As soon as you retire from military service, lucrative fee waivers and rewards disconnecting can depress you. I witnessed one of my close relatives trying and failing to find a better replacement quickly.
So, I researched and found out some cards that can work. Go through my results to find the best credit card for veterans you can get.
Our Top Veteran Credit Card Recommendations
You get a lot of steal deals when you are an active military service member. However, finding the best credit card for veterans can become an issue if you are unprepared. This list will help you decide.
- Best Overall: Chase Freedom Flex
- Best for Flat-Rate Cash Back: PenFed Power Cash Rewards Visa Signature
- Best for Travel: PenFed Pathfinder Rewards Visa Signature
- Best for Daily Purchases: Navy Federal Credit Union More Rewards American Express
Best Card for Veterans Overall: Chase Freedom Flex
Ironically, my best pick from this list is a card with no special offers for veterans. Although other cards have veterans-specific features, it is a good fit if you want to settle into your retirement routine comfortably.
The rotating categories for Chase Freedom Flex are generous and valuable. Although Chase has revealed only the categories for the first quarter, it is promising. You earn a 5% cash back for spending up to $1,500 on:
- Grocery stores (except Walmart and Target)
- Fitness club and gym memberships
- Self-care and spa services
However, you must manually activate the rotating categories every quarter to earn cash back. You should set reminders so you don’t miss out. Moreover, this card is expensive for international travel because it charges a 3% foreign transfer fee.
This year, Chase has upped its game and added another welcome bonus. You get $200 if you spend $500 on purchases within the first three months. The new thing is that you get a 5% cash return on gas stations and grocery stores if you spend up to $12,000 in the first 12 months.
You also get further cash back on travel, dining, and drugstore categories. You can pile up your reward cash pretty quickly with this card.
You get a long period of 0% introductory interest rate for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers. It is the most extended APR period for the cards in this list. Although you incur up to 29.24% APR after it, you can waive it if you pay off your monthly dues in full.
- You get a 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards. You can earn heaps if you are a frequent flyer.
- You earn a 3% return on dining and getting food delivered. You can indulge and earn simultaneously if you like to eat out often.
- You also earn 3% back on drugstores. It is a lucrative and valuable reward category you won’t find in many cards for veterans.
- You have to activate the quarterly rotating categories by yourself. You might find it complicated to activate them repeatedly.
- The APR is higher than some cards reserved for veterans. You may end up accumulating more debt.
Best Veterans Credit Card for Flat-Rate Cash Back: PenFed Power Cash Rewards Visa Signature
You can reap the actual benefits of PenFed Power Cash Rewards if you are a veteran. It has the simplest cash-back structure designed to ease your financial journey. You get a 2% cash return on all purchases compared to civilians. They get a 1.5% return only.
You also get a $100 statement credit if you spend $1,500 in the first three months. I like this offer because many 2% flat-rate cards don’t have welcome bonuses. Also, you don’t have to pay an annual or foreign transaction fee.
This card does not earn you many rewards compared to Freedom Flex. You don’t get bonus categories. Furthermore, you only get a 12-month 0% intro APR for balance transfers. Seeing as purchases make up the bulk of expenses, you might reconsider getting it.
You get added value in the form of a low APR of 17.99%. It is the lowest among the cards in this list and in general. You can pay less even if you plan to carry a monthly balance.
You also get a $0 fraud liability. It means you won’t lose your money if your card is stolen or scammed. PenFed will reimburse your stolen assets. Finally, you get all the perks like other Visa Signature cards. You get discounts on food, shopping, entertainment, and hotel bookings.
- You get a 2% flat-rate cash back. You don’t have to remember complicated rotating categories.
- You get further discounts on lifestyle categories like other Visa Signature cards. Also, you can get discounted bookings for select hotels.
- You get a 0% intro APR on balance transfers for 12 months. You can use it to pay off a big purchase.
- It is not a suitable card if you want to earn maximum rewards. You can choose other cards with more categories.
- You don’t get an attractive welcome bonus compared to other cards in this list.
Best Veterans Credit Card for Travel: PenFed Pathfinder Rewards Visa Signature
You should give this card priority if you are a travel-loving military retiree. PenFed Pathfinder Rewards has exclusive features for veterans. Firstly, you don’t have to pay this card’s $95 annual fee.
Next, you get 4x points per dollar back on travel purchases. Non-military members earn 3x points instead. Furthermore, you get a $100 domestic air ancillary statement credit. You can use it for in-flight food and drinks and luggage fees. This indeed deepens your reward pool!
This card and PenFed Power have similar Intro APR, variable APR, and balance transfer charges. They differ in the cash back for all purchases, though. You get a 1.5% return with this card compared to the 2% back with PenFed Power.
