PNC, also known as PNC Bank, is one of the largest banks in the U.S. With locations primarily in the Northeast and headquarters in Pittsburgh, this bank has a tremendous customer base across its 2,500+ branch locations.
PNC participates in numerous operations, including asset management, retail banking, and lending services (both consumer and commercial). Although we mostly cover banks with transferable rewards programs such as Chase, American Express, Citi, and Capital One, we’d be remiss in not discussing PNC’s rewards program PNC points.
Although there are no transfer partners available, there are still opportunities to make the most of your PNC rewards. And if you already have a relationship with PNC, it’ll be even easier to use its rewards system.
In this guide, we’ll be discussing what PNC points are, which cards earn PNC points, and all of your main redemption options. We’ll then review how PNC points stack up to other rewards programs. Let’s get started!
What Are PNC Points?
PNC points are the main rewards currency earned by a trio of PNC credit cards, both business and personal. You do not need to be a PNC Bank customer to open a PNC points credit card.
Cardmembers are auto-enrolled in the program and can earn up to 5x PNC points per dollar spent in specific categories. PNC points expire at the end of the 48th month after the month in which they were posted to your points account. Alternatively, they are forfeited if your account is closed.
The redemption value that you get will vary depending on which option you use. Generally, the best value you’ll get is on booking travel, followed by redeeming for gift cards.
Unfortunately, PNC points can’t be transferred to other loyalty programs, including airlines and hotels.
PNC Points Credit Cards
You’ll automatically earn PNC points with a few different PNC-issued personal and business credit cards. You can only apply for a PNC credit card if you live in one of these states (plus the District of Columbia):
- New Jersey
- North Carolina
- South Carolina
- West Virginia
Alternatively, you can live elsewhere and apply for a PNC credit card as long as you have an active deposit account with PNC in good standing.
Let’s examine each of the credit card options that earn PNC points.
The first card we’ll be talking about is the PNC Points card. This credit card is the only personal card that offers the ability to earn PNC points.
The PNC Points card earns 4 points per $1 on all purchases, excluding gift cards or other cash equivalent products, purchases with a convenience check, cash advances, or balance transfers.
On the surface, it’s an excellent offering to put everyday spend on. Additionally, you can access a welcome bonus when applying through PNC.com. This welcome bonus is typically around 50,000 points after making at least $750 in purchases during the first 3 billing cycles after account opening.
There is no annual fee for this card, and you’ll often find compelling 0% APR on purchases and 0% APR on balance transfers (this does not include balance transfer fees) for the first 12 billing cycles on top of the welcome bonus.
This card has a 3% foreign transaction fee.
Hot Tip: You can earn more PNC points by using Purchase Payback, which gives you bonus offers for shopping at specific merchants, much like Amex Offers does.
The PNC Points Business card is the business version of the PNC Points card.
The main difference is you’ll earn 5 points per $1 on all purchases, excluding gift cards or other cash equivalent products, purchases with a convenience check, cash advances, or balance transfers.
So by switching your attention to the business credit card variant, you’ll already earn 25% more points than you would with the PNC Points card.
The only reason you wouldn’t sign up for the PNC Points Business card is if you don’t have a business. But you might be able to apply and qualify for a business credit card without knowing it!
Of course, this business credit card comes with many of the perks that any other business credit card would have, such as the ability to add or remove employee cards, set individual spending limits for employee cards, and download transactions into Excel, Quicken, or QuickBooks for easy bookkeeping.
One other benefit is the Cash Flow Insight benefit, which gets you access to the Spend Analysis tool to automatically assign business categories and help you monitor, plan, and budget for business needs.
This business credit card also comes with extended purchase protection, doubling the time period of the original manufacturer’s written U.S. warranty up to 1 full year on warranties of 3 years or less.
Also, Purchase Security will replace, repair, or reimburse you for eligible personal property items in the event of theft or damage within the first 90 days of purchase.
There is no annual fee, and there is usually a 9-billing cycle 0% introductory purchase APR and balance transfer APR period (this does not include balance transfer fees).
The PNC BusinessOptions card is the most premium PNC business credit card, so you’ll see the most perks when you examine this card.
You’ll earn the same 5 points per $1 spent on all purchases as the PNC Points Business card, but you’ll find more perks. Remember, purchases exclude gift cards or other cash equivalent products, purchases with a convenience check, cash advances, or balance transfers.
