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INOVA Federal Credit Union Review: Checking, Savings, CD, Money Market and IRA Accounts

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 of our network partners.

INOVA Federal Credit Union checking account options

Shield Checking

An account that goes the extra mile on personal security and allows you to earn high dividends to boot.
APYMinimum Balance Amount to Earn APY
3.00%
$15,000
  • Minimum opening deposit: $10
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $5
  • ATM fee: None from INOVA FCU ATM, Alliance One or CO-OP Network ATM; $2 for using any other ATMs.
  • ATM fee refund: None
  • Overdraft fee: $29

This account is loaded with perks and is a great option to earn high interest if you’re able to maintain a balance of $15,000. If you’re able to do that with no problem, the $5 monthly maintenance fee is likely negligible.

As an added bonus, this account comes with IDProtect®, an identity theft monitoring service that includes up to $10,000 in identity theft reimbursement coverage in the event that your identity is stolen. There’s also a cell phone protection feature when you pay your monthly bill through this account.

Other perks include unlimited check writing with no fees, a free Visa debit card and online banking services. You’ll also receive a thank-you gift when you open this account. Finally, INOVA Federal Credit Union will buy back your unused checks and debit card from another bank for up to $10.

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Simply Free Checking

A basic, non-interest earning account with minimal requirements.
  • Minimum opening deposit: $10
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: None
  • ATM fee: None from INOVA FCU ATM, Alliance One or CO-OP Network ATM; $2 for using any other ATMs.
  • ATM fee refund: None
  • Overdraft fee: $29

Although this account doesn’t have the ability to earn interest, it could be a good option for members who want a simple checking account without having to worry about hidden fees or balance requirements. Like the Shield Checking account, this free account also comes with a thank-you gift at opening, the opportunity to sell the credit union your old checks and debit cards for $10, as well as unlimited check writing, online banking services and a free Visa debit card.

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on INOVA Federal Credit Union’s secure website

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Performance Checking

A interest-earning checking account with minimal requirements.
APYMinimum Balance Amount to Earn APY
0.07%
$0.01
  • Minimum opening deposit: $10
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $0.01
  • ATM fee: None from INOVA FCU ATM, Alliance One or CO-OP Network ATM; $2 for using any other ATMs.
  • ATM fee refund: None
  • Overdraft fee: $29

If you can’t meet the high minimum balance requirement to earn the APY on the Shield Checking account, this checking account is the one to get. It doesn’t have a monthly service charge or a minimum balance requirement to earn interest; all you have to do is make sure you have one direct deposit or make one automatic payment each month.

In addition to online banking services and a free Visa debit card, this account also offers unlimited check writing capabilities with no fees, a free thank-you gift at opening and the option to sell the credit union your old checks and debit cards from your previous bank.

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on INOVA Federal Credit Union’s secure website

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Advantage 50 Checking

A checking account exclusively for credit union members age 50 or older.
APYMinimum Balance Amount to Earn APY
0.07%
$0.01
  • Minimum opening deposit: $10
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $0.01
  • ATM fee: None from INOVA FCU ATM, Alliance One or CO-OP Network ATM; $2 for using any other ATMs.
  • ATM fee refund: None
  • Overdraft fee: $29

Although this account is available exclusively to credit union members age 50 and over, its offerings, fees and other details are mostly the same as with the Performance Checking account, down to to the APY.

As with the Performance Checking account, you do have to make sure you have one direct deposit or make one automatic payment per month with this account. The only added perk with this account is that you can get 50 free personalized checks at any given time, while the Performance account has a fee for the checks.

This account also doesn’t have a monthly fee or minimum balance requirement. It comes with online banking services, a free Visa debit card, unlimited check writing with no fee, as well as a thank-you gift at opening and the option to sell the credit union your old checks and debit card from your previous bank.

