PenFed Pathfinder is Now a Visa: New Features, but Also a New $95 Fee

Melissa LambarenaDec 22, 2020
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After taking a long break from applications, PenFed's popular Pathfinder travel credit card is back with some new features — and also an annual fee.

Formerly known as the PenFed Pathfinder Rewards American Express® Card, the card has switched payment networks from AmEx to Visa and is now the PenFed Pathfinder Rewards Visa Signature Card.

Perhaps the most significant change beyond the name? The card's annual fee is now $95, instead of $0, unless your military status or Access America checking account makes you eligible for the Honors Advantage program. For those members, PenFed waives the annual fee. That previous price had been a standout feature for the card, especially since it offered certain valuable travel credits and perks not typically found on cards with no annual fee.

Still, even with the new fee, the card's incentives can outweigh the cost of carrying it. Here’s a breakdown of the card’s features before and after the relaunch:

PenFed Pathfinder Rewards American Express® Card (old version)

PenFed Pathfinder Rewards Visa Signature Card (new version)

Annual fee

$0

$95 (waived for Honors Advantage members)

Bonus

Before the card took a long break from accepting applications, it offered new cardholders 25,000 bonus points after spending $2,500 in the first 90 days of opening an account.

50,000 bonus points when you spend $3,000 in the first 90 days.

Rewards

  • 3 points per dollar spent on travel purchases (4 points if you're a PenFed Honors Advantage Member).

  • 1.5 points back on everything else.

  • 3 points per dollar spent on travel purchases (4 points if you're a PenFed Honors Advantage Member).

  • 1.5 points back on everything else.

Perks

  • A $100 annual air travel credit, good for things like baggage fees, lounge access, and onboard food and drinks.

  • A $100 Global Entry or $85 TSA Precheck statement credit.

  • A $100 annual domestic air ancillary travel statement credit.

  • A $100 Global Entry or $85 TSA Precheck statement credit.

  • Priority Pass airport lounge access for $32 per visit.

Aside from the annual fee, the card's two other major changes include a more valuable sign-up bonus, plus the Priority Pass airport lounge access benefit. The card's move to the Visa network also means it comes with side benefits including baggage delay reimbursement, rental car coverage, extended warranty protection and lost luggage reimbursement, to name a few. (PenFed notes that existing holders of the original American Express card have already been transitioned to the new Visa version.)

To get the PenFed Pathfinder Rewards Visa Signature Card, you'll still need to join the PenFed Credit Union. That's relatively easy to do, but it does require certain steps, such as opening a PenFed savings account.

The fee-averse can still find no-annual-fee travel credit cards that don't require membership with a bank or credit union, although benefits and perks for these cards won't be as rich.