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Last updated on March 12th, 2021
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At a Glance
The Sterling National Bank Premier Rewards American Express® Card earns cardholders four points for every dollar they spend on restaurant purchases. Additionally, cardholders earn 3X points on airline purchases, 2X points on gas station purchases, and 1X points on everything else. What’s more, new cardholders receive 10,000 bonus points when they spend $1,000 in their first three months. Furthermore, the annual fee is waived the first year and there is no foreign transaction fee.
Ideal for Those Who:
- Don’t want to pay an annual fee their first year
- Don’t want to pay foreign transaction fees
- Spend the most money at restaurants and want to earn points on those purchases
- Are frequent travelers
- Plan to spend at least $1,000 in their first three months after signing up
Sterling National Bank Premier Rewards American Express® Card Review
The Premier Rewards American Express® Card from Sterling National Bank is the most elite credit card in this bank’s portfolio of personal credit cards. Cardholders can earn four points for ever dollar they spend at restaurants. Additionally, cardholders earn 3X points on airfare, 2X points on gas, and 1X points on everything else. New cardholders can also earn 10,000 bonus points when they spend $1,000 in their first three months. This credit card normally charges a $99 annual fee. However, new cardholders don’t have to pay this their first year. Furthermore, this credit doesn’t charge any foreign transaction fees. Keep reading to learn more about the features of this card.
Save on Fees
As a premium rewards credit card, the Sterling National Bank Premier Rewards American Express® Card naturally charges an annual fee. After all, the more extras you get, the more you have to pay for them. However, this credit card waives the annual fee for the first year. As such, you can start reaping the rewards of this card without having to worry about offsetting the cost of the fee.
Furthermore, this credit card can be a great companion for frequent travelers. There’s never any foreign transaction fee when you use your card abroad. The only problem is that you may have difficulty finding merchants who accept American Express in other countries. The few merchants who do accept American Express abroad tend to be higher-end establishments. As such, you may only be able to take advantage of zero foreign transaction fees at luxury hotels, high end department stores, and fine dining establishments. Additionally, many developing countries may have hardly any merchants who accept American Express. If you like going off the beaten path and want a credit card with no foreign transaction fees, you may want to consider a Visa® or Mastercard®. These payment networks are much more widely accepted internationally.
A Card that Rewards Foodies
The Sterling National Bank Premier Rewards American Express® Card is an ideal credit card for foodies. This card rewards you the most when you use it at restaurants. You can earn 4 points for every dollar you spend on dining. If you love fine dining, you can be racking up platefuls of points on a single meal. For example, a tasting menu at a Michelin starred restaurant can cost you around $300 per person. If you add a wine pairing, that’s easily another $100. If you use your Premier Rewards American Express® to pay for you and a date, you can earn $3,200 on just one meal.
Now, there is one detail about earning points that you should be aware of to take full advantage of this card. You technically earn 4X points on restaurant purchases and not dining. What’s the difference? Well, most restaurants offer dining, but not all dining happens at restaurants. In order to earn the maximum amount of points on your dining purchases, the merchant needs to be classified as a restaurant. This means that if you grab something to eat from a market, you may only earn one point for every dollar you spent on that food. The same thing can happen if you pay for food at a farmer’s market, food truck, or other type of business.
Granted, the above businesses’ offerings are typically lower ticket items. As such, you won’t be losing out on earning major points. But it can be a minor annoyance. If you like eating out at these non-traditional eateries, check with these businesses to see whether they are categorized as restaurants.
Earn Points on Your Other Purchases
Even the most die-hard foodies aren’t going to restaurants all the time. That’s why the Sterling National Bank Premier Rewards American Express® Card also awards points for other types of purchases with a tiered points system. If the first thing on your travel itinerary is finding the best places to eat, then this might be the credit card for you. On top of 4X points on restaurants, you’ll earn 3X points on airline purchases.
