Advertiser Disclosure

PenFed Launches Powerhouse Travel Card, With No Annual Fee

Jan. 16, 2018
Credit Cards, Promos, Travel Credit Cards
At NerdWallet, we strive to help you make financial decisions with confidence. To do this, many or all of the products featured here are from our partners. However, this doesn’t influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own.

PenFed Credit Union has launched a new credit card that offers a multitude of premium perks and a $0 annual fee. 

The PenFed Pathfinder Rewards American Express® Card takes over for the discontinued PenFed Premium Rewards Travel American Express card, which offered high-tier rewards only for airline purchases. With the PenFed Pathfinder Rewards American Express® Card, PenFed members can now get rewarded for most travel spending. 

Cardholders can earn 3 points per $1 spent on travel purchases and 1.5 points per $1 spent on all other purchases. If you’re an active or retired military member or an Access America checking account holder, you can earn 4 points per $1 spent on travel purchases and 1.5 points per $1 spent on everything else.

Qualifying travel purchases include airfare, cruises, hotels and car rentals, as well as everyday transportation such as taxis, Uber, Lyft, buses and tolls.

The PenFed Pathfinder Rewards American Express® Card also offers:

  • A sign-up bonus: 25,000 bonus points by spending $2,500 in the first 90 days of account opening.
  • A $100 annual Travel Fund Benefit.
  • A $100 Global Entry or $85 TSA PreCheck benefit every five years.
  • No foreign transaction fees.
  • 0% promotional rate for 12 months on transfers made now through September 30, 2019, and then the ongoing APR of 12.99% - 17.99% Variable.
  • No caps or limits on rewards.

Travel credits are rare for a card with a $0 annual fee. The Pathfinder’s $100 annual Travel Fund Benefit redeems at 11 participating U.S. airlines as a credit for checked bags, in-flight food, itinerary changes and more. The $100 Global Entry or $85 TSA PreCheck benefit helps you speed through the airport security screening process. Future cardholders planning to travel with this card should consider having a backup because American Express is not as widely accepted as other networks like Visa or Mastercard.

Points redeem for travel, gift cards, merchandise and more in the PenFed Rewards Redemption Center. The value of points varies based on redemption options. Generally, travel earns the highest value.

The card offers many American Express travel and retail benefits such as roadside assistance, travel accident insurance, extended warranty, purchase protection and others. Cardholders can also enjoy travel privileges that include special rates, up to $300 in shipboard credits on cruises, and $100 off qualifying air and hotel packages. 

The card is available to PenFed members only, but getting your foot in the door isn’t that hard. Among the ways to qualify for membership:

  • You are an active or retired member of the U.S. military
  • You are employed by the federal government or a qualifying organization
  • You live or work at an eligible location
  • You are a relative or a housemate of someone who’s eligible
  • You make a one-time donation of $17 to Voices for America’s Troops or the National Military Family Association, nonprofits that provide support for service members and their families

About the author