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Best PenFed Credit Cards for Military Members

Pentagon Federal (PenFed) Credit Union offers several credit cards catered specifically to military personnel. Here are the best PenFed cards to consider.
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Pen Fed credit cards

Pentagon Federal Credit Union (PenFed) specializes in serving military members, military-affiliated government employees and their families. 

PenFed offers competitive mortgage rates, VA loans, HELOC and student loans. The credit union also provides several credit cards catered to military personnel, which provide a range of rewards and benefits.

PenFed Credit Cards For Military Members: Overview

Active-duty, reserve, honorably discharged and retired service members automatically qualify to become PenFed Honors Advantage members, which includes 2% cash-back on all purchases.

Getting a credit card with a military credit union has its perks. For example, PenFed waives annual fees for all service members under the Servicemembers’ Civil Relief Act

Here are some of the best PenFed credit cards for military members and how you can qualify for them. 

Power Cash

The PenFed Power Cash credit card is a good option for military service members, wherever they are in their careers (active duty, reserve, honorably discharged or retired).

  • Fees: PenFed’s Power Cash credit card has no annual fees, even if you’re not on active duty. It also doesn’t charge any foreign transaction fees.
  • Interest: Cardholders will pay between 14.99% and 17.99% purchase variable APR, which means your interest rate fluctuates based on index interest rates – such as prime rates located in the Wall Street Journal. You can read up on these details in your cardholder agreement.
  • Rewards: Military members in the Honors Advantage Program who have a PenFed Power Cash Rewards Visa can receive  2% cash-back, or $600 per year if they spend $2500 per month. Standard cardholders earn 1.5% back, or $450 per year if they spend the same amount.
  • Sign-Up Bonus: When you spend $1,500 in the first 90 days of being a cardholder, you’ll receive a $100 bonus.

Pathfinder

PenFed also offers the Pathfinder card, another good option for service members.

  • Fees: The annual fee for the Pathfinder card is $95, but PenFed waives it for military members when they become PenFed Honors Advantage members. There are no foreign transaction fees associated with this card.
  • Interest: You will pay 14.99-17.99% variable APR on this credit card.
  • Rewards: PenFed Honors Advantage members get four points for every dollar spent on all travel categories and 1.5  points per dollar on all other purchases. Cardholders also get TSA Precheck and Global Entry fee reimbursement, discounted priority pass lounge access and a $100 ancillary domestic air travel credit you can use for baggage fees, lounge access and in-flight purchases.
  • Sign-Up Bonus: You can get 50,000 bonus points when you spend $3,000 in the first 90 days of being a cardholder.

Platinum Rewards

PenFed markets its Platinum Visa Rewards card as a “gas and grocery card.”  

  • Fees: The Platinum Visa card does not have an annual fee and does not charge foreign transaction fees.
  • Interest: Interest rates for this card fall between 13.49% and 17.99% purchase variable APR.
  • Rewards: Rewards for Platinum cardholders include five points for every dollar spent at gas or electric vehicle stations. You will get three points on the dollar when paying at supermarkets, restaurants and on TV, radio, cable and streaming services. Cardholders can receive one point per dollar on all other purchases.
  • Sign-Up Bonus: You can get 1,500 bonus points when you spend $1,500 in the first 90 days. 

Gold

PenFed’s Gold Visa has the lowest credit card interest rate available through the bank.

  • Fees: No annual fees or foreign transaction fees are associated with the Gold Visa.
  • Interest: With good credit, your interest rate could be as low as 7.49% purchase-variable APR. But, if you miss a payment, your APR may increase to as high as a 17.99% non-variable rate.
  • Rewards: This card doesn’t offer any points or cash-back rewards, but you will get access to roadside dispatch and travel accident insurance.
  • Sign-Up Bonus: By spending $1,500 in the first 90 days, you will receive a $100 credit.

Eligibility Requirements to Qualify

PenFed requires credit card applicants to have a credit score of 700 or higher.

PenFed Credit Cards Pros and Cons

Some Penfed credit card benefits and perks may serve you better than others, but they all offer competitive rewards for military personnel and their families, like no annual fees, no foreign transaction fees and increased rewards points for some cards.

Pros

Some Penfed credit card benefits and perks may serve you better than others, but they all offer competitive rewards for military personnel and their families, like no annual fees, no foreign transaction fees and increased rewards points for some cards.

Military PenFed cardholders will also get all of the benefits of being a PenFed Honors Advantage program member. 

Cons

You have to take a few extra steps to become an Honors Advantage member to receive some benefits, like annual fee waivers. 

To become a PenFed Honors Advantage member, identify your military status in your credit card application. PenFed will reach out to request supporting documents, including copies of your military orders or discharge papers.

Is the PenFed Credit Card Worth It?

PenFed is used to working with military personnel, so it’s easy for military members to claim benefits and receive annual fee waivers. PenFed cards also offer valuable travel rewards, including no TSA precheck fees and decent flat-rate rewards programs with up to 2% back on all purchases.

Your personal needs and spending habits ultimately determine whether a PenFed credit card is right for you. 

Here are the best PenFed cards for specific rewards that may fit your lifestyle:

Best PenFed Credit Card for Travel

If you travel regularly, the PenFed Pathfinder card is your best option. The Pathfinder offers the most travel perks of any of PenFed’s cards. You will receive an annual $100 domestic travel credit, TSA Precheck fee reimbursement and Priority Pass Airport Lounge membership to access more than 1,300 worldwide travel lounges. Anyone doing a lot of travel, domestic or abroad, would do well with this card.

Best PenFed Credit Card for Gas

With prices rising at the pump, cash-back on fuel purchases can mean significant savings. The PenFed Platinum Rewards card is the best in PenFed’s offerings if you’re trying to save money on gas and other daily purchases. Cardholders get five points for every dollar spent on gas or electric vehicle charging. 

Best PenFed Credit Card for Flat-Rate Rewards

PenFed’s Power Cash card is the credit union’s best offer for people looking for flat-rate rewards. Standard cardholders receive 1.5% cashback on all purchases. Military cardholders can get 2% back through the Honors Advantage program. So, no matter where you are swiping your card, you will get your money back. If you’re looking for a card solely for rewards points, this is a fantastic option.

Joining PenFed and Applying for a PenFed Card

You can apply for PenFed credit cards on the PenFed website. If you qualify, you’ll receive approval within seconds. Just provide your contact information, date of birth, social security number and income information.

You don’t have to be a PenFed member to apply for one of their credit cards. But if you want to bank with PenFed, you only need $5 to open an account.


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About Tamila McDonald

Tamila McDonald is a U.S. Army veteran with 20 years of service, including five years as a military financial advisor. After retiring from the Army, she spent eight years as an AFCPE-certified personal financial advisor for wounded warriors and their families. Now, MacDonald is a freelance personal finance writer covering everything from bankruptcy to taxes.

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