However, you’ll only earn these points if you book airfare directly from an airline. This means you won’t earn extra points if you book travel through an agency or third-party site (like Expedia, Priceline, etc.). But you will earn 3X points on airline incidentals. This includes paying for baggage allowances, seat upgrades, and even in-flight amenities. Any time an airline charges your card, you’ll earn 3X points. You will also earn 2 points for every dollar you spend at gas stations. This doesn’t just mean gas. You can earn points on anything you buy at a gas station – cigarettes, car washes, or a six-pack of natty ice. Just remember that that microwavable burrito won’t earn you 4X points if you bought it at a gas station. Also keep in mind that gas purchases from wholesale clubs or supermarkets may not qualify for 2X points. Some of these businesses’ pumps still fall under the grocery store category, even if you are buying gas. Check with the merchant if you prefer to buy gas from such retailers. Finally, you’ll earn one point for everything else you buy. This is the bare minimum that most (if not all) rewards cards offer their customers. It might take you a while to rack up points on all your other purchases, but at least you’re coming away with something.
Earn Bonus Points
So, you’re thinking of signing up for the Sterling National Bank Premier Rewards American Express® Card but are still unsure of whether this card is for you. Maybe this extra perk will help you decide. If you spend $1,000 in the first three months after opening an account, you’ll automatically receive 10,000 bonus points. This is on top of whatever points you normally earn. So, if you spend $1,000 on dining, you’ll end up with 14,000 points. That’s like earning 14 points per dollar in your first three months. The spending requirement for this bonus is one of the lowest ones around and only requires you to spend around $333 per month. If you’re a major foodie, you can easily meet this requirement at restaurants. Alternatively, you can book a long-haul flight and meet the requirement in one single purchase. However, you’ll only earn 3X points for that purchase.
Redeeming Your Points
The Sterling National Bank Premier Rewards American Express® Card doesn’t issue you points as soon as you spend. Rather, you receive points on your monthly net spending at the end of your monthly billing cycle. Sterling National Bank will issue your bonus points about six to eight weeks after you have met the spending requirement. Points have a cash value of about $0.01 (one cent) per point. As such, your 10,000 introductory bonus comes out to $100. This points value tends to be the industry standard, so if you think it’s too low, you might be hard pressed to find a better deal. Once you earn points, you have several options for redeeming them. Elan Rewards Program manages this card’s rewards and has a rewards catalog that you can only access once you become a cardholder. There, you can redeem your points for gift cards, merchandise, or travel vouchers. The one drawback of this catalog is that it is kept hidden from non-cardholders. As such, it’s not possible to see what kinds of prizes are available for redemption until you actually sign up for this card. Additionally, there’s no way of knowing how many points you need to obtain an item from the catalog. Nevertheless, you can still redeem your points for cash back. You can opt for either a cash deposit or a statement credit to your Premier Rewards account. For cash back, you’ll need to have a Sterling National Bank checking or savings account. You can redeem your points for a cash deposit within seven days of earning them at the end of a monthly billing cycle. If you don’t redeem them, though, you won’t lose them. They’ll just carry over to your next billing cycle. You don’t need a checking or savings account with this bank to receive a credit statement, though. You also have up to two months to redeem your points for a statement credit.
Should You Apply for the Sterling National Bank Premier Rewards American Express® Card?
The Sterling National Bank Premier Rewards American Express® Card can be a great rewards card for people who love to eat out and travel. This card awards you those most points for those purchases. If you add the no foreign transaction feature, then it can be a great companion for those who love to eat at fine restaurants when they travel. However, this card may not offer much value if you aren’t spending much on fine dining at restaurants. If the majority of your dining expenses include fast food and casual restaurants, then you may not earn as many points with this card. Similarly, no foreign transaction fees are nice when you can find a merchant who accepts American Express® abroad. As previously mentioned, American Express® doesn’t have the same purchase power internationally as it does in the United States. This is especially true in developing countries and at more humble businesses. You may find yourself only being able to use your Premier Rewards Amex on luxury spending while traveling.