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From the Experts at Credit.com

Best Credit Cards for Military Personnel: Pros and Cons of Each

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pick a military credit card

Active-duty and retired military members can often qualify for some great credit card benefits.

However, choosing the best credit cards for military personnel isn’t easy. That’s because, just like for civilians, military members have to decide which credit card rewards, benefits and perks best fit their particular needs.

With so many credit card options and so many good programs, there isn’t one “best” military credit card for everyone. You simply want to choose the card that’s right for your financial needs and spending habits. Some cards work great for some people, but not others.

To make it a bit easier, here are a few of the Credit.com team’s favorite military credit cards to help you figure out which one is the right card for you.

The Best Credit Cards for Military Personnel of 2019

Our picks for the best credit cards for military personnel are:

USAA Cashback Rewards Plus American Express Card

USAA® Cashback Rewards Plus American Express® Card

Apply Now
on USAA Savings Bank's secure website
Card Details
Intro Apr:
N/A

Ongoing Apr:
14.15% - 28.15% Variable

Balance Transfer:
14.15% - 28.15% Variable Regular APR on purchases and balance transfers

Annual Fee:
$0

Credit Needed:
Excellent-Good
Snapshot of Card Features
  • Earn 5% cash back on your first $3,000 in gas and military base purchases annually on these categories combined
  • Earn 2% on your first $3,000 on supermarket purchases per year
  • Unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases
  • USAA membership is available to active and former military and their eligible family members

Card Details +

Benefits: Cardholders receive:

  • Earn 5%  cash back on the first $3,000 spent at military bases and gas every year on these categories combined.
  • Receive 2% cash back on the first $3,000 spent on grocery purchases every year.
  • Unlimited 1% cash back on other purchases.

There is no annual fee, no penalty interest rate and no foreign transaction fee.

Drawbacks: There are no big welcome offers for this card. Also, if you’re a veteran or retired member of the military, you won’t get as much out of this card as an active service member might.

The card is available only to USAA members. Membership is available to active and former military personnel and their eligible family members.

USAA Rate Advantage Visa Platinum Card

USAA® Rate Advantage Visa Platinum® Card

Apply Now
on USAA Savings Bank's secure website
Card Details
Intro Apr:
N/A

Ongoing Apr:
9.15% - 26.15% Variable

Balance Transfer:
9.15% - 26.15% Variable Regular APR on purchases and balance transfers

Annual Fee:
$0

Credit Needed:
Excellent-Good
Snapshot of Card Features
  • Enjoy USAA's lowest rate card
  • No annual fee, no foreign transaction fees, no penalty APR
  • USAA membership is available to active and former military and their eligible family members

Card Details +

Benefits: The USAA Rate Advantage Platinum Visa offers cardholders a low starting variable APR depending on creditworthiness (9.15% - 26.15% Variable).

Drawbacks: It is available only to USAA members. Membership is available to the following:

  • Active, retired and honorably separated officers.
  • Enlisted military personnel.
  • Officer candidates in commissioning programs.
  • Adult children of USAA members.
  • Widows, widowers and former spouses of USAA members who have or have had a USAA auto or property insurance policy while married.

This card does not offer a rewards program.

USAA® Rewards™ Visa Signature® Card

USAA® Preferred Cash Rewards Visa Signature® Card

Apply Now
on USAA Savings Bank's secure website
Card Details
Intro Apr:
N/A

Ongoing Apr:
14.15% - 28.15% Variable

Balance Transfer:
14.15% - 28.15% Variable Regular APR on purchases and balance transfers

Annual Fee:
$0

Credit Needed:
Excellent-Good
Snapshot of Card Features
  • Earn 1.5% cash back on every purchase with no limits or category restrictions
  • Pay no annual fee, no penalty APR and no foreign transaction fees
  • USAA membership is available to active and former military and their eligible family members

Card Details +

Benefits: Cardholders earn 2X points per dollar spent on gas and dining with no cap and earn 1X points for every dollar spent on all other purchase. They receive 2,500 bonus points on their first purchase.

The points are redeemable for cash, merchandise, gift cards and more. USAA membership is available to active and former military and their eligible family members

Drawbacks: There is a transaction fee of 3% on balance transfers and cash advances on this card.

USAA® Rewards™ American Express® Card

USAA® Rewards™ American Express® Card

Apply Now
on USAA Savings Bank's secure website
Card Details
Intro Apr:
N/A

Ongoing Apr:
12.15% - 28.15% Variable

Balance Transfer:
12.15% - 28.15% Variable Regular APR on purchases and balance transfers

Annual Fee:
$0

Credit Needed:
Excellent-Good
Snapshot of Card Features
  • Earn 3X points per dollar spent on dining
  • Earn 2X points per dollar spent on gas and groceries
  • Earn 1X points for every dollar spent on all other purchases
  • Get 2,500 bonus points with your first purchase
  • Redeem points for cash, merchandise, gift cards and more.
  • USAA membership is available to active and former military and their eligible family members

Card Details +

Benefits: Cardholders earn:

  • Earn 3X points per dollar spent on dining.
  • Receive 2X points per dollar spent on gas and groceries with no cap.
  • Earn 1X points for every dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Receive 2,500 bonus points on their first purchase.

The points are redeemable for cash, merchandise, gift cards and more! USAA membership is available to active and former military and their eligible family members

Drawbacks: There is a transaction fee of 3% on balance transfers and cash advances on this card.

To Keep in Mind

When looking for the best credit card for military members, compare the options available. Be sure to read the terms and conditions carefully when determining if a card is right for you.

Keep in mind that not all issuers publish all of the benefits available to military personnel on their websites. Calling to get full details can be very helpful.

Whether you’re a new recruit, a long-time service member or even a veteran nearing retirement, it’s important to know where your credit stands before you apply for a new piece of plastic. If you don’t have good credit, you might not qualify for premium cards that offer a lot of rewards and benefits.

If you don’t qualify, you certainly don’t want to risk getting that hard inquiry only to be denied. To find out, you can view two of your credit scores for free through Credit.com.

Editorial disclosure: Reviews are as determined solely by Credit.com staff. Opinions expressed here are solely those of the reviewers and aren’t reviewed or approved by any advertiser. Information presented is accurate as of the date of the review, including information on card rates, rewards and fees. Check the issuer’s website for the most current information on each card listed.

Advertiser disclosure: The credit card offers that appear on this website are from credit card companies that Credit.com receives compensation from. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). The site does not include all credit card companies or all available credit card offers.


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