The PNC BusinessOptions credit card is recommended by PNC Bank for “companies with annual credit card spend of $50,000 or more.”
With this card, you can choose from 3 rewards programs, including cash rebates, PNC points, and travel rewards:
- Cash rebates — credited quarterly to your card statement with no category restrictions; earn 1.5% cash-back on net purchases with the revolving credit option and 1% cash-back on net purchases with the pay-in-full option
- PNC points — earn 5 PNC points for every $1 on purchases, excluding gift cards or other cash equivalent products, purchases with a convenience check, cash advances, or balance transfers
- Travel rewards — earn 1 mile for every $1 on purchases; each mile is worth up to 1 cent
You may also find a generous welcome bonus of around $750 in statement credits after making $25,000 during the first 3 billing cycles following account opening.
Additionally, the annual fee charged depends on your annual total of net purchases:
|Annual Total of Net Purchases (Previous 12 Billing Cycles)||Annual Fee|
One of the questions you might have is, “if the annual fee is based on the total of net purchases for the previous 12 billing cycles, how much is it for the first year I sign up?”
The answer is: free. There’s no annual fee for the first 12 billing cycles. The annual fee will be charged starting from the 13th beginning cycle after account opening.
There are also no additional fees for extra cards.
The card’s credit limit comes with a “pay-in-full option with a credit limit up to $250,000” or a “revolve option with a credit limit up to $50,000.” In this sense, this card can act as a charge card with up to $250,000 in credit (you have to pay off your bills in full every month) or a credit card with up to $50,000 in credit (you can hold a balance).
You can also add your custom logo to cards for $350 (includes logos on all cards, not just 1 card).
One of the unique benefits of this card is the ability to limit individual employee spending by merchant or purchase category. This is useful if your employees should only be transacting with restaurants, for example.
There are no foreign transaction fees, and you have enhanced expense allocation features from PNC’s Advanced Reporting Tool.
This card is also a Visa Signature card, which comes with unique benefits, such as:
Earning Bonus PNC Points With Relationship Bonuses
One of the best ways to earn more PNC points per dollar spent is to also have a deposit account with PNC — only available to cardholders of the personal PNC Points card.
You can earn a bonus of 25%, 50%, or 75% of all base points, depending on which personal checking account you have.
|Account Name||Required Minimum Balance||Bonus Points||Other Ways to Qualify|
|Virtual Wallet||$500||25% of base points / 5x per $1 spent||None|
|Performance Checking Account OR Virtual Wallet with Performance Spend||$2,000||50% of base points / 6x per $1 spent||$2,000 in monthly direct deposits or a combined average monthly balance of $15,000 or more in that account and any linked PNC accounts for which you’re an account owner|
|Performance Select Checking Account OR Virtual Wallet with Performance Select||$5,000||75% of base points / 7x per $1 spent||$5,000 in monthly direct deposits or a combined average monthly balance of $25,000 or more in that account and any linked PNC accounts for which you’re an account owner|
Hot Tip: You will not earn relationship bonuses on top of any Purchase Payback deals or other promotional points offers.
Earning Bonus PNC Points With Non-Promotional Interest Charges
You can earn PNC points on interest charges, but this can be done only on a different credit card we haven’t discussed — the PNC Flex Visa Signature Credit Card.
This is not a recommended option, but you will earn 100 points for every $2 in non-promotional interest, provided that you have a qualifying deposit account and maintained a combined average monthly balance of $500 to $1,499.99 on the last day of the billing cycle. If your monthly deposit balance is higher than that, you’ll earn 100 points for every $1 in non-promotional interest.
Non-promotional interest means that it must not be a part of an introductory APR offer or any other special promotions.
Bottom Line: The ceiling for earning PNC points is 7 points per dollar using a 75% relationship bonus with the PNC Points card. You’ll earn 5 points per dollar with either of the PNC points business credit cards discussed above, which are both not eligible for relationship bonuses.
How to Redeem PNC Points
PNC offers numerous ways to redeem points, but they can generally be categorized into 4 buckets:
- Travel (best value)
- Gift cards
Regardless of how you redeem your points, you’ll first need to visit the PNC points dashboard to use your points.
