Should you consider the PenFed Premium Travel Rewards American Express Card?
Although I’m a member of the Pentagon Federal credit union, I don’t have any of their credit cards. However the PenFed American Express card really caught my attention because of the benefits it offers.
Let’s take a closer look…
With the name PenFed Premium Travel Rewards it better give something good, right? Well here’s what it offers:
- 1 point per dollar on regular purchases
- 5 points per dollar on airlines (Note that only purchases made directly with the airline count. Flights booked on travel websites and bundled vacation packages won’t count).
- There are no reward caps
Previously, the card use to offer 3x points on restaurants/hotels and 2x points on everything else but those were limited time promotions which have since expired. Either way, the 5x points on airfare is great! It definitely beats airline affiliated credit cards, which usually give rewards equal to around 2-3% when you buy from their airline.
When the card first launched it did have a $50 annual fee but it looks like they have since eliminated it, because I carefully read of the PenFed American Express application and it said “Annual Fee: None”
- If an account has annual spending of $15,000 or more then for the following year, complimentary airport lounge access will be included. It will continue as long as at least $15,000 per account anniversary.
- As with many travel cards, complimentary phone concierge service is included on the PenFed American Express Card.
- Cardholders also will have access to some travel discounts or perks for various hotels, international airfare purchases, cruises, and car rental companies.
- There are the usual travel insurance benefits that cards in this class have. On eligible common carrier travel you get travel accident, lost luggage, baggage delay, and trip delay insurance. That’s comparable to most other credit cards.
The PenFed Premium Travel Rewards American Express Card appears to be a good value, especially since they eliminated the annual fee. The 1x points on regular purchases is average but the 5x on airline is definitely nice. But be aware that most of the customer reviews I’ve seen are quite negative (alleging that promised promotions and points weren’t received). Whether those claims are true or not I cannot say, since I don’t have this particular card.
Is it the best for 2013 or not?
In terms of rewards for airline spending, this is an excellent program. However my only complaint about it is the approval process to get it. PenFed has perhaps the strictest requirements of any credit card company. Usually you will have to do the following after you apply:
- Mail/fax in your last 2 paystubs as well as your last 2 years of income tax returns.
- Even if he/she is not on the card, you may still have to provide paystubs for your spouse, too.
- Perfect credit is not an exaggeration. Even savvy credit users with FICOs in the 800’s regularly report getting turned down.
If you’re willing to jump thru all those hoops, then go for it. If you would rather not, then I would highly recommend this offer. It’s the best signup bonus currently available for travel: