The PenFed Premium Travel Rewards Card from American Express is a travel rewards credit card which greatly benefits people who are frequent fliers. It offers an attractive balance transfer rate which makes it a solid choice for consumers who are considering transferring a high-interest credit card balance to another card with a more favorable APR. It comes with no annual fee and does not charge card members any foreign transaction fees. The PenFed Premium Travel Rewards Card from American Express is issued by Pentagon Federal Credit Union.
New account holders must join Pentagon Federal Credit Union as part of the credit card application process. If you do not qualify for membership through your employment, association membership, or from volunteering, it is easy to establish membership through one of two charities memberships which has either a $15 or $20 one-time fee. Information for completing this necessary step is included on the credit card application.
New members have the opportunity to earn 20,000 bonus points upon approval. To be eligible, you must make at least $2,500 in purchases on the card within the first three months that your account is active. Returns, credits, and balance transfers do not count towards the spending threshold. All qualifying transactions must post to your account by the specified date. The 20,000 bonus points offer is equal to a $200 credit towards your next flight.
New account holders receive a 3.99% promotional annual percentage rate for 12 months on balance transfers made between February 15, 2015, and March 31, 2015. After this time, the variable APR will be between 9.99% and 17.99%, depending on your creditworthiness at the time of approval. A balance transfer of 3% applies to each transfer processed. This fee is not waived. Balance transfers requests are subject to credit approval.
The APR on purchases and cash advances will be between 9.99% and 17.99%, depending on your credit score and payment history. Your actual APR will be disclosed at the time you are approved. Not everyone will qualify for the lowest rate.
Card members earn five points per dollar spent on airfare purchases. All other eligible purchases earn one point per dollar spent. This 5% rewards rate is a great benefit if you routinely purchase airline tickets. Plus, you are not restricted to any specific airline carrier. The 1% rate on all other transactions is fairly low when compared to other rewards credit cards. Cash advances, balance transfers, account fees, and credit card checks are excluded from the rewards program and do not earn points. There is no cap on the amount of points you can earn.
Points may be redeemed for any of the following:
- Airline Travel Redemption
- Merchandise and Services
- Gift Cards and Certificates
A minimum point balance of 1,000 is required for all redemptions.
Card members receive these additional benefits with the PenFed Premium Travel Rewards Card from American Express:
- Automatic enrollment into the PenFed Rewards program
- Two complimentary Lounge Visits at global airports ($15,000 annual spending threshold)
- Travel offers and discounts through the American Express Travel Privileges program
- Comprehensive travel insurance
- Complimentary 24/7 concierge service
Below we have broken down the specific details of the PenFed Premium Travel Rewards Card from American Express to help you when deciding if it’s a good choice for you.
New account holders are eligible to earn 20,000 bonus points upon approval. To receive these points, you must spend a minimum of $2,500 in net purchases on the card within the first three months that your account is open. Net purchases are the total amount of transactions less any credits, returns, or adjustments. Balance transfers do not count as purchases. All qualifying purchases must post to your account by the specified date. The three-month promotional period begins immediately upon approval. Your actual time frame may be somewhat less than three months depending on when you receive your card. The 20,000 bonus points are equal to a $200 credit towards your next flight. This is a very generous signup offer considering the card has no annual fee and the airfare rewards are high.
Promotional balance transfer rate:
New members receive a 3.99% APR for the first twelve billing cycles on balance transfers which post to your account between February 15, 2015, and March 31, 2015. After this time, your variable APR will be between 9.99% and 17.99%, based on your credit score at the time you are approved. Not everyone will qualify for the lowest rate. Balance transfer requests are not always approved.
High rewards when making airline purchases:
Card members earn five points per dollar spent on net purchases made with airlines. This rate is not restricted to any specific airline carrier. However, bundled vacation packages purchased online or through a travel agency will not earn points at this redemption level.
Easy to earn points:
All other net purchases made on the card earn one point per dollar spent. Net purchases are the total amount of your purchases less any credits, returns, or adjustments. Balance transfers, cash advances, account fees, and credit card checks are excluded from the rewards program and do not earn points. There is no cap on the amount of points you can earn. Points expire five years from the date they are earned. If your account is closed for any reason, your points will expire immediately.
Easy to redeem points:
Members can redeem points in the following ways:
- Airline Travel Redemption- The number of points needed to redeem for airline travel is based on several factors such as the dollar value of the ticket, the date and time of travel, and the itinerary (including the class of service). All airline bookings made online incur a $15 fee per redemption. Bookings made by phone will be charged a $25 fee.
- Merchandise and Services- Merchandise may be redeemed with a combination of points and cash, based on availability. Items can only be shipped with the 50 United States.
- Gift Cards and Certificates- Members can redeem points for gift cards and certificates from popular merchants which are available through the PenFed Rewards program.
You must have a minimum points balance of 1,000 to be able to redeem.
- Automatic enrollment into the PenFed Rewards program- No signup required. Card members are automatically enrolled.
- Two complimentary Lounge Visits at global airports- Spend $15,000 in purchases on the card in one calendar year to qualify.
- Travel offers and discounts through the American Express Travel Privileges program- Receive travel offers and discounts which can save you money on travel purchases.
- Comprehensive travel insurance- Use the card to pay for your travel tickets and receive $100,000 worldwide travel accident insurance as well as trip and baggage delay coverage.
- Complimentary 24/7 concierge service- Available to assist members 24/7 with hotel or restaurant reservations, gift buying, and entertainment information.
No foreign transaction fees:
Members are not charged foreign transaction fees for purchases made with the card while traveling abroad.
No annual fee:
This card comes with no annual membership fee.
PenFed membership required:
Anyone applying for the Pen Fed Premium Travel Rewards Card from American Express must also be a member of Pentagon Federal Credit Union. It is not a difficult process and can be completed on the credit card application form but it is a small additional cost just the same. If you are not eligible to join through your employment, association membership, or from volunteering, you can join through two charity memberships which will cost either $15 or $20 (a one-time fee).
No introductory APR on purchases:
There is no introductory APR on purchases offered to new members. Once you are approved, your actual APR will be between 9.99% and 17.99% depending on your credit score. You can avoid costly interest charges by paying off your balance in full each month.
Limited rewards on non-travel purchases:
Members earn one point per dollar spent on all purchases other than airline transactions. If you do not fly that often, it will be hard to maximize the benefits of this card which heavily favors frequent fliers (5X the points for airline purchases). A 1% reward rate is mediocre at best.
Excellent credit needed to qualify:
Applicants generally need to have excellent credit (750+FICO) to be approved for this card.
The PenFed Premium Travel Rewards Card from American Express delivers good value to people who travel often and spend a considerable amount of money on airline tickets. The 5% reward rate on airline purchases (with no restrictions on carriers) is one of the best around. However, the 1% return on all other purchases is relatively weak when compared to other rewards credit cards.