Earlier this week, Pentagon Federal Credit Union (PenFed) announced a new co-branded travel rewards American Express credit card. PenFed is the second-largest federal credit union in the United States, and this new card offering is very lucrative for many travelers. In fact, the PenFed Pathfinder Rewards Card is offering a handful of benefits that you'll find on more expensive, premium travel rewards credit cards, but without an annual fee!
Welcome offer of 25,000 Bonus Points: After you spend $2,500 in the first 3 months of card membership. When these points are redeemed for travel, they can be worth up to 1.25 cents each. We will conservatively estimate this sign up bonus to be worth roughly $200 towards any travel expenses.
3X Points On Travel: You will earn 3X points on all travel purchases (airfare, hotels, cruises, taxis, Ubers, car rentals, etc.) , and 1.5X points per dollar on all other spend. Further, if you are a member of the military or have a PenFed free Access America checking account you will earn 4X points on all travel purchases.
$100 Annual Airline Incidental fee credit: This credit will function munch like the credits on the American Express Premier Rewards Gold card and the American Express Platinum card. This will work for 10 different US based airlines, and is intended to pay for incidental airline fees such as checked bags. This is a solid benefit for a no annual fee card.
$100 Application Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓: If you apply for either Global Entry or TSA Pre✓ and pay with the PenFed Pathfinder Rewards card, the application cost will be reimbursed ($100 for Global Entry and $85 for TSA Pre✓). You are eligible to receive this credit once every five years. This is an incredible benefit and one I have never seen on a no annual fee card.
No Foreign Transaction Fees: This is another benefit that is not common for a no annual fee card. If using the card abroad you will not be charged a fee to use the card. This fee usually runs around 3% of the purchase price.
Holding the PenFed Pathfinder Rewards Card does require membership. If you are a member of the military, then you will automatically qualify for membership. If not, the easiest way to do this is right on the application for the card. Simply donate $17 to the National Military Family Organization or Voices for America's Troops, and you will be able to join. PenFed also has the top rates on car loans and mortgages as well. PenFed is a great way to bank and it's our favorite credit union.
The PenFed Pathfinder Rewards Card is simply a fantastic no annual fee travel rewards credit card. It will be interesting to see what kind of value can be squeezed out of PenFed's points program, but the other benefits alone make this card worth it. This is a card I plan to pick up and hold for the long run.