Using the PNC Travel Center to Redeem Points
Generally, the best-value redemption method for PNC points is to redeem for airfare. For example, if you look at this United Airlines basic economy ticket from Chicago to Washington, D.C. on June 1, 2021, you’ll see that the cash price is $174 on Google Flights.
If you search for the same flight on PNC’s travel center (click Book Now under Travel), you’ll find the same flight bookable for 57,700 points, inclusive of taxes and fees.
In this example, you’d be receiving 0.3 cents per point in value from PNC points. Similarly, you’ll receive approximately the same value when redeeming PNC points for hotel stays.
The points price for a 3-night stay from June 1, 2021, to June 4, 2021, at the Hyatt Regency Dulles is 65,819 points per night.
If you paid cash for the same booking, you’d be quoted $189 plus taxes and fees.
Points prices don’t include taxes and fees for hotel bookings, so the $189 per night cost translates directly to a ~0.28 cents per point value.
You can also book car rentals, activities, cruises, and inclusive vacations using the PNC travel center.
Turn Your PNC Points Into Gift Cards
You can also turn your PNC points into gift cards across numerous merchants. To redeem for gift cards, all you have to do is click Start Shopping under Gift Cards in the PNC points portal.
The main gift card categories are:
- Charitable Organizations
- Fuel and Auto
- Gourmet and Floral
- Grocery and Pharmacy
- Movies and Entertainment
- Online and Gaming
- Retail Stores
- Salon and Spa
- Subscription Services
- Travel and Experience
The exact value of your gift cards will vary, but you can expect to redeem PNC points at a value of 0.22 to 0.25 cents per point for gift cards. For example, check out the $500 Amazon gift card, which requires around 223,748 points, a value of 0.223 cents per point.
On the other hand, it’s possible to get slightly better value at different merchants, but you’ll have to look closely. For example, check out this $100 Bloomingdale’s gift card for 41,593 points, a value of 0.24 cents per point:
Buy Merchandise With PNC Points
You can also purchase merchandise using your PNC points, though the value you’ll get is generally significantly less — 0.10 to 0.25 cents per point depending on what items you purchase.
To get started browsing, visit the PNC points portal and click Explore More under Apple Store and Other Merchandise. You’ll be redirected to the PNC points merchandise portal where you can browse and redeem your points.
You can browse for goods in any of these categories:
- Bags & Luggage
- Bed & Bath
- Computers & Tablets
- Home & Garden
- Musical Instruments
- Office Products
- Sporting Goods
- Video Game Hardware
- Video Games
And the list of merchandise you can buy is truly gargantuan. For example, check out this massage chair you can redeem PNC points for:
If you paid cash for this massage chair, the best deal you’d get is approximately $3,500, which is approximately 0.15 cents per point of value.
If you’re looking for smaller price-tag items, check out this Farberware microwave, which retails for $170 including tax.
This purchase will net you a value of around 0.17 cents per point.
Convert Your PNC Points Into Statement Credits
The last option is to use your PNC points as cash-back in the form of statement credits. Cash-back redemptions require a 3,000 point-minimum. However, it makes more sense to redeem PNC points above the minimum because you’ll only receive 0.13 cents per point in value if you redeem 3,000 points for a $4 statement credit.
Once you increase the number of points you use, you’ll notice that your cash-back statement credits are worth 0.20 cents per point. For example, redeeming 50,000 PNC points is worth a $100 statement credit.
PNC enables you to rack up lots of points with its generous spending categories.
However, you’ll find that the value of the points is a fraction to other points we normally think of, such as Chase Ultimate Rewards or American Express Membership Rewards, which are worth around 2 to 2.2 cents each according to our travel points and miles valuations.
On the other hand, PNC points are usually worth around 0.2 to 0.3 cents per point, which is just a small percentage of what other points are worth.
In general, we would recommend putting your credit card spending on other rewards systems, however, PNC points can be worth it if you already have a PNC relationship and you’re looking for simple credit card options that’ll earn points regardless of the spending category. Otherwise, PNC points fall flat on their reward offerings compared to the titans of the points world.
The information regarding the PNC Points® Visa® Credit Card, PNC Flex Visa Signature Credit Card, PNC Points® Visa® Business Credit Card, and PNC BusinessOptions® Visa Signature® Credit Card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.