Navy Federal Flagship Rewards Review: Rich Travel Perks, Low Cost

The card offers high ongoing rewards and generous benefits for a modest annual fee, but you must be eligible to join the credit union to get it.

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Our Take

4.3

NerdWallet rating 
The bottom line:

The card packs a lot of value for a comparatively low cost, making it an excellent and cost-effective choice for travelers.

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Navy Federal Credit Union Flagship Rewards Credit Card
Navy Federal Credit Union® Visa Signature® Flagship Rewards Credit Card
Annual fee
$49
Regular APR
11.49%-18.00%, Variable
Intro APR
N/A
Rec. credit score
690-850 (Good - Excellent)

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • High rewards rate

  • New cardholder bonus offer

  • Flexible rewards redemption

Cons

  • Must be a member/customer

  • Has annual fee

Alternate Pick: Rich rewards with no annual fee
Citi® Double Cash Card
NerdWallet rating 
Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer
2% cash back

The Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer earns a net 2% cash back on all spending: 1% when you buy and another 1% when you pay your bill. The annual fee for this card is $0.

Read our review

Compare to Other Cards

NerdWallet rating 
NerdWallet rating 
NerdWallet rating 
Annual fee

$95

Annual fee

$0

Annual fee

$250

Regular APR

17.49%-24.49% Variable APR

Regular APR

13.49%-24.49% Variable APR

Regular APR

18.24%-25.24% Variable APR

Intro APR

N/A

Intro APR

0% intro APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers

Intro APR

N/A

Recommended Credit Score
Recommended Credit Score
Recommended Credit Score
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Full Review

When it comes to travel credit cards, you typically get what you pay for. But the Navy Federal Credit Union® Visa Signature® Flagship Rewards Credit Card bucks that trend, offering benefits to rival those on cards with much higher annual fees.

For a modest annual fee of $49, you'll earn high ongoing rewards, not to mention a fat sign-up bonus that easily outstrips the cost of card ownership, plus plenty of travel-friendly side perks. For cost-conscious travelers looking for flexible rewards, it's an excellent choice.

One potential stumbling block: You have to join the Navy Federal Credit Union to apply, which may be a problem if you don't meet the eligibility criteria or just don't want the extra legwork.

Navy Federal Credit Union® Visa Signature® Flagship Rewards Credit Card: Basics

Card type: Travel.

Annual fee: $49.

Sign-up bonus: Get our Flagship credit card and earn 30,000 bonus points (a $300 value) when you spend $3,500 within 90 days of opening an account. Plus, you’ll also get a year of free Amazon Prime® (a $139 value). Expires on Aug. 31, 2022..

Rewards: 

  • 3 points per dollar spent on travel purchases.

  • 2 points per dollar spent on everything else.

Points are worth 1 cent each and can be redeemed for things like travel, cash back, gift cards or merchandise.

APR: Ongoing APR of 11.49%-18.00%, Variable APR.

Foreign transaction fee: None.

Other benefits: 

Benefits of the Navy Federal Credit Union® Visa Signature® Flagship Rewards Credit Card

Big ongoing rewards

Nowadays, if you have good credit, it's easy to find a card that earns 2 points per dollar on all purchases. But it's rare to find one that also earns elevated rewards on specific bonus categories. That's where the Navy Federal Credit Union® Visa Signature® Flagship Rewards Credit Card really shines. On top of that elevated base rate, you'll also earn 3 points per dollar spent on travel purchases.

Navy Federal also broadly defines travel to include things like hotel stays, airfare, train tickets, rideshare services, parking expenses, commuter transportation, amusement parks and golf courses. Points are worth 1 cent apiece.

Global Entry or TSA Precheck reimbursement

The Navy Federal Credit Union® Visa Signature® Flagship Rewards Credit Card is one of several travel cards that offer a statement credit for Global Entry or TSA Precheck application fees. But it's also among the least expensive of those kinds of cards, in terms of annual fees. If you are looking for that kind of perk, this card offers a cheap way to get it.

Drawbacks and alternatives

Annual fee

It's comparatively modest: $49. But you might find the idea of paying anything for card ownership unpalatable. Depending on your spending patterns, you may do better with a travel card that charges no annual fee, such as the Discover it® Miles. It offers 1.5 miles per dollar spent on all purchases. Miles are worth 1 cent each when redeemed against travel purchases.

Credit union membership is required

If you're not a current or former member of the military or a Department of Defense employee, or if you don't have the required family connections, you can't get this card. And even if you do meet the qualification criteria, you may find it cumbersome to join the credit union first just to apply for a credit card. If you're looking for a low maintenance travel card, consider the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card, which earns 2 miles per dollar on purchases. It also comes with a Global Entry or TSA Precheck application fee reimbursement, but you will have to pay an annual fee of $95.

No transfer partners

With the Navy Federal Credit Union® Visa Signature® Flagship Rewards Credit Card, you have plenty of redemption options: You'll get 1 cent per point whether you use points to book travel through Navy Federal's Rewards Service Center or to redeem for cash back. But you can't transfer points to specific airline or hotel programs.

If you want a card with a solid rewards rate, similarly flexible redemption options and transfer partners, consider the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card. If you book travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, each point you earn is worth 1.25 cents a piece. But you also have the option to transfer your points to several loyalty programs. Using your points this way can potentially score you an even higher value per point.

For a look at how these cards compare versus the competition, see NerdWallet's roundup of the best credit cards to get.

Is the Navy Federal Credit Union® Visa Signature® Flagship Rewards Credit Card right for you?

If you're looking for a travel credit card with rich benefits at a low cost, yes. The stellar rewards rates, generous sign-up bonus and travel perks make the Navy Federal Credit Union® Visa Signature® Flagship Rewards Credit Card a steal for the price.

Methodology

NerdWallet reviews credit cards with an eye toward both the quantitative and qualitative features of a card. Quantitative features are those that boil down to dollars and cents, such as fees, interest rates, rewards (including earning rates and redemption values) and the cash value of benefits and perks. Qualitative factors are those that affect how easy or difficult it is for a typical cardholder to get good value from the card. They include such things as the ease of application, simplicity of the rewards structure, the likelihood of using certain features, and whether a card is well-suited to everyday use or is best reserved for specific purchases. Our star ratings serve as a general gauge of how each card compares with others in its class, but star ratings are intended to be just one consideration when a consumer is choosing a credit card. Learn how NerdWallet rates credit cards.