Navy Federal Visa Signature Flagship Rewards Card Review

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The Navy Federal Visa Signature Flagship Rewards Card is a standout option for military families looking for a low-cost travel card with generous rewards.

Navy Federal Visa Signature® Flagship Rewards

Overall Rating
3.5
Navy Federal Visa Signature® Flagship 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
Good - Excellent
Regular APR (%) 9.99% - 18% variable
Annual Fee $49
Rewards Earning Rate Earn 3X points on travel and 2X points on everything else.
Foreign transaction fee (%) 0%
Ratings Breakdown
for Interest
2.1
for Fees
3.1
for Rewards
2.9
for Credit
3.7

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 See more cards
    Jet Setter
  • Avatar for Deal Seeker Persona
    Diligently searches for the best products and delights in a good bargain See more cards
    Deal Seeker
  • Avatar for Road Warrior Persona
    Hits the road often, whether for work or play See more cards
    Road Warrior
  • Avatar for Adventure Seeker Persona
    Loves to explore places and experience new things See more cards
    Adventure Seeker

The Navy Federal Visa Signature Flagship Rewards Card is a great choice for military families who travel frequently. The rewards rate of 3 points per $1 spent on travel expenses is impressive for a card with such a reasonable annual fee. Also, you’ll have flexibility in how you use your points, whether it be for more travel, cash, or other options.

Just keep in mind you have to be a Navy Federal member to get the card, and Navy Federal limits its membership to those affiliated with the military or Department of Defense.

Pros
  • Big rewards on travel purchases

  • Minimal fees

  • Low ongoing APR

  • Fee reimbursement for TSA PreCheck or Global Entry

Cons
  • Must have ties to the military or Defense Department

  • No bonus for new cardholders

Pros Explained

  • Big rewards on travel purchases: Earning 3 points per $1 of travel purchases is very competitive, especially relative to the annual fee. Even the baseline rewards rate of 2 points per $1 is as good or better than similar travel cards offered to both military and non-military.
  • Minimal fees: Not only is the annual fee lower than almost every other rewards cards with triple travel points, but this card doesn’t charge anything for balance transfers or foreign transactions and has a modest late fee. 
  • Low ongoing APR: If you have to carry a balance from month to month, this credit card is a keeper even after the introductory interest rate period expires. The most creditworthy customers may get an ongoing APR as low as 9.99%, which is more than six percent below the industry average, and even the highest rate is still below average at 18%. 
  • Fee reimbursement for expedited airport clearance programs: When you use your card to pay the application fee on either the Global Entry or TSA Precheck programs, you’ll be reimbursed for the fee (up to $100, once every four years). Some cards with similar or higher annual fees don’t have this perk.

Cons Explained

  • Must have ties to the military or Defense Department: You won’t be able to get this card without being a member of the Navy Federal Credit Union, and membership requires you or someone in your family or household to have served in the U.S. Armed Forces, National Guard, or Department of Defense.
  • No bonus for new cardholders: Navy Federal previously offered a 50,000-point bonus to new cardholders who met a minimum spending requirement.

Earning Rewards and Points

With the Navy Federal Visa Signature Flagship Rewards Card, you’ll earn 3 points for every $1 you spend on travel purchases and 2 points for every $1 on everything else. There’s no limit to the amount of rewards you can earn and they don’t expire as long as your account is open.

These rewards rates are quite competitive and put this card squarely in the mix with flexible travel cards offered by some of the biggest U.S. issuers, including Chase and Capital One.

There may be times when travel purchases only earn 2 points per $1. These include when the merchant code isn’t categorized for travel, when the merchant uses a mobile or wireless card reader, and when the purchase is made with an electronic wallet or through a third-party like PayPal.

Redeeming Rewards

You can redeem your points by logging into your online account or by calling the toll-free redemption center number. There are a number of ways to use them, including for cash back or to book airfare and hotel stays. You can:

  • Purchase tickets for major airline carriers. For example, since points are worth a penny each, 50,000 points would equal $500 in airfare purchases. (Redemptions start at 100 points.) 
  • Book stays at more than 325,000 hotels (must be booked through the card’s rewards service center.)
  • Redeem between 5,000 and 150,000 points for a cash deposit of $50 to $1,500, made directly into your Navy Federal savings account (minimum 1,000 points needed to redeem.)
  • Get a statement credit for up to three transactions that have posted to your account in the past 90 days using the Pay with Points feature. (Transactions must total at least $50.)
  • Redeem 4,900 points to get a statement credit for the $49 annual fee.

Other redemption options include:

  • Merchandise
  • Gift cards
  • Car rentals
  • Cruises
  • Vacation packages
  • Event tickets
  • Tours and attractions

Points used for car rentals will be forfeited if you cancel your reservation inside of 72 hours.

How to Get the Most Out of This Card

Maximize your rewards by using the Navy Federal Visa Signature Flagship Rewards Card not just for travel, but for all your purchases. Most credit cards only pay 1 point per $1 for any spending beyond the bonus categories; this one pays double that. 

