Every now and then I like to take a jab at PNC bank for having a needlessly complicated rewards program, but no more! KeyBank Rewards is the new champion of lousy rewards programs. This one requires extensive work with a spreadsheet.
If you take a look at the rewards language on Keybank’s website, you see this:
- Earn 1 reward point for every $6 spent in signature debit net purchases and PIN/POS net purchases.
- Earn 1 reward point for every $1 spent in KeyBank Platinum MasterCard Credit Card purchases**
- Earn 5 reward points for every $1 spent in Key2More Rewards MasterCard Credit Card purchases**
I know that debit card rewards are weaker than credit card rewards, but something is out of whack when the standard credit card reward is 30 times that of the debit card. That’s just weird, KeyBank, and you ought to be ashamed of yourself.
So just looking at that, we know that either debit cards are worthless from a rewards standpoint or that the KeyBank credit card is the greatest deal in the history of credit cards. How do we find out?
Let’s have a look at the KeyBank Rewards Guide! Maybe we can find clarity and guidance there:
..or maybe not. That’s only part of it the guide, by the way–there’s more. The guide actually makes things more confusing: 10 points per dollar for the Private Bank credit card? A 60X rewards gap between debit and credit? A birthday bonuses? ATM deposit bonuses? Intriguing! But confusing! How rewarding is all of this anyway?
Let’s try the KeyBank Rewards site itself. If you browse their rewards catalog itself, you can see how much it takes to redeem for certain items. Looking at the Target gift cards, we see the following denominations and redemption amounts (I’ve added in the value per point):
I haven’t had calculus or pre-calc or whatever it is they teach limits in for twenty years or so, so pardon me if my math is sloppy.
Anyway: let’s re-do that KeyBank rewards guide page with a value of one fifth of a cent per point. How does it look now?
So if you’re willing to put up with KeyBank’s program for some reason (for example, if you’re a KeyBank executive’s mother and you don’t want him to feel bad), you can get a whopping 1% back on your credit card purchases. (Or 2% if you’re wealthy enough for their Private Bank). And if you’re willing to jump through a lot of hoops, you can get $20/month back from the incentives on their deposit accounts. It’s probably not worth your time, unless you’re very clever and/or efficient.