VantageWest – 5% Connect Rewards Visa Review

A while ago a post on Connect Rewards Visa from VantageWest Credit Union was shared on reddit. This card has no signup bonus and you’ve to go an extra mile to join the credit union yet it is a rather appealing card to some churners, most notably to those who manufacture spend (MS).

connect_visa_rewards_landing

How much are the points worth?

5x sounds great but it means nothing if those points are valued at far less of a value than a cent each. Thankfully,  each point here is worth exactly 1 cent. In other words 5x is indeed 5%. I just wanted to get that out of the way first.

What is so good? The 5% categories

connect_visa_5x

Each quarter you earn 5x on first $1,500 spend on one category of your choosing. Surprisingly the 5x category includes travel, restaurant, utilities, wholesale, departmental store, hardware & home improvement stores, charitable organizations, and pharmacies & drugstore.

vantage_west_rewards
right away you can select category for up to 4 quarters

These are fantastic categories because:

  1. 5x on travel is unheard of on a no AF card
  2. you can practially get 5x on any categories mentioned above all year around. 5x on restaurant should be lucrative to those who eat out a lot.
  3. currently this is the only open to all credit card that gives 5x on charity. Remember kiva codes as charity so if you’re a kiva person then this card is fantastic, especially with US Bank nerfing 3x Flexperk earning on charity and completely removing 5x on charity on Cash Plus.
  4. And for those who won’t max out above categories, there is always the option to MS at pharmacies and drugstore.

If you can manage to max out 5x category each quarter then by the end of the year you will end up with $300 cashback.

0% APR and no balance transfer

When I go credit card shopping 0% APR or balance transfer isn’t something I look into but I know some folks love to squeeze every dime out of these promos so I thought I would provide some info on the intro promo this card provides:

  1. 0.00% introductory APR for purchases for a period of 6 billing cycles
  2. 0.00% introductory APR for cash advance for a period of 6 billing cycles
  3. no balance transfer fee

What is bad?

The obvious ones are the lack of signup bonus and having to go an extra mile to join the CU. Beside that here are the other notable negatives:

  1. $3 statement copy fee
  2. $10 pay-by-phone fee
  3. $25 account research fee: I dunno what this is but I assume I don’t want them to do anything for me?

How to join/apply?

In order to get this card, you need to join the credit union first. The easiest way qualify to join is to already lives, works, worships, attends school or volunteers in (as well as all businesses located in) these geographic areas…

  • Pima, Pinal, Cochise, or Maricopa Counties
  • Gila River Indian Community Reservation
  • Arizona’s “Copper Basin” Area
vantage_west_AZ
qualifying geographic area for VantageWest membership

There are couple of other ways to qualify for membership and you can read about it in their official page. The most notable methods are:

  1. military folks residing outside of AZ will qualify, granted they open a checking account
  2. member of GABA – Greater Arizona Bicycling Association, an affiliated partner, can freely join the credit union.

Joining via GABA – Open to ALL

As I stated above once you join GABA you can be eligible for VantageWest membership. Now, it just so happens that anyone, regardless of their residing state, can join GABA and as such anyone can qualify for a VantageWest membership.

https://gaba.clubexpress.com/content.aspx?page_id=60&club_id=307669

link for joining GABA

If you’re the only one in your household who’ll get VantageWest card then it is enough to get a “individual  – 1 year” (cost $15) membership with GABA.

Once you join membership, take screenshot that displays proof of membership. You’ll need this when you apply for VantageWest membership.

Applying for VantageWest Membership

The most important thing to remember is that you can’t do this over the phone. In fact, phone reps seem to have no access to your application and they don’t seem to be able to help you with your application.

As such it is on you to upload document of your GOBA membership on the application webpage. Once that is done you should be approved in a couple of business days. Then after you can proceed to apply for Connect Rewards Visa. Applying for the card will get you a hard pull on Experian.

4 comments

  1. […] Connect Rewards from VantageWest also allows you to quarterly change 5% categories. In fact you can pick categories a year in advance and never look back. One of the 5% category includes Amazon but you may also choose Pharmacy and Drugstore and buy amazon giftcard over there. Everyone is eligible to join at a cost of $15 max. You may read further on this card by checking VantageWest – 5% Connect Rewards Visa Review. […]

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