The best way to redeem your rewards is either for cash or to book an airline ticket, with each point being worth one cent. Other options might be higher or lower, so you’ll want to pull out a calculator and run the numbers if any of the other choices pique your interest. But, in general, aim for 1 cent per point or better.

To earn enough cash value from your rewards to offset the card’s $49 annual fee, you need to charge $2,450 to your card each year (or spend $1,634 on travel expenses). Considering that the average American family spends more than $4,000 per year on just utilities, that should be a pretty easy feat for many people. 

If you don’t travel much, you may want to consider instead the Navy Federal More Rewards American Express Card, which pays triple points on gas, groceries, dining and commuting, and doesn’t charge an annual fee. (The base rate on that card is just 1 point per $1, however.)

Keep in mind, too, that there’s no foreign transaction fee on international purchases, making this card a good fit for purchases you make when deployed overseas or traveling internationally. And make sure to apply for Global Entry or TSA Precheck since Navy Federal will reimburse your application fee. It’s always a plus to get through airport checkpoints more quickly and smoothly. 

Excellent Perks

Travel credit cards tend to have a bunch of perks, but there are some The Balance editors have determined have exceptional value. These are the ones on this card that make the cut: 

  • Global Entry/TSA Precheck application fee reimbursement: Choose one program to enroll in and you’ll receive one statement credit every four years after the application fee posts to your account. You’ll receive a $100 credit for Global Entry or a $85 credit for TSA Precheck six to eight weeks after you make the purchase.
  • Insurance coverage for lost luggage: If your checked or carry-on luggage is lost or stolen while traveling on a trip paid for with your card, you’re covered for up to $3,000. 
  • Travel accident insurance: You and your dependents are covered for bodily injury if there’s an accident while you’re traveling during a trip paid for with the card. The benefit is as much as $250,000.
  • Cellphone coverage. Pay your cellphone bill with your credit card and you can ditch insurance coverage from your cellphone service provider. If your phone is damaged or stolen, you’re covered for up to $250 each occurrence and $500 per year, with a $50 deductible.

Cellphone coverage doesn’t include phones that are lost, that “mysteriously disappear,” or are stolen from luggage not hand-carried.

Other Features

  • Rental car collision insurance (secondary to your own policy)
  • Insurance for stolen or damaged purchases
  • Extended warranties
  • Travel and emergency hotline
  • Roadside assistance hotline

Customer Experience

Navy Federal Credit Union got the highest overall score of any credit card issuer in J.D. Power’s 2019 Credit Card Satisfaction Study. It scored higher than all other regional banks on separate points of consideration too: benefits and services, rewards program, and how the credit union handles “high-stress” situations like fraud resolution and disputes.

The Navy Federal mobile app allows you to manage all the accounts you have with the credit union or apply to be a member and get an account. What’s more, cardholders get 24/7 access to U.S.-based customer service representatives online, over the phone, or at a branch. This feature is beneficial for service members who are deployed overseas.

You’ll also get complimentary access to your FICO score, the score most used by lenders.

Security Features

In addition to industry-standard security features like fraud monitoring, you can freeze and unfreeze your card instantly with the mobile app to protect against unauthorized use if you’ve misplaced your card.

Fees

Navy Federal generally stands out for its very reasonable fees, and this card is no exception. You will pay a $49 annual fee, but you’ll have the unusual advantage of not being charged a balance transfer fee. There is also no foreign transaction fee on the card, and it has a relatively low late fee and penalty rate. ATM cash advances at a Navy Federal ATM do not carry a fee, but even cash advances from out-of-network ATMs are only $0.50 to $1.

Next Steps
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CURRENT CARD
Navy Federal Visa Signature® Flagship Rewards
overall rating
3.5
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
Good - Excellent
Regular APR (%) 9.99% - 18% variable
Annual Fee $49
Rewards Earning Rate Earn 3X points on travel and 2X points on everything else.
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.

Article Sources

The Balance requires writers to use primary sources to support their work. These include white papers, government data, original reporting, and interviews with industry experts. We also reference original research from other reputable publishers where appropriate. You can learn more about the standards we follow in producing accurate, unbiased content in our editorial policy .
  1. Navy Federal. "Visa Signature Flagship Rewards Credit Card." Accessed July 28, 2020.

  2. Navy Federal Credit Union. "Am I Eligible For Membership?" Accessed July 28, 2020.

  3. Navy Federal. "Navy Federal's Visa Signature Flagship Rewards card Program Description." Accessed July 28, 2020.

  4. Navy Federal. "Navy Federal's Visa Signature Flagship Rewards Card Program Description." Accessed July 28, 2020.

  5. Navy Federal. "Visa Signature Rewards Benefit Guide." Accessed July 28, 2020.

  6. Navy Federal. "Your Guide to Card Benefit for All Visa Consumer Credit Cardholders." Page 1. Accessed July 28, 2020.

  7. J.D. Power. "Navy Federal Credit Union." Accessed July 28, 2020.

  8. Navy Federal. "Navy Federal Credit Union Credit Card Application Disclosure." Accessed July 28, 2020.