Posted by Chuck on February 28, 2017
Credit Cards

Published on February 28th, 2017 | by Chuck


Sallie Mae Neutering their 5% Card Starting Tomorrow (March 1st)

Just reposting this to remind people that this is the last day for 5%.

Sallie Mae is sending out a letter that their 5% card will be changed over to become a Commence Mastercard on March 1, 2017. “With the new Commence Mastercard, you’ll earn 2% cash back on grocery store and utility (cable, phone, internet, electric and gas) purchases and 1% cash back on all other purchases.”

The Sallie Mae card from Barclay offers 5% back (capped) on gas, grocery, and bookstore purchases. Amazon has been coding as a bookstore making it one of the best cards for Amazon purchases.

The card hasn’t been available for signup for quite some time, but it’s been working for existing cardholders. After March 1, 2017 all 5% categories will be gone and it will be an unattractive card which offers 1% everywhere and 2% on grocery and utilities.


Hat tip to davidknowsbeston r/churning

52 Responses to Sallie Mae Neutering their 5% Card Starting Tomorrow (March 1st)

  1. Wesley Murray says:

    Another one bites the dust, and Barclays doesn’t have any other attractive cards either

    • DrRyan_L says:

      I agree….Barclays has nothing to offer anymore. I think that the Upromise card still has some good returns, but I feel like Upromise forces Barclays to keep the rewards high.

      • IOException says:

        Upromise never pays out, lol.

        • Kevin says:

          This. I have pending purchases from Upromise from literally August that have still not paid out. and I could understand if they were huge or weird purchases, but they owe me $1 or $2.

          I understand verification but after more than 4 months you’d think they’d just fund the few bucks to please the customers, even if they hadn’t received it from the merchant yet. But nope, sitting “pending”.

  2. Aahz says:

    Lol I JUST sent Will a copy of the letter, then came back, refreshed and your post had been made 🙂

    Definitely a sad day 🙁

  3. Joey says:

    this is a TERRIBLE news! this was such an underrated card for so long and flew under the radar that way and that is why it worked so well for me 🙁

  4. LJ says:

    Wow. Guess I’ll take the plunge on using a balance transfer since their taking away the best benefits anyway.

  5. Dani says:

    I hope BBR isnt next.

  6. Anna says:

    Does Barclay allow card conversion? I’m considering Priceline card. The new Sallie Mae is useless since I have Citi Double Cash for 2% on everything.

  7. Eric says:

    This is sad but not surprising. I just cashed out my rewards recently. Now I’ll have to make sure not to cash out again until March as I’ll probably never reach the minimum requirement again as the card will be worthless.

    • Mist Soalar says:

      Yeah there’s no good card from Barclays these days. Some ppl will end up leaving orphan points on their dead account.

    • HelloMiguel says:

      Same boat. I also won’t cash out until the last possible day on 28-02-2017. Gotta make sure I hit the $25 minimum :/ Then I’ll probably just close the line.

      • anthonyjh21 says:

        I didn’t even realize it was $25 minimum. I’ll be sure to let it build since I just cashed out a few days ago. I’ll probably buy some amazon gift cards too to load my balance 🙁

  8. James Crowe says:

    Is there a product change opportunity?

  9. David says:

    I was kind of anticipating this for quite some time now. It’s surprising to me that it actually took them this long to do that. It was fun while it lasted… I guess the next best card right now would be the Cash+ or the UMB Simply Rewards.

  10. 007 says:

    Actually, I guess I am taking this for granted, but do we know that ALL customers will get this letter? My mail can be a bit slow but I haven’t gotten it yet… I am in TX in case that helps.

  11. arch says:

    Does the new card remain under the Barclay name or is Commence a different company?

  12. Josh M says:

    So what is the best alternative for grocery spend now? (I dont really think the BCP is worth the AF)

  13. Daniel says:

    Annnnd my favorite card is gone. Sad day indeed.

  14. anthonyjh21 says:

    NOOOOOOO!!! These were by far my favorite cards. I write “these” because I had two 5% cards between the wife and I. This one really hurts because as everyone knows it was 5% grocery but it also worked at Walmart and Target (ones here at least). This was a huge drawback of the Amex BC card, being that it works only in traditional grocery stores. The 5% Amazon is going to hurt too, but not nearly as bad as grocery. I can still get 5% but it’ll be a bit more legwork.

    This was definitely a kick to the nuts and not what I wanted to read before bed. Excuse me while I go lay in bed while my mind buzzes with ways to continue to get my 5.5% cash back (CB -> Upromise -> HYS).

