Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It has not been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any credit card issuer. This site may be compensated through a credit card issuer partnership.
If you’re looking for a card that will reward you for money spent on gas and groceries, the PenFed Platinum Rewards Visa Signature® Card from Pentagon Federal Credit Union may be a good choice with the ability to earn up to 5x points on gas at the pump, 3x points on groceries, and 1x points on all other purchases.
The PenFed Platinum Rewards Visa Signature® Card does have a balance transfer deal: 0% promotional rate for 12 months on transfers made between now and March 31, 2020. After the intro period ends, a 11.74% - 17.99% Variable APR applies, as well as a 3% per transaction fee.
PenFed Platinum Rewards Visa Signature® Card in Detail
Let’s dig into the rewards program. PenFed offers a rewards program with three levels and no rewards cap. You can earn 5x points on gas at the pump, 3x points on groceries, and 1x points on all other purchases
On top of the regular rewards program, you earn a $100 Statement Credit when you spend $1,500 in first 90 days. Points you earn can be redeemed for gift cards, entertainment, travel and other products.
As far as point value, 2,940 points will get you a $25 gift card. So, 100 points equals less than $1. If you plan to redeem points for cash, expect:
- 5 points to equal 4.25% back on gas
- 3 points to equal 2.55% back at supermarkets
- 1 point to equal 0.85% on everything else
You can only redeem points if your account is in good standing. Points expire 5 years from the date you earn them. They also expire if you or PenFed close the account for any reason.
Standard variable interest is from 11.74% - 17.99% Variable APR depending on creditworthiness.
Fees and Gotchas
PenFed is a credit union, so you’ll need to become a member for the card.
If you’re a military servicemember, federal government employee or relative of someone who is, you’re already eligible for membership. Anyone else can also become eligible for membership by joining one of the PenFed affiliate organizations including the National Military Family Organization or Voice for America’s Troops.
PenFed is upfront with its free structure. There’s no monthly fee or foreign transaction fee. The late fee ranges from $10 to $25 depending on your account balance. There’s no cash advance or over-the-limit fee. The returned payment fee is up to $25. As mentioned above, the balance transfer fee is 3% per transaction.
This card charges penalty APR if your minimum payment is not received within 60 days of the due date. Penalty APR is 17.99% Variable. If your account is slapped with penalty APR it will apply until you make three consecutive on-time payments.
Pros and Cons
This rewards program will serve you well if you spend regularly on gas and groceries. While we never recommend carrying a balance on a credit card, it is a plus that the variable interest is as low as 11.74% - 17.99% Variable APR which is a very competitive rate. The card also comes with no annual fee or foreign transaction fee.
What are the negatives of the card? It’s not worth your time if you don’t spend considerably in the gas or grocery categories or do all your gas and grocery shopping at merchants like Costco or Walmart where you wouldn’t earn the points. You should get another credit card instead that rewards you more for all spending.
If you’re not already a PenFed member, you will have to jump an extra hoop to become a member for the card, which could be seen as a disadvantage as well.
Lastly, if you’re looking for a rewards credit card with the best intro special, this isn’t the one. The PenFed Platinum Rewards Visa Signature® Card charges interest on new purchases where some other rewards cards will give you 0% intro APR on new purchases and balance transfers for 6 to 15 months.
We’ll cover an alternate card below.
Alternatives to the PenFed Platinum Rewards Visa Signature® Card
Discover it® Cash Back
Discover will match ALL the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year, automatically. There’s no signing up. And no limit to how much is matched (new cardmembers only). The intro offer is an APR of 0% for 14 months on purchases and an intro APR of 0% for 14 months on balance transfers, then a 13.49% - 24.49% Variable APR. The balance transfer fee is 3% intro balance transfer fee, up to 5% fee on future balance transfers (see terms)*. There’s a $0 annual fee.
Read our full review of Discover it and apply.
Who Will Benefit the Most from the PenFed Platinum Rewards Visa Signature® Card
Ultimately, the PenFed Platinum Rewards Visa Signature® Card is worth considering if you spend a lot in the gas and supermarket categories. However, it’s not the best card for all spending since you won’t earn much from the 1x category. If you do decide to move forward with the card be prepared to pay off the balance each month to avoid interest and make the most of your rewards points.