USAA® Rewards™ American Express® Card

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Recommended Credit Score

Excellent to Good (670 - 850)

A FICO score/credit score is used to represent the creditworthiness of a person and may be one indicator to the credit type you are eligible for. However, credit score alone does not guarantee or imply approval for any financial product.

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Best for military families

Annual Fee:
$0
Purchase Intro APR:
N/A
Regular APR:
11.90% - 27.90% (Variable)
Terms and Restrictions Apply

Bankrate Rating

Commonly used for: Auto Rental Insurance, Concierge Service, EMV, Excellent Credit, Extended Warranty Program, Gas, Lost Luggage Reimbursement, Low Interest, Mobile Pay Ready, No Annual Fee, No Foreign Transaction Fees, Points, Price Protection, Purchase Protection, Rewards, Travel Accident Insurance, Travel Assistance, Trip Cancellation Insurance, Unsecured credit card, Zero Fraud Liability.

The USAA® Rewards™ American Express® Card combines the earnings potential of a traditional rewards card with perks and benefits specifically tailored to consumers serving in the military. Service members and their immediate families might find the combination to their liking.

The details

Service members who devote a sizable portion of their income to feeding and transporting their families will find the USAA Rewards American Express Card of particular interest. It offers unlimited Reward Points in the following categories:

  • 3X points per $1 on dining
  • 2X points per $1 on gas and groceries
  • 1X point on other eligible purchases

For an introductory bonus, you get 2,500 bonus points after making your first purchase with the card.

The card’s financial incentives include no penalty APR, no annual fee, no over-the-limit fee and no foreign transaction fee. (No fee for foreign transactions could be especially useful for service members stationed or deployed overseas.)

Is this the right card for you?

Active and former military and eligible members of their families can become USAA members. If you spend a lot of money in the categories of dining, gas and groceries, those purchases will help you maximize the value of this card’s rewards program.

Cardholders get an assortment of benefits, including:

  • Free collision damage waiver coverage for physical damage and theft to most vehicle rentals
  • Travel accident and baggage delay insurance
  • Extended warranties on purchases
  • Zero liability for unauthorized purchases
  • Mobile wallet options using Apple Pay™, Google Pay™ or Samsung Pay™
  • Advanced security features

If you want to personalize your card to reflect your branch of the armed forces or a favorite veterans group, you can choose from more than a dozen military affiliate card designs.

Approval chances

The card’s credit score requirement is good or excellent, which generally means a FICO Score of at least 670. Cardholders who are approved with a score on the lower end of the scale will face higher-than-average APRs, which they can avoid by paying off their balances on time and in full each month.

If you have bad credit, fair credit or no credit history, this card probably isn’t within your reach.

How much are the rewards worth?

It varies. The value of Rewards Points may depend on what you redeem them for. According to the card’s terms and conditions, the points “may have a greater redemption value (and be worth more) for certain reward benefits.”

How to redeem

Reward Points never expire as long as your account is open and in good standing. You can redeem points for:

  • Cash rewards
  • Merchandise and gift cards
  • Charitable contributions
  • Airline and cruise tickets

Most redemptions can be made through the USAA Rewards Service Center online or by phone. If you redeem for a Cruise Travel Reward, you’ll need to call a toll-free number to contact Member Travel Privileges.

How to get the most value from this card

Remember to use the USAA Rewards American Express Card for dining (3X points) and gas and groceries (2X points) to maximize your rewards in those categories. The 1X rate on other eligible purposes makes the card good for general use. Since points are unlimited, you can feel free to make this card your go-to for most any everyday purchase.

However, take note of one restriction on grocery purchases. Like similar cards, the USAA Rewards American Express Card does not include discount stores, wholesale stores and warehouse clubs in the groceries category. Grocery items you buy at places such as Walmart, Costco or Sam’s Club will earn 1X points rather than 2X points.

Fees for balance transfers and cash advances are 3% of the amount of each transaction.

Bottom line:

Although some of the other rewards cards offer higher rates in categories such as dining, gas and groceries, as well as more valuable perks, its military-friendly features make the USAA Rewards American Express Card a solid choice for service members. If their spending habits align with the rewards categories, members of the military might see this card as an ideal recruit for their personal finances.