MoneyGeek’s Take

USAA Rewards American Express Card Review

The no-annual-fee USAA Rewards American Express credit card for military members and families offers between one and three reward points per dollar spent on qualifying purchases. The MoneyGeek review of the USAA Rewards American Express card also found it has a lucrative offer of 2,500 bonus points after your first purchase.

Advertising & Editorial DisclosureLast Updated: 5/30/2022
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Last Updated: 5/30/2022

The USAA Rewards American Express card doesn’t charge an annual fee and has great value for those who spend a lot in the categories where it gives the highest rewards. It gives three points for every dollar spent on dining, gas and groceries earn two points per dollar, and other eligible transactions earn one point. Because of its fee-free foreign transactions, you can continue to earn while abroad. MoneyGeek's USAA Rewards American Express card review covers the card's perks, drawbacks and other features to help you decide if it's the best fit for you.

Card Details to Know Up Front
  • Bonus, Fee or Feature
    Has or Not
  • Has Annual Fee
  • Has Balance Transfer Offer
  • Has APR Offer
  • Cash Back Rewards
  • Travel Rewards
Click to see this card’s rates, fees and how they compare to other cards in our dataset.

USAA Rewards American Express Card at a Glance

The USAA Rewards American Express credit card matches or gives bonus points by the dollar amount. Cardholders earn three points for dining, two points on gas and grocery expenses and one point for every other eligible transaction. For example, if you spend $20 on dinner, you earn 60 points. In addition, following your first eligible purchase, you receive 2,500 bonus points. There's also no annual fee or international transaction fees, and for the first 15 months, there's a 0% intro APR on balance transfers and convenience checks.


  • USAA® Rewards™ American Express® Card

    A good no-annual-fee rewards card with a balance transfer offer


    • ExcellentCredit Needed
    • $0Annual Fee
    • 1-3 pointsRewards Rate
    • 15 monthsBalance Transfer Duration

Pros & Cons Explained

The USAA Rewards American Express card benefits are significant, but there are certain drawbacks that you should be aware of, too. That’s why we included the pros and cons of the USAA Rewards American Express card in our review.

Pros

  • Benefits
    Description
  • No annual fee
    The no annual fee perk is very appealing for those who want to save on their purchases without any pesky fees.
  • Potentially high rewards
    You can earn up to three reward points for every dollar spent on qualified transactions. There is no limit to the amount of reward points you may earn.
  • No foreign transaction fees
    With no foreign transaction fees, you can make purchases abroad while earning the same benefits as you would in the United States, increasing your earning potential.
  • Welcome bonus
    Each new cardholder earns 2,500 bonus points after making their first qualified transaction.
  • 0% intro APR for balance transfers
    During the first 15 months of card ownership, you do not pay interest on balance transfers or convenience checks that post to the account within 90 days of opening.

Cons

  • Drawbacks
    Description
  • Not everyone is eligible
    The card is not accessible to all; it’s only available to current and former military personnel and their family members.
  • Potentially high APR
    The USAA Rewards American Express card comes with an APR between 9.90% and 25.90%. That means you could pay a high APR, depending on your creditworthiness.
  • Balance transfer and cash advance fee
    There is a 3% fee of the transaction amount on balance transfers and cash advances.
  • Late payment penalty
    Every late or returned payment is subject to a fee of up to $35. The first late payment within six billing periods is charged a $25 late fee, and subsequent late payments incur a $35 late fee.
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LOOKING FOR THE BEST CREDIT CARDS OF 2022?

Every month, MoneyGeek reviews credit cards to find the best in popular categories, like cash back and rewards and balance transfer offers. MoneyGeek's analysis found the USAA Rewards American Express credit card is not among the best rewards cards for 2022. You can check out the cards on our best-of list of rewards cards or the top cash back cards.

Bonuses & Rewards Explained

The USAA Rewards American Express credit card gives you points for every dollar spent, plus a bonus after your first qualifying purchase. You can earn one point per dollar of a purchase or double or triple the amount in bonus categories. Redeeming awards is easy, and there are many choices, including cash.

1

Bonus points

Each new cardholder earns 2,500 bonus points after making their first qualified transaction.

2

Earning rewards

The card assures you at least one reward point for every dollar spent on qualifying purchases. You earn the highest reward of 3x per dollar spent for dining out. For purchasing gas and groceries, you earn 2x per dollar spent, and one reward point for every dollar spent on other qualified purchases. Be aware that discount store grocery purchases do not earn reward points.

3

Multiple reward redemption options

You can use your reward points for airline travel or a cruise, to purchase merchandise or gift cards, donate them to charity, or get a cash reward as a statement credit or deposit to your USAA bank account.

Other Features Explained

There are other benefits of the USAA Rewards American Express card that you may be interested in learning about aside from the rewards points.

  • Card Feature
    Description
  • 24/7 customer service
    USAA offers online customer service that is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
  • Travel accident insurance
    When you buy tickets for an airplane, ferry, cruise ship, train or bus transportation with your USAA Rewards American Express card, the travel accident insurance covers loss of life or limb.
  • Trip cancellation and interruption coverage
    If your trip is canceled, you are reimbursed up to $1,500 per covered person for non-refundable prepaid passenger fare if you purchased the ticket using the card.
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MONEYGEEK QUICK TIP

The MoneyGeek review of the USAA Rewards American Express card found it’s a great choice for military members and their families that want to save money on interest by transferring a high-interest credit card balance to take advantage of the 15-month no interest on balance transfers promo. If you plan your payments well, you could pay off the balance before the 0% interest period ends, saving a substantial amount of money.