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on INOVA Federal Credit Union’s secure website

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Elite Checking

Tiered dividend levels makes this checking account ideal for those able to maintain higher balances.
APYMinimum Balance Amount to Earn APY
0.11%
$0.01-$1,999.99
0.25%
$2,000
  • Minimum opening deposit: $10
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $7.50 (can be waived with a maintained balance of $2,000 or more)
  • ATM fee: None from INOVA FCU ATM, Alliance One or CO-OP Network ATM; $2 for using any other ATMs.
  • ATM fee refund: None
  • Overdraft fee: $29

Like the Shield Checking account, this account is also more suited for those who can maintain higher account balances. However, its minimum balance requirement to earn a higher APY is much lower than the other account. This account does have a low monthly fee, but you have the ability to waive it if you maintain a balance of at least $2,000, the same balance you need to be able to earn that higher rate. It also comes with online banking capabilities, a free Visa debit card and free personalized checks, along with a thank you gift at its opening and the chance to sell the credit union your old checks and debit card from your previous bank.

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on INOVA Federal Credit Union’s secure website

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How INOVA Federal Credit Union’s checking accounts compare

If you’re able to maintain the minimum balance requirements on INOVA Federal Credit Union’s Shield and Elite checking accounts, you’ll have the opportunity to earn a great APY rate. However, despite the lack of fees and requirements for the credit union’s more basic accounts, when you take a look at the rates, they just don’t compare to some of the best checking account options out there. The bonuses like thank-you gifts and check buyback are a nice touch, but don’t do much in the long term.

INOVA Federal Credit Union savings account options

Membership Savings

Anyone joining the credit union is required to opening this account.
APYMinimum Balance Amount to Earn APY
0.01%
$100
  • Minimum opening deposit: $5, plus a one-time $10 membership fee
  • Minimum balance to earn APY: $100
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: None
  • ATM fee: None
  • ATM fee refund: $29

Opening this savings account is a requirement to join INOVA Federal Credit Union and open any of its other products. That’s not really such a bad thing, though, as it only requires a $5 deposit to open and has no monthly fee. It doesn’t really come with any added perks, though, aside from online banking capabilities. And, like all savings accounts, this account is subject to Federal Reserve Regulation D, which limits certain withdrawals up to six per month.

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on INOVA Federal Credit Union’s secure website

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Special Savings

A simple savings account that allows you to save for a goal with no requirements.
APYMinimum Balance Amount to Earn APY
0.01%
$0.01
  • Minimum opening deposit: None
  • Minimum balance to earn APY: $0.01
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: None
  • ATM fee: None from INOVA FCU ATM, Alliance One or CO-OP Network ATM; $2 for using any other ATMs.
  • ATM fee refund: None
  • Overdraft fee: $29

If you’ve got funds you want to stash aside for, say, a new car or vacation, this account is a great way to do it while earning interest. This account comes with no monthly fees or minimum balance requirements and has online banking capabilities. As with other savings accounts, it’s subject to Regulation D, which limits certain withdrawals up to six per month.

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on INOVA Federal Credit Union’s secure website

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Christmas Club

A savings account specifically for holiday-related expenses.
APYMinimum Balance Amount to Earn APY
0.01%
$0.01
  • Minimum opening deposit: None
  • Minimum balance to earn APY: $0.01
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: None from INOVA FCU ATM, Alliance One or CO-OP Network ATM; $2 for using any other ATMs.
  • ATM fee refund: None
  • Overdraft fee: $29

This account is similar to the Special Savings account; the key difference is that it’s specifically intended for holiday-related expenses. This interest-earning account doesn’t have any monthly fees or minimum balance or deposit requirements. You can make deposits at any time up until Oct. 31 of a given year before funds are transferred to your Member Savings account.

Keep in mind that this account does have an early withdrawal fee of $10 if you dip into it before Nov. 1. And as with other savings accounts, this account is subject to Federal Reserve Regulation D, limiting certain withdrawals up to six per month.

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How INOVA Federal Credit Union’s savings accounts compare

None of INOVA Federal Credit Union’s savings accounts offer spectacular rates, so we wouldn’t recommend joining the credit union for a savings account alone — though it is a requirement to open any other product. While we like the idea behind the Special Savings and Christmas Club accounts, they offer the same APY as the required Members Savings account, so it seems a little redundant to open both. If you’re simply in search of a savings account with great rates, we suggest looking elsewhere, as there are much better savings account options to be had out there.

