| Last updated on September 20th, 2023
California Bank & Trust Premier Visa® Card
California Bank & Trust Premier Visa® Card
- 19.49% to 27.49% variable based on creditworthiness and the Prime Rate Regular Purchase APR
- 19.49% to 29.49% variable based on creditworthiness and the Prime Rate Balance Transfer APR
- 28.49% to 29.49% variable based on the Prime Rate Cash Advance APR
At a Glance
The California Bank & Trust Premier Visa® Card is a premium travel rewards card that offers no annual fee for the first year and an enticing introductory bonus. The card earns solid rewards points on every purchase and benefits from no foreign transaction fees and Visa Signature perks worldwide.
- Best Benefits
- Rates & Fees
- Why Should You Apply?
- No annual fee for the first year
- 2.5X points or 2.5% cash back on travel
- 1.5X points or 1.5% cash back on all other purchases
- No foreign transaction fees
- Regular Purchase APR: 19.49% to 27.49% variable based on creditworthiness and the Prime Rate
- Intro Balance Transfer APR: 0% for 6 months from account opening date
- Balance Transfer APR: 19.49% to 29.49% variable based on creditworthiness and the Prime Rate
- Balance Transfer Transaction Fee: Either $5 or 3% of the amount of each balance transfer, whichever is greater
- Cash Advance APR: 28.49% to 29.49% variable based on the Prime Rate
- Cash Advance Transaction Fee: Either $10 or 5% of the amount of each cash advance, whichever is greater
- Annual Fee: $0 for the first year; $95 after that
- Late Payment Penalty Fee: Up to $35
- Return Payment Penalty Fee: Up to $35
- You're an existing Zions Bancorp customer and are planning on moving to California
- You spend heavily on travel
- You have a current balance you need to pay down at a lower interest rate
- You don’t want to pay a foreign transaction fee
California Bank & Trust Premier Visa® Card Review
The California Bank & Trust Premier Visa® Card is a premium travel rewards card that offers no annual fee for the first year and an enticing introductory bonus.
The California Bank & Trust Premier Visa® Card is a mid-range travel rewards card that serves existing Zions Bancorp customers well but struggles elsewhere.
Earn Rewards with Every Purchase
As a premium rewards card, the Premier Visa® earns a premium amount of points. The standard points tally with the card is 1.5X points for every dollar spent on purchases. 1.5X points are equivalent to 1.5% cash back, as CB&T offers several options for redeeming rewards.
This 1.5% back rate places the basic rewards rate on par with the American Express Cash Magnet Card, which also earns 1.5% back on every purchase – though it also charges no annual fee, compared to the $95 annual fee with the Premier Card (waived for the first year).
Enhanced Points on Travel
The California Bank & Trust Premier Visa® has the Cash Magnet beat when it comes to travel purchases, where the CB&T offering earns 2.5X points for every dollar spent, while the AMEX card still earns the same 1.5% cash back.
2.5X points on travel is a great perk, though the $95 annual fee makes it less competitive with rival cards than it should be. The Union Bank Travel rewards Card, for example, earns 3X points on travel and 2X on dining – but for a $49 annual fee (also waived for the first year). Similarly, the U.S. Bank FlexPerks Gold AMEX earns 3X points on dining and 2X points on gas and airfare, for an $85 yearly price tag. For the same $89 annual fee of the U.S. Bank Card, TD Banks’ First Class Visa® Signature offers 3X on travel and dining.
As can be seen, the double and triple-points credit card space is littered with premium cards that offer what CB&T does (or more) at a lower yearly rate – some with statement credits for travel included.
How to Redeem Points
AmaZing Rewards is the rewards program of CB&T, as well as all the other banks under the Zions Bancorp umbrella. Points don’t have an official cash price but have a value of one cent per point. This valuation is based on the value of points for statement credits – one of the redemption options for the California Bank & Trust Premier Visa®. The precise value of points, however, varies depending on the cash equivalent of a reward (such as travel) when redeeming points. With the AmaZing Rewards Program, 2,500 is the minimum amount of points required to start cashing in for rewards.
Special Introductory Offer
As mentioned, the Premier Visa® Card comes with an enticing bonus offer: spend $4,000 on purchases within the first 90 days and receive either 15,000 points or a $150 statement credit. Both options have an approximate value of 3.75 cents per point ($0.0375), which is significantly higher than the regular return on rewards with CB&T – a single cent per point ($0.01).
Fifteen thousand points make a considerable dent in the price of an award ticket – a bonus that is further enhanced by the fact that those $4,000 will also earn points. Spending the entire minimum spend on travel purchases, for example, will yield an extra 10,000 points, meaning the introductory bonus could produce an impressive 25,000 points or $250 in cash back.
Unfortunately, even here the CB&T Premier Visa® lags behind the competition. The TD Bank First Class Card, for example, also has an intro bonus, but for 25,000 points after spending just $3,000 in the first six months. As that card earns 3X on travel, the intro bonus could potentially amount to 34,000 points. The U.S. Bank FlexPerks Gold American Express Card gains even more, as new accounts get 30,000 FlexPoints for spending $2,000 in four months, with an estimated total bonus of 34,000 points should the entire minimum spend be on airfare.
A Competitive APR
While the CB&T Premier Visa® Card struggles to compete in the points arena, it fares much better when it comes to interest rates. The typical APR for those with excellent credit is in line with all the other rivals mentioned, which is crucial when it comes to a travel rewards card. The costs associated with booking trips – especially abroad – can be overwhelming, so having a competitive APR to defer the cost over a few months is always a nice benefit.
The Premier Visa® also benefits from 0% intro APR on balance transfers for the first six months, with the provision that this introductory rate only applies to balances transfer within the first 60 days of opening ana account.
Six months of zero interest on balance transfers might not sound like a lot, but once this intro period finishes all balances that came from existing Zions Bancorp accounts only incur interest at a fixed 7% rate, which offers exceptional value for existing bank customers.
The Zions Bancorp family includes other western banks, like Zions Bank in Utah, Wyoming, and Idaho, Nevada State Bank; National Bank of Arizona; Amegy Bank of Texas; and Vectra Bank in Colorado. This wide geographic spread makes the CB&T Premier offer of 7% APR on balance transfers enticing for those with existing accounts with one of these banks, and who are relocating to California.
Other Card Features
The CB&T Premier Visa® is a premium Visa® product, meaning it offers access to the vast array of Visa® Signature perks. These benefits include access to Visa® Signature’s Luxury Hotel Collection, 24/7 access to Visa’s U.S.-based Concierge and customer service hotline, trip cancellation insurance and more.
The additional benefit of no blackout dates on rewards redemptions and no foreign transaction fees means the card is extremely versatile, allowing cardholders to book travel where and when they want – without the worry of their card incurring additional costs or not being accepted abroad.
Should You Apply for the California Bank & Trust Premier Visa® Card?
The CB&T Premier Visa® Card is a great rewards card for those looking to leap no annual fee rewards to a mid-level premium travel rewards card. The value for money with the card, however, lies with the special balance3 transfer rate for existing Zions Bancorp account holders. The 0% intro APR on balance transfers, plus the fixed-rate 7% APR after that, means the card can help existing customers quickly pay down balances without incurring more interest.
In all other aspects, however, there just isn’t enough value to give the Premier Card a big thumbs up. Offers from U.S. Bank, T.D. Bank, Union Bank, and countless others provide similar points at a lower annual fee. That’s not to say, though, that the Premier Card is bad – not by any means. Instead, it is a niche card that serves Zions Bancorp customers very well.
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