    • QueenoftheSkyPesos says:

      If it makes you feel better, you can get 5% at Target with the Target Red Debit card.
      No hard pull since it just takes the money from your bank account.
      You can get discounted Sam’s Club gift cards at Sam’s Club (and additional 5% if using a “Wholesale Store” category bonus) and spend them at Walmart.

      • anthonyjh21 says:

        Yeah, I have the red card but I’m sadly not even sure if it’ll work since they banned my target account a while back (buying too many eBay gc) .

        I don’t have a Sam’s membership but it’s funny you brought that up because earlier today I had the thought of doing a fake online checkout to see if they’d charge me the 10% non-member fee if I were to buy a gift card. I live in California and if my memory serves me correct there was a DoC post last year about certain States not being charged the 10%.

  15. Chris says:

    Reminds me of how Citi nerfed the Forward card. Was great for putting all my Amazon and dining on it until they turned all the 5% categories into 2%. I’m still deciding what to do with all the ThankYou points I racked up, as some of it starts to expire in a year. I might just cash it out as a “student loan check”.

  16. kevin nguyen says:

    Well, it was fun while it lasted. I like how they show bonus points in transaction history next to the amount; very straight forward and simplicity unlike other banks. Any 5% grocery CC out there except from AmEx EveryDay Preferred?

  17. Mark says:

    Well, back to my BankAmerica Rewards card. At least I’ll get 3% on gas with it. Combine it with 5% quarter on gas from Discover It.

    • Mser says:

      You can get much bigger gas discounts buying gas gift cards. 7-8%.SVM has regular sales on eBay. Use a 2% card and bump it to 9-10%.

  18. Alana says:

    I had my mom sign up for this credit card last summer because it was pretty straight forward and easy for her to understand. What fee-free card should I move her over to at this point? She mainly shops at Target, Walmart and Amazon. She also buys gas and eats her fair share of 5 dollar footlongs.

    She does have the Target Red Card and Amazon Store Visa. Thanks for any advice. 🙂

  19. Ugly says:


    2016 can rot in hell. #%^+%

    • Latoya Jackson says:

      Lol!!! I agree. This year for me can KISS IT. Especially since my new construction home just collapsed. Thousands of dollars lost. Lost time and energy through scammers. Your comment sums up my 2016.

  20. XP1 says:

    Isn’t today the last day for 5% spend? Repost a reminder?

    • anthonyjh21 says:

      Hopefully many people converted this card to the Barclay Rewards card with the 10k ($100) bonus for $1k in spend. There was a thread about this on reddit and a few mentions in other related threads as well. I’m guessing it’s too late to do this but maybe not since technically today is the last day to use it. Worth a shot in my opinion. I have $2k in spend now to earn $200 (wife and I).

      I spent about 45-50 minutes in total so that part is YMMV. My call was 5 minutes while the wife was 40ish (3 calls). Just depends on who you get and their knowledge. The front line support can’t do the PC though so don’t even try. Just ask for a supervisor and try to get transferred to retention, but be careful not to tell them you want to cancel the card because they may do it (like Citi) without any hesitation. Many did say “cancel” but there was at least 1-2 data points of them shutting the account down.

      Relevant threads if interested:

      • Fiby says:

        Thanks for the reminder! I had seen this thread on reddit and added it to my todo list but I had forgotten.

        In addition to the 10k points for $1k spend, I also got an offer of $50 statement credit if I spend $1000 a month for the next three months. I’m pretty sure this was just randomly targeted towards me. (technically I had a choice between that and a promo APR but I stopped paying attention to the details of that offer).

      • MaryJ says:

        Sorry for dumbass question, but what is PC?

      • Gnarly Cow says:

        I just tried to convert this card, but it was already too late. The automated system greeted me with the title Commence credit card customer service. It was clearly an oversees call center, and the rep said a conversion is not an option. I then tried calling their credit department, and I got transferred to a US-based call center (which could be the retention department); the rep put me on hold and checked, but then told me that I had to wait a year before my card can be converted to another card like the Arrival. Apparently, the conversion to Commence already took effect and that reset the clock.

        • Stonewell says:

          I had procrastinated until today, but was able to still make the switch to the Rewards MC just now. Just ask to be transferred to an Account Specialist to make your request. The Relationship Rep you get initially will not be able to do it. Good luck. 🙂

          • Ferris says:

            I was also able to make this change today.

            10,000 points after $1,000 spend and also $50 statement credit after spending 1K+ for 3 months. That’s an additional 3.5% cashback on the last 2 months, though I’m unsure if I will do it as I will probably do a few sign-up bonuses.

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