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Best PenFed Credit Union Credit Cards of 2019

July 31, 2019
Cash Back Credit Cards, Credit Cards, Low Interest and No Fee Credit Cards, Rewards Credit Cards, Travel Credit Cards
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PenFed Credit Union, headquartered in Tysons, Virginia, specializes in serving military-affiliated members and their families, although everyone is eligible to join.

You’ll have to submit an application and open a PenFed savings account with a $5 deposit to become a member. If you don’t mind fulfilling these extra steps, you could potentially qualify for credit cards with money-saving features.

The right pick for your wallet depends on your spending habits. Take a look at our favorite PenFed credit cards.

» MORE: NerdWallet’s best credit union credit cards

Best for travel

PenFed Pathfinder Rewards American Express® Card

PenFed Pathfinder Rewards American Express® Card

PenFed Pathfinder Rewards American Express® Card

Apply Now on Pentagon Federal Credit Union's secure site
  • Recommended Credit Score
  • 720
    850
    Excellent
  • Card Details
  • Pros

    • High rewards rate
    • No annual fee
    • Intro APR period on Balance Transfers
    • No foreign transaction fee

    Cons

    • Membership required
    • Can't redeem for cash back

    Annual Fees

    $0

    APR

    • APR: 12.74% - 17.99% Variable APR
    • Penalty APR: Up to 17.99%, Variable
    • Cash Advance APR: 17.99%, Variable

    Bonus Offers

    25,000 bonus points by spending $2,500 in the first 90 days of account opening

    Intro APR

    • 0% promotional rate for 12 months on transfers made now through March 31, 2020
  • Additional Information
    • Earn 25,000 Bonus Points by spending $2,500 in the first 90 days of account opening.
    • 0% APR promo balance transfer rate for 12 months with 3% balance transfer fee now through March 31, 2020. After that, the APR for the unpaid balance and any new balance transfers will be 12.74% to 17.99%. APR will vary with the market based on Prime Rate. Subject to credit approval. If you take advantage of this balance transfer, you will immediately be charged interest on all purchases made with your credit card unless you pay the entire account balance, including balance transfers, in full each month by the payment due date.
    • Earn 4X Points on travel purchases through the PenFed Honors Advantage program. Earn 3X points on travel purchases for all other card holders
    • Earn 1.5X points on all other purchases unrelated to travel.
    • $100 Annual Air Travel Credit
    • $100 Global Entry or $85 TSA PreCheck Benefit every 5 years
    • No caps or limits on rewards. No annual or foreign transaction fees
    • Chip enabled for added security
    • Variable rate as low as 12.74% APR. Rate and offers current as of September 1, 2019 and are subject to change
    • Federally insured by NCUA.

CARD DETAILS:

Rewards:

  • 3 points back per dollar spent on travel purchases (4 points back on travel for PenFed Honors Advantage members).
  • 1.5 points back per dollar spent on all other purchases.

Welcome offer: 25,000 bonus points by spending $2,500 in the first 90 days of account opening.

Annual fee: $0.

APR: 0% promotional rate for 12 months on transfers made now through March 31, 2020, and then the ongoing APR of 12.74% - 17.99% Variable APR.

WHY WE LIKE IT:

The PenFed Pathfinder Rewards American Express® Card offers a hard-to-find combo: premium perks with a $0 annual fee. Benefits include a $100 annual air travel credit and a reimbursement for Global Entry or TSA Precheck application fees. The card also earns rich rewards on travel purchases and a rock-solid rate on everything else.

DRAWBACKS:

The card doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees, but you might experience some hiccups if you use it abroad. American Express isn’t as widely accepted globally as Visa and Mastercard.

