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PenFed Platinum Rewards Visa Signature® Card Review

The PenFed Platinum Rewards Visa Signature® Card offers top-tier value for families that spend a lot of money every year at gas stations and grocery stores, all with no annual fee. Earn five points back at the pump and three points at supermarkets, all with no spending caps.
By Amber Stubbs  Managing Editor  | Updated

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PenFed Platinum Rewards Visa Signature® Card

PenFed Platinum Rewards Visa Signature® Card
Our Rating:   
Excellent
on PenFed Credit Union's secure website

CardRatings Editor's Analysis: Pros & Cons

  • This card offers top-of-the-line rebates when you pay at the pump for your gas – five points per dollar or the equivalent of 5%. Purchases at grocery stores also earn bonus returns – three points per dollar.
  • Our 2021 Winner for Best Gas Rewards.
  • Earn a $100 statement credit after spending $1,500 on the card in the first 90 days.
  • This card really benefits people who spend a lot at gas stations and grocery stores, in particular. If you don't spend a lot on in those categories, there are likely better card options for you.

WHY THE PENFED PLATINUM CARD IS THE BEST GAS AND GROCERY REWARDS CARD

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 Signature® 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.

For this reason, the PenFed Platinum Rewards Visa Signature® Card was named a 2021 CardRating's Best Gas Rewards card winner. 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% rebate – when you pay at the pump and fuel purchases for boats and airplanes and via in store attendant earn one point per dollar spent. Supermarket purchases score three 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.) Plus, you can earn a $100 statement credit after you spend $1,500 within the first 90 days.

Top Features

 Cash Back on Gas
Earn 5 points on gas purchases at the pump. Fuel purchases for airplanes and boats receive 1 point per dollar spent
 Cash Back on Groceries
3 points
 Cash Back on Other
1 point

PENFED PLATINUM REWARDS VISA SIGNATURE® BENEFITS

There are several benefits you can take advantage of when you get a PenFed Platinum Rewards Visa Signature® Card:

  • No annual fee
  • 0% intro APR on balance transfers made between now and September 30, 2021 for the first 12 months then, 13.49% to 17.99% Variable
  • $100 statement credit when you spend $1,500 in the first 90 days of having the card
  • EMV Chip, Tap to Pay, Click to Pay technologies enabled for extra security during in-person and online transactions
  • Credit on $16 AMAC membership when paid with card

HOW PENFED PLATINUM REWARDS WORK

If you spend a lot of money on gas or groceries, the PenFed Platinum Rewards Visa Signature® Card is definitely one you want to have in your wallet. The rewards you earn for your purchases are extremely competitive and among the best you're likely to find in a card today. For every dollar you spend on gas, you get 5 points, for every dollar spent on groceries, you get 3 points, and all other purchases earn 1 point per dollar spent.

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. You can redeem your rewards for travel, shopping, and gift cards.

PENFED CREDIT CARD APPROVAL

To get approved for the PenFed Platinum Rewards Visa Signature® Card you'll likely need excellent credit, meaning somewhere between a 750 and 800 FICO credit score. Also, in order to be approved, applicants must be a member of the PenFed Credit Union.

To apply for this card, you should:

  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Supply your name, Social Security number, date of birth, and citizenship status
  • Submit your home address, how long you've lived there, telephone number, and email address
  • Supply your financial information (i.e., monthly rent or mortgage payment amount and total annual income)

PENFED PLATINUM REWARDS FOREIGN TRANSACTION FEE

Like other PenFed credit cards, the PenFed Platinum Rewards Visa Signature® Card charges no foreign transaction fees. That can make a big budgetary difference to military personnel deployed overseas, saving between 3% and 5% on every transaction compared to most credit cards. There is also no annual fee, so you can save hundreds of dollars just in fees.

PENFED PLATINUM REWARDS VISA SIGNATURE® CARDHOLDER SCORES

CardRatings conducts a survey annually to learn what actual cardholders think of their cards. Here are the results:
2020 Scores 2019 Scores
Overall Score 80.5 84.9
Rewards Program Satisfaction 8.0 8.6
Customer Service 8.0 8.6
Website/App Usability 8.3 8.6
Likelihood of Continuing to Use 8.5 8.8
Recommend to a Friend/Colleague 8.0 8.0

HOW PENFED PLATINUM REWARDS VISA SIGNATURE® COMPARES TO OTHER CREDIT CARDS

PenFed Platinum Rewards Visa Signature® Card vs. Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi

Both of these cards offer rewards on gas purchases, however, unlike the PenFed Platinum Rewards Visa Signature® Card, the Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi awards 4% cash back. Citi is a CardRatings advertiser.

