Published on June 9th, 2015 | by Chuck156
Don’t Hit that 5x NBA Card Too Hard…
Just a quick update on the BBVA NBA card which is currently earning 5x everywhere.
- BBVA NBA card earns 5x everywhere twice a year.
- The card now comes with a $100 signup bonus and a temporary offer which makes it fee-free for life.
- More info on the exact timing of the 5x promo and other details on applying for and receiving the card.
- Tips for maximizing the 5x categories
Readers have pointed out numerous problems with the idea of earning 5x everywhere in a scalable way.
- BBVA is freezing accounts after large purchases and holding them up for review. Every single report we’ve seen so far indicates that large purchases are triggering an account freeze. Even just a single large purchase of over $1,000 has triggered the freeze for some. The credit card is put under a 48-hour review. In actuality, it often takes longer as they don’t count weekends.
- There appears to be a $5,000 daily limit on purchases. This is particularly annoying for purchasing high amounts of Amex gift cards. The only option being to create multiple smaller orders which, of course, isn’t optimal. One reader reports being able to make more than $5,000 of purchases in one day, though it was split up into multiple smaller transactions.
- There are a couple of reports (1, 2) of BBVA reps claiming that the 5x offer only applies for swiped transactions and not for online purchases. The wording on the website is, “5x on all purchases” and it seems to include online transactions as well. That said, there is a small risk here, particularly when purchasing gift cards online (e.g. Amex gift cards). If the points don’t post automatically, it will be hard to fight for the points since they can quote the Terms which state that cash-equivalents are not eligible for points. [See also this comment from Kenny.]
Another interesting thing is that one reader mentions getting written confirmation from BBVA that the 5x rewards goes through June 20, that’s two days longer than I heard from the CSR. We haven’t gotten any more clarity on the issue yet.
Options Going Forward
The biggest issue here, aside from the natural dislike of getting shutdown, is that you’ll lose all rewards. So if we’d consider it 50-50 on getting shutdown, we couldn’t value those rewards at more than 2.5%. More likely, I think, is that the accounts won’t get shutdown and will eventually be reinstated. If anyone knows of actual shutdowns, let us know in the comments.
One possibility is to try doing multiple small transactions with the card. It’s unclear if this will trigger a freeze or possibly they only get tipped off by large transactions. We haven’t yet seen any reports of freezes for purchases of less than $1,000 and it’s possible that the large transaction is what’s triggering the review.
We mentioned the idea of prepaying bills such as cellular and insurance as a way of racking up spend on the card with 5x rewards. This approach would seem safe since it would be hard for them to justify shutting you down for it for such a thing. Even if there’s a temporary freeze it should hopefully end okay. Maybe better to do multiple smaller transactions over the next 10 days, if possible.
Ultimately, it’s probably not worth putting huge charges on the card. Better use it for as much ordinary spend as we can over the next 10-12 days and hopefully get some value from the ordinary charges. This will allow us to get the $100 signup bonus and hopefully an additional moderate value during the promotional periods of 5x rewards.
I’m honestly surprised that their making problems so quickly; usually it takes time for them to see what’s going on and to try stopping it or limiting it. (How many years did it take Amex until they limited the Old Blue Cash card?) It’s possible that the freezes are just routine BBVA practice unrelated to the 5x aspect.