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PenFed Rewards Card Drops Annual Fee

We’re making room on our list of favorite travel reward credit cards for the PenFed Premium Travel Rewards American Express card.


Because the card has dropped its $50 annual fee.
PenFed Premium Travel Rewards Card has a variable 13.99% APR

Annual fees cut into the return of reward programs by so much that it’s hard to get warm and fuzzy about cards that have them.

But now that it’s gone, we think Pentagon Federal Credit Union is offering a pretty intriguing deal.

You earn 5 points for every dollar you spend on airfare and 1 point for every dollar you spend on pretty much everything else.

Those points can be redeemed for everything from airline tickets and tech toys to concert tickets and gift cards at an exchange rate that’s roughly 1 cent per point.

To get you started, Pentagon Federal is offering 20,000 bonus points for signing up and making at least $650 in purchases during the first three months you have the card.

In dollars-and-cents terms, that means you’re getting about $200 to spend.

PenFed’s reward system has a lot in common with a couple of our longtime favorites, the Capital One Venture and No Hassle cards.

Points can be redeemed for travel on any airline, with no blackout dates or other restrictions, and there is no foreign transaction fee.

That means you won’t be charged for converting purchases in foreign currency back to U.S. dollars — a service most cards charge 3% or more to do.

One interesting twist that PenFed adds: If you spend more than $15,000 a year with the card, you are given a Priority Pass membership, which allows you to use 600 airport lounges in 100 countries.

The interest rate is reasonable — a variable 13.99% (prime plus 10.74%), with a 12-month promotional rate of 2.99% for balance transfers.

You must become one of Pentagon Federal Credit Union’s 1 million members to obtain the card.

But that isn’t hard.

If you ever served in the military, are a government employee, or work for a defense contractor, you probably qualify to join PenFed for free by placing just $5 in a share account.

You can also become a member by joining the National Military Family Association. The nonprofit group provides assistance to military families, and the tax-deductible dues are $20 per year, or $50 for three years.

Here are all of the ways you can qualify to join PenFed.

Trust us. You’ll get in.

Then check our database to see how PenFed’s deal compares with the best reward credit cards from other issuers.

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Comments (2)
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2 Existing Comments
  1. CJ said:
    on January 14th at 09:36 am

    Does this card ofer $100 allowance to cover checked baggage as teh new Blue Sky Preferred Credit Card from AmEx does? And Delta’s Sky Miles card?

  2. Matt said:
    on January 14th at 04:56 pm

    I would stay away from PenFed for awhile. They were recently hacked and over 100,000 members’ credentials were compromised.