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PenFed Pathfinder® Rewards Visa Signature® Card review

Enjoy high-end travel perks for a low-end price.

finder.com’s rating: 4.4 / 5.0

★★★★★

  • Get this card if you’re looking for travel rewards and air travel perks with no annual fee.
  • Pick something else if you want cashback rewards.
  • Apply with a good to excellent credit score of 670 or higher.

50,000

Points as welcome offer

Up to 4x

Points

$95

Annual fee

14.99% to 17.99%

Purchase APR (variable)

Details

Annual fee$95
Welcome Offer50,000 points after spending $3,000 in the first 90 days
Rewards3x points on travel or 4x points if you’re a PenFed Honors Advantage member and 1.5x points on all other purchases
Purchase APR14.99% to 17.99% variable
Balance transfer APR0% intro for the first 12 months (then 17.99% variable)
Recommended minimum credit score670
IssuerVisa
Avatar

Review by


Kliment Dukovski is a credit cards and investments writer. He's written over 600 articles to help readers find and compare the best credit cards. Kliment has also written on money transfers, home loans and more. Previously, he ghostwrote guides and articles on foreign exchange, stock market trading and cryptocurrencies.

Expert review

The PenFed Pathfinder® Rewards Visa Signature® Card is a rare gem among travel rewards cards. With this card, you get some of the premium travel rewards that high-end travel cards offer, such as a $100 Global Entry TSA PreCheck application credit and an annual $100 airline travel credit — all with a $95 annual fee.

And if you think $95 annually is expensive for the card, PenFed will waive it for you if you are an Honors Advantage member. To get the membership, you need to be a member of the military or be an Access America account holder in PenFed. Another rewarding benefit for Honors Advantage members is the 4x points on all travel purchases, which matches the rewards rate of premium travel cards that cost north of $400. Non-members get to earn 3x points, which is decent.

The great thing about the travel purchases category is that includes more than just airfare and accommodations. Commuter transportation, taxi, Uber, Lyft, bus lines and tolls all count toward travel purchases, helping you to earn even more points on everyday expenses. You can then redeem your points for flight tickets, gift cards and merchandise.

How to apply for the PenFed Pathfinder® Rewards Visa Signature® Card?

  1. Go to the provider's site and click Apply now.
  2. Select the PenFed Pathfinder® Rewards Visa Signature® Card from the list and click Apply Now.
  3. Complete the form with the required information.
  4. Review your application and submit it.

To apply for the PenFed Pathfinder® Rewards Visa Signature® Card, you must be:

  • At least 18 years old.
  • A US citizen or permanent resident of the US.
  • A member of the PenFed Credit Union.

Information you’ll need

To complete the application, you’ll provide information that includes:

  • Your name and residential address.
  • Your Social Security number and date of birth.
  • Your email address and phone number.
  • Financial information like your annual income and income source.

What credit score do I need?

You can get the card with a credit score in the low 600s. However, it’s best to apply with a good to excellent credit score of 670 or higher to qualify for the lowest APR and a higher credit limit.

PenFed typically pulls your credit report from Equifax as part of its approval process.

How long will it take to get my PenFed Pathfinder® Rewards Visa Signature® Card?

Because PenFed automates conditional credit card approval online, you may get a decision on your application within minutes. If there are issues with your application, it may take a few days to a few weeks to hear back.

On approval, your card should arrive by mail within 10 business days.

PenFed Pathfinder® Rewards Visa Signature® Card benefits

  • Welcome offer. Earn 50,000 bonus points — a value of around $250 — after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 90 days your account is open.
  • Annual air travel credit. Get $100 in air travel credit every year. Use it to cover baggage fees, lounge access, flight changes, pet-kennel fees, phone reservations and in-flight food and beverage purchases.
  • Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee credit. You’ll get an $100 TSA PreCheck or $100 Global Entry application credit every five years to help you clear airport security lines faster.
  • Earn points. Get 4x points if you’re a PenFed Honors Advantage Member — 3x points if you’re not — on all travel purchases. Travel purchases include airfare, hotels, car rental, cruises, travel agency purchases, commuter transportation, taxi, Uber, Lyft, bus lines, tour operators, tolls, tourist attractions and more. This is way more extensive than what other cards include in travel category. You also earn 1.5x points on all other purchases, a slightly higher rate than the standard 1x points offered by competitor cards.
  • No annual fee for Honors Advantage members. You get all these cool features without paying an annual fee as long as you are an Honors Advantage member.
  • No foreign transaction fee. When you travel abroad, use your card freely without incurring any foreign transaction fees. Other cards charge fees of up to 3% for each transaction.
  • Intro APR period on balance transfers. Get a 0% intro APR on balance transfers for 12 months when you make the transfer before a rolling deadline. After that, a variable APR of 17.99% applies. Note that a 3% balance transfer fee applies.

