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PNC Cash Rewards Review: Is this the best new cash back card?

Alex Cohen Alex Cohen  | 

PNC's newest cash back credit card is a great addition to the top cash back credit cards on the market. Although we're typically advocates for cards that earn you miles or points, we can't overlook a great cash back card. And when it comes to evaluating cash back cards, we typically look at three components: the categories and merchant bonuses, how easy it is to redeem your cash back (is there a minimum) and is there a maximum spend for the bonus.

Here's what you need to know:

  • $100 sign on bonus after $1000 of purchases in the first three months
  • No annual fee!
  • 4% cash back on gas, 3% on dining, 2% back on groceries and 1% back on everything else
  • $8000 annual cap on spend for the above mentioned bonus categories

This is exciting for a few reasons.

For a card with no annual fee and this high of a spending cap, 4% and 3% back on purchases on some of your highest spending categories is fantastic. If you spend around $1200/year on gas and the other $6800 on dining, that's an easy $252 in cash rewards. If you were to swap this card out with the Chase Freedom or Discover It cards during their 5% bonus quarters on gas and grocery, you could easily around around $300 in cash back each year, just on this spend.

The only other popular card that earns more than 4% on groceries year round is the American Express Blue Cash Preferred Card, which earns 6% back on groceries, on up to $6000 in spend per year.

PNC Cash Rewards Visa


PNC Cash Rewards Cards: Benefits and Rewards Basics


Big cash back bonus on gas
4% cash back on gas with an $8000 spending limit is one of the highest cash back bonuses on the market. Even the Amex Blue Cash Preferred doesn't compare - with a 3% cash back deal on gas. The only difference is that the Amex BCP bonus is on unlimited spend.

Good dining rewards
3% on dining isn't too shabby either. What you may want to consider is using one of the cash back cards with a rotating 5% category to swap in and out. That way you'll earn 5% for at least one quarter each year on your dining spend and 3% consistently during all other times.

Sign up bonus
The card has a pretty low minimum spend in order to get the $100 sign on bonus. You only need to spend $1000 in the first 90 days.

Should you consider the PNC Cash Rewards Card?

It's one of my new favorite cash back cards on the market - especially considering I'm not a Costco or Sam's Club member and I can combine this with other cash back or travel cards to really take advantage of every dollar spent. If you spend a bit (but not too crazy) amount on dining out and filling up the car each year, seriously consider this card as an addition to your wallet.

As always, email team@birchfinance.com with any questions!

Alex Cohen

Alex Cohen

I run Birch by day and watch cat videos by night

San Francisco, CA