Also, the Costco card awards 3% cash back for restaurant and travel purchases, 2% cash back for purchases made at Costco and Costco.com, and 1% cash back on all other purchases.

This is in stark contrast to the rewards points that PenFed Platinum Rewards cardholders earn for their purchases.

Neither card charges an annual fee or foreign transaction fee.

PenFed Platinum Rewards Visa Signature® Card vs. Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

The PenFed Platinum Rewards Visa Signature® Card and the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express both provide rewards for purchases on groceries, with some notable differences. Most significantly, the Blue Cash Preferred® provides cash back, rather than the points rewards that the PenFed Platinum Rewards card offers. American Express is a CardRatings advertiser.

Also, the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express awards 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 spent annually.

Unlike the PenFed Platinum Rewards, the Blue Cash Preferred® Card also awards for U.S. streaming subscriptions, with 6% cash back on selected services like Hulu, Pandora, Spotify, and Netlix. However, PenFed Platinum Rewards cardholders do receive 1 point for every dollar that isn't spent on groceries or gas, so you'll still earn rewards if you use your card on these services as well.

Both cards offer statement credits after a certain amount spent: The Blue Cash Preferred® Card awards a $300 statement credit if you spend $3,000 in purchases within the first six months of getting the card. The PenFed Platinum Rewards card offers new cardholders a $100 statement credit when you spend $1,500 in the first three months of having the card.

The PenFed Platinum Rewards card doesn't have an annual fee, whereas the Blue Cash Preferred card charges an annual fee of $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95.

PenFed Platinum Rewards Visa Signature® Card vs. Discover it® chrome

The PenFed Platinum Rewards Visa Signature® Card and the Discover it® chrome both offer rewards for gas and eating out. However, the Discover it Chrome offers and eating out, however, the Discover it Chrome® awards 2% cash back when you spend up to $1,000 in purchases at restaurants and gas stations. Discover it® Chrome also awards unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases.

Plus, during the first year of using the card, you can rack up more rewards because it offers a cashback match.

Both cards have no transaction fees for foreign purchases, as well as no annual fee.

POTENTIAL DOWNSIDES OF THE PENFED PLATINUM REWARDS VISA SIGNATURE®

One potential drawback of the PenFed Platinum Rewards Visa Signature® Card is that you must be a member of the PenFed Credit Union to receive it. Also, unless you're going to use your card for gas or groceries, the rewards percentage is low. Lastly, this card does not offer cash back when you redeem rewards as other cards do, so if you want to use your rewards for things other than shopping, travel, and gift cards, this may not be a good choice for you.

SHOULD I GET THE PENFED PLATINUM REWARDS VISA SIGNATURE® CARD?

If the majority of your purchases are typically on gas and groceries, and you don't mind not receiving cash back for your purchases, the PenFed Platinum Rewards Visa Signature® Card is a good choice for you. Also, because there's no foreign transaction fee, if you use your rewards on travel, you won't be charged fees for purchases you make with the card on international trips.

Survey Methodology: CardRatings commissioned Op4G in September and October 2020 to conduct surveys among 1,746 cardholders nationwide. CardRatings website analytics from Jan. 1, 2020-Aug. 31, 2020 were used to determine a selection of the most popular cards and additional cards were added to add survey breadth. Responses to each of nine questions were given on a scale of 1-10 and respondents' scores were then averaged under broad topics. To determine the overall score, responses from questions 1-8 were summed and the answer to "How likely are you to recommend this card to a friend, coworker or family member?" was double weighted.

To see the rates and fees for the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express: See Rates and Fees

PenFed Platinum Rewards Visa Signature® Card Compared to Other Cash back Cards

Apply online for Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express
Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express
Apply online for Chase Freedom Unlimited®
Chase Freedom Unlimited®
Apply online for Citi<sup>®</sup> Double Cash Card - 18 month BT offer
Citi® Double Cash Card - 18 month BT offer
Cash Back on Gas
Earn 5 points on gas purchases at the pump. Fuel purchases for airplanes and boats receive 1 point per dollar spent 
Cash Back on Gas
3% Cash Back at U.S. gas stations and on transit (including taxis/rideshare, parking, tolls, trains, buses and more). 
Cash Back on Gas
1.5% 
Cash Back on Gas
1% when you buy plus 1% as you pay 
Cash Back on Gas
1.5% 
Cash Back on Groceries
3 points 
Cash Back on Groceries
6% at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1%) 
Cash Back on Groceries
N/A 
Cash Back on Groceries
1% when you buy plus 1% as you pay 
Cash Back on Groceries
1.5% 
Cash Back on other
1 point 
Cash Back on other
1% cash back on other purchases 
Cash Back on other
1.5% 
Cash Back on other
1% when you buy plus 1% as you pay 
Cash Back on other
1.5% 

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