Alliant Cashback Visa® Signature Card: Is It The New Cash Back King?

Alliant Cashback Visa® Signature Card: Is It The New Cash Back King?

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It may not have been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer. This site may be compensated through a credit card issuer partnership.

Citi is an advertising partner.

We recommend the Alliant Cashback Visa® Signature Credit Card to high spenders who want a good fixed-rate cash back credit card. The 2.5% rewards rate is currently unmatched by most other rewards cards. However, the annual fee ($99, waived the first year) means you have to make enough cash back to break even. Ignore this card if you spend less than $19,800 per year – at that point you should consider other options, like the Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer.

Note: You must have an Alliant Credit Union account to apply for this card.

This card is good for...

  • Individuals who don't want to optimize rewards for certain categories and want a simple cash back credit card
  • Anyone with varied spending that doesn't conform to traditional credit card rewards categories

This card is bad for...

  • People spending less than $19,800 each year on their card
  • Those who are looking for a sizable credit card sign-up bonus

Review: Our Thoughts On The Alliant Cashback Visa® Signature Credit Card

The Alliant Cashback Visa® Signature Credit Card is easily one of the best cash back credit cards around, and quite possibly the best overall card for some consumers. The 2.5% rewards rate it offers on all purchases is unheard of. Up until now, the only cards that came close offered just 2%. While it’s possible to beat the 2.5% return with other cards, your spending needs to break down in a specific way, with much of it going towards dining and travel. If you want a hassle-free card to put all your purchases on, this is a good one to go with.

Estimated 2-Year Net Rewards Per Card Based On Average Consumer Expenditures

Credit Card
2-Year Net Rewards Estimate
Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card$1,027
Alliant Cashback Visa® Signature Credit Card$885
Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer$686
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There are two major things to consider before you apply for this card – its annual fee and the Alliant bank account requirement. The card charges an annual fee ($99, waived the first year). We don’t consider this to be a con, since for some users it actually makes sense to pay the fee. You just need to make sure you’re spending over $19,800 annually on your card. Otherwise, a no-fee option may be better. Additionally, it’s worth mentioning that you can’t get this card unless you have an Alliant checking or savings account. This is a minor obstacle, and for some consumers it may be a small price to pay for that 2.5% rewards rate.

Bottom Line: The Alliant Cashback Visa® Signature Credit Card can’t be ignored. It offers one of the highest rewards rates on the market right now. However, due to its annual fee, you shouldn’t get it unless you spend at least $19,800 per year on purchases.

Alliant Cashback Visa® Signature Credit Card Benefits & Features

The Alliant Cashback Visa® Signature Credit Card offers consumers a steady 2.5% cash back rate on all purchases with no category restrictions. There are also no limits on the amount of cash back you can earn in a single year. The cash back rewards can be applied either as statement credit to your account or be deposited directly into your Alliant bank account. The card doesn’t have any bonuses.

In terms of fees, cardholders must contend with its annual fee: $99, waived the first year. Generally speaking, most cash back credit cards don’t have any annual fee. However, given the higher than normal rewards rates this is justifiable. You need to spend just $3,960 annually to break even -- $3,960 x 2.5% = $99. If you compare this card to a no-fee 2% card, then you would need to spend $19,800 each year to come out ahead. At that point, the extra 0.5 points you get on each purchases will come out ahead, despite the $99, waived the first year annual fee. The math works as follows:

  • $19,800 (spending) x 2.5% (rewards) - $99 (annual fee) = $396
  • $19,800 (spending) x 2.0% (rewards) - $0 (annual fee) = $396

How Does The Alliant Cashback Visa® Signature Credit Card Compare To Other Credit Cards?

You can only get the true measure of a credit card after knowing how it compares to other credit cards. Most people will only want to sign-up for one credit card at a time, therefore it’s important to consider the opportunity cost of picking one over another. We matched the Alliant Cashback Visa® Signature Credit Card against some popular alternatives to see how it stacks up.

Alliant Cashback Visa® Signature Credit Card vs Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer

  • On Citibank's Secure Website

The Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer is likely to be the better option for low-spenders. That is anyone who charges less than $19,800 to their credit card per year. This card lets you Earn 2% on every purchase with unlimited 1% cash back when you buy, plus an additional 1% as you pay for those purchases. Since it has a $0 annual fee, you also never have to worry about breaking even. As we showed in the math example above, getting 2.5% back through the Alliant Cashback Visa® Signature Credit Card while also paying an annual fee will only be worth it if you spend above that $11.8k annual threshold.

Alliant Cashback Visa® Signature Credit Card vs Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

  • On Capital One's Secure Website

The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card and the Alliant Cashback Visa® Signature Credit Card are natural to compare since they both come in at the same price-point. Both cards have their annual fee waived during the first year of card membership. However, the Alliant Cashback Visa® Signature Credit Card will always come out on top, because it offers a superior rewards rate – 2.5% versus the 2% on the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card. One thing to consider, however, is the fact that you don’t need to open any Capital One bank account when you open the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card. The Alliant Cashback Visa® Signature Credit Card requires you to have some Alliant account. For some, this restriction may be a deal breaker.

From a bonus perspective, the reward you can get on the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card is superior. Cardholders Earn 100,000 bonus miles when you spend $20,000 on purchases in the first 12 months from account opening, or still earn 50,000 miles if you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months.

Alliant Cashback Visa® Signature Credit Card vs Chase Sapphire Reserve®

  • On Chase's Secure Website

The Chase Sapphire Reserve® is a premium credit card that has the potential to earn its users a lot more than just 2.5% back, depending on how they use it. Before considering the card's rewards, however, it is important to know that it comes with a $550 annual fee. Despite that, the card can pay for itself, and be much more profitable than the Alliant Cashback Visa® Signature Credit Card, for the right consumer. The Chase Sapphire Reserve® provides a 3X points on travel immediately after earning your $300 travel credit. 3X points on dining at restaurants including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.

Joe Resendiz

Joe Resendiz is a former investment banking analyst for Goldman Sachs, where he covered public sector and infrastructure financing. During his time on Wall Street, Joe worked closely with the debt capital markets team, which allowed him to gain unique insights into the credit market. Joe is currently a research analyst who covers credit cards and the payments industry. He earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Texas at Austin, where he majored in finance.

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How We Calculate Rewards: ValuePenguin calculates the value of rewards by estimating the dollar value of any points, miles or bonuses earned using the card less any associated annual fees. These estimates here are ValuePenguin's alone, not those of the card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer.

Example of how we calculate the rewards rates: When redeemed for travel through Ultimate Rewards, Chase Sapphire Preferred points are worth $0.0125 each. The card awards 2 points on travel and dining and 1 point on everything else. Therefore, we say the card has a 2.5% rewards rate on dining and travel (2 x $0.0125) and a 1.25% rewards rate on everything else (1 x $0.0125).