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Navy Federal Credit Union Visa Signature Flagship Rewards card review

Navy Federal Credit Union Visa Signature Flagship Rewards card review

Published: September 5, 2018
Published: September 5, 2018
Ratings Policy
Low Interest Rating:
2.1 rating
2.1 rating
2.1 / 5
Rates, Fees, Penalties: 1.8
Rewards: 4.6
Features: 4.0

In a Nutshell:

While the Visa Signature Flagship Rewards card features a good rewards program and very reasonable rates and fees, cardholders seeking to save interest on a purchase or balance transfer would be better served with a card that offers a 0-percent introductory APR.

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Regular APR
11.74-18% (variable)

Introductory Purchase APR
None

Introductory Balance Transfer APR
None

Fees

  • $49 annual fee (waived first year)
  • No balance transfer fee
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • No cash advance fee

Penalties

  • $20 late payment fee
  • 18% penalty APR
  • $20 returned payment fee

Other Notable Features:  No foreign transaction fee, 24/7 concierge service, lost baggage insurance, travel accident insurance, auto rental insurance, discounted roadside assistance, upgrades on hotels, resorts and cruise lines, $100 statement credit for Global Entry/TSA PreCheck every 4 years

Rewards Rating:
4.1 rating
4.1 rating
4.1 / 5
Rewards Value: 4.3
Annual Percentage Rate: 4.2
Rewards Flexibility: 3.9
Features: 4.0

In a Nutshell:

Navy Federal Credit Union’s Flagship Rewards card offers triple points for travel purchases and twice the points for every  other purchase, making it an ideal pick for cardholders who want to rack up points without a lot of effort.

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Rewards Rate

  • 3 points per dollar on travel purchases
  • 2 points per dollar on other purchases

Sign-up Bonus
50,000 points if you spend $4,000 in first 90 days (offer ends 12/31/18)

Annual Fee
$49, $0 first year

Average Yearly Rewards Value ($1,325 monthly spend)
$465

APR
11.74-18% (variable)

Rewards Redemption
Pros

  • No expiration dates
  • No point limits
  • Redeem points for travel, gift cards, merchandise, cash, donations or an annual fee credit
  • Redeem for cash back at a value of 1 cent per point

Cons

  • Can’t redeem for travel until you reach 10,000 points
  • Blackout dates on some categories
  • Can’t transfer points to other loyalty programs
  • Can’t maximize value of points for travel rewards

Other Notable Features: No foreign transaction fee, 24/7 concierge service, lost baggage insurance, travel accident insurance, auto rental insurance, discounted roadside assistance, upgrades on hotels, resorts and cruise lines, $100 statement credit for Global Entry/TSA PreCheck every 4 years

Travel Rating:
4 rating
4 rating
4 / 5
Rewards Value: 4.1
Annual Percentage Rate: 4.3
Rewards Flexibility: 3.9
Features: 4.0

In a Nutshell:

A great pick for cardholders who plan to carry a balance but still want some rewards, the NFCU Visa Signature Flagship Rewards card earns high marks for its ultralow APR and generous rewards rate.

View similar travel cards

Rewards Rate

  • 3 points per dollar on travel purchases
  • 2 points per dollar on other purchases

Sign-up Bonus
50,000 points if you spend $4,000 in first 90 days (offer ends 12/31/18)

Annual Fee
$49, $0 first year

Average Yearly Rewards Value ($1,325 monthly spend)
$465

APR
11.74-18% (variable)

Rewards Redemption
Pros

  • No expiration dates
  • No point limits
  • Redeem points for travel, gift cards, merchandise, cash, donations or an annual fee credit
  • Redeem for cash back at a value of 1 cent per point

Cons

  • Can’t redeem for travel until you reach 10,000 points
  • Blackout dates on some categories
  • Can’t transfer points to other loyalty programs
  • Can’t maximize value of points for travel rewards

Other Notable Features:  No foreign transaction fee, 24/7 concierge service, lost baggage insurance, travel accident insurance, auto rental insurance, discounted roadside assistance, upgrades on hotels, resorts and cruise lines, $100 statement credit for Global Entry/TSA PreCheck every 4 years

Navy Federal Credit Union has launched an updated version of its Flagship Rewards Card and the news is good: NFCU has boosted the already stellar earning rate on the Flagship card by tacking on a triple-point bonus on travel purchases. For cardholders who can qualify for NFCU membership (active and retired military service members and their families), the new Flagship card is a great bargain for a premium travel rewards card, offering a high earning rate and pretty good travel perks for a reasonable annual fee.

