If you’re not familiar with PenFed, it’s probably in your best interest to get to know them. Short for Pentagon Federal Credit Union, PenFed has recently launched a variety of top-notch rewards credit cards including the PenFed Premium Travel Rewards American Express® Card. This card, in addition to other rewards opportunities mentioned later, is offering new cardholders 20,000 bonus rewards points after signing up and making at least $2,500 in purchases during the first three months of card ownership.
The ongoing rewards program for the PenFed Premium Travel Rewards American Express® Card is simply constructed. It has one big benefit that most other issuers cannot compete with.
- 5 points for every dollar spent on airfare
- 1 point for every dollar spent on all other purchases
Five points for every dollar spent on airfare is a biggie. No other credit card on the market today offers such a benefit. In fact, no other card offers beyond triple points per $1 spent on airfare. If you fly, and you fly often, there is no better way to pay than using your PenFed Premium Travel Rewards American Express® Card to do so.
PenFed Travel Rewards Pricing Details
Perhaps the most overlooked benefit of becoming a member of Pentagon Federal Credit Union is the interest rates they provide members. In today’s credit card world, the general spread of interest rates is between 15% and 25%. The PenFed Premium Travel Rewards American Express® Card offers you an a variable interest rate of 9.74% – 17.99% depending on your credit worthiness.
I understand that going into the thought of a credit card application, you do not plan to pay high interest rates. However reality begs to differ sometimes, and it’s nice to own a card with a low interest rate vs. a card with a much higher one. Also included is a 0% intro APR on balance transfers for 12 months (3% BT fee applies). If you need a cash advance, the interest rate for that is 17.99%, as is the penalty APR.
Most importantly, there is no annual fee to own the PenFed Premium Travel Rewards American Express® Card. When you run a search for high end travel rewards credit cards, you’ll notice most carry an annual fee in the $95 range. That fee can cut into your bonuses which can leave a bad taste. This credit card, while offering a modest bonus and top line travel rewards program does it fee free.
What’s Not To Like About the PenFed Travel Rewards Card
The primary drawback to owning the PenFed Premium Travel Rewards American Express® Card is that you must be a member of the PenFed Credit Union. This is done if you or a member of your family is associated with the Military or Red Cross. If that doesn’t apply, a one-time $17 donation will allow you to become a PenFed member.
The secondary drawback is that the card, while good all around has only one single primary WOW benefit. Earning 5 points for every dollar spent on airfare is big time when you consider those points transfer at the rate of 100 = $1. This essentially means this credit card offers 5% cash back on airfare purchases. Toss in the $200 up-front value bonus for signing up and you have yourself a great airfare credit card. Using the PenFed Premium Travel Rewards American Express® Card elsewhere … not so much.
Depending if you value the importance of using a credit card, you may consider the $20 donation too expensive to carry the PenFed Premium Travel Rewards American Express® Card 20,000 Point Bonus. However, for those that spend a lot of money each year traveling, having a card that rewards you to the tune of 5x points AND bonus points can quickly outweigh a small donation. If you’re in need of a good balance transfer or travel rewards credit card, seriously consider the PenFed Premium Travel Rewards American Express® Card.