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These cards are only available to members of the military, active or honorably discharged, as well as certain members of their family. Click here for details on USAA eligibility.
USAA provides many different types of credit cards, and these two are some of the most rewarding. These cards are very similar in most of their terms and benefits (which include special military benefits), but they differ in how they provide cash back.
Read on to learn what they offer and how they can help you save money.
This card provides:
A little bit different, this card provides:
As you can see, these cards are going to reward you in very different ways.
If you’re going to be spending a lot on gas and on the base, the Amex card is your obvious choice. If you’re not sure what you’ll be buying, or if you already have a credit card for gas, the Visa might be for you because 1.5% cash back on general purchases is almost as good as it gets.
In many cases, the Amex card will probably be more suitable for active members of the military, while the Visa will probably be better for family members.
These cards share the same fairly comprehensive set of benefits. For the most part they are the exact same, but some of the benefits will be serviced by American Express for its card, and Visa for the other. Check your Guide to Benefits to learn the specific details for your card.
Call to get personal help with all sorts of tasks, like travel planning, making restaurant reservations, finding hard-to-find items, and finding convenient services nearby, wherever you may happen to be.
You may or may not qualify for some of these benefits; click here to learn more and see if you qualify.
The SCRA provides help to active-duty service members, and includes benefits like protection for life insurance policies and reduced interest rates on debts incurred before beginning active duty. USAA will provide an interest rate of 4% for pre-existing USAA credit card debt and loans, and a rate of 6% for other debts like credit cards, mortgages, auto loans, and others.
Members who receive a qualifying campaign medal can receive a rebate for all of the interest incurred during their campaign. The qualifying campaign medals include the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, the Iraq Campaign Medal, and the Afghanistan Campaign Medal.
Doubles the manufacturer’s original warranty, up to a maximum of 2 years for most items, up to $15,000.
Available when traveling 100 miles or more from home, provides help like information on travel requirements, locating documents or lost items, or arranging emergency money transfers.
Provides insurance in case of a tragic accident, funds to reimburse purchases if your bags are delayed, and reimbursement if your trip is interrupted for eligible reasons.
Provides coverage against damage and theft of rental vehicles, as long as the rental company’s own insurance is declined.
If you become a victim of identity theft, this service provides help with contacting the credit bureaus, getting a new credit card, and going through the proper legal proceedings.
You won’t be held liable for unauthorized charges as a result of identity fraud.
|Card||Annual Fee||Regular APR||Regular Balance Transfer APR||Cash Advance APR|
|Cashback Rewards Plus Amex||$0||13.90%–27.90% Variable||13.90%–27.90% Variable||13.90%–27.90% Variable|
|Preferred Cash Rewards Visa Signature||$0||13.90%–27.90% Variable||13.90%–27.90% Variable||13.90%–27.90% Variable|
|Card||Balance Transfer Fee||Cash Advance Fee||Foreign Transaction Fee|
|Cashback Rewards Plus Amex||3%||3%||None|
|Preferred Cash Rewards Visa Signature||3%||3%||None|
|Card||Penalty APR||Late Fee||Returned Payment Fee|
|Cashback Rewards Plus Amex||None||Up to $35||Up to $35|
|Preferred Cash Rewards Visa Signature||None||Up to $35||Up to $35|
So, if you like the cash back deals then one of these cards might be the right one for you, especially if you’re an active member of the military. The 4% interest rate is far lower than anything you could expect to get from a regular credit card, and the fact that USAA will lower your other debts to a 6% rate could save you a whole lot of money.
Just be sure to fully understand the benefits that come with this card so you get the most out of it. You may need to manually enroll or activate some benefits, so don’t assume that they will happen automatically.
Want to apply for or learn more about one of these cards? Just click the card’s name below.
There are also USAA cards that offer fewer rewards but will probably be easier to get. Check out our review: The USAA Rewards Credit Cards
Looking for other non-military reward credit cards? Click here to check out our picks for the Best Reward Credit Cards.
Brendan has been writing about personal finance for over eight years, and is now taking on the challenge of bringing high quality credit education to the masses. He makes sure that Credit Card Insider is covering the most important credit topics transparently and precisely, and that we have up-to-date reviews of credit cards so you can find cards that are right for you.
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