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PenFed Platinum Rewards Visa Card Review

Our editor's take

 CardRatings Managing Editor
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Pentagon Federal Credit Union has grown into one of the country's largest credit unions by offering solid financial products to military families and their supporters. Their PenFed Platinum Rewards Visa Card offers outstanding value for families that spend a lot of money every year at gas stations and grocery stores, all with no annual fee.

Best card for gas and grocery rewards

This card is best for anyone with large grocery bills and heavy personal mileage. PenFed designs its credit cards around the needs of military families, explaining some of the extraordinary rebates you can rack up with this account. Gas purchases earn five points per dollar -- the equivalent of a 5 percent rebate -- when you pay at the pump. Supermarket purchases score 3 points per dollar, and all your other purchases earn one point per dollar. (For the benefit of military families, PenFed considers military commissaries the same as supermarkets.)

Redeeming your points requires a quick trip to PenFed's online rewards center, which will look familiar if you've ever used similar tools from the Chase Ultimate Rewards or Citi ThankYou programs. Although the site offers a handful of electronics and household goods, you'll generally get the best value by trading points for Visa prepaid reward cards or instant e-certificates to retailers like Amazon and Gap.

Bonus perks for overseas travelers
Like other PenFed credit cards, the Platinum Rewards Visa Card charges no foreign transaction fees. That can make a big budgetary difference to military personnel deployed overseas, saving between 3 and 5 percent on every transaction compared to most credit cards. PenFed also includes comprehensive travel accident insurance for members and their families traveling on itineraries purchased with this card.

How PenFed Platinum Rewards Visa Card compares to other gas credit cards
The big banks' best gas credit cards can't stand up to the PenFed Platinum Rewards Visa Card. Although cards from Chase, American Express, and Discover offer occasional 5 percent rebates on U.S gas purchases, their offers usually expire after a few months or come with spending caps. Most co-branded gas cards top off their rebates at about 3 percent, while requiring you to track down a participating gas station. PenFed doesn't restrict members' earning potential on their 5 point gas rewards. In fact the promotional materials for this account advise cardholders to use their cards as much as possible to earn extra rewards.

If you spend more on supermarket purchases than on fuel, you could squeeze out a better overall return from the American Express Blue Cash Preferred Credit Card, which offers a whopping 6 percent back at U.S. grocery stores. However, that card caps your bonus spending at $6,000 per year, knocking you back to 1 percent after that. The typical American household spends about $7,800 on groceries annually, according to government statistics.
Curtis Arnold
Curtis Arnold
CardRatings Editor

PenFed Platinum Rewards Visa Card details

Balance Transfer Intro APR:
4.99%
Balance Transfer Intro Period:
APR:
on transfers made from April 1, 2013 through June 30, 2013 for the life of balance
Balance Transfer Fee:
See terms

No balance transfer fee on transfers made from April 1, 2013 through June 30, 2013. The fee for balance transfers made after June 30, 2013 will return to 3% (Min. $10 – Max. $250) per transaction.

Annual Fee:
$0
see more details ∨

Credit Card Rate Information:


 
  Purchase
  Balance Transfer
  Cash Advance
Index:
 Prime
 Prime
 Prime
Margin:
 6.74
 6.74
 6.74
APR:
  9.99% Variable
 9.99% Variable
 9.99% Variable
APR Floor:
 
 
 
Intro Rate:
 9.99%*
 4.99%
 9.99%
Intro Period:
 through June 30, 2014
 on transfers made from April 1, 2013 through June 30, 2013 for the life of balance
 through June 30, 2014


Finance Calculation Method:
 Average daily balance
Default/Penalty APR:
 17.99% Fixed
Default/Penalty Margin:
 N/A
Default/Penalty APR Floor:
 
Maximum Default APR:
 Fixed
Penalty/Default Trigger:
 If your minimum payment is not received within 60 days, your entire account is subject to change to the non-variable Penalty APR. The Penalty APR will remain in place until you make three consecutive monthly payments on or before the due date.

Credit Card Fee Information:


Annual Fee:
 $0
Foreign Transaction Fee:
 None
Late Fee:
 Up to - $25
Over-the-limit Fee:
 None
Balance Transfer Fee:
See termsSee terms(No balance transfer fee on transfers made from April 1, 2013 through June 30, 2013. The fee for balance transfers made after June 30, 2013 will return to 3% (Min. $10 – Max. $250) per transaction.)  


Notes:

Rebate Description:
 
Special Notes:
 How the Annual Percentage Rate (APR) on Purchases and Cash Advances is Calculated During the Introductory Period: The variable introductory APR is based on the U.S. Prime Rate (“Prime Rate”) plus a margin of 6.74% and has a cap of 9.99% on all new purchases and cash advances. If the Prime Rate decreases, the APR will also decrease. If the Prime Rate increases, the APR will not increase above the cap of 9.99%. How the Annual Percentage Rate (APR) on Purchases and Cash Advances is Calculated After the Introductory Period ends on June 30, 2014: The cap will be removed, so that if the Prime Rate increases, the APR on any existing balances, new purchases and new cash advances may increase above 9.99% starting July 1, 2014. Annual Percentage Rate (APR) on Purchases and Cash Advances: Your APR can change in January and July of each year. APRs for Balance Transfers: Balance Transfers - 4.99% APR promotional balance transfer rate on transfers made from April 1, 2013 through June 30, 2013 for the life of balance with no balance transfer fee. After that, the APR for any new balance transfers will be 9.99% and will vary with the market based on the Prime Rate. The fee for balance transfers made after June 30, 2013 will return to 3% (Min. $10 – Max. $250) per transaction. This transaction is subject to credit approval.
Credit Card More Information:

Card Issued By:
 Pentagon Federal Credit Union
General Correspondence Address:
 PO Box 1432
Card Type:
 Visa
Card Class:
 Platinum
Card Category:
 Balance Transfer, Gas, Miles/Points, Reward
States Available In:
 ALL
Minimum Credit Limit:
 
Maximum Credit Limit:
 N/A
Credit Limit Notes:
 

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