Published on January 16th, 2018 | by William Charles204
PenFed Pathfinder Rewards American Express Review – 25,000 Point Sign Up Bonus + $100 Airline Credit & No Annual Fee
Update 01/16/18: Card has launched and it’s significantly better than first thought. I’ve updated our review below with the new details.
It looks like PenFed have discontinued their PenFed Premium Travel Rewards American Express Card and replaced it with the new PenFed Pathfinder Rewards American Express.
- Card earns at the following rates:
- 4x points on all travel purchases for PenFed Honors Advantage Members (to be eligible for this you must be a military member or holder of PenFed’s Access America checking account)
- 3x Points on on all travel purchases for regular members
- 1.5x Rewards on everything else
- Travel includes: Commuter transportation, rail, taxi/Uber/Lyft, bus lines, cruise, air, travel agency, tolls miscellaneous (Transportation and Travel Arrangements), hotel, trailer park/campgrounds, car rental, tourist attractions
- $100 credit towards eith TSA PreCheck or Global Entry. This applies once every five years
- $100 airline fee credit
- Sign up bonus of 25,000 points after spending $2,500 or more within the first 90 days
- No annual fee
- 0% introductory APR on balance transfers for 12 months. 3% balance transfer fee applies
$100 Airline Fee Credit
For more information on this airline fee credit and what does/doesn’t work please read this post.
How Much Are Points Worth?
These points are not the same as previous points from PenFed. Annoyingly PenFed does not make their travel portal available until you have the card, making it difficult to know how much points are worth.
- Airfare: Points are worth 0.85¢-0.9¢ per point when redeeming for airfare, if you don’t have enough points to pay for the full flight then you can pay the remaining in cash.
- Hotels: Points are worth 1.18¢-1.25¢ when redeeming for hotels
- Giftcards: These start at 2,940 points for a $25 gift card (0.85¢ per point)
- Merchandise: It’s also possible to redeem points for merchandise, although this basically never provides good value
Applying For Card
To apply for this card, you must be a member of PenFed. The easiest way to qualify is to be a previous or existing member of the military. You can also join National Military Family Association ($17) or Voices For Troops ($17). More information about becoming a member of PenFed can be found here. They will also sometimes request pay stubs to verify your income.
This card reminds me of the FNBO TravElite card that also has a $100 annual airline credit with no annual fee to worry about. Unfortunately that isn’t available for public sign up anymore, but this new PenFed card is. I think it makes sense to sign up and keep the card long term due to the airline credit. The sign up bonus of 25,000 bonus is worth anywhere from $212.25 to $312.25. It’s usually possible to book hotels at a deep discount (see our guide to stacking Hotels.com here) so I wouldn’t value the points anywhere close to 1.25¢ each. The card is pretty good for travel purchases as well, especially if you’re eligible for the 4x rate. Will you be applying for this card? Let us know in the comments below.
Hat tip to David L