USAA Rewards Visa Signature Card Review

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If you’re a USAA member or eligible for membership, you might be tempted by the USAA Rewards Visa Signature Card if you’re looking to earn rewards on your everyday purchases. And indeed—you can redeem your rewards points for a wide range of items, from gift cards to statement credits. Unfortunately, this card doesn’t earn points as rapidly as some other rewards cards do.

USAA Rewards™ Visa Signature® Card

overall rating
3.6
USAA Rewards™ Visa Signature® Card
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 (%) 11.4% - 27.4% variable
Annual Fee $0
Rewards Earning Rate Get 2X points on dining and gas, and 1X points for every dollar spent on other purchases.
Foreign transaction fee (%) 0%
Ratings Breakdown
for Interest
1.8
for Fees
4.4
for Rewards
3.8
for Credit
4.0

2,500 bonus points after your first purchase

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 Deal Seeker Persona
    Diligently searches for the best products and delights in a good bargain
    Deal Seeker
  • 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

In truth, the number of people we’d recommend this card to is limited. You’ll need to be associated with the military in some way, and a member of USAA, to apply for this card. You will also need to have a good to excellent credit score. Once over those hurdles, this card might be good for you if you’d like to earn rewards on your spending, but you’re not too serious about playing the rewards card game in order to get the most points possible. 

That’s because this card doesn’t offer as high of a rewards earning rate as many other rewards cards, including even other similar cards from USAA. For example, this card offers fewer points than the USAA Rewards American Express Card. However, it is a Visa card, so that may be more useful to you if you’re stationed somewhere where American Express isn’t widely accepted.

Pros

  • Potentially low interest rate

  • Wide range of rewards options

Cons

  • Unspecified points value

  • Slow rewards earning rate

  • Membership limitations

Pros Explained

  • Potential low interest rate: You may be able to qualify for an exceptionally low interest rate. And if you run up some debt prior to active duty, you could qualify for an interest rate on that debt as low as 4% by contacting USAA. That’s 2% lower than is required by law. 
  • Wide range of rewards options: Redeem your points for cash back, merchandise, gift cards, air travel tickets, cruise tickets, or charity donations—your choice. 

