At a Glance
The USAA Cashback Rewards Plus card is an American Express branded credit card that has some serious cash back potential for both military families and those who spend a lot of money on gas and groceries. If you are a USAA member or have the ability to become one, this credit card could be a great option for your credit portfolio.
|Card||USAA Cashback Rewards Plus|
|Rewards||5% cash back on all military base and gas purchases (up to $3,000 per year then 1% cash back)
2% on all grocery store purchases (up to $3,000 per year then 1% cash back)
1% cash back on all other purchases
|Foreign Transaction Fee||1%|
|Interest Rate||11.9% -25.9%|
|Miscellaneous||Special Active Duty Military Benefits for Deployment or Permanent Change of Station
AMEX Travel, Concierge, Purchase, and Car Rental Benefits
|Credit Portfolio Role||High Spend Category Card|
|Credit Score Needed||Medium/High – High +USAA Membership|
Shopping on military bases has a lot of benefits between the competitive prices and no sales tax. However, most times the purchases on base do not code the same way they do at other locations which can negatively impact cash back opportunities. The USAA Cashback Rewards Plus card aims to remedy this with its high 5% cash back rate on all military base purchases. This is incredibly lucrative because this can cover a wide variety of purchases since military bases have a lot of different types of merchants (restaurants, grocery, gas, clothing, electronics, jewelry, etc.). There is a cap of $3,000 a year so you probably will want to have backup options unless you want to only get the 1% cash back rate thereafter.
For those who do not do a lot of shopping on military bases, there is still a lot of great uses for this card. The 5% on gas alone should turn heads as this is one of the highest cash back rates you will ever find for gas purchases that lasts all year (opposed to cards with rotating categories for gas). The 2% cash back on grocery stores isn’t bad either and can really improve your average cash back rate each year.
What makes this card even better is that it does not carry an annual fee. Many times credit cards with high cash back rates carry annual fees that can eat into your cash back rewards. The Cashback Rewards Plus card allows you to put more of your rewards back in your pocket. If you are Active Duty military, USAA offers a variety of benefits for when you are deployed or moving in addition to regular benefits provided by the Servicemembers Credit Relief Act (SCRA). Because it is an American Express branded credit card, it also comes with some additional perks and benefits that include travel/car rental insurances and purchase protections. Although it is good to use a card with 0% foreign transaction fees while traveling abroad, the Cashback Rewards Plus card comes with only a 1% foreign transaction fee which is fairly competitive to the usual 3% rate many other cards have.
As with all USAA credit cards and services, you need to be a USAA member to apply. This can be tricky for some because in order to become a member you/your spouse needs to have served in the military or your parent/spouse is already a USAA member. In addition, a generally good credit score (high 600s or above) with solid reportable income should be enough to be accepted for the card.
For those who shop regularly on military bases, especially at the commissaries and base exchanges, this card should be no-brainer. 5% cash back is hard for any other credit card to beat for those types of purchases. For people who do not shop regularly on military bases, the 5% cash back on all gas purchases and 2% cash back on all grocery store purchases is a great way to raise your average cash back for these very common purchases. If you are or can become a USAA member, you can’t go wrong with the USAA Cashback Rewards Plus American Express credit card.