USAA® Rewards™ American Express® Card review: Flexibility and bonus categories

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In a Nutshell

The USAA® Rewards™ American Express® Card could be a good call for USAA members looking for a flexible rewards card. On top of earning bonus points for dining out, gas and groceries, you have several choices when redeeming your points: cash, gift cards, travel and more. But you might be able to find bigger welcome bonuses and more-powerful rewards elsewhere.

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This offer is no longer available on our site: Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card

Pros Cons
No spending limit on bonus categories No travel partners
Flexible redemption options Welcome bonus is nice but not huge
No annual fee Only available to USAA members
Special perks for military members

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USAA® Rewards™ American Express® Card: What you need to know

Earn bonus points on dining out, gas and groceries

With the USAA® Rewards™ American Express® Card, you’ll earn three points for every $1 spent on eligible dining purchases and two points per $1 on eligible gas and grocery purchases. All other purchases earn one point per $1 spent.

The bonus categories have no spending limits either, so you can earn unlimited points in each category. And the points don’t expire until 90 days after you close your account.

The USAA® Rewards™ American Express® Card also comes with a 2,500-point welcome bonus that’s awarded after your first purchase. That’s not a huge bonus, but it’s not bad given the low requirement and the card’s $0 annual fee.

Flexibility when redeeming points

After you’ve accumulated points with your USAA® Rewards™ American Express® Card, you’ll have several redemption options. Those options include redeeming your points for cash, merchandise, gift cards, travel or a charitable donation.

USAA doesn’t publicize their exact rewards values, so we can’t say exactly how much those points are worth when you redeem.

You must be a member

The USAA® Rewards™ American Express® Card isn’t available to everyone. To qualify for this card, you’ll need to be a USAA member. You can apply to join USAA if you’re an active-duty service member, eligible veteran, a cadet or midshipman, or an eligible family member. Visit USAA.com to learn more about eligibility rules.

Low fees

The USAA® Rewards™ American Express® Card comes with no annual fee and no penalty APR. There’s also no foreign transaction fee, which could mean a lot to military members who may find themselves serving abroad.

Military benefits

All USAA credit cards come with a few extra benefits geared specifically toward members of our armed forces.

When eligible military men or women get called to active duty while having a balance on their account, the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act caps the interest they can be charged on credit card debt built up before entering active-duty military service to 6%.

USAA goes even further, dropping the interest rate on the existing balance of its active-duty cardholders to a 4% APR. And the lower interest rate on that balance will stay in effect until the end of the qualifying period. You can learn more about USAA’s active-duty member benefits on its website.

And USAA cardholders can pick their own military affiliate design for their credit cards. So every time you use your USAA® Rewards™ American Express® Card, you can show your pride for the Army, Air Force, Marines, Navy or other military affiliate.

Using your USAA rewards points

Because USAA doesn’t broadcast its rewards values, it’s hard to know if you’d be better off redeeming your points for cash or travel. We couldn’t find a clear-cut point-to-dollar conversion scale for any of this card’s rewards options.

Values tend to vary depending on how you redeem, but a good value is typically determined to be anything above 1 cent per point. When you check your options with USAA, try to keep that in mind.

It’s also important to note that unlike some travel card issuers, USAA doesn’t have any travel partners. If you want to use your points to book travel, you’ll need to redeem through the USAA Rewards Service Center.

Who this card is good for

The USAA® Rewards™ American Express® Card is likely to appeal to someone who wants rewards flexibility. If you like the idea of being able to convert your points for anything from cash to airfare to gift cards, then this card may offer exactly what you’re looking for.

But if you prefer to redeem your points for just one kind of benefit, like travel or cash back, then you’re probably better off with another card. If you like the idea of a military-oriented credit card issuer but don’t think this card is for you, there are other USAA options to choose from.

Finally, if you aren’t eligible for a USAA membership, this isn’t going to be the card for you. Check out our picks for the best travel credit cards or best cash back credit cards to start your search.

Not sure this is the card for you? Consider these alternatives.