INOVA Federal Credit Union certificate rates

Certificates

These offerings give you the opportunity to earn higher rates than with a savings account.
TermAPYMinimum Balance Requirement to Earn APY
30 day0.25%
$200
60 day0.30%
$200
91 day0.35%
$200
5 month2.15%
$200
6 month0.50%
$200
7 month2.10%
$200
14 month 2.00%
$200
14 month 3.00%
($50,000 or more of new money)
18 month1.25%
$200
30 month1.40%
$200
30 month3.25%
($50,000 or more of new money)
1 year0.75%
$200
2 year1.35%
$200
3 year1.45%
$200
4 year1.50%
$200
5 year1.75%
$200
6 year1.90%
$200
  • Minimum opening deposit: $200
  • Minimum balance amount to earn APY: Varies
  • Early withdrawal penalty: Terms of less than 90 days is 30 days’ dividends; terms of 90 days to one year is 90 days’ dividends; terms of longer than 1 year is 180 days’ dividends

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on INOVA Federal Credit Union’s secure website

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Step Up Certificates

These certificates offer you a one-time chance to increase your rate.
TermAPYMinimum Balance Requirement to Earn APY
91 day0.35%
$200
6 month0.50%
$200
14 month2.00%
$200
18 month1.25%
$200
30 month1.40%
$200
1 year0.75%
$200
2 year1.35%
$200
3 year1.45%
$200
4 year1.50%
$200
5 year1.75%
$200
6 year1.90%
$200
  • Minimum opening deposit: $200
  • Minimum balance amount to earn APY: $200
  • Early withdrawal penalty: Early withdrawal penalty: Terms of less than 90 days is 30 days’ dividends; terms of 90 days to one year is 90 days’ dividends; terms of longer than 1 year is 180 days’ dividends

NOVA Federal Credit Union offers share certificates with fixed rates that are higher than its regular savings account products, and those rates get higher the longer the term you select (available terms range from 30 days to 6 years). These certificates require a minimum deposit of $200 to open, lower than many other offerings out there.

The credit union also offers flexible Step Up certificates that allow you to increase your rate once during the term if you see rates go up on its regular products. Lastly, there is a chance to earn a higher rate on the 14-month and 30-month certificates if you deposit at least $50,000 in “new money” that is not currently on deposit in any other INOVA Federal Credit Union accounts.

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on INOVA Federal Credit Union’s secure website

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How INOVA Federal Credit Union’s certificate rates compare

When you compare INOVA Federal Credit Union’s certificate rates to the best CD rates out there, you’ll see that, for the most part, these rates don’t stack up. Still, if you prefer a much smaller minimum deposit than many other options out there, then these might be a good fit for you.

Generally speaking, though, we would suggest holding out for a better rate when you have more funds to deposit, or simply opening a CD with the same term length and a higher rate from an online-only bank.

INOVA Federal Credit Union’s money market account options

Gold Money Market

An account offering a decent rate and minimal requirements, other than a high minimum deposit.
APYMinimum Balance Amount to Earn APY
1.25%
$50,000
  • Minimum opening deposit: $50,000
  • Minimum balance to earn APY: $50,000
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: None
  • ATM fee: None from INOVA FCU ATM, Alliance One or CO-OP Network ATM; $2 for using any other ATMs.
  • ATM fee refund: None
  • Overdraft fee: $29

This account does offer a competitive rate in exchange for a high minimum deposit requirement of $50,000. On the plus side, it doesn’t come with a monthly service charge and does have online banking capabilities. Since this is a savings account, you are allowed to make up to six certain electronic transactions per month, as per Federal Reserve Regulation D.

LEARN MORE Secured

on INOVA Federal Credit Union’s secure website

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Platinum Money Market

The bank’s other money market account option, offering a higher rate and an even higher minimum balance requirement.
APY`Minimum Balance Amount to Earn APY
1.50%
$100,000
  • Minimum opening deposit: $100,000
  • Minimum balance to earn APY: $100,000
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: None
  • ATM fee: None from INOVA FCU ATM, Alliance One or CO-OP Network ATM; $2 for using any other ATMs.
  • ATM fee refund: None
  • Overdraft fee: $29

This is INOVA Federal Credit Union’s other money market account option, which also offers a high APY rate with a high minimum deposit and balance requirement. As with the Gold Money Market account, this account has no monthly fee, comes with online banking services, and limits you up to six certain transactions per month, as per Federal Reserve Regulation D.

LEARN MORE Secured

on INOVA Federal Credit Union’s secure website

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How INOVA Federal Credit Union’s money market accounts compare

INOVA Federal Credit Union’s money market account rates are on par with some of the best money market accounts out there. The main difference is that most others don’t require such a high minimum opening deposit and minimum balance requirement, which can be a limiting factor for many people. If you don’t have that much cash saved up to put aside, you can easily find another option from another financial institution with just as good a rate (if not better) and more flexible requirements.

INOVA Federal Credit Union IRA Certificate options

IRA Certificates

These offer the same terms and conditions as the credit union’s regular certificates, it’s just the rates that vary.
TermAPYMinimum Balance Requirement to Earn APY
91 day0.60%
$200
6 month0.75%
$200
7 month2.35%
$200
14 month2.25%
$200
14 month3.25%
$50,000 in new money
18 month1.50%
$200
30 month1.65%
$200
30 month3.50%
$50,000 in new money
1 year1.00%
$200
2 year1.60%
$200
3 year1.70%
$200
4 year1.75%
$200
5 year2.00%
$200
6 year2.15%
$200
  • Minimum opening deposit: $200
  • Minimum balance amount to earn APY: Varies
  • Early withdrawal penalty: Terms of less than 90 days is 30 days’ dividends; terms of 90 days to year is 90 days’ dividends; terms of longer than 1 year is 180 days’ dividends

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Step Up IRA CDs

As with the regular Step Up certificates, these allow you to increase your rate once during the term.
TermAPYMinimum Balance Requirement to Earn APY
91 day0.60%
$200
6 month0.75%
$200
18 month1.50%
$200
30 month1.65%
$200
1 year1.00%
$200
2 year1.60%
$200
3 year1.70%
$200
4 year1.75%
$200
5 year2.00%
$200
6 year2.15%
$200
  • Minimum opening deposit: $200
  • Minimum balance amount to earn APY: $200
  • Early withdrawal penalty: Terms of less than 90 days is 30 days’ dividends; terms of 90 days to year is 90 days’ dividends; terms of longer than 1 year is 180 days’ dividends

Aside from the varying rates, INOVA Federal Credit Union’s IRA certificates don’t differ much from its regular certificate products. As with the regular certificates, these offer fixed rates and terms that range from 91 days to six years.

These certificates require a minimum deposit of $200 to open, which is lower than many other offerings out there. There is also the option to open flexible Step Up IRA certificates, which allow you increase your rate one time during the term if you see the rates go up on the regular certificates.

Lastly, you have the opportunity to earn a higher rate on the 14-month and 30-month IRA certificates if you deposit at least $50,000 in “new money,” or funds that are not currently on deposit in any other INOVA Federal Credit Union accounts.

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How INOVA Federal Credit Union’s IRA CD rates compare

There’s no getting around it — compared to the best IRA CD rates out there, INOVA Federal Credit Union’s rates are pretty low. The wide range of term lengths and the minimum required deposit might appeal to some people, but, again, we say hold off until you have a bit more cash to deposit so you can take advantage of being able to earn a much higher rate.

