Review of the PenFed Visa Platinum Cashback Rewards Credit Card

Last Updated: 5/30/2011

penfed-visa-platinum-cashback-rewards The Penfed Visa Platinum Gas card might be called a hidden gem. The value proposition of this card is very straightforward: its awesome for gas rewards (5% cashback)-but quite horrible on all other purchases (0.25%, recently reduced from 1%).  Penfed is clearly de-emphasizing (and likely phasing out) this card in favor of the recently launched Penfed Platinum Rewards Card, which is pretty impressive all-around and worth a look. If you maintain a portfolio of credit cards to max out rewards across all major categories, the Penfed Visa Platinum (or the new Platinum Rewards Card) is a must, but you should only use it to make gas purchases.

How to Get the Penfed Visa Cashback Card

Well, its quite simple really—just join the Penfed Credit Union! The Penfed website specifies 7 primary ways to join their credit union—a prerequisite for getting at this precious little gem. Most of the qualification methods involve either being in the military, the government, and even the Red Cross.

However, if methods 1-6 don’t apply to you, which they may very well not, method 7 is a surefire way in. Method 7 requires you to join the National Military Family Association. Apparently any old civilian can become a member. A 1-year membership fee will cost you $20, and the good news is you do not need to maintain your NMFA membership once you get into the Penfed Credit Union.

You also are required to open a Penfed savings account (they call it a “Regular Share” account) and fund it with at least $5. All in all, I’d say Penfed is making it pretty easy to join and get this card if you have the desire.

PenFed Visa Platinum Card Rewards

Here’s a quick table summarizing some of the key features of the card:

Snapshot: PenFed Visa Platinum Card
Rewards 5% cashback on gas purchases; 0.25% on all other purchases.
Redemption requirements Cash rewards credited each month.
Sign up bonus None
Rewards expiration None
Rewards Caps None
Annual Fee None
International Transaction Fee None

Penfed Platinum Visa Rewards Details

This is a very uncomplicated card—undoubtedly one of the differences between credit unions and big banks. There’s nothing tricky or otherwise sly about the terms and conditions of the Penfed Visa Platinum Cashback Rewards card, and the table above pretty much sums up the situation. The real kicker here is the 5% gas cashback, which is downright awesome.

Wrapping up: Best Strategy for the PenFed Visa Platinum Cashback Credit Card

The Penfed Visa normally would have warranted a seat in your wallet as your go-to gas purchase credit card, but now the new Penfed Platinum Rewards Card has supplanted it, in our opinion.  If for some reason you do still want this card, just make sure you don’t use it for any other purchases besides gas.  For a complimentary category-killer card, check out our review of the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express, where you get 6% cash back at U.S. stand-alone supermarkets, 3% cash back on gasoline at U.S. stand-alone gas stations and select major department stores; and 1% cash back on other purchases.

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