USAA Cashback Rewards Plus American Express Card Review
The USAA Cashback Rewards Plus American Express card is not among our highest rated cash back credit cards. You can consult our list of best cash back credit cards for what we think are better options.
Full review of USAA Cashback Plus American Express rewards
Cash Back Categories for Frequent Spending
Low threshold for redeeming cash back rewards
Decent travel and shopping benefits
USAA customer service is exceptional
Amounts eligible for bonus cash back are lower than average spend
No one-off offer
Must be from a military family to apply
- Bonus cash back categories for frequent spending: This card offers bonus cash back categories (gasoline and military base purchases as well as groceries) that most cardholders are likely to spend a significant amount of. This isn’t the case with other cards that best reward you for less frequent spending, like travel.
- Low threshold for using cash back rewards: You only need to accumulate $ 1.00 in Cash Back Rewards to start redeeming them. In contrast, some other cards require you to accumulate at least $ 25 in rewards before you can start using them. This flexibility gives you faster access to cash back rewards as you earn them.
- Minimal fees: The USAA Cashback Rewards Plus American Express card does not charge annual fees, overseas transaction fees, or penalty APRs. USAA also waives the cash advance fee when electronically transferring funds to a USAA deposit account. In addition, the fees they charge are rather modest. For example, they only charge a fixed percentage on balance transfers and cash advances and don’t charge a minimum fee like $ 5 or $ 10.
- Decent travel and shopping benefits: For a card with no annual fee, USAA Cashback Rewards Plus American Express offers a wide range of travel and shopping benefits. Features include insurance coverage for rental cars, trip cancellation and interruption, and baggage delays, as well as extended warranty protection on products you purchase with the card.
- USAA customer service is exceptional: While it is rare to contact customer service for a credit card, you are often in some distress when you do, after losing or stealing a card. This is why exceptional responsiveness and competence are all the more important for a credit card issuer. Because its offerings are limited to a certain population, USAA is not included in the ranking of JD Power’s 2020 US Credit Card Satisfaction Survey. If it did, however, it would be at the top of the list, with a JD Power score of 861 out of a possible 1,000, even higher than Discover and American Express.
- Low spending limits for bonus cash back rewards: If you’re a typical American family, you could well spend more than the annual limit of $ 3,000 on both categories of bonuses with this card: gasoline and military base purchases, and groceries. U.S. households spent an average of $ 2,094 on gas in 2019, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Although spending has dropped a bit since then, that leaves little room for spending on military bases, which can be heavy on military families. And the average household spending on food for the home was $ 4,643, about 50% more than this card’s limit for the best rewards on groceries. Spending beyond these limits still earns money, but only at a rate of 1% instead of the 5% bonus.
- No single offer: Most cash back credit cards offer a one-time offer to entice potential applicants to sign up. This card does not offer such an incentive.
- Must be from a military family to apply: To apply for this credit card, you must be a USAA member or become a USAA member. Only the following people can become USAA members:
Active duty, National Guard and Reserve officer and enlisted personnel
- Officer candidates in commissioning programs
- Former spouses and adult children of USAA members
First and foremost, USAA Cashback Rewards Plus American Express is for military families who want to take advantage of bonus cash back rates for their spending on gas and military bases. Up to a spending limit of $ 3,000 per year, these purchases earn 5% cash back, a rate that’s very hard to beat. Off base, or after hitting the spending limit for that 5% spend, it’s also a good card you can use for groceries. Food purchases will earn you 2% cash back, a rate that outperforms most cash back cards that offer a flat rate on all purchases, although some cards that have tiered rewards offer more cash back. in money for supermarket expenses.
It is also a card for families who may not have other cards that offer such useful and economical travel benefits as the absence of overseas transaction fees and insurance for rental cars, vehicles. baggage delays and travel accidents.
The USAA Cashback Rewards Plus American Express card offers 5% on the first $ 3,000 of qualifying gasoline and military base purchases each calendar year. This does not include truck stop transactions, but includes other merchants defined as primarily selling gasoline to consumers. Purchases at military bases include those made in commissaries, stock exchanges and shoppettes.
You’ll earn 2% Cash Back on the first $ 3,000 of grocery purchases each calendar year. This usually includes neighborhood grocery stores and supermarkets. Food purchased from discount stores, wholesale stores, and warehouse clubs, such as Walmart, Costco, and Sam’s Club, is not eligible.
You can also get unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases. If you voluntarily close your account while it is in good standing, you have 90 calendar days to call 800-980-8722 to redeem any remaining cash back on your account.
Details on how to use rewards
You can start redeeming Cash Back once you’ve earned at least $ 1.00 in rewards and then continue to do so in increments as low as $ 1.00. You can redeem money by calling 800-980-8722 or by visiting the USAA Rewards service center online after signing into your online account.
Cash Back Rewards can be used as long as your account is open, in good standing, and you are not in violation of the USAA credit card agreement. If your account is past due, not in good standing, or if you violate the USAA credit card agreement, you can only use your cash back as a credit on your account by calling 800-980-8722.
How to Maximize Your Rewards
Getting the most out of this card is pretty straightforward. It starts by putting all gasoline and military base and supermarket purchases on the map until you hit the spending limit of $ 3,000 for 5% bonus rewards in each of those two categories. Once this limit is reached, you can continue to make purchases on this card to earn unlimited 1% cash back, but other cards offer higher cash back rates on all other purchases.
You can redeem your cash back as you earn it as long as you have accumulated at least $ 1.00 in rewards. Alternatively, you can save your rewards until you want to cash out a larger amount in $ 1.00 increments.
USAA Cashback Rewards Plus the exceptional benefits of the American Express card
- Reimbursement of late baggage: If you pay your passenger fare with your card and your checked baggage is delayed by four hours or more, you can be refunded up to $ 100 per day for 3 days to purchase essentials such as toiletries, chargers appliances and clothing.
- Trip cancellation and interruption cover: Get coverage for up to $ 1,500 per covered person if you purchase a non-refundable prepaid passenger fare with your card and your trip is canceled or interrupted for a covered reason.
- Collision insurance with no deductible
- Concierge services for restaurant or travel reservations as well as concert tickets
- Extended warranty protection
- Travel accident cover
- Travel and emergency assistance
USAA, the issuer of the USAA Cashback Rewards Plus American Express card, received a score of 861 out of possible 1,000 in JD Power’s 2020 U.S. Credit Card Satisfaction Survey. Although this is the highest score of the survey, 23 points, the USAA was not included in the ranking because its availability is limited to a certain population, in this case the families of military.
You can contact USAA at 800-531-8722 or manage your account using USAA’s iOS or Android apps. You can also send a secure message or chat online with a representative after signing into your USAA account.
USAA offers biometrics, fast login, CyberCode text, and computer recognition. The USAA says these are state of the art security measures.
The bank also offers identity theft resolution services to help victims of identity theft place fraud alerts, obtain replacement cards and more. The USAA also offers reimbursement of up to $ 1,000 for covered expenses to help restore your identity after a covered identity theft event.
The USAA Cashback Rewards Plus American Express program offers USAA members the opportunity to earn exceptional 5% cash back rewards on gasoline and military base purchases. The second best reward rate, 2% on groceries, is also strong. The $ 3,000 annual spending limit in these two reward categories should meet most of your needs, but maybe not all. USAA Cashback Rewards Plus American Express only offers a modest 1% on all purchases outside of these bonus rewards purchases.
You may then want to pair the card with one that offers relatively high rewards on all purchases. One candidate is the Citi Double Cash, with which you earn 1% on all purchases when you use the card, and then an additional 1% when you make payment.