» MORE: Full review of the PenFed Pathfinder Rewards American Express® Card

Best for gas

PenFed Platinum Rewards Visa Signature® Card

PenFed Platinum Rewards Visa Signature® Card

PenFed Platinum Rewards Visa Signature® Card

Apply Now on Pentagon Federal Credit Union's secure site
  • Recommended Credit Score
  • 720
    850
    Excellent
  • Card Details
  • Pros

    • No annual fee
    • Bonus cash back categories
    • No foreign transaction fee

    Cons

    • Membership required
    • Can't redeem for cash
    • Inconsistent point value

    Annual Fees

    $0

    APR

    • APR: 11.74% - 17.99% Variable APR
    • Penalty APR: Up to 17.99%, Variable

    Bonus Offers

    $100 bonus after spending $1,500 in purchase transactions within the first 90 days of account opening.

    Intro APR

    • 0% promotional rate for 12 months on transfers made now through March 31, 2020
  • Additional Information
    • $100 bonus after spending $1,500 in purchase transactions within the first 90 days of account opening.
    • 0% APR promo balance transfer rate for 12 months now through March 31, 2020. After that, the APR for the unpaid balance and any new balance transfers will be 11.74% to 17.99%. APR will vary w/the market based on Prime Rate. 3% balance transfer fee per transaction. Subject to credit approval. If you take advantage of this balance transfer, you will immediately be charged interest on all purchases made with your credit card unless you pay the entire account balance, including balance transfers, in full each month by the payment due date.
    • Rate and offers current as of September 1, 2019 and subject to change.
    • Earn 5 points on gas purchases at the pump. Fuel purchases for airplanes and boats do not receive cash back rewards.
    • Earn 3 points on supermarket purchases
    • Earn 1 point on all other purchases
    • No annual fee
    • No foreign transaction fees
    • No cash advance fee
    • Chip enabled for added security
    • Federally insured by NCUA
    • Variable rate as low As 11.74% APR

CARD DETAILS:

Rewards:

  • 5 points per dollar spent on gas at the pump.
  • 3 points per dollar spent on supermarket purchases.
  • 1 point per dollar on all other purchases.

Welcome offer: $100 bonus after spending $1,500 in purchase transactions within the first 90 days of account opening.

Annual fee: $0.

APR: 0% promotional rate for 12 months on transfers made now through March 31, 2020, and then the ongoing APR of 11.74% - 17.99% Variable APR.

WHY WE LIKE IT:

The PenFed Platinum Rewards Visa Signature® Card earns generous rewards on everyday categories you’re likely to use; 5X back on gas is among the best rates you can find in that category, earning this card a spot in NerdWallet’s best gas credit cards. There’s no spending cap in those bonus categories either.

DRAWBACKS:

You can redeem rewards only for merchandise, gift cards and travel — cash back is not an option. With the exception of travel redemptions, point values are a little lower than the industry standard of a penny a point, and you’ll need a minimum balance of 1,000 points to start redeeming. Note, too, that the 5X back is only on “at the pump” purchases, meaning what you buy inside an attached convenience store may not qualify.

» MORE: Full review of the PenFed Platinum Rewards Visa Signature® Card

Best for flat-rate rewards

PenFed Power Cash Rewards Visa Signature® Card

PenFed Power Cash Rewards Visa Signature® Card

PenFed Power Cash Rewards Visa Signature® Card

Apply Now on Pentagon Federal Credit Union's secure site
  • Recommended Credit Score
  • 720
    850
    Excellent
  • Card Details
  • Pros

    • High rewards rate
    • No annual fee
    • No foreign transaction fee

    Cons

    • Needs excellent credit

    Annual Fees

    $0

    APR

    • APR: 11.74% - 17.99% Variable APR
    • Penalty APR: Up to 17.99%, Variable

    Bonus Offers

    $100 bonus after spending $1,500 in purchase transactions within the first 90 days of account opening.

