Credit Cards

What Is The Best Credit Card For Military

By David Krug David Krug is the CEO & President of Bankovia. He's a lifelong expat who has lived in the Philippines, Mexico, Thailand, and Colombia. When he's not reading about cryptocurrencies, he's researching the latest personal finance software. 6 minute read

As a service member, you’ll be able to choose the best credit card for you by sorting through the cards in the following categories: Choose a credit card that is likely to be accepted based on your credit history and credit score, and choose a reward program that is in line with your spending patterns.

Best general cash back rewards card

PenFed Power Cash Rewards Visa Signature

Who Is Eligible with the PenFed Power Cash Reward Visa Signature Card, military personnel may earn more money than the general public. In contrast to the exclusion of cash advances, credit card checks, and debt transfers from earning rewards points, the cashback advantage is available for all other purchases. You won’t have to pay any additional fees while making overseas purchases with this credit card because it has no foreign transaction fee. Why We Think It’s Great:

  • PenFed Honors Advantage members get 2% cash back on all purchases; other cardholders get 1.5% cash back on all transactions.
  • First 90 days: $100 incentive for spending $1,500
  • After that, there will be an APR of 17.99 percent (non-variable) for 12 months on transfers made before March 31, 2022.
  • There is no yearly cost.
  • Non-fees for international transactions

However, there are drawbacks to the promotional 0% APR on balance transfers (which rises to a non-variable APR of 17.99%). Paper statements will cost cardholders $1 per month, however, electronic statements are free of charge.

Service members who often use their PenFed Power Cash Rewards Visa Signature Card can earn more cashback than with other cards, and there are no restrictions on what you can spend to earn rewards as every transaction is eligible.

The best credit card for active-duty military personnel who travel regularly

Chase Sapphire Reserve

Military personnel who travel frequently may take advantage of the Chase Sapphire Reserve Card’s high points rewards on travel and dining expenditures, as well as other travel-related advantages. All other purchases earn points as well, but the primary highlights are the advantages related to travel and eating. With these reasons why we like it.

  • 10X points on Lyft rides, Chase Dining purchases, and hotel and vehicle reservations made through Ultimate Rewards; 5X points on airline reservations made through Ultimate Rewards. 3X points on travel and eating, and 1X points on all other purchases
  • Earn 50,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first three months on purchases.
  • Redeem points for travel at a discounted cost – points are 50% more valuable when applied to travel.
  • Priority Pass Select provides access to over 1,000 airport lounges globally.

Consider the Drawbacks: The Chase Sapphire Reserve has a $550 annual fee, making it one of the more costly travel rewards cards available, but users who travel frequently may easily offset the expense with the yearly travel credit.

Servicemen who travel frequently need the advantages of easy travel. The Chase Sapphire Reserve Card enables customers to receive cashback and points toward future travel expenses. Additionally, it’s an excellent alternative for folks who dine out frequently.

For general travel, the best credit card for military personnel

Chase Sapphire Preferred

Military personnel and civilians alike can benefit from the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card’s sign-up bonus points. Lyft rides and travel booked via Chase Ultimate Rewards are eligible for 5X points, while non-Chase Ultimate Rewards travel purchases are eligible for a 2X point bonus. You may save money by taking advantage of additional incentives, such as shopping discounts, DoorDash points, and extended warranty coverage. The Reason We Like It:

  • Rides on Lyft (until March 2022) and trips booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards will earn you 5 points per dollar spent; 3 points every dollar spent on qualified meals, some streaming services, and online groceries. There are two times the points for travel and one point for every $1 spent on anything else.
  • Earn 60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first three months of membership.
  • Chase Ultimate Rewards members will receive a $50 yearly credit for hotel stays booked through the program.
  • Every anniversary of your credit card, you’ll receive bonus points equivalent to 10% of your entire previous year’s transactions.
  • Primary coverage for accident damage on a rented car is trip cancellation insurance.
  • Transaction fees for foreign currency transactions are not charged.

The Chase Sapphire Preferred has an annual charge of $95, however, members who are able to take advantage of the card’s numerous features can save more than the annual premium.

Service personnel who travel frequently enough to benefit from the benefits of a travel credit card are the best candidates. In addition to the other benefits offered by the card, the high earnings rate on eating and travel expenses makes it a great everyday tool.

The best credit card for military personnel stationed at a military installation

USAA Cashback Rewards Plus American Express Card

If you’re a service member who lives on base, the USAA Cashback Rewards Plus American Express Card is a great way to get cashback on your purchases. With no penalty APRs or over-limit penalties, base expenditures like gas, food, and other necessities get the most cashback. Why We Think It’s Great:

  • Unlimited cash back on gas and groceries for the first $3,000 a year; 5% cash back at military bases; and 2% cash back on groceries. On all other purchases, you’ll get 1% back in the form of credit on your bill.
  • 4% APR for up to 12 months on any outstanding obligations during deployments or PCS
  • There is no yearly cost (terms apply)
  • Transaction fees for foreign currency transactions are not charged.

There is a $3,000 annual restriction on cashback earning categories, which might be a problem if you make a lot of purchases. USAA cardholders who either reside on or spend a significant amount of time on base can benefit from this no-fee card’s substantial cashback rewards.

Best overall no-annual fee card

Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express

Who Is Eligible: It’s a great choice for military members seeking a card with no annual fee that they can use for everyday purchases. In addition to the 15-month 0% intro APR on purchases, several other cards provide a shorter promotional term of 13.99 percent to 23.99 percent (varying). Why We Think It’s Great:

  • Supermarkets up to $6,000 per year, petrol stations and select department shops up to $2,000 per year, and other purchases up to 1% cash back in the form of statement credits are eligible for the 3 percent cash back.
  • After spending $2,000 in the first six months, you’ll receive a $200 statement credit.
    There is no yearly cost (terms apply)

Reward Dollars can only be redeemed for a statement credit, which isn’t necessarily a downside for everyone, but it’s something to consider. The Blue Cash Everyday Card from American Express is ideal for service members with strong or exceptional credit who are seeking a reward card with an extended promotional APR period.

The best credit card to use for debt repayment

Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card

Who Is Eligible: Members of the military will appreciate the Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card’s substantial introductory APR term. As an added benefit for using the card, customers receive a one-time cash bonus and daily cashback that never expires.
Why We Think It’s Great:

  • All purchases are eligible for daily rebates of 1.5 percent cash.
  • After spending $500 in the first three months, you will receive a $200 cash back incentive.
  • Introductory APR of 0% for the first 15 months, then 14.99% to 24.99%. (variable)
  • There is no yearly cost.
  • Transaction fees for foreign currency transactions are not charged.

For individuals trying to pay off debt, this card has one of the greatest introductory APR periods available, but if cashback incentives are more essential, there are better rewards cards.

Who it’s best for Service personnel who are trying to pay off debt and can take advantage of the Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card’s 0% introductory APR term. Cardholders will continue to get an unlimited 1.5 percent cash back on all purchases, even after the extended promotional period expires, without having to worry about an annual fee.

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