Understanding the Fine Print

You must understand the benefits, fees, rates and other features associated with any credit card. Plus, know your rights as a credit card user. MoneyGeek covered the fine print details to help you evaluate whether the USAA Rewards American Express card is good for you.

  • Card Feature
    Amount or Rate
  • APR
    9.90% - 25.90%
  • Annual Fee
    $0
  • Cash Back Rewards
  • Rewards Rate
    1-3 points
  • Airline Benefits

MoneyGeek's credit card glossary can assist you in becoming familiar with credit card terminology.

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    Annual Fee

    There is no annual fee with the USAA Rewards American Express credit card.

  • Foreign Transaction Fee

    The card charges no fees for international transactions.

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    Rewards Rate

    Each qualifying purchase made with this card gets you a minimum of one reward point per dollar, up to a maximum of three points, depending on the purchase category.

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    Regular APR

    The APR on purchases, balance transfers and cash advances ranges from 9.90% to 25.90%, based on your creditworthiness. The APR fluctuates in accordance with the market's prime rate.

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    Introductory APR for Balance Transfers and Convenience Checks

    The APR on balance transfers and convenience checks is waived for the first 15 months for new cardholders if you post the transaction to your account within the first 90 days.

  • This is an icon

    Balance Transfer and Cash Advance Fees

    There is a 3% balance transfer or cash advance fee of the transaction amount.

  • Penalty Fee for Late or Returned Payments

    You pay a fee of up to $35 for late or returned payments. The first late payment within six billing periods has a $25 late fee, and subsequent late payments get a $35 late fee.

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WHERE TO FIND THIS INFORMATION?

When comparing credit cards to the USAA Rewards American Express card, consider the annual fee, annual percentage rate (APR), rewards, bonuses and other important features. If you're comparing this credit card to another card you currently possess, your most recent credit card statement, the card issuer's website or mobile app should provide the information you need. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) credit card agreement database may also contain relevant information regarding the card issuer.

Who Should & Shouldn’t Consider USAA Rewards American Express Card?

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Other Considerations for USAA Rewards American Express Card

Before you apply for a USAA Rewards American Express card, regardless of whether it is your only card or an additional card you are considering, take the following into account.

Things to Consider if This Will Be Your First or Only Credit Card

The USAA Rewards American Express card is good as a first or only credit card; you’ll be happy with the no annual fee. But, you must be a military member or part of a military family to apply. Additionally, there is no cost for international transactions, so you can continue using it while abroad. Always make purchases in areas where the card can be particularly advantageous because it's best to align your expenses with the card's highly-rewarding categories like dining, gas and groceries. That ensures you can earn the most rewards out of the card.

However, if your frequent purchases don’t fit into one of the reward categories offered by the card, you should choose another card. Remember, the card may have a high APR, depending on your credit history, so if you carry a balance, you could pay a lot in interest.

Things to Consider if This Will Be an Additional Card in Your Wallet

The USAA Rewards American Express card may be a good addition to your wallet because of its good rewards in specific categories and no annual fee. You can use it for gas, groceries and eating out to get the high reward point earnings and another card for other categories if it gives better rewards than one point per dollar.

Also, the card's intro 15-month interest-free period on balance transfers and convenience checks is a bonus that may benefit cardholders who want to transfer a high-interest balance to the card and save money on interest.

In addition, if another card has foreign transaction fees, you can use the USAA Rewards American Express card to pay for your expenses while abroad or to make online foreign transactions, avoiding fees.

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WHY TRUST OUR REVIEWS:

MoneyGeek conducts in-depth research on credit cards and card issuers using a comprehensive ranking system. The approach includes gathering data from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau database, standardizing data points for card comparison, estimating average expenditure profiles, factoring in annual and initial bonuses for each card and calculating the three-year value of maintaining the card. Additionally, the methodology includes monthly re-ranking of the cards.

How USAA Rewards American Express Card Compares to Other Cards

Although the USAA Rewards American Express card's zero annual fee and significant rewards rates in specific categories did not make it one of the best-reviewed rewards cards, it did compare favorably to the majority of other cards. But you may find a higher reward rate on all purchases with another card.

Quick Comparison of the USAA Rewards American Express Card

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USAA Rewards American Express Card

  • Annual fee: None
  • Regular APR: 9.90%–25.90%
  • Rewards rate: 1–3 points per dollar
  • Foreign transaction fee: None
  • Best for: Military members looking for a no-annual-fee card with significant rewards in categories they spend money in often
creditCard1

Capital One Quicksilver Rewards Card

  • Annual fee: None
  • Regular APR: 15.49%–25.49%
  • Rewards rate: 1.5%
  • International transaction fee: None
  • Best for: Minimalist shoppers who want cash back for daily spending

Other Helpful Decision-Making Q&As

If after reading our review of the USAA Rewards American Express card, you still have questions, have a look at the questions we answered below.

Still not sure about this card? Consider these options.

If you're still debating applying for the USAA Rewards American Express card, explore some of the other rewards cards available. If you prefer cash back rewards over points, explore no-annual-fee cash back cards with unlimited rewards on all purchase categories.

Learn more about credit cards in general

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*Rates, fees or bonuses may vary or include specific stipulations. The content on this page is accurate as of the posting/last updated date; however, some of the offers mentioned may have expired. We recommend visiting the card issuer’s website for the most up-to-date information available.
Editorial Disclosure: Opinions, reviews, analyses and recommendations are the author’s alone and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity.
Advertiser Disclosure: MoneyGeek has partnered with CardRatings.com and CreditCards.com for our coverage of credit card products. MoneyGeek, CardRatings and CreditCards.com may receive a commission from card issuers. To ensure thorough comparisons and reviews, MoneyGeek features products from both paid partners and unaffiliated card issuers that are not paid partners.