PenFed Platinum Rewards Visa Signature Card Review


Gasoline and electricity prices fluctuate from week to week and month to month. But even when prices aren’t making new highs, transportation accounts for a significant portion of the typical household’s budget. With unlimited 5x points on eligible gas paid at the pump and EV charging purchases, the PenFed Platinum Rewards Visa Signature® Card can help tamp down transportation costs without painful lifestyle changes. Broad 3x points categories make it a great credit card for folks who dine out, buy groceries, and watch or listen to streaming content — which is just about everyone.

So it’s quite likely that the PenFed Platinum Rewards Visa card deserves a place in your wallet. Find out what to expect from this card and decide whether it’s a good fit for your spending habits.

What Is the PenFed Platinum Rewards Visa Signature® Card?

The PenFed Platinum Rewards Visa Signature Card is a rewards credit card for Pentagon Federal Credit Union members. Though not technically a cash-back credit card, its points program uses a versatile loyalty currency that can be redeemed for gift cards, travel, merchandise, and more.

The PenFed Platinum Rewards Visa card earns 5 points per $1 spent (a 5% return) on eligible gas paid at the pump and EV charging purchases, plus 3 points per $1 spent on eligible restaurant, grocery store, and TV, radio, cable, and streaming service purchases. A generous sign-up bonus and 12-month introductory 0% APR offer for qualifying balance transfers round out the benefits.

0% introductory APR for 12 months on balance transfers made in the first 90 days after account opening. After that, the APR for the unpaid balance and any new balance transfers will be a non-variable rate of 17.99%. A 3% balance transfer fee applies to each transfer. This transaction is subject to credit approval. If you take advantage of this balance transfer, you will immediately be charged interest on all purchases made with your credit card unless you pay the entire account balance, including balance transfers, in full each month by the payment due date.

The PenFed Platinum Rewards Visa is exclusively for PenFed members. Fortunately, anyone can become a PenFed member, which wasn’t always the case. 


What Sets the PenFed Platinum Rewards Visa Signature Card Apart

The PenFed Platinum Rewards Visa isn’t your typical points credit card. Three things in particular help it stand out from superficially similar cards:

  • 3x Grocery Category Includes Most Target and Walmart Locations. If you do most of your grocery shopping at superstores like Target or Walmart, this is a game-changer. Most points credit cards specifically exclude Target and Walmart from supermarket bonus points.
  • Very Good 0% Introductory APR Balance Transfer Promotion. The PenFed Platinum Rewards Visa card doesn’t quite make the cut for our best balance transfer credit cards list, but it still has a pretty good introductory deal for people with high-interest credit card debt: 0% introductory APR for 12 months on eligible transfers made in the first 90 days of account opening.
  • No Annual Fee. This certainly isn’t unique or even unusual for the points credit card category writ large, but it is notable given how generous the PenFed Platinum Rewards Visa’s points program is. This card’s closest competitors generally charge annual fees.

Key Features of the PenFed Platinum Rewards Visa Signature Card

These are the most important features of the PenFed Platinum points Visa card, beginning with qualification requirements.

Membership Requirements: Who Qualifies for the PenFed Platinum Rewards Visa Signature Card?

PenFed once restricted its membership to military service members and their families, but that’s no longer the case. Anyone can join PenFed by completing a simple membership application and opening an account with a $5 minimum deposit.

Once you’ve established PenFed membership and opened your membership account, you’re free to apply for a PenFed Platinum Rewards Visa card. Credit qualification is required.

penfed platinum rewards graphic

Earning Points

The PenFed Platinum Rewards Visa card’s regular points program has three tiers. All offer unlimited earning potential:

  • 5 points per $1 spent (5x points) on eligible gas paid at the pump and EV charging purchases
  • 3 points per $1 spent (3x points) on eligible restaurant and supermarket purchases, plus eligible TV/radio/cable/streaming service purchases
  • 1 point per $1 spent (1x points) on all other eligible purchases

Unlike most points credit cards, the PenFed Platinum Rewards Visa card includes most Target and Walmart locations in its supermarkets category. So if you regularly shop for groceries at one of these superstores, you can earn points at the full bonus rate.

