Anyone who spends a fair amount of money on food and transportation should be able to get a lot of value out of this unusually generous everyday spending card. However, families with long commutes and a lot of mouths to feed will likely get the most value out of the More Rewards American Express card—especially since, unlike many no-annual-fee cards, it doesn’t cap rewards on groceries and other bonus categories.
Public transit riders will also appreciate the More Rewards card: It’s rare to find a card that offers such big rewards on public transportation purchases.
Unlike most competitors, the More Rewards American Express card isn’t just for people with excellent credit, either. It’s open to a wide range of potential borrowers, including consumers with average credit.
Great rewards at supermarkets, restaurants, and gas stations
Flexible transportation rewards
Low ongoing interest rate and few fees
Available to consumers with “average” credit
Credit union membership required
No points transfer to travel partners
- Great rewards at supermarkets, restaurants, and gas stations: The More Rewards card is unique in that it offers a high rewards earning rate on all three of the most common everyday spending categories (plus 1 point for every $1 on everything else). And there’s no cap on earnings in those categories.
- Flexible transportation rewards: Whether you ride to work on a subway, or bus or a ferry, or drive on a tollway, you’ll earn 3 points per $1 spent on your commute and weekend travels, no matter how you get around. Public parking, taxis, and limousines are included, too. These expansive transportation rewards are unusual for a low-cost everyday reward card.
- Low ongoing interest rate and few fees: For such a high-value card, you’d expect to see a higher interest rate or bigger fees to help pay the cost of maintaining the rewards program. But the APR is well below average for a rewards card. The card also waives most fees, including balance transfer, cash advance, and foreign transaction fees.
- Available to consumers with “average” credit: The More Rewards card is one of the only competitive rewards cards available that accepts cardholders with average credit. Since this is a credit union card, you also won’t have to worry about getting stuck with a huge penalty interest rate if you make a mistake.
Credit union interest rates, including those for credit cards, are capped by federal government credit union regulators. The current cap is 18% through March 2020, when regulators will set a new cap (or extend the current one).
- Credit union membership required: To apply for this card, you need to be connected to the military or to the Department of Defense (for example, as an active duty service member, retiree, veteran, a family member of one of those, or a civilian employee of the DOD).
- No points transfer to travel partners: You can often boost the travel value of a credit card rewards point by transferring it to an airline or hotel rewards program. But unlike some card issuers, Navy Federal Credit Union doesn’t have any transfer partners.
Earning Points & Rewards
The More Rewards card offers a generous 3 points for every dollar you spend on groceries, gas, transportation, and dining. You earn 1 point per dollar spent on everything else.
If you regularly spend $500 a month on groceries, $200 a month on gas, and $200 on dining, you’ll easily earn more than $300 worth of rewards annually—just from your everyday spending. If you have a big budget and spend a lot on fine dining, you could earn even more. For example, if you spend $1,000 a month on dining, you’ll earn $360 worth of rewards every year just from your restaurant purchases. That’s a total of $660—an unusual amount of value for a no-annual-fee credit card.
Points are unlimited, so you won’t have to worry about reaching a cap that limits your earnings potential. Your rewards also won’t expire, so you won’t have to rush to spend them.
You can use your points to rent a car, book a plane ticket, or hotel room through Navy Federal’s portal. Or you can use them to purchase event tickets, book reservations for a tour, attraction, a cruise, or a vacation package with a telephone call. In addition, Navy Federal allows you to redeem your points for merchandise or gift cards or use them to pay for specific transactions. If you prefer more flexibility, you can simply redeem your points for cash. You don’t have to go through Navy Federal’s rewards portal to redeem your points for travel, either: You can book your trip yourself and request a statement credit later.
Even though this card is an American Express card, the points you earn are not American Express Membership Rewards points. You will use Navy Federal’s rewards portal online to track and redeem your More Rewards points.
For travel, cash back, and statement credits, your points will be worth 1 cent each. However, the value of your points may vary if you redeem them for gift cards or merchandise through Navy Federal’s portal.
How to Get the Most Out of This Card
If you’re carrying a balance on credit cards accruing interest, consider transferring them to this card. Not only will you not be charged a balance transfer fee, but if you shift the balance within 30 days of opening the account, you’ll get an introductory APR of 1.99% for 12 months. (You’ll also have an introductory APR of 1.99% on new purchases for 12 months.)
While this isn’t as good as a 0% APR offer, the impressive ongoing APR after the 12 months may still be worthwhile, depending on how much time you need to pay off your bills. (And you'll be hard-pressed to find a 0% APR offer with no fee.)
Regarding rewards, try to stick to grocery stores when you’re stocking up on home supplies—even if you’re just purchasing toiletries or cleaning supplies. That way you’ll receive the 3-point earnings rate. If you pick up toothpaste at a drugstore or buy groceries at a big box store or wholesale club, you'll only get 1 point per $1 because the merchant’s category code isn’t tagged as a supermarket. Similarly, you may not earn the gas rewards rate if you fill up at a warehouse club, or the restaurant rewards rate if you dine at a hotel or casino.
When it’s time to redeem your points, use them for travel or cash back to extract the most value (1 cent per point), and avoid merchandise or gift cards that may be worth less.
The More 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 More Rewards card offers the ability to instantly freeze your account if you misplace your card and other standard security features such as zero liability for fraudulent charges and fraud alerts.
The More Rewards Card’s Fees
The More Rewards card’s fees are low for a credit card—even the $20 late payment fee is low relative to other cards. It also waives many common credit card fees including foreign transaction fees, balance transfer fees, and cash advance fees (except when at cash is retrieved from a non-Navy Federal ATM, in which case there is a charge of 50 cents to $1.)