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Many military families know USAA for their banking and insurance products. If you use USAA for these services, then getting a USAA credit card can be natural next step. They also offer several rewards cards that can help you earn cash or travel rewards.
Overall, USAA credit cards are best for earning bonus points on your daily purchases and redeeming them for cash rewards. With some cards, it’s possible to redeem them for airline flights. However, you won’t get a travel redemption bonus like other credit cards offer.
USAA issues a handful of credit cards through Visa and American Express. Each card offers bonus points on different purchases. You may also have to decide if you want a card that lets you redeem your points for travel and cash rewards or only cash rewards.
None of the USAA credit cards charge an annual fee or foreign transaction fee, making it great for international travel. If you don’t like the standard card design, you can also pick a custom military affiliate design of your choice.
Best American Express USAA Credit Card
The USAA® Rewards™ American Express® Card doesn’t charge an annual fee or foreign transaction fee. You will also earn rewards points on these purchases:
- 3x points for dining out
- 2x points for gas and groceries
- 1x point on all remaining purchases
Your points don’t expire and you can redeem them for airline flights, gift cards, and cash rewards.
USAA gives you 2,500 bonus points on your first purchase. This is a $25 value for cash or airline travel rewards.
Best Visa USAA Credit Card
You will need to decide if you prefer flat rate rewards or tiered purchase rewards as it depends on your spending habits. Unless gas stations and restaurants are your two largest monthly expenses, choosing the flat rate rewards credit card can be the better option.
Preferred Cash Rewards Visa Signature
The USAA® Preferred Cash Rewards Visa Signature® Card earns unlimited 1.5% back on every purchase. But you can only redeem your points for cash rewards.
USAA’s other Visa cash rewards credit card, the USAA® Rewards™ Visa Signature® Card, only earns 2x points at restaurants and gas stations plus 1x points on all other purchases. You may have a slightly lower earning potential but you can redeem your points for cash or travel rewards. This card also comes with 2,500 bonus points after you make your first purchase.
Best USAA Credit Card for Living on Base
If you live on a military base or shop at their commissary or exchange, the USAA® Cashback Rewards Plus American Express® Card is a good fit for these purchase reward categories:
- 5% back on the first $3,000 gas and military base purchases annually on these categories combined
- 2% back on the first $3,000 spent at supermarkets
- 1% back on all remaining purchases
This card has warranty protection, no foreign transaction fees, and comes with rental car protections.
Can You Join USAA?
USAA is free to join, but membership is restricted to the following:
- Active military
- Former military
- Eligible family members of active or former military members
- Cadets or midshipmen
If you don’t have an immediate connection to the U.S. military, you won’t be able to get a USAA credit card. That means you can get one from another bank instead.
No Annual Fee Credit Cards
If you like USAA because they have credit cards without an annual fee, you might like these alternatives instead.
Chase Freedom Unlimited
The information related to the Chase Freedom Unlimited credit card has been collected by Johnny Jet and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card.
The Chase Freedom Unlimited® is a solid alternative to the USAA Preferred Cash Rewards Visa Signature Card as you earn an unlimited 1.5% back on every purchase.
The Freedom Unlimited charges a 3% foreign transaction fee, but you can earn a larger signup bonus worth $150 after spending $500 in the first three months. You can also redeem your points for travel, gift cards, and Amazon.com credits when you don’t want cash rewards.
The information related to the Chase Freedom credit card has been collected by Johnny Jet and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card.
The Chase Freedom® earns 5% on the first $1,500 spent on rotating quarterly bonus categories and unlimited 1% back on all non-bonus spending. Like the Chase Freedom Unlimited, you will need to pay a 3% foreign transaction fee.
Travel Rewards Credit Cards
While the USAA credit card redemption value for airline flights is the industry standard of 1 point= 1 cent, other flexible travel rewards credit cards offer more value. Plus, you won’t pay a foreign transaction fee.
Capital One Venture
The Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card earns unlimited 2 miles for every $1 spent. You can redeem your points for travel statement credits, airline flights, or transfer them to a Capital One airline transfer partner.
You also get free Global Entry or TSA PreCheck. And through January 2020, you also earn 10x points on every Hotels.com purchase.
Chase Sapphire Preferred
For $95 annually, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card earns 2x points on all travel and dining plus 1x point for everything else. Your points are worth 25% more when redeeming award travel on the Chase travel portal.
You also have the option of transferring your points on a 1:1 basis to airline and hotel loyalty programs including Southwest Airlines, United, and World of Hyatt. This makes the Sapphire Preferred one of the best Chase credit cards.
Chase Sapphire Reserve
When you prefer premium travel benefits the Chase Sapphire Reserve® commands a hefty $450 annual fee, but offers more benefits than any USAA credit card.
- $300 annual travel credit
- Priority Pass Select airport lounge membership
- Free Global Entry or TSA PreCheck
- 50% travel redemption bonus
- 1:1 travel partner point transfers
The $300 travel credit applies to your first $300 in travel purchases. Using this credit reduces your annual fee to $150. Using the air travel benefits and the different travel redemption options like the 50% redemption bonus means the money you save can exceed the value you gain from using a fee-free credit card for booking award travel.
Travel and dining purchases earn 3 points per $1 spent and all remaining purchases earn 1 point per $1 spent.
You also have the opportunity to earn a signup bonus of 50,000 Ultimate Rewards points after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months. This bonus is worth $750 in award travel.
If you qualify for USAA membership, their credit cards can be a good match if you want a cash rewards card without an annual fee or foreign transaction. However, you can find other cash and travel rewards cards with more robust rewards programs.
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