You get 50,000 points as a welcome offer if you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first three months. You can retrieve these points through gift cards or towards travel expenses. You also get a TSA Precheck or Global Entry reimbursement every four years.
It means you don’t have to take off your shoes and belt on domestic terminals nationwide. If you buy Global Entry, you breeze through immigration upon returning from an international trip.
- You can waive the $95 annual fee if you are a retired soldier. It reduces your overall spending.
- You get 4x points back on travel purchases if you are a veteran. Civilians earn 3x points only. It gives you an edge to increase your earnings.
- You get domestic air ancillary statement credit to compensate for your expenditure on baggage fees and in-flight purchases.
- You cannot maximize your card if you don’t travel often. You can get more reward categories with other cards with this annual fee.
- You cannot earn through rotating categories. You can look for other cards like Freedom Flex if earning is your primary goal.
Best Veterans Credit Card for Daily Purchases: Navy Federal Credit Union More Rewards American Express
This card hits all the good categories. You earn 3x points per dollar each for spending on:
- Gas stations
- Transit – Includes buses, trains, and car rentals like Uber and Lyft services.
- Food delivery service
You get 1x points back on every other purchase. Although other cards offer these rewards, they usually have a high APR. Navy Federal More Rewards charges you a low rate of up to 18.00% contrarily. This makes it an economical choice.
That said, the thing I love about this card is its almost no-fee structure. You don’t have to pay:
- Annual fee
- Balance transfer fee
- Foreign transaction fee
Although you have to pay penalty charges, this card is still cheaper than most of its counterparts. However, you may face difficulty using this internationally as it is not accepted widely outside the US.
You get a 25% discount on major car rental companies and roadside assistance. You should call the emergency number on their website to access a 24/7 helpline. You also get rental car loss and damage coverage, which can significantly help.
- You get flat 3x points back on all daily use categories, which can increase your reward pool.
- You are exempt from paying annual, balance transfer, and foreign transaction fees. You can save more because of it.
- You get a discount on car rentals and access to emergency roadside assistance. You can use it in case of a road accident.
- You cannot use this card abroad because it is not accepted everywhere outside the US.
- You don’t get a welcome bonus or an intro offer, which does not instantly boost your reward pool.
Features to Consider for Credit Card for Veterans
|Chase Freedom Flex
|0% on purchases and balance transfers for the first 15 months
|5% cash back on spending $1,500 on bonus categories; 5% back on travel categories; 3% back on dine-in, delivery, and take-out; 3% back on drugstores; 5% back on Lyft purchases until March 31, 2025; 1% back on all other purchases
|PenFed Pathfinder Rewards Visa Signature
|$95 (waived for military veterans)
|0% on balance transfers for the first 12 months
|4x points per dollar on travel for veterans (3x for civilians); 1.5x points per dollar on all other purchases
|PenFed Power Cash Rewards Visa Signature
|0% on balance transfers for the first 12 months
|2% cash back on all purchases for veterans (1.5% back for civilians)
|Navy Federal Credit Union More Rewards American Express
|No intro APR
|3x points per dollar spending on restaurants and food delivery; 3x points on gas; 3x points on supermarkets; 3x points on transit; 1x points on all other purchases
There are many options for veterans to choose the best card from. You must consider these features before deciding on getting the most suitable card.
You should choose a card that meets your credit score because score-building is the key here. For example, you can get Navy Federal More Rewards for an average score. At the same time, Freedom Flex requires a good to excellent score.
Also, go for a high credit limit instead of settling for a low one. It will affect your credit utilization and, ultimately, your credit score.
You must decide what reward structure suits you. You might want a simple card like PenFed Power Cash. Or, you can go for high-yielding cards like Freedom Flex and PenFed Pathfinder if your main goal is earning maximum assets.
Rates and Charges
You must choose a card that costs you less. Navy Federal More Rewards incurs low charges. Additionally, PenFed Pathfinder waives the high annual fee for the veterans, which is a valuable feature.
Does Chase Waive Fees for Veterans?
Chase waives the service fee for veterans if they open an account through Chase Premier Plus Checking. You won’t have to pay your Chase account’s monthly $25 fee if you have a qualifying military ID. Chase does not have particular offers on credit cards for veterans.
Does Amex Gold Waive Fees for Veterans?
Amex Gold does not waive fees for veterans. However, it offers an annual fee waiver to in-service personnel and their spouses. All American Express cards have the same offer for active military troops, guards, and Reserves.
Does Capital One Waive Annual Fees for Veterans?
Capital One does not waive annual fees for veterans. However, it has an annual fee waiver for active military service members. If you want to get a Capital One card, look for one that does not have a yearly fee.
We recommend Chase Freedom Flex, the best overall card for veterans. You should choose a card according to your preferences. Your credit score and credit card reward opportunities can determine if a card is good for you. Also, a card incurring low charges is a better fit, too.