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Many military families know USAA for their banking and insurance products. If you use USAA for these services, then getting the best USAA credit card is ideal. They also offer several rewards cards that can help you earn cash or travel rewards.
Editor’s Note: Some of the offers below may have expired or are no longer available on our site.
Overall, the best USAA credit cards are for earning bonus points on your daily purchases and redeeming them for cash rewards. With some cards, it’s possible to redeem them for airline flights. However, you won’t get a travel redemption bonus like some of the best travel reward credit cards offer.
Similar to some of the best Marriott credit cards, USAA issues a handful of credit cards through both Visa and American Express. Each card offers bonus points on different purchases. You may also have to decide if you want a card that lets you redeem your points for travel and cash rewards or only cash rewards.
None of the USAA credit cards charge an annual fee or foreign transaction fee, making it one of the best credit cards for international travel. If you don’t like the standard card design, you can also pick a custom military affiliate design of your choice.
Best USAA Credit Card from American Express
The USAA® Rewards™ American Express® Card doesn’t charge an annual fee or foreign transaction fee. You will also earn rewards points on these purchases:
- 3x points for dining out
- 2x points for gas and groceries
- 1x point on all remaining purchases
Your points don’t expire and you can redeem them for airline flights, gift cards, and cash rewards.
USAA gives you 2,500 bonus points on your first purchase. This is a $25 value for cash or airline travel rewards.
Learn more: Rewards Credit Cards
Best Visa USAA Credit Card
You will need to decide if you prefer flat-rate rewards or tiered purchase rewards as it depends on your spending habits. Unless gas stations and restaurants are your two largest monthly expenses, choosing the flat-rate rewards credit card can be the better option.
Preferred Cash Rewards Visa Signature
The USAA® Preferred Cash Rewards Visa Signature® Card earns unlimited 1.5% back on every purchase. But you can only redeem your points for cash rewards.
USAA’s other Visa cash rewards credit card, the USAA® Rewards™ Visa Signature® Card, only earns 2x points at restaurants and gas stations plus 1x points on all other purchases. You may have a slightly lower earning potential but you can redeem your points for cash or travel rewards. This card also comes with 2,500 bonus points after you make your first purchase.
Learn more: Rewards Credit Cards
Best USAA Credit Card for Living on Base
If you live on a military base or shop at their commissary or exchange, the USAA® Cashback Rewards Plus American Express® Card is a good fit for these purchase reward categories:
- 5% back on the first $3,000 gas and military base purchases annually on these categories combined
- 2% back on the first $3,000 spent at supermarkets
- 1% back on all remaining purchases
This card has warranty protection, no foreign transaction fees, and comes with rental car protection.
Learn more: Rewards Credit Cards
Can You Join USAA?
USAA is free to join, but membership is restricted to the following:
- Active military
- Former military
- Eligible family members of active or former military members
- Cadets or midshipmen
If you don’t have an immediate connection to the U.S. military, you won’t be able to get a USAA credit card. That means you can get one from another bank instead.
No Annual Fee Credit Cards
If you like USAA because they have credit cards without an annual fee, you might like these alternatives instead.
Chase Freedom Unlimited
The Chase Freedom Unlimited® is a solid alternative to the USAA Preferred Cash Rewards Visa Signature Card as you earn at least 1.5% back on every purchase. Cardholders earn unlimited:
- 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
- 3% cash back at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery services
- 3% cash back on drugstore purchases
- 1.5% cash back on all other purchases
There is no limit to how much cash back can be earned and no annual fee to worry about.
The Freedom Unlimited charges a 3% foreign transaction fee. You can also redeem your points for travel, gift cards, and Amazon.com credits when you don’t want cash rewards.
New Chase Freedom Unlimited® cardholders can earn an additional 1.5% cash back on everything they buy (on up to $20,000 spent in the first year) – worth up to $300 cash back! That means new cardholders can enjoy:
- 6.5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards® (Chase’s premier rewards program that lets you redeem rewards for cash back, travel, gift cards, and more)
- 4.5% cash back on drugstore purchases
- 4.5% on dining at restaurants (including takeout and eligible delivery service)
- 3% on all other purchases
New cardholders earn this extra 1.5% cash back on up to $20,000 spent in the first year.
Read more in our Chase Freedom Unlimited review.
Travel Rewards Credit Cards
While the USAA credit card redemption value for airline flights is the industry standard of 1 point = 1 cent, other flexible travel rewards credit cards offer more value. You also won’t pay a foreign transaction fee with any of the following cards. And it’s worth mentioning that all three of the cards listed below are some of the best metal credit cards you can have in your wallet.
So not only can you earn more for your spending, but you also have can have an aesthetically pleasing card to use.
Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card earns unlimited 2 miles for every $1 spent. You can redeem your miles for travel statement credits, and airline flights or transfer them to a Capital One airline transfer partner. You also get a fee credit of up to $100 for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck.
However, if you are wanting to earn a few more miles on travel, good news—earn 5x miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel. Plus, Venture cardholders will earn 5x miles when booking through the Turo app or on Turo.com (through May 16, 2023).
Enjoy a one-time bonus of 75,000 miles once you spend $4,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel, with the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card.
Chase Sapphire Reserve
When you prefer premium travel benefits the Chase Sapphire Reserve® commands a hefty $550 annual fee but offers more benefits than any USAA credit card.
- $300 annual travel credit
- Priority Pass Select airport lounge membership
- Free Global Entry or TSA PreCheck
- 50% travel redemption bonus
- 1:1 travel partner point transfers
Chase Sapphire Reserve® purchases earn up to 10x Ultimate Rewards. Cardholders can earn unlimited:
- 10x total points on hotels and car rentals purchases through Chase Ultimate Rewards (after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually)
- 10x total points on Chase Dining purchases with Ultimate Rewards
- 5x total points on flights when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards (after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually)
- 3x points on other travel worldwide (after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually)
- 3x points on other dining at restaurants, including eligible delivery services, takeout, and dining out
- 1x points for all remaining purchases
You will not receive rewards points on your first $300 in annual travel purchases as the annual travel statement credit reimburses these purchases.
Using the air travel benefits and the different travel redemption options like the 50% redemption bonus means the money you save can exceed the value you gain from using a fee-free credit card for booking award travel.
Summary on Best USAA Credit Cards
If you qualify for USAA membership, their credit cards can be a good match if you want a cash rewards card without an annual fee or foreign transaction. However, you can find other cash and travel rewards cards with more robust rewards programs.
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
- Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
- Enjoy benefits such as a $50 annual Ultimate Rewards Hotel Credit, 5x on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3x on dining and 2x on all other travel purchases, plus more.
- Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel.
- With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories
- Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
- Get complimentary access to DashPass which unlocks $0 delivery fees and lower service fees for a minimum of one year when you activate by December 31, 2024.
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Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.