INOVA Federal Credit Union IRA options

IRA Savings

This IRA offers a very low rate compared to the credit union’s other offerings.
APYMinimum Balance Amount to Earn APY
0.01%
$0.01
  • Minimum opening deposit: None
  • Minimum balance to earn APY: $0.01
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: None
  • ATM fee: N/A
  • ATM fee refund: N/A
  • Overdraft fee: N/A

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IRA Money Market Savings

A slightly better rate than the traditional IRA savings account, but still not the best out there.
APYMinimum Balance Amount to Earn APY
0.05%
$0.01
  • Minimum opening deposit: None
  • Minimum balance to earn APY: $0.01
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: None
  • ATM fee: N/A
  • ATM fee refund: N/A
  • Overdraft fee: N/A

LEARN MORE Secured

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IRA Financial Management Account

This account allows you to earn higher dividends with higher balances.
APYMinimum Balance Amount
0.01%
$0.00 (up to $10,000)
0.10%
$10,000.01 to $25,000
0.20%
$25,000.01 to $50,000
0.35%
$50,000 to $100,000
0.40%
$100,000.01
  • Minimum opening deposit: $2,000
  • Minimum balance to earn APY: $0.00
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: None
  • ATM fee: N/A
  • ATM fee refund: N/A
  • Overdraft fee: N/A

INOVA Federal Credit Union’s regular IRA savings accounts currently offer the same rates as its regular savings account, with no opening, monthly or yearly fees to boot. Its IRA Money Market Savings and IRA Financial Management Accounts, meanwhile, offer higher rates, especially if you make a larger deposit into the latter account.

While there is no minimum deposit or balance requirement on any of these accounts, you can only contribute up to $5,500 per year, with an additional $1,000 “catch up” deposit allowed for account holders ages 50 and over. Some differences between the traditional and Roth IRAs are:
The traditional has no income limits to open, while the Roth does; and, the earnings on the Roth IRA are 100% tax-free at withdrawal, while the traditional account’s earnings are not. Both accounts allow withdrawals to begin at age 59½, although the traditional IRA requires you to begin making withdrawals by age 70½, while the Roth has no limits on making contributions as long as you’re still earning income.

Early withdrawals on all accounts are subject to a penalty and possible taxes, although certain instances such as healthcare expenses and buying a first home qualify as exceptions. Penalty amounts vary depending on how much you have in the account and how long it’s been open. All accounts are subject to Federal Reserve Regulation D, which limits certain transfers and transactions up to six per month.

How to get INOVA Federal Credit Union’s banking products

If you are over 18 years of age and meet one of the eligibility requirements, you can easily apply for membership at INOVA Federal Credit Union and open any of the above mentioned products online, once you agree to also open a Membership Savings account. You’ll need to provide personal information such as your name, address, Social Security number, government-issued ID number (e.g., drivers license or passport), as well as a debit or credit card or check from another financial institution to fund the account. You can also open an account at one of the credit union’s seven branch locations, or by calling 800-826-5465.

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on INOVA Federal Credit Union’s secure website

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How INOVA Federal Credit Union’s IRA rates compare

Of INOVA’s IRA three account options, it’s the IRA Financial Management Account that shines, even with its higher balance requirements to earn higher dividends. As with the credit union’s IRA CD rates, the wide range of term lengths and the minimum required deposit might appeal to some people.

Overall review of INOVA Federal Credit Union banking products

Most of INOVA Federal Credit Union’s personal banking products offer rates far below similar products at other institutions. The more flexible minimum balance and deposit requirements on the certificates might appeal to some people, but we would still advise you to do your research and hold out for better offerings. Meanwhile, the rates on its money market accounts are definitely competitive, but the high deposit and balance requirements could be a limiting factor to many people.

All in all, we would say take the time to comparison shop to make sure you get the best rate out there while still reaping the benefits of minimal fees and flexible requirements.

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

Emilia Benton
Emilia Benton |

Emilia Benton is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Emilia here

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Credit Cards, Reviews

American Express Gold Card: Good Travel Rewards for a Fee

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 of our network partners. This site may be compensated through a credit card partnership.

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The American Express® Gold Card is an upgraded American Express charge card without a pre-set spending limit. It’s also a card that rewards cardholders with American Express Membership Rewards® Points for airfare, dining, gas, and grocery spending.