Redeeming Points

You can redeem your accumulated points for your choice of:

  • Visa digital gift cards for same-day delivery
  • Gift cards from a variety of top retailers and retail brands, including Amazon, Target, Starbucks, and more — over 300 brands in all
  • Travel (via PenFed’s catalog)
  • General merchandise in categories such as electronics, fashion, food and wine, beauty, children’s items, sporting goods, household items, office supplies, and luggage

Introductory Balance Transfer Offer

Balance transfers made within the first 90 days of account opening qualify for 0% introductory APR for 12 months from account opening. There’s a 3% fee associated with each transfer. Just be sure to pay off transferred balances in full before the 0% APR period expires.

Important Fees

This card has no annual fee or fee for foreign transactions. A 3% fee applies to all balance transfers.

Other Features and Benefits

The PenFed Platinum Rewards Visa card has some other notable features and benefits, including:

  • Tap-to-pay functionality
  • Click-to-pay functionality
  • Digital wallet compatibility (Apple Pay, Google Pay, Samsung Pay)
penfed platinum rewards features infographic

Advantages of the PenFed Platinum Rewards Visa Signature Card

These are the top advantages of the PenFed Platinum Rewards Visa card. Note the generous 5x and 3x points categories, the long 0% introductory APR balance transfer promotion, and the lack of an annual fee, among other selling points.

  • Unlimited 5x Rewards on Eligible Gas Paid at the Pump and EV Charging Purchases. The PenFed Platinum Rewards Visa card delivers unlimited 5x points on eligible pay-at-the-pump gas and EV charging purchases. No other card on my radar can match that rate of return in those categories.
  • Broad, Unlimited 3x Rewards Categories. This card earns unlimited 3x points on eligible restaurant and supermarket purchases, including most Target and Walmart locations. You’ll also earn unlimited 3x points on eligible TV, radio, cable, and streaming service purchases. Many competing no-annual-fee cards cap 3x points at a moderate monthly spend rate.
  • Generous Balance Transfer Promotion. This card has a strong 0% introductory APR promotion for balance transfers: 12 months from account opening for transfers made within the first 90 days. Just pay a 3% balance transfer fee (and be sure to pay off your entire balance in time to avoid interest).
  • No Annual Fee or Foreign Transaction Fee. This card has no annual fee or foreign transaction fee, so it costs nothing to keep in your wallet and won’t ding you if you use or abroad or with overseas merchants.

Disadvantages of the PenFed Platinum Rewards Visa Signature Card

The PenFed Platinum Rewards Visa card isn’t perfect. Consider these potential drawbacks before you apply.

  • Can’t Redeem for Statement Credits or Bank Account Deposits. The PenFed Platinum Rewards Visa card offers multiple ways to redeem your points, including for good-as-cash gift cards. But the simplest options — statement credits or deposits directly into your bank account — aren’t available. This is inconvenient, if manageable.
  • Must Be a PenFed Member First. You must be a PenFed member to qualify for this card (credit qualification is also required). This isn’t the dealbreaker it once was because PenFed membership is now open to all, but it still requires an extra step (opening a PenFed account) before you apply.

How the PenFed Platinum Rewards Visa Signature Card Stacks Up

Not sure the PenFed Platinum Rewards Visa card is the best choice for your spending needs? Before you apply, see how it compares to a card that has long topped our list of the best gas credit cards: the U.S. Bank Altitude Connect Visa Signature Card. 

PenFed Platinum Rewards U.S. Bank Altitude Connect
5x Points Gas paid at the pump and EV charging; unlimited Prepaid hotels and car rentals booked through Altitude Rewards Center
4x Points None Gas, EV charging, and other travel; unlimited
3x Points Restaurants, grocery stores, TV/cable/radio/streaming; unlimited None
2x Points None Grocery stores, restaurants, streaming; unlimited
Intro APR offer 0% introductory APR for 12 months on balance transfers None
Annual Fee $0 $95 after the first year

Final Word

I’d recommend the PenFed Platinum Rewards Visa Signature® Card to anyone who drives often, buys groceries, dines out more than once in a blue moon, and/or consumes original audio-visual content. In other words, I’d recommend this card to just about everyone.

Is it perfect? No; no credit card is. When redeeming credit card points, I prefer statement credits to gift cards. And you do have to be a PenFed member to apply. But these are minor quibbles in the grand scheme of things. Overall, the PenFed Platinum Rewards Visa is an excellent credit card. 

PenFed is insured by NCUA.



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