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USAA® Cashback Rewards Plus American Express® Card review

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.
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Up to 5%

Cash back

$0

Annual fee

11.9% to 25.9%

Purchase APR (variable)

670

Recommended credit score

Details

Annual fee$0
Welcome offerN/A
Rewards5% cash back on up to $3,000 in combined annual gas and military base purchases, 2% on up to $3,000 at supermarkets annually and 1% on all other purchases
Purchase APR11.9% to 25.9% variable
Balance transfer APR11.9% to 25.9% variable
Minimum Credit Score670
IssuerAmerican Express
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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 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.

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).

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 11.9% to 25.9% 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 11.9% to 25.9%. 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 the best cards for service members, or take a look at similar cashback credit cards.

Name Product Welcome Offer Rewards Annual fee Filter values
Citi® Double Cash Card
N/A
Up to 2% cash back on purchases (1% when you buy plus 1% as you pay)
$0
Earn up to 2% on every purchase with no annual fee. This is the highest flat-rate cashback card on the market.
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 eligible 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 eligible 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
Luxury Card Mastercard® Gold Card™
N/A
1x points on all purchases with 2% point value when you redeem for airfare or cash back
$995
Earn 2% point value when redeemed for airfare or cash back through the Luxury rewards program.
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Compare up to 4 providers

Name Product Welcome Offer Rewards Annual fee Filter values
Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express
Earn a $200 statement credit after spending $2,000 in the first 6 months
3% at US supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year (then 1%), 2% at US gas stations and select US department stores and 1% on other purchases (redeem as statement credit)
$0
Earn a $200 statement credit after spending $2,000 in the first 6 months. This is a higher-than-average welcome offer for a card with no annual fee. Terms apply, see rates & fees
BlockFi Bitcoin Rewards Credit Card
Up to $100 in Bitcoin rewards by earning 3.5% back in Bitcoin on all purchases in the first 90 days
3.5% back in Bitcoin in the first 90 days, up to a total of $100 in Bitcoin, then 1.5% on all purchases
$0
Earn 3.5% back in Bitcoin in the first 90 days, up to a total of $100 in Bitcoin. After that you'll earn a solid 1.5% back on all purchases.
Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Credit Card
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.
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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.

USAA® Cashback Rewards Plus American Express® Card reviews and complaints

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

USAA is not accredited with the Better Business Bureau, but it earns an A- rating from the agency as of October 2020. As of this writing, 92% of its reviews are negative and it has over 1,422 customer complaints. USAA customers report unexpected changes to reward balances and a complicated customer service process.

The company earns a Trustpilot score of 1.4 out of 5 as of October 2020. Many negative reviews cite unsympathetic customer service and difficulty getting fraud claims resolved. Positive reviews say customer service is responsive and the bank’s products have strong features.

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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