A charge card is one that you need to pay off completely each billing cycle, so there’s no interest. However, since there’s no pre-set spending limit either, you need to keep an eagle eye on spending activity to make sure you can pay off the statement in full at month’s end. Making a late payment can cause you to forfeit Membership Reward points earned during that billing cycle.

In this post, we’ll discuss the American Express® Gold Card terms and how to redeem points. Keep reading for an overview on:

  • American Express® Gold Card basics
  • How to redeem Membership Rewards points earned
  • The fine print details
  • The benefits and protections
  • The pros and cons

The basics of the American Express® Gold Card

3X Membership Rewards® points for flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com and 4X points at restaurants worldwide and U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per year in purchases, then 1X).

$100 airline fee credit.

You can get up to $100 airline fee credit on your statement each calendar year to cover incidentals charged by an airline of your choosing. Qualifying incidentals are charges separate from your airline ticket like baggage fees and not ticket upgrades.

American Express® Gold Card

APPLY NOW Secured

on American Express’s secure website

Terms Apply | Rates & Fees

American Express® Gold Card

Annual fee
$250
Rewards Rate
3X Membership Rewards® points for flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com and 4X points at restaurants worldwide and U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per year in purchases, then 1X).
Credit required
good-credit
Excellent/Good

How to redeem Membership Rewards® Points earned

Through Membership Rewards®, cardholders can transfer points to participating travel and lodging loyalty programs or redeem points for travel bookings, gift cards, statement credits, and other rewards. The value of your points varies depending on how you choose to use them.

Flights, hotels, and vacations

You can pay with points for flights, hotels, and vacations on the American Express Travel site. Using points for flights offers excellent value.

Here’s the point value breakdown on travel and accommodations:

  • Flights: $10 per 1,000 points
  • Hotels, cruises, and vacation packages: $7 per 1,000 points

Transferring your Membership Rewards® Points

If you choose to transfer your points to another program, generally, 1,000 Membership Rewards® Points will transfer as 1,000 miles, points, or credits.

However, transfers that have a different value include (as of the publication date of this article):

  • British Airways and Iberia: 250 Membership Rewards points = 200 Avios
  • El AL Israel Airlines: 1,000 Membership Rewards points = 20 Matmid points
  • Hilton: 1,000 Membership Rewards points = 1,500 HHonors points
  • JetBlue Airways: 250 Membership Rewards points = 200 JetBlue TrueBlue points
  • Starwood Preferred Guest: 1,000 Membership Rewards points = 333 Starpoints
  • Virgin America: 200 Membership Rewards points = 100 Elevate points

Occasionally, there are transfer specials for participating loyalty programs.

Statement credit and gift cards

Using points to put a dent in your credit card bill won’t be the best use of your points. 1,000 points equals just $6 in a statement credit.

Several of the gift cards through Membership Rewards® will give you more in cash value. For example, 1,000 points can get you a $10 gift card at restaurants, retail stores, and hotels including:

  • Hyatt Hotels and Resorts
  • Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino
  • Maggiano’s Little Italy
  • Seasons 52
  • Banana Republic
  • Crate and Barrel

There’s an entire list of the redemption values for gift cards on the Membership Rewards® site.

Other rewards

Using points for shopping, charitable donations, and entertainment are other redemption options. But, again, these options won’t give you as much value for your points as redeeming for flights and gift cards.

The value of 1,000 points ranges from $5 to $7 when shopping at retailers through Membership Rewards® or at Ticketmaster, Amazon.com, BestBuy.com, or Newegg.com.

The fine print

The American Express® Gold Card has an annual fee of $250. If you spend a lot of money on the card, the fee can be worthwhile. However, if you don’t spend a lot, you might want to consider a no fee option.

In addition – when you transfer points to a U.S. frequent flyer program, there’s a $0.0006 fee charged per point to compensate for the federal excise tax. Although this fee has a lot of zeros in it, the cost may still be impactful if you’re transferring a lot of points. For instance, 100,000 points transferred will cost you $60.