Triple points on travel

One of the best new features of the Flagship Rewards card is its increased earning rate. The card previously offered two points per dollar on all your purchases. The updated card offers three points per dollar on travel purchases — including airline tickets, hotel stays and car rentals — and two points per dollar on everything else. In other words, your earning rate with the Flagship Rewards Card is now better than 2 percent, which is great news if you prefer a single, go-to card for all your purchases.

Earn 50,000 points for a limited time

The Visa Signature Flagship Rewards card is currently offering a very generous sign-up bonus: You get 50,000 bonus points when you spend $4,000 in the first 90 days, worth $500 in travel, gift cards or cash back. If you plan to sign up for the card, now is the time to apply — the offer expires at the end of the year and will likely be replaced by a smaller sign-up bonus.

Average redemption value

The downside is that the card’s points are roughly worth 1 cent per point, which is about average for a rewards card, but less than what many competitors’ program points are worth. Many annual-fee cards offer fewer opportunities for acquiring points, but the value of their rewards points is often more generous – particularly on travel purchases, such as airfare. Because of the card’s lower redemption value, cardholders will need considerably more points to earn a free flight.

Restrictions on redemption

Cardholders will also have to wait until they reach 10,000 points before they can use their points for travel. This is a setback for cardholders who aren’t big spenders, since it means they may have to wait up to a year or more before they can redeem points. Redeeming credit card points for travel is also a little more complicated, since blackout dates for some types of reservations may limit when you can take a trip. Cardholders do a have a wide variety of redemption options to choose from, however, including hotel, cruise, car and airline travel, cash back, gift cards, merchandise and even an annual fee credit.

On the plus side, NFCU has increased the value of points for cash back and gift card redemptions with its revamp of the Flagship card. Points are now worth 1 cent apiece when redeemed for cash back and gift cards, which means, in case you can’t collect enough points for a travel redemption, you now have the flexibility to cash them out at a good value.

Good travel perks

The Visa Signature Flagship Rewards card also comes with a decent selection of travel perks, such as no foreign transaction fees, up to $3,000 of lost-baggage insurance, travel accident insurance, travel and emergency assistance, 24-hour concierge services, a rental car collision-damage waiver, towing and locksmith referral services and luxury travel discounts. Also, the card now offers a statement credit every four years to cover your application for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck.

Relatively inexpensive

Despite its shortcomings, the Navy Federal Credit Union Visa Signature Flagship Rewards card is a good value for the money, particularly for cardholders with excellent credit. Starting at 11.74 percent, the APR is low for a rewards card, and the card’s annual fee of $49 per year (which is currently waived the first year) is also relatively affordable.

Why get the Navy Federal Credit Union Visa Signature Flagship Rewards card?

  • You’re a Navy Federal Credit Union member.
  • You want a hassle-free rewards card that makes it easy to earn points.
  • You don’t want to bother with bonus categories or restrictions on your rewards spending.
  • You use your card for most purchases and so can earn a substantial amount with your spending.

How to use the Navy Federal Credit Union Visa Signature Flagship Rewards card:

  • Use this as your primary method of payment to earn a high rewards rate on all your purchases.
  • Or, if you carry a number of rewards credit cards, use this card to pay for travel expenses and expenses that aren’t included in your other cards’ bonus categories.
  • Check for blackout dates before you plan a rewards-funded trip. Blackout dates may apply to a variety of travel expenses, including car rentals and hotel stays.

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