USAA Cashback Rewards Plus American Express Card review | finder.com

USAA® Cashback Rewards Plus American Express® Card review – November 2018

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

30-seconds take

  • Get this card if you’re affiliated with the military and you’re 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 680 or higher.
Product NameUSAA® Cashback Rewards Plus American Express® Card
Card TypeAmerican Express
Annual Fee$0
APR (Annual Percentage Rate) for Purchases13.90% to 27.90% variable
Balance Transfer APR13.9% to 27.9% variable
Balance Transfer Fee3%
Cash Advance Rate13.9% to 27.9% variable
Foreign Transaction FeeNone
Cash Advance Fee3% of the cash advance amount
Interest Free PeriodUp to 25 days
Late Payment Fee$35
Returned Payment Fee$35
Additional Cardholder Fee$0
Minimum Age18 years of age

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, 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 13.65% to 27.65% 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 13.65% to 27.65%. 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.

Consider other cards if …

  • You want a similar card from another bank.

    Consider the PenFed Platinum Rewards Visa Signature® Card. It lets you earn 5x points on gas when you pay at the pump and 3x points at supermarkets. On all other purchases, you’ll earn 1x points. You’ll also get a long intro APR period on balance transfers and a signup bonus.

  • You spend more than $3,000 annually on groceries.

    The Blue Cash Preferred® Card offers 6% cash back on US supermarket purchases on up to $6,000 annually and 1% after that. You also get 3% back on US gas and purchases at select US department stores. On everything else you buy, you’ll earn 1% back. Furthermore, you’ll get a solid welcome offer and a long intro APR period on purchases and balance transfers.

  • You want flat cash back on all purchases.

    Either the Citi® Double Cash Card or the PayPal Cashback Mastercard® could be solid choices. Both cards offer unlimited 2% cash back on everything you buy, and the Citi card offers a long intro APR period on balance transfers.

Compare other American Express credit cards

Name Product Filter values Annual Fee APR for Purchases (Purchase Rate) Intro APR for Balance Transfer
$95
14.99% to 25.99% variable
0% for the first 12 months (then 14.99% to 25.99% variable)
Earn $200 bonus cash back after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. Rates & Fees
$0
14.99% to 25.99% variable
0% for the first 15 months (then 14.99% to 25.99% variable)
Earn a $150 bonus statement credit after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. Rates & Fees
$0
14.99% to 25.99% variable
0% for the first 15 months (then 14.99% to 25.99% variable)
Earn up to $250 back. Earn $150 back after you spend $1,000 or more in purchases with your new Card within the first 3 months of Card Membership. Plus, earn an additional $100 back after you spend an additional $6,500 in purchases within your first 12 months. You will receive the cash back in the form of a statement credit. Rates & Fees
$550
None (Charge Card)
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
$250
See Rates & Fees
25,000 bonus Membership Rewards® Points when you spend $2,000 in the first 3 months Rates & Fees
$0 annual fee for the first year ($95 thereafter)
17.74% to 26.74% variable
Enjoy a $0 annual fee on the first year and earn up to 2 Starpoints® for every dollar of eligible purchases. Rates & Fees
$0
17.74% to 26.74% variable
Earn 10,000 Bonus Miles after spending $500 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months of Card Membership. Rates & Fees
$0 annual fee for the first year ($95 thereafter)
17.74% to 26.74% variable
30,000 bonus miles after you use your new card to make $1,000 on purchases within the first 3 months. Rates & Fees
$95
17.74% to 26.74% variable
Earn 125,000 Hilton Honors™ Bonus Points after you spend $2,000 or more in purchases with your new card within the first 3 months of Card Membership. Rates & Fees
$0
17.74% to 26.74% variable
Earn 75,000 Hilton Honors™ Bonus Points after you spend $1,000 in purchases on the Card within your first 3 months of Card Membership. Rates & Fees
$0
14.99% to 25.99% variable
0% for the first 15 months (then 14.99% to 25.99% variable)
Earn 10,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you use your new card to make $1,000 in purchases in your first 3 months.
$95
14.99% to 24.99% variable
0% for the first 12 months (then 14.99% to 24.99% variable)
15,000 Membership Rewards points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of opening your account

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 U.S. 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 to 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 will simplify your credit card payments by using your phone.
  • Customer service. For any questions, call 1-210-531-USAA (8722) or 1-800-531-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.

Frequently asked questions

Adrienne Fuller

Adrienne Fuller leads the publishing team at finder.com. She has one goal: to deliver the accurate and transparent information she wishes she had when she made some of life's important financial decisions. When she's not helping folks save money, she's hiking with her two Catahoulas around her home in San Diego.

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