On the plus side, this card has no foreign transaction fee.

Benefits and protections

Car Rental Loss and Damage Insurance

If you pay for a qualifying car rental with your American Express® Gold Card, the rental car is covered against damage and theft after declining the collision damage waiver. Rentals that won’t qualify for coverage are trucks, off-road vehicles, full-size sport vehicles, and exotic cars.

Purchase Protection

If an item you purchase is lost, stolen, or damaged within 90 days of purchase, you may be reimbursed for it.

Pros and cons

Pro: 3X points on travel. If you fly often for work or play, this card rewards you well each time you use it.

Con: The fee. The biggest con here is the annual fee. But, since there are several ways you can earn points in the 3X and 2X categories, you may be able to easily cover this fee throughout the year.

Pro: Membership Rewards. This card is enrolled in the Membership Rewards® Points program and gives you many options for point redemption. The Membership Rewards® site is also incredibly easy to navigate, and there’s no ambiguity in point value. The rewards portal shows examples of exactly what your points are worth for each redemption option.

Con: The fee to transfer points. The ability to transfer points to another program is a pro, but being charged for U.S. frequent flyer program transfers is a tiny gotcha in the fine print.

Pro: No foreign transaction fees. One area in the fees where you do catch a break is with foreign transaction fees. This aspect of the card is fitting since it’s one that rewards you for planning travel.

Who will benefit most from the American Express® Gold Card?

Your ability to earn enough points to surpass the fee will determine whether this is a good card for you.

And if you’re shopping around for a rewards program that will give you the most value for travel, Chase Ultimate Rewards® is an option you should compare to American Express Membership Rewards®.

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card*, in particular, is part of the Chase Ultimate Rewards® program and allows you to transfer points to other travel partners as well. Plus, it has an offer that gives 1.25 cents per point for travel. This is slightly more value than what you get for flights with American Express Membership Rewards® since 1,000 points per $10 works out to 1 cent per point.

Before signing up for any rewards card, you should do this type of comparison shopping to figure out which offer will give you the most value for your spending habits.

*The information related to Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card has been collected by MagnifyMoney and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication.

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Taylor Gordon
Taylor Gordon |

Taylor Gordon is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Taylor here

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Earning Interest, Reviews

Discover Bank CD Rates Review

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 of our network partners.

Discover Bank
Most people know Discover as a credit card company, but it also operates an online bank and offers some of the best rates and terms on checking and savings accounts and certificates of deposit (CDs).

Savings account bonus offer: Earn up to $200 on your first Discover savings account

As a bank, Discover offers some of the best products on the market. Currently, they’re offering a major deal on their online savings account, which currently earns 1.80% APY. If you apply for their savings account for the very first time by 12/02/19 and deposit a balance of at least $15,000 by 12/16/19, you can earn a $150 bonus. If you deposit a balance of at least $25,000 by the same date, you can earn a $200 bonus. Applying for the account is easy as you don’t need to go to a branch. Bonuses will be credited to your account by 12/30/19. You can apply online or over the phone. Just be sure to enter or mention the promo code MM1119 when you apply.

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If you’re looking for CDs in particular, Discover is currently considered to have some of the best CDs due to their customer service and digital tools.

Discover Bank CD rates

CD term

Annual Percentage Yield (APY)

3 months

0.35%

6 months

0.65%

9 months

0.70%

12 months

2.10%

18 months

2.10%

24 months

2.15%

30 months

2.15%

3 years

2.15%

4 years

2.15%

5 years

2.20%

7 years

2.25%

10 years

2.30%

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How do Discover Bank CD rates compare?

While Discover Bank CD rates aren’t always the highest available, they are consistently among the top offers across all terms. However, you may be able to find a similar or even better rate with a CD that has a lower minimum deposit than Discover’s $2,500 requirement. Currently, several nationwide banks offered a 12-month CD at a rate higher than Discover’s 12-month CD APY, while requiring a lower minimum deposit. For example, at the same time the above rates were available at Discover, there were 12-month CDs with rates as high as 2.10% APY with a lower minimum balance amount to earn the APY.

