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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, and 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.
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, 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.
New Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card cardholders can earn 60,000 miles after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months.
Learn more: Travel Rewards Credit Cards
Chase Sapphire Preferred Card
For $95 annually, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card earns 2x points on all travel and dining plus 1x point for everything else. Your points are worth 25% more when redeeming award travel on the Chase travel portal.
You also have the option of transferring your points on a 1:1 basis to airline and hotel loyalty programs including Southwest Airlines, United, and World of Hyatt. This makes the Sapphire Preferred one of the best Chase credit cards.
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
The $300 travel credit applies to your first $300 in travel purchases. Using this credit reduces your annual fee to $250. 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.
Travel (once eligible) and dining purchases earn 3 points per $1 spent and all remaining purchases earn 1 point per $1 spent.
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
- Our best offer ever! Earn 100,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,250 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
- Enjoy new benefits such as a $50 annual Ultimate Rewards Hotel Credit, 5X points on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3X points on dining and 2X points 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, 100,000 points are worth $1,250 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.
- Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on eligible orders over $12 for a minimum of one year with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
- Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
- Get up to $60 back on an eligible Peloton Digital or All-Access Membership through 12/31/2021, and get full access to their workout library through the Peloton app, including cardio, running, strength, yoga, and more. Take classes using a phone, tablet, or TV. No fitness equipment is required.
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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.