USAA was founded in 1922 by 25 army officers who joined forces to insure each other’s automobiles. Today, the company offers a full suite of financial services, including credit cards for a variety of needs. Other services include insurance, mortgages, personal loans, auto loans and refinancing. This article focuses on comparing the best USAA rewards credit cards currently available.
Ryan Clark, USAA’s director of card product management, says the company’s rewards cards are known for their “flexibility of redemption options, no hidden fees, no annual fees, no foreign transaction fees, and great travel benefits.”
If you’re a current or former member of the U.S. military, or married to someone who is, there are eight USAA rewards cards you should know about. Let’s take a closer look.
Rewards points are earned by making qualifying purchases with this card. This includes any purchase with the exception of balance transfers, cash advances, money transfers, truck stop and gaming transactions, tax payments, and finance charges.
You earn one point for every dollar spent, and your first purchase earns you $2,500 bonus points.
Your points can be used for:
- Air travel
- Available merchandise and gift cards
- Cash Redemption Rewards or cash
- A donation to participating charities
- Cruise travel
This card is similar to the card above, but one major advantage is that it has more options for earning rewards points. You earn one reward point for every dollar spent and $2,500 reward points on your first purchase.
What sets this card apart is that you’ll earn two points for every dollar spent on gas or groceries, and there is no cap.
How can you spend your reward points? Qualifying purchases are the same as above, but here is what you need to know about buying groceries and gas.
Qualifying purchases on groceries
To earn your double points, you must buy grocery items at non-wholesale groceries who sell to consumers (such as neighborhood grocery stores and supermarkets). Purchases at places like discount stores (Walmart), wholesale stores (Costco), and warehouse clubs (Sam’s Club) will not count toward points.
Qualifying purchases on Gas
For gas purchases to qualify for the double point bonus, you must buy your gas at stores primarily selling automobile gasoline to consumers (such as Shell and Exxon stations).
Rewards cards that support veterans
In addition to helping support various veterans organizations, the following cards all offer these same rewards:
- 2,500 Bonus Points after your first purchase.
- Earn 1 point for every $1 spent on purchases.
- You can redeem points for 1% cash back
- Or you can use the reward points for travel, gift cards or merchandise.
- Another option: Use your points to donate to a military affiliate group.
USAA Bank donates to the VFW when you open an account or make purchases. As the United States’ oldest and largest veterans organization, the VFW has a
long history of assisting our military veterans.
This card is for people with a credit score of 680 to 850, and it has no annual fee.
USAA sends a contribution to AMVETS, an organization that assists American veterans and their families when you open an account or make eligible purchases with your card.
AMVETS supports veterans and their families by sponsoring a variety of programs including scholarships, job assistance programs, and more. You can earn cash back or rewards on purchases made with this card. Rewards points can be used for travel, gifts, and other perks.
The Wounded Warrior Project receives a donation from USAA when you open an account or make purchases with this card. The WWP’s mission is to honor and empower our wounded veterans.
This card allows balance transfers, which a great feature if you have credit card debt and want to transfer it to a card with a lower APR.
This card enables you to support the Disabled American Veterans organization when you open an account and make purchases. The DAV helps disabled veterans and their families in a variety of ways. You need a credit score of 680 to 850 to be approved for this card, and there is no annual fee.
USAA will make a contribution to the American Legion every time you make an eligible purchase with this card. The American Legion sponsors youth programs, promotes national security, serves military members and veterans, and more.
This card is great for cash back, rewards, travel, and balance transfers.
When you open an account or make a qualifying purchase, USAA makes a contribution to the United States Naval Academy Alumni Association and the United States Naval Academy Foundation. These two independent, not-for-profit corporations operate as an integrated organization in support of the Naval Academy.
This card has a 12-month introductory APR rate of 0%, making it perfect for balance transfers or purchases that you can pay off during the first year.
Terms and features
The terms and features are the same for all of these cards.
- No annual fee
- No penalty APR
- Late payment fee up to $35
- Returned payment fee up to $35
- No over the limit fee
- No foreign transaction fee
- Balance transfer and cash advance fee: 3% of the amount of each transfer or advance but no more than $200
- 25-day grace period for purchases (excluding cash advances and balance transfers) — this means USAA will not charge you interest if you pay your entire balance by the due date each month
- Special features for members called to active duty
- Added security features
- Unlimited reward points
- No liability for fraudulent purchases
There are so many rewards cards on offer; it can be dizzying to pick one. It’s always smart to begin your research by looking at several options.
Start with SuperMoney’s credit card review pages to compare rates and find your best option. Make sure you learn what every card has to offer so that you can make an informed decision.