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PenFed Premium Travel Rewards Credit Card Review

The PenFed Premium Travel Rewards AmEx credit card offers a great bonus and reward points rate.

Make no mistake about it: the PenFed Premium Travel Rewards American Express card is tough to qualify for. In fact, you need to be a member of Pentagon Federal Credit Union just to apply — which means you need to be military-affiliated or donate to one of their partner nonprofits. And then you need to have an excellent credit score, plus some luck.

Here’s a secret look at the Barclaycard Arrival™ World MasterCard® which comes with a $400 sign-up bonus. And Don’t forget to check out our list of the best travel credit cards and best rewards credit cards.


But, if you do manage to get accepted, this card offers one of the best rewards rates for airplane travelers at 5 points per $1 spent with airlines. You also get the usual 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases. Plus, spend $2,500 in the first 3 months and get 20,000 bonus points. All these rewards points can be redeemed through the PenFed Premium Travel Rewards website. And a cherry on top: spend $15,000 in one calendar year and receive two free airport Lounge Club visits.

Not to mention that this card offers a fairly sweet deal on balance transfers, with just 4.99% APR on balance transfers made before Sep. 30, 2013 — and that lasts for the life of the balance. The 9.99% APR that lasts until June 2014 isn’t too shabby either. This credit card also sports no annual fee, no foreign transaction fee, and no limits on your reward points.

Check out our guide to the details below.

Money Math

  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Foreign Transaction Fee: $0
  • APR: 9.99% until 6/30/14, then var
  • APR for Balance Transfers: 4.99% on transfers made before 9/30/13 for life of balance, then 9.99%
  • Balance Transfer Fee: 3% after 9/30/13
  • APR for Cash Advance: 9.99% until 6/30/14, then var
  • Cash Advance Fee: $0
  • Late Fee/Returned Payment Fee: $10/$20/$25
  • Over Credit Limit Fee: $0
  • Penalty APR: 17.99%, applies with 60 day late payment, remains until 3 consecutive on time payments are made


  • Bonus: 20,000 points after spending $2,500 in first 3 months
  • 5 points for every airfare purchase with airlines
  • 1 point on all other purchases
  • Rewards Worth: Varies. Do not transfer with frequent flyer programs.
  • Rewards Limit: None
  • Rewards Expiration: 5 years
  • Redeem Rewards For: Travel, merchandise, services, gift cards through PenFed Premium Rewards.
  • Two airport Lounge Club visits after spending $15,000 in a calendar year
  • Access travel offers & discounts through American Express Travel Privileges program


  • Purchase Protection: No
  • Travel Insurance: Yes
  • Auto Rental Insurance: Yes
  • Roadside Assistance: Yes
  • Extended Warranty: No
  • Customer Service: 24/7 concierge service

Don’t forget to check out our list of the best travel credit cards and best rewards credit cards.