The PenFed Pathfinder Rewards Visa Signature® Card* offers great rewards, a welcome bonus, and built-in travel benefits for those who qualify for PenFed Credit Union. The good news is that, unlike many military-based credit unions, PenFed allows anyone to join. The card has an annual fee of $95* for existing Honors Advantage members, but the fee is waived for PenFed Honors Advantage members. PenFed members can join the Honors Advantage program by having a PenFed checking account or serving in the military.
Included travel benefits include $100 in domestic flight credit, up to $100 in credit to cover your Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee, and free Priority Pass Lounge membership (though you must pay per visit). Typically, you’ll only find benefits like this on cards that cost hundreds of dollars a year.
The card also comes with a 0% introductory interest rate on balance transfers for 12 months, followed by a non-variable APR of 17.99%. Balance transfers have a 3% fee per transaction. A variable APR of 16.49% to 17.99% applies to purchases.
At first glance
- $95 *Waiver of existing annual fee for Honors Advantage members
- 50,000 Rewards Points after spending $3,000 in the first 90 days
- PenFed Honors Advantage members earn 4 points per dollar on all travel categories, 3 points per dollar on all travel categories, and 1.5 points per dollar on all other purchases
- Up to $100 in TSA PreCheck or Global Entry application fee credits
- Up to $100 in domestic flight incidental credit
- Robust travel protection, including travel delay and baggage protection
- 0% Balance Transfer Promotion APR for 12 months.
PenFed Honors Advantage members earn 4 points per dollar in all travel categories, 3 points per dollar in all travel categories, and 1.5 points per dollar on all other purchases* with the PenFed Pathfinder® Rewards Visa Signature® Card*.
The PenFed Pathfinder® Rewards Visa Signature® Card* includes a welcome bonus: 50,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 in the first 90 days.
Points earned with the PenFed Pathfinder® Rewards Visa Signature® Card* can be redeemed for gift cards, travel or shopping. Cardholders must visit the Rewards Catalog to view available redemptions. Redeemed points are worth between 0.85 and 1 cent per point, depending on redemption.
To determine the reward potential of the PenFed Pathfinder® Rewards Visa Signature® Card*, we reviewed elevated reward tiers and calculated the average US household spending on those tiers. Forbes Advisor uses data from multiple government agencies to determine basic income and average spending for different categories. 70% of working-class workers bring in $107,908 per year, and we used this figure to estimate spending in each category.
Estimates that our sample households spend a total of $32,072 annually on credit cards. We also estimate that our sample home will spend $3,762 on travel. This spending model nets you a total of 39,576 points per year. When redeemed for the full value of 1 cent per point, these points can be worth as much as $395.76. They are worth at least $336.39.
PenFed Honors Advantage members earn 1 extra point per dollar of travel purchases, for an additional 3,762 points per year.
More card benefits
- $0 Fraud Liability: Cardholders are not responsible for unauthorized transactions.
- $100 Global Entry, TSA PreCheck, or NEXUS Credit: Every four years, you will receive a refund of the application fee as a statement credit.
- Priority Pass Lounge Access: Cardholders receive complimentary annual membership to the Priority Pass lounge.
- $100 Domestic Fare Credit: On domestic flights, use your card to pay for fares and receive up to $100 per year in reimbursement.
- 24/7 Service: 24/7 customer support for cardholders.
- Conventional APR: 16.49% to 17.99% variable
- Buy Introductory APR Offer: 0% introductory rate for 12 months on balance transfers, followed by 17.99% non-variable APR. Balance transfers have a 3% fee per transaction. 16.49% to 17.99% variable APR applies to purchases
- Introducing Balance Transfer APR Offer: 0% Balance Transfer Promotion APR for 12 months,
- Annual Fee: $95 *Not applicable to existing Honors Advantage members
- Balance transfer fee: 3% fee per transfer
- Cash Advance Fee:
- International Transaction Fees: See Conditions
How the PenFed Pathfinder® Rewards Visa Signature Credit Card Is Performing
PenFed Pathfinder® Rewards Visa Signature® Card* and Chase Freedom Flex℠
Chase Freedom Flex℠ is a Eragoncred favorite and tops our list of the best credit cards. The card offers great rewards without an annual fee or membership requirements like PenFed Pathfinder. For most people, the Chase Freedom Flex offers an even bigger payoff.
Freedom Flex 5% cash back in quarterly rotating categories (activation required) up to $1,500, 5% on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3% at restaurants and pharmacies, all other purchases and welcome bonuses 1%: $200 bonus after spending $500 within the first 3 months of account opening.
However, the Freedom Flex lags behind the Pathfinder Rewards card when it comes to perks; you won’t find any travel-related fee credits among the benefits the Freedom Flex offers. Foreign transactions are also charged, and 3% of each transaction is in USD, so using it abroad is not a good option.
PenFed Pathfinder® Rewards Visa Signature® Card* and American Express Platinum®
American Express’ Platinum Card® (terms apply. See rates and fees) offers more benefits than almost any other card on the market, but at $695 a year, it’s not cheap.
Platinum offers multiple lounge access (including Priority Pass) and registration, TSA PreCheck/Global Entry fee credits, CLEAR® membership fee credits, annual airfare credits, Marriott and Hilton Gold status at registration, Uber Total cash balances are $200 per year and above.
Platinum Cards earn up to $500,000 in 5 Membership Rewards points per calendar year on flights booked directly with the airline or through American Express Travel, 5 points per dollar on prepaid hotels booked through American Express Travel, Earn 1 point per dollar on other eligible purchases and offer a welcome bonus: 100,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $6,000 within the first 6 months of card membership.
People looking for the most elite credit card perks and won’t be put off by the high annual fee of the American Express Platinum Card can end up getting more value from the American Express Platinum Card than the Pathfinder Card, but the Pathfinder Card’s annual fee ( or lack of annual fee) for those who qualify) for those who don’t need all the bells and whistles of the American Express Platinum card.
PenFed Pathfinder® Rewards Visa Signature® Card* and USAA® Rewards™ Visa Signature® Card*
As with the Pathfinder Rewards Card and PenFed, you must be a member of the USAA Credit Union to apply for the USAA® Rewards™ Visa Signature® Card*. Beneficiaries will find the USAA Rewards Visa Signature Card a consideration.
The card earns 2 points per dollar on gas and food, 1 point per dollar on all other purchases, and has no annual fee. While it offers additional travel-related benefits, they are different from those offered by the Pathfinder Rewards card. With the USAA Rewards Card, you can enjoy comprehensive rental car insurance, travel accident insurance, trip cancellation and interruption insurance, baggage delay and interruption insurance, and extended warranty protection.
Is PenFed Pathfinder® Rewards Visa Signature Credit Right for You?
If you can join PenFed Credit Union and are looking for travel perks but don’t want to pay a high annual fee, consider the PenFed Pathfinder Rewards Card. It offers decent bonus income, a decent welcome bonus, and an introductory APR for balance transfers. PenFed members who qualify for the PenFed Honors Advantage program can do even better by earning extra points for every dollar spent on travel purchases and waiving the annual fee — and it’s relatively easy to opt-in to the program.