    Intro APR

    • 0% promotional rate for 12 months on transfers made now through March 31, 2020
  • Additional Information
    • $100 bonus after spending $1,500 in purchase transactions within the first 90 days of account opening.
    • 0% APR promo balance transfer rate for 12 months with 3% balance transfer fee now through March 31, 2020. After that, the APR for the unpaid balance and any new balance transfers will be 11.74% to 17.99%. APR will vary with the market based on Prime Rate. Subject to credit approval. If you take advantage of this balance transfer, you will immediately be charged interest on all purchases made with your credit card unless you pay the entire account balance, including balance transfers, in full each month by the payment due date.
    • Rate and offers current as of September 1, 2019 and are subject to change.
    • 1.5% unlimited cash back on all purchases
    • Flexible cash redemption options
    • No caps, limits or category restrictions on rewards
    • Earn up to 2% cash back through the PenFed Honors Advantage program
    • No annual or foreign transaction fees
    • Chip enabled for added security
    • Federally insured by NCUA
    • Variable rate as low as 11.74% APR

CARD DETAILS:

Rewards:

  • 1.5% unlimited cash back on all purchases (2% cash back for PenFed Honors Advantage members).

Welcome offer: $100 bonus after spending $1,500 in purchase transactions within the first 90 days of account opening.

Annual fee: $0.

APR: 0% promotional rate for 12 months on transfers made now through March 31, 2020, and then the ongoing APR of 11.74% - 17.99% Variable APR.

WHY WE LIKE IT:

The PenFed Power Cash Rewards Visa Signature® Card offers a decent 1.5% cash-back rate on all purchases. You can redeem cash back for statement credit or a deposit into a qualifying PenFed bank account. With no foreign transaction fees, this credit card is well-equipped for travel. As part of the Visa network, it also offers broad international merchant acceptance.

DRAWBACKS:

Other cash-back credit cards offer shinier introductory incentives such as a higher sign-up bonus and a 0% introductory annual percentage rate for purchases.

Best for low interest

PenFed Promise Visa® Card

PenFed Promise Visa® Card

PenFed Promise Visa® Card

Apply Now on Pentagon Federal Credit Union's secure site
  • Recommended Credit Score
  • 720
    850
    Excellent
  • Card Details
  • Pros

    • No late fee
    • No annual fee
    • Intro APR period on Balance Transfers
    • No foreign transaction fee

    Cons

    • No rewards
    • Needs excellent credit

    Annual Fees

    $0

    APR

    • APR: 11.74% - 17.99% Variable APR

    Bonus Offers

    $100 bonus after spending $1,500 in purchase transactions within the first 90 days of account opening

    Intro APR

    • 4.99% promotional rate for 12 months on transfers made now through March 31, 2020
  • Additional Information
    • $100 bonus after spending $1,500 in purchase transactions within the first 90 days of account opening.
    • 4.99% APR promo balance transfer rate for 12 months with no balance transfer fee now through March 31, 2020. After that, the APR for the unpaid balance and any new balance transfers will be 11.74% to 17.99%. APR will vary w/the market based on Prime Rate. Subject to credit approval. If you take advantage of this balance transfer, you will immediately be charged interest on all purchases made with your credit card unless you pay the entire account balance, including balance transfers, in full each month by the payment due date.
    • Rate and offers current as of September 1, 2019 and are subject to change.
    • Absolutely no fees
    • No annual fee
    • No late fee
    • No cash advance fee
    • No foreign transaction fees
    • Chip enabled for added security
    • Federally insured by NCUA
    • Variable rate as low as 11.74% APR

CARD DETAILS:

Rewards:

  • None.

Welcome offer: $100 bonus after spending $1,500 in purchase transactions within the first 90 days of account opening.

Annual fee: $0.

APR: 4.99% promotional rate for 12 months on transfers made now through March 31, 2020, and then the ongoing APR of 11.74% - 17.99% Variable APR.

WHY WE LIKE IT:

The PenFed Promise Visa® Card is a straightforward balance transfer option that doesn’t charge many fees. In fact, its lack of a balance transfer fee earns it a spot among NerdWallet’s best no balance transfer fee credit cards. Its low ongoing APR can also save you money if you tend to carry a balance. And there’s no penalty APR or late fee, although paying late can still affect your credit scores.

DRAWBACKS:

You won’t earn rewards. And while this card is a decent get-out-of-debt option, there’s no 0% intro APR period. You might be able to save more money and pay off debt more quickly with a balance transfer card that features all three zeroes: a $0 annual fee, a $0 balance transfer fee and a 0% introductory APR window.

» MORE: Review of the PenFed Promise Visa® Card

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