple as logging into your account, accessing your points balance and choosing the ticket purchase as the recipient of the points.

This program is very similar to what you get with the Capital One Venture and Discover it Miles card, so we’ll refer to those cards frequently in this review.

The big difference between the PNC Travel Premier and the other two cards is that the Venture card gives a 40,000-point bonus and the it Miles card doubles whatever cash back you earn in the first year.

0% Interest on Balance Transfers the First Year

The main perk that sets this card apart from the Capital One Venture is that the PNC Premier Travel card has a no interest offer on balance transfers.

This means that you can transfer a balance to the Premier Travel card from another credit card you own and you won’t be charged interest until the 13th month you own the card.

The offer is only good on balance transfers you make within the first 90 days of owning the card. Remember, that 90-day deadline starts the day you’re approved for the card. Don’t make the mistake of thinking it starts the day you get the card in the mail or the day you make your first purchase.

Also, the 12-month zero-interest deadline starts the day you’re approved for the card. So, if you transfer a balance two months after you’re approved for the card, you’ll only have 10 months of zero interest.

What the PNC Premier Travel Visa Signature Gives You in the Long Run

Once you get past the 30,000-point bonus and the 12 months of zero interest, you’re left with the PNC Premier Travel card’s long-term benefits.

If these benefits don’t seem that great to you, then the card might not be a good fit. Should you find yourself quite happy with what you’ll get one, two and three years down the road, it might be a good idea to sign up for this card.

2 Points per Dollar

Nearly every purchase you make with the PNC Premier Travel will earn you 2 points. A $400 purchase, for example, earns 800 points.

Now, remember how we said that there are tons of travel rewards credit cards out there? Well, the PNC Premier Travel’s 2x bonus on all purchases is among the best in the business. The Capital One Venture also has a 2x bonus.

The Chase Sapphire Preferred has a 2x bonus on travel and dining purchases and a 1x bonus on everything else.

The Discover it Miles gives you a 1.5x bonus on all purchases.

So, as you can see, the 2x rewards rate on the PNC Premier Travel is pretty strong compared to the competition.

Based on our calculations, the average American family of three could easily spend around $24,000 in a year, which means the Premier Travel card could earn you $480 in cash back.

Considering that the average price of a domestic flight in the U.S. is around $370, that yearly bonus is good enough for one free ticket and other purchases that PNC considers travel like car rentals and hotel stays.

Pro tip: The minimum redemption amount is 5,000 points ($50).

The PNC Travel Premier Visa Signature’s APR’s and Fees

The PNC Travel Premier has a 16.99% APR on purchases and balance transfers after the first 12 months.

If you make a late payment, you’ll have a 29.99% APR until you can make six consecutive on-time minimum payments.

There is no annual fee the first year, but, after that, you’ll pay $85. Also, there is no foreign transaction fee with this card; this is a big help if you travel abroad often.

The Premier Travel has late and returned payment fees of up to $35.

Balance transfers will result in a 3% fee.

Public Opinion About the PNC Premier Travel Visa Signature

Many of the credit card review sites we read through said this card has decent travel benefits but that cards with similar redemption structures – the Capital One Venture, for example – are the better value overall.

Unfortunately, we noticed that many of these sites say that only residents of certain states can apply for PNC credit cards. We called PNC about this and found out that all 50 states can apply for the card. There are no geographical restrictions within the U.S.

The Pros

This card’s intro bonus and 2x points bonuses are its strongest qualities. We estimate that the average American family can earn at least $480 in travel rewards each year. In the first year, that $480 jumps to $780 because of the 30,000-point bonus.

The Cons

The drawbacks are its annual fee ($85) and APR (15.99%). The Capital One Venture has a lower annual fee ($59) and its lowest APR is 13.99%. The Discover it Miles has no annual fee, a low-end APR of 11.99% and 14 months of zero interest on purchases.

The PNC Premier Travel Rewards Card is a Good Fit For…

…the traveler who has average credit scores who may not be able to get the lowest APR on the Capital One Venture or Discover it Miles. We also see this card working well for PNC loyalists because it is, based on our research, the best travel rewards card the bank offers.

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