It’s always great to go for the highest interest rates possible, but keep your CD investing strategy in mind. If you’re investing in CDs using the ladder strategy, it might be easier to keep everything in one bank since you’ll be switching in and out of CDs frequently.

Discover also stands out from its competition in the CD space with its mobile app and 24/7 U.S.-based customer service. If you value such features, keep those particulars in mind when weighing Discover CD rates against others’.

What you need to know about Discover Bank’s CDs

Discover Bank is very transparent in terms of fine print. It’s not difficult to understand what’ll happen with your money after you invest it. We’ll cover the basics here about what you need to know to invest in Discover Bank’s CDs.

How to open a CD

It’s very simple to open up a CD with Discover Bank. Go to their CD webpage and click on the orange “Open an Account” button near the top right of the page. You can then choose which accounts you’d like to open. Select “CD,” choose a CD term and enter how much you’d like to deposit.

You’ll then need to complete the application by providing your name, address, date of birth, phone number, Social Security number, employment status and possibly even your driver’s license. Once your application is complete and accepted, you’ll need to fund the account.

How to fund the CD

You’ll need to fund it within 45 days of submitting your application, which you can do in one of three ways:

  • Transfer funds from another bank account over the phone. (You can only do this when you first fund your account.)
  • Transfer funds from another bank via online transfer.
  • Write a check to yourself and send it to the following address:Discover Bank
    P.O. Box 30417
    Salt Lake City, UT 84130

The minimum deposit amount for each of Discover Bank’s CDs is $2,500. Once you open a CD, you can’t deposit more money later, so it’s a good idea to make sure you have all the cash you want to invest before you open the account.

Withdrawing funds from the CD

When you want to withdraw money from your CD, the biggest thing to consider is whether that CD has matured yet, or finished its term.

If your CD has not matured, you’ve got options: You can take the interest out penalty-free at any time, or you can withdraw the principal (or the money you deposited) at any time as long as you pay an early-withdrawal penalty. This penalty varies depending on the original term of your CD:

  • less than one year: three months’ worth of simple interest
  • one year to less than four years: six months’ worth of simple interest
  • four years: nine months’ worth of simple interest
  • five years to less than seven years: 18 months’ worth of simple interest
  • seven years or longer: 24 months’ worth of simple interest

If your CD has finished its term, you can withdraw your money penalty-free, allow the CD to renew or roll it into a CD of a different term length. (More on that in a bit).

Earning interest on a Discover CD

Your CD will start earning interest on the same business day that you fund the account. The interest will be added to your account once each month, however.

When it comes to what to do with your interest, you have two options: The default option is to allow it to compound within the CD (meaning you’ll earn interest on that interest), or you can have it automatically deposited each month into another Discover bank account.

What happens once the CD matures?

You’ll get a heads-up notice about a month before your CD matures so you can decide what to do with the money. You have two main options: Either reinvest it into another CD (of the same term length or a different term length), or withdraw the money from the CD and put it into another account (such as a checking or savings account, or perhaps a CD at a different institution).

If you don’t let Discover know what you want to do with the maturing CD, the CD will automatically renew into another one of the same term length. You have a nine-day grace period after your CD automatically rolls over to make any changes or withdrawals penalty-free.

The bottom line

As far as big-name banks go, Discover offers great CD products. Wells Fargo, for example, only offers interest rates as high as 1.55% APY on a $5,000 deposit for a 58-month CD. Chase Bank offers even lower maximum rates — an abysmal 1.05% APY, and only if you can commit a minimum of $100,000 for 10 years.

If you’re the kind of person who likes to keep your finances in one place, Discover also has great credit cards, as well as competitive online savings and checking accounts. No matter how long you’re considering putting money in a CD, Discover is worth a look. Even if it doesn’t have the best available rate, it’s usually within several basis points of the top offerings and well above the average APY.

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on Discover Bank’s secure website

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Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

Lindsay VanSomeren
Lindsay VanSomeren |

Lindsay VanSomeren is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Lindsay here