Who is This Credit Card Best For?
Flies regularly and likes finding ways to score even more travel—for free
Diligently searches for the best products and delights in a good bargain
Hits the road often, whether for work or play
Loves to explore places and experience new things
This card is best for borrowers who want to earn rewards and are concerned about packing on debt. Consumers with less-than-perfect credit who are having trouble accessing affordable credit should give this card a good look, since it’s rare to find such an affordably priced card without having excellent credit.
The Go Rewards card reserves its most generous rewards for restaurant purchases and gas, so those who spend a lot there will benefit most. Keep in mind you must have some connection to the military or the Department of Defense. Membership in the Navy Federal Credit Union is restricted to active duty and retired service members, veterans, family members, and civilian employees of the Department of Defense.
Good rewards earnings on restaurant and gas purchases
Available to those with average credit
Credit union membership restrictions
No sign-up bonus
No points transfer
- Good rewards earnings on restaurant and gas purchases: If you like to dine out, the Go card is a great pick: There aren’t many no-annual-fee cards that offer unlimited 3 points per $1 spent on dining. The handful of cards that do offer comparable rewards earning charge higher rates and fees. The card’s 2 points per $1 spent on gas earnings rate is less notable. However, if you usually spend $200 a month on gas, you’ll still earn nearly $50 worth of rewards annually just from filling up your tank.
- Low APR: It’s getting harder these days to find a card with an APR below 15% to 20%. The Go Rewards card’s APR is low, even when you compare it to basic cards without rewards. Plus, you’ll get an introductory APR of 1.99% on purchases and balance transfers for 12 months. (And since it’s a credit union card, the high end can’t go over 18%.)
- Few fees: The Go Rewards card also sets itself apart by waiving nearly every kind of fee you might rack up, apart from penalty fees. You can use your card to make purchases abroad, to transfer a balance, and even to get a cash advance from a Navy Federal ATM, without paying a single fee.
- Available to those with average credit: The Go Rewards card may also be easier to qualify for than the average rewards card. Most rewards cards require cardholders to have good to excellent credit. Meanwhile, many of the cards marketed to consumers with average credit charge exorbitant APRs.
- Credit union membership restrictions: One of the biggest downsides to the Go Rewards card is that it’s so exclusive: If you can’t qualify for Navy Federal membership, then you won’t qualify for the Go Rewards card.
- No sign-up bonus: There aren’t that many rewards cards these days that don’t offer a sign-up bonus. But unfortunately, the Go Rewards card is currently one of them. As a result, you could be walking away from $150 to $200 or more in rewards if you pick this card over a rewards card with a sign-up bonus.
- No points transfer: Unlike some credit card issuers, Navy Federal Credit Union doesn’t let you transfer your points to other loyalty programs, such as a frequent flyer account. Instead, you’re limited to redeeming your points through Navy Federal Credit Union, which may be disappointing to cardholders who log a lot of miles in the air.
Earning Points & Rewards
The Go Rewards card’s rewards program is traditional, requiring you to track the purchases that earn the best rewards and navigate a points rewards program. However, compared to other no-annual-fee rewards cards, it’s an attractive pick.
The Go card’s 3-point earnings rate on restaurant purchases is generous for a no-annual-fee card—especially since the points are unlimited. For example, if you and your family regularly spend $250 a month on dining, you’ll take home at least $90 a year in rewards just from eating out. Just one no-annual-fee card offers a better earning rate on dining. The Go card’s 2 points per $1 on gas earning rate is also good; however, you can often find a better rate on other cards.
Points are unlimited and, as long as your account is open, you don’t have to worry about them expiring if you decide to save them.
You can redeem your points for cash, gift cards, merchandise, or travel (including car rentals, cruises, hotels, tourist attractions, and events). If you redeem your points for cash or travel, they’ll be worth a penny each, which is standard for a no-annual-fee card that doesn’t let you transfer your rewards to other programs.
So, for example, if you save up 50,000 points, you can redeem them for $500 in cash or use them to book a $500 airplane ticket. With gift cards and merchandise, the value of your points may vary.
How to Get the Most Out Of This Card
If you’re carrying debt on another credit card, chances are it has a higher ongoing APR. If so, transfer your balance to this card within 30 days of opening your account to get an introductory APR of 1.99% for 12 months. While there are plenty of cards with 0% APR offers available, the Navy Federal Go Rewards Card doesn’t charge a balance transfer fee, which is unusual. Plus, once your introductory rate expires, you’ll still benefit, since the ongoing APR is so low.
When it comes to rewards, use this card for dining out and for gas. If you regularly eat out with friends or family members, consider paying for the group with your Go Rewards card and asking others to pay you back so you can maximize your dining rewards.
On the redemption side, choose the rewards that are worth at least 1 cent each. That means cash back or travel. The other options are often worth less than that.
The Navy Federal Go Rewards Card’s Excellent Perks
Your benefits will vary, depending on whether you’re given a Visa, Visa Signature, Mastercard, or World Mastercard. You may be offered one or more of the following benefits, which the editors of The Balance consider “excellent.”
- Cell phone coverage: Depending on the card, you’ll be given $250 to $600 worth of insurance coverage for up to three phones. (To activate, you must pay for cell phone service with your card.)
- Travel accident insurance: If you’re given a Visa Signature card, you’ll also get up to $250,000 of travel accident coverage for trips paid for with your card.
- Insurance coverage for lost baggage: Visa Signature cardholders will also get $3,000 worth of coverage for lost baggage during trips paid for with the card.
The Navy Federal Go Rewards Card’s Other Benefits
- Rental car collision insurance (secondary to your own policy)
- Refund when a merchant won’t accept a return
- Extended warranties
- Lowest advertised price match
- Travel and emergency hotline
- Discounts on travel, food, and entertainment
Navy Federal offers a number of customer-friendly perks, including free access to your FICO score, 24/7 access to customer service representatives based in the United States, and an instant chat feature on its website.
The Go Rewards card offers the ability to instantly freeze your account if you misplace your card, and other standard security features such as zero fraud liability and fraud alerts.
The Navy Federal Go Rewards Card’s fees
The Go Rewards card’s penalty fees are on the low side for a credit card. It also waives a number of common fees such as foreign transaction fees, balance transfer fees, and cash advance fees if drawn directly from a Navy Federal branch or ATM.