How do I become PenFed Honors Advantage member?

To become a PenFed Honors Advantage member and earn more points on travel purchases, you need to either:

  • Open a checking account. Sign up for the PenFed Access America checking account.
  • Be part of a military family. Enjoy Honors Advantage benefits if you or a member of your family is active duty, reserve, honorably discharged or retired.

What to watch out for

  • No intro APR for purchases. The PenFed Pathfinder® Rewards Visa Signature® Card doesn’t have an intro APR period on purchases. You’ll start with a variable APR of 14.99% to 17.99%.
  • Balance transfer limitations. The intro APR on balance transfers is valid only if you make your transfers by the rolling deadline.
  • High fees and penalties for late payments. You’ll pay fees of up to $25 for late payments. If you don’t make the minimum payment within 60 days after its due date, you could be stuck with a penalty APR of 17.99% variable. To remove the penalty APR, you must make three consecutive on-time payments.

Compare travel credit cards

Name Product Welcome offer Rewards Annual fee Filter values
American Express® Gold Card
60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first 6 months
4x at restaurants including delivery and Uber Eats; 4x at US supermarkets on up to $25,000 annually (then 1x points), 3x points on directly-booked flights and 1x points on all other purchases
$250

Rose Gold is Back

Earn up to 4x points on select purchases, a bevy of travel perks, and a welcome offer worth up to $600 based on our valuation with this upper-mid tier travel card. Terms apply, see rates & fees
The Platinum Card® from American Express
100,000 points after spending $6,000 in your first 6 months, plus 10x points at restaurants worldwide and when you Shop Small in the US on up to $25,000 in combined purchases in the same timeframe
10x points at restaurants worldwide and when you Shop Small in the US on up to $25,000 combined in the first 6 months, 5x points on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel, 5x points on directly-booked flights on up to $500,000 annually, then 1x points after that and on other purchases
$695

New Platinum Exclusive Offer

One of the most valuable premium travel cards, featuring two welcome offers worth up to $7,000 based on Finder's valuation, multiple travel credits and unrivaled lounge access. Terms apply, see rates & fees
Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card
75,000 points after spending $3,000 in the first 3 months. Plus, earn up to $200 in statement credits for eligible purchases at US restaurants within the first 6 months
6x Marriott Bonvoy points for each dollar of eligible purchases at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy™ program, 3x at US restaurants and on flights booked directly with airlines and 2x for all other purchases
$450
Earn 75,000 bonus points when you spend $3,000 or more within your first 3 months. Terms apply, see rates & fees
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PenFed Pathfinder® Rewards Visa Signature® Card reviews and complaints

As of February 2021, the Better Business Bureau rates Pentagon Federal Credit Union an A+, though it’s not yet accredited. Customers on BBB’s site have left 79 reviews at the time of writing, resulting in a composite score of 1.19 out of 5 stars. Most user complaints cite long wait times on customer support numbers. Other than that, they consider this a solid travel rewards card.

I got the card. Now what?

  • Download the PenFed mobile app. With the app, you can make manual payments, set up autopay, transfer balances and more.
  • Avoid interest. After the close of each billing cycle, you have a grace period of at least 25 days to pay your balance. If you do, you won’t pay interest on your purchases.
  • Enroll in Visa Purchase Alerts. Stay on top of spending and fraud with real-time notification by email or text after each transaction involving your card.
  • Get help. Contact PenFed customer service at 1-800-732-8268 or info@hq.penfed.org with questions.

Bottom line

The PenFed Pathfinder® Rewards Visa Signature® Card is an exceptional travel rewards card that lets you earn points for long-distance travel and everyday commuting by taxi, Uber, bus and more. And the best thing: With the PenFed Honors Advantage membership, it costs you nothing to own the card.

Your spending may not exactly align with what this card has to offer, however. Compare your credit card options to find out with different features or categories more relevant to your spending.

Images: PenFed.org

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