Navy Federal Go Rewards Card Review

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If you can qualify for Navy Federal Credit Union membership, the Go Rewards credit card is an unusually good value—especially if you occasionally carry a balance or have good to average credit. The Go card offers a strong points rewards program for cardholders who spend a fair amount of money dining out at restaurants or gassing up their cars. But what really sets it apart is its consumer-friendly pricing, including a low APR and minimal fees.

Navy Federal GO REWARDS®

overall rating
4.2
Navy Federal GO REWARDS®
Recommended Credit Score Our recommended ranges are based off of the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model. Credit score is one of the many factors lenders review in considering your application.
350 579
580 669
670 739
740 799
800 850
Fair - Excellent
Regular APR (%) 10.99% - 18% variable
Annual Fee No Annual Fee
Rewards Earning Rate Earn 3X points at restaurants, 2X points on gas, and 1X point on everything else.
Foreign transaction fee 0%
Ratings Breakdown
for Interest
2.2
for Fees
4.2
for Rewards
3.7
for Credit
4.2

Who is This Credit Card Best For?

  • Avatar for Jet Setter Persona
    Flies regularly and likes finding ways to score even more travel—for free
    Jet Setter
  • Avatar for Road Warrior Persona
    Hits the road often, whether for work or play
    Road Warrior
  • Avatar for Adventure Seeker Persona
    Loves to explore places and experience new things
    Adventure Seeker
  • Avatar for Deal Seeker Persona
    Diligently searches for the best products and delights in a good bargain
    Deal Seeker

Cardholders who want to earn rewards but are concerned about packing on debt are likely to get the most enjoyment out of this consumer-friendly credit card. Consumers with less-than-perfect credit who are having trouble accessing affordable credit are also a good fit: It’s rare for cardholders who don’t have excellent credit to find such an affordably priced card. 

The Go Rewards card reserves its most generous rewards for restaurant purchases and gas, so those who spend a lot there will benefit most. Also, you must have some connection to the military or the Department of Defense as 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.

Pros

  • Good rewards earnings on restaurant and gas purchases

  • Low APR for a rewards card

  • Few fees

  • Available to those with average credit

Cons

  • No sign-up bonus

  • No promotional APR

  • No points transfer

  • Credit union membership restrictions

Pros Explained

  • 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 for a rewards card: 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. Since it’s a credit union card, you don’t have to worry about getting stuck with an APR 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 request a cash advance from Navy Federal, 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. 

Cons Explained

  • 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 promotional intro APRs: You also won’t get a reprieve from paying interest if you decide to make a big purchase or transfer balances from a high-rate card. Although you may be able to save hundreds of dollars on balance transfer fees, you’ll still be stuck paying interest. If you have a lot of debt you’re looking to transfer, you’d be better off picking a balance transfer card that waives fees and offers a promotional 0% balance transfer APR. Similarly, if you want to make a big purchase without paying interest for six or more months, there are other cards you should look at. 
  • 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. 
  • 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.

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. 

Redeeming Rewards

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

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 

Customer Experience

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. 

Security Features

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.

For Navy Federal GO REWARDS®

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Navy Federal GO REWARDS®
overall rating
4.2
Recommended Credit Score Our recommended ranges are based off of the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model. Credit score is one of the many factors lenders review in considering your application.
350 579
580 669
670 739
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800 850
Fair - Excellent
Regular APR (%) 10.99% - 18% variable
Annual Fee No Annual Fee
Rewards Earning Rate Earn 3X points at restaurants, 2X points on gas, and 1X point on everything else.
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Our Methodology

  • At The Balance, we are dedicated to giving you unbiased, comprehensive credit card reviews. To do this, we collect data on hundreds of cards and score more than 55 features that affect your finances.
  • Our Reviews Are Always Impartial: No one can influence which cards we review, the way we present them to you, or the ratings they receive. The scores and reviews come directly from the data we collect and our editorial expertise, and we focus on three areas:
  • How Much Does It Cost? With credit card debt at an all-time high, we believe you should know the cost of carrying a balance. Because of that, we give regular purchase APRs significant weight in overall scores, and cards receive low marks if they have an array of pricey fees.
  • What Are the Rewards Worth? Cards accumulate rewards in different currencies—points, miles, cash back—and their values vary widely. To simplify the problem, we built a system that fairly compares rewards and gives them a dollar value. We do this by looking at the ways you can earn and use rewards, which includes evaluating Americans’ typical spending habits and analyzing common travel patterns.
  • Does It Make Your Life Easier? Our scoring system favors cards that accept a wide range of credit profiles and offer simple solutions for things like checking your credit score or contacting customer service. Finally, we give preference to credit cards that have several tools for dealing with fraudulent charges.
  • For every review on The Balance, we hold the credit cards to these standards, and we set the bar high. While we recognize the appeal of splashy features like six-digit sign-up bonuses, our approach ensures that credit cards with the best combination of value, affordability, and accessibility receive the highest scores. See our full methodology for more details.