Reviews USAA Cashback Rewards Plus American Express review

USAA Cashback Rewards Plus American Express review

Published: March 17, 2017
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Ratings Policy
Cash Back Rating:
3.7 rating
3.7 rating
3.7 / 5
Rewards Value: 3.5
Annual Percentage Rate: 0.0
Rewards Flexibility: 3.8
Features: 4.0

In a nutshell:

This no-fee card offers excellent value to USAA members, with 5 percent cash back on gas and military-base purchases, and 2 percent cash back at supermarkets.

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Rewards Rate

  • 5% cash back on gas and military-base purchases
  • 2% cash back on groceries
  • 1% cash back on general purchases

Sign-up Bonus
None

Annual Fee
$0

Average Yearly Rewards Value ($1,325 monthly spend)
$291

APR
12.4-26.4%

Rewards Redemption
Pros

  • Redeem any amount, any time in $1 increments
  • No rotating categories to keep track of

Cons

  • Bonus categories are capped at $3,000 of purchases per category, per year

Other Notable Features: Military benefits including deployment rates, finance charge rebates for military campaigns and deployment assistance; identity theft services; price protection; trip cancellation and interruption insurance; baggage delay insurance; no penalty APR

No Annual Fee Rating:
3.3 rating
3.3 rating
3.3 / 5
Rewards Value: 3.9
Annual Percentage Rate: 0.9
Rewards Flexibility: 2.8
Features: 3.0

In a nutshell:

Offering 5 percent cash back on gas and military-base purchases and 2 percent cash back on groceries, the USAA Cashback Plus American Express card is a great no-annual-fee card for military families.

Learn more about this card

Rewards Rate

  • 5% cash back on gas and military-base purchases
  • 2% cash back on groceries
  • 1% cash back on general purchases

Sign-up Bonus
None

Annual Fee
$0

Average Yearly Rewards Value ($1,325 monthly spend)
$291

APR
12.4-26.4%

Rewards Redemption
Pros

  • Redeem any amount, any time in $1 increments
  • No rotating categories to keep track of

Cons

  • Bonus categories are capped at $3,000 of purchases per category, per yea

Other Notable Features: Military benefits including deployment rates, finance charge rebates for military campaigns and deployment assistance; identity theft services; price protection; trip cancellation and interruption insurance; baggage delay insurance; no penalty APR

Rewards Rating:
2.8 rating
2.8 rating
2.8 / 5
Rewards Value: 2.8
Annual Percentage Rate: 1.5
Rewards Flexibility: 2.8
Features: 3.0

In a nutshell:

The USAA Cashback Rewards Plus MasterCard is an ideal card for military families: It offers an industry-leading 5 percent cash back on gas and military base purchases, 2 percent cash back on groceries and a number of money-saving perks for active duty service members.

Learn more about this card

Rewards Rate

  • 5% cash back on gas and military-base purchases
  • 2% cash back on groceries
  • 1% cash back on general purchases

Sign-up Bonus
None

Annual Fee
$0

Average Yearly Rewards Value ($1,325 monthly spend)
$291

APR
12.4-26.4%

Rewards Redemption
Pros

  • Redeem any amount, any time in $1 increments
  • No rotating categories to keep track of

Cons

  • Bonus categories are capped at $3,000 of purchases per category, per year

Other Notable Features: Military benefits including deployment rates, finance charge rebates for military campaigns and deployment assistance; identity theft services; price protection; trip cancellation and interruption insurance; baggage delay insurance; no penalty APR

For a card with no annual fee, the USAA Cashback Rewards Plus American Express card offers great benefits and a good cash back rate on select categories. You get 2 percent cash back on groceries and a whopping 5 percent cash back rate on gas and military-base purchases, capped at $3,000 of yearly spending per category.

The card is not available to the general public. It is only available to USAA members and other select individuals who use certain USAA products. In order to join USAA, you have to be a member of the U.S. armed forces, a veteran or a family member of a USAA member.

5 and 2 percent bonus categories

This card pays 5 percent cash back on gas and military base purchases, 2 percent on supermarket purchases and 1 percent on all other purchases. Few cash back cards offer a bonus rate as high as 5 percent, and those that do typically assign the 5 percent rate to less lucrative categories. Also, the USAA card requires less maintenance than other cards. You don’t have to sign up for bonus categories, and there are no rotating categories. Note, however, that the bonus cash back does include a strict cap of $3,000 of purchases per year in each category.

Flexible rewards redemption

The USAA cash back card makes it easy to redeem your cash rewards. While most cards require you to accumulate a significant amount of rewards before you can redeem for cash back, this card allows you to redeem any amount at any time, starting in $1 increments.

No penalty APR

The USAA Cashback Rewards Plus American Express card doesn’t impose a penalty APR, which is a rare benefit. Many card companies raise your APR as high as 30 percent for just one missed payment. The USAA card won’t raise your APR, no matter what happens to your account.

SCRA benefits are not the best

The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) provides certain benefits to service members on active duty, including a 6 percent interest rate cap on all debt incurred before deployment. The USAA Cashback Rewards Plus American Express card lowers this cap to 4 percent. That might sound generous, until you consider other credit cards do the same or offer even better deals. Capital One, for example, also lowers the APR to 4 percent, while Citi eliminates it altogether.

Identity-fraud-expense reimbursement

The card includes identity-fraud-expense reimbursement, a benefit that rarely comes with a card that has no annual fee. The reimbursement is limited to $1,000 per claim, and there is a limit of one claim per year.

Price protection

If you find a lower price for a new item within four months of purchase, USAA may reimburse you for the price difference.

Reasons to sign up for it:

  • You are a USAA member who can take advantage of the 5 percent bonus on military-base purchases.
  • You want the simplicity of a no-annual-fee card that doesn’t make you register for quarterly bonus categories.
  • You are interested in the suite of excellent travel benefits that comes with the card.

How to use it:

  • Use the card to pay for gas and military-base purchases until you reach the $3,000 cap in each category.
  • Use this card interchangeably with other cash back cards that offer bonus cash on alternate categories of spending.

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