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USAA® Cashback Rewards Plus American Express® Card review

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Get accelerated cash back on gas and purchases made at military bases.

  • Get this card if you’re affiliated with the military and often on the road.
  • Pick something else if you want higher cash back on other categories.
  • Apply with a good to excellent credit score of 670 or higher.

Up to 5%

Cash back

$0

Annual fee

13.9% to 27.9%

Purchase APR (variable)

670

Recommended credit score

Details

Product NameUSAA® Cashback Rewards Plus American Express® Card
Card typeAmerican Express
Annual fee$0
Purchase APR13.9% to 27.9% variable
Balance transfer APR13.9% to 27.9% variable
Balance transfer fee3%
Cash advance rate13.9% to 27.9% variable
Cash advance fee3% of the cash advance amount
Foreign transaction feeNone
Interest free periodUp to 25 days
Late payment feeUp to $35
Returned payment feeUp to $35
Additional cardholder fee$0

The basics

The main feature of the USAA® Cashback Rewards Plus American Express® Card is its rewards — you get one of the highest cashback rates on gas and purchases made at military bases. You also get decent cash back on groceries.

Furthermore, if you’re deployed, if you’re in a permanent change of station or if you enter active military duty, you’ll get a low APR for a period.

However, you’ll likely need good to excellent credit to qualify for the card, and you must be eligible for USAA membership.

The perks

  • Cash back.

    Earn 5% on gas and purchases made at military bases on up to $3,000 in combined purchases, then 1%, and 2% back on supermarket purchases on up to $3,000 per year. After that, and on everything else you buy, earn 1% back.

  • No annual fee.

    You won’t have to pay an annual fee to own the card.

How much cashback rewards can I earn with the USAA® Cashback Rewards Plus American Express® Card?

Where you spend:The amount you spend:Cash back earned:
Gas stations$1,500$75
Military bases$1,500$75
Supermarkets$2,000$40
Other$5,000$50
Total$10,000$240

If your annual spending looks similar to our example, you would earn a total of $240 cash back per year.

Note that the 5% cash back applies for combined purchases of $3,000 annually for the first two categories, and 1% after that. This means if you spend $3,000 on gas but $0 at military bases, you would earn $150 cash back on gas alone.

You’ll also like …

  • No foreign transaction fee.

    You won’t pay any fees for transactions made outside of the US. Similar cards have a foreign transaction fees of up to 3% every time you use your card abroad.

  • No penalty APR.

    If you make a late payment, you’ll only pay up to a $35 fee. With other cards, you could end up with a penalty APR of up to 31%.

  • Deployment, PCS and SCRA rates.

    If you’re deployed or in a permanent change of station, you’ll enjoy a low 4% fixed APR on all balances for 12 months. And if you enter active military duty, you’ll receive the same 4% fixed APR on all current balances until one year after you complete active duty. After that, a variable APR of 13.9% to 27.9% will apply.

  • Card protection features.

    Enjoy zero liability for unauthorized charges, secure logon options and support in case of identity theft.

What to watch out for

  • Cap on cash back.

    You’re limited to $3,000 in combined purchases for the 5% rate and $3,000 for the 2% cashback categories. After reaching the cap for either, you earn 1% back.

  • No intro APR period.

    You start off with a variable APR of 13.9% to 27.9%. If you’re looking to transfer your balance from another account, or if you want to make a large purchase and to pay it off interest-free for a prolonged period of time, check out 0% intro APR cards.

Compare credit cards for military members

Some credit card providers like USAA offer benefits for military service members and their families. Compare cards with perks for service members, or take a look at similar cashback credit cards.

Name Product Welcome offer Rewards Annual fee Filter values
N/A
1.5% cash back on all purchases
$39
Get unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase with no limit on how much you can earn, and no changing categories.
60,000 points after spending $5,000 in your first 3 months
5x points on directly-booked flights or on flights and hotels on Amex Travel. 1x points on all other purchases
$550
Get 5x Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel and 5x points on eligible hotels booked on amextravel.com. Rates & fees
50,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months
3x points on dining and travel after earning your $300 travel credit and 1x points on all other purchases
$450
Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months
$100 after spending $1,500 in the first 90 days
2% cash back for all PenFed Honors Advantage members and 1.5% cash back on all purchases
$0
2% cash back for all PenFed Honors Advantage members and 1.5% cash back on all purchases made with your card.
$100 after spending $1,500 in the first 90 days
5x points on gas at the pump, 3x points on groceries and 1x points on all other purchases
$0
Earn 5x points on gas at the pump and 3x points on groceries. Earn 1x points on all other purchases.

Compare up to 4 providers

Name Product Welcome offer Rewards Annual fee Filter values
$150 cash back after spending $500 in the first 3 months
1.5% cash back on all purchases
$0
Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase, every day.
3% cash back bonus on up to $10,000 in the first 12 months, then 1.5%
3% cash back on up to $10,000 in the first 12 months, then 1.5% on all purchases
$0
Earn 3% cash back on up to $10,000 in the first 12 months, then 1.5% on all purchases. See Rates and Fees.
$150 after spending $500 in the first 90 days
5% on up to $2,000 each activated quarter on two categories combined (1% after), 2% on one everyday category and 1% on all other purchases
$0
When you spend $500 on your card within the first 90 days, you’ll receive a $150 cash back bonus. Rates & Fees
$250 after spending $1,000 in the first 3 months
6% on select US streaming services, 3% on transit and US gas stations, 6% at US supermarkets on up to $6,000 annually, then 1% after that and on all other purchases
$95
Earn $250 bonus cash back after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. Rates & fees
$200 after spending $500 in the first 90 days
3% on dining, 2% at grocery stores and 1% on all other eligible purchases
$0
Earn $200 cash back when you spend $500 within 90 days after account opening.

Compare up to 4 providers

What should I know before I apply?

To apply for this card, you must be:

  • A US citizen or permanent resident.
  • At least 18 years old.
  • A member of the military, a veteran who was honorably discharged or an eligible family member of military personnel.

In your application, you’ll need to provide:

  • Full name and residential address.
  • Marital status and birthdate.
  • Contact information.
  • Proof of employment and income information.

If your application is approved, you can choose your military affiliate card design.

Who is eligible for a USAA membership?

  • Active military personnel. Anyone serving in the US Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Marines or Navy.
  • Former military personnel. Retired or separated individuals from the US military with an honorable discharge.
  • Family members. This includes widows, widowers and unremarried former spouses of USAA members who joined USAA prior to or during the marriage and individuals whose parents are USAA members.
  • Cadets and midshipmen. Cadets and midshipmen at US service academies, advanced ROTC or on ROTC scholarship and officer candidates within 24 months of commissioning.

What credit score do I need?

Apply with a good to excellent credit score of 670 or higher. For a lower APR, make sure you apply with a credit score that’s on the upper end of the scale and income enough to easily repay your debt.

What do customers say about the USAA® Cashback Rewards Plus American Express® Card?

Customers who are happy with the card love the high cashback rewards on gas. They also praise the USAA customer support.

The Better Business Bureau rates USAA with an A+, but they are yet to accredit the financial institution.

How do I apply for the USAA® Cashback Rewards Plus American Express® Card?

  1. Go to USAA website and find the USAA® Cashback Rewards Plus American Express® Card from the list of credit cards. Click Get started or Log on.
  2. Once you log in to your membership account, fill out your application form.
  3. Review your application and submit it.

How do I redeem rewards from USAA® Cashback Rewards Plus American Express® Card?

Redeem your cash back at any time by accessing the USAA Rewards Service Center at the USAA website or call 1-800-980-USAA (8722).

I got the card. Now what?

  • Download USAA Mobile app. Use it to monitor your credit score, to manage your account, set up alerts, track and redeem your rewards and more.
  • Enroll in Apple Pay, Samsung Pay or Google Pay. This simplifies your credit card payments by using your phone.
  • Customer service. For any questions, call 210-531-USAA (8722) or 800-531-USAA. For fastest service, USAA recommends calling from Tuesday through Friday. You can also chat online with a customer support representative.

Bottom line

If you’re affiliated with the military and looking for a credit card that earns one of the highest cashback rates on gas, the USAA® Cashback Rewards Plus American Express® Card could be helpful.

Make sure you check out other credit cards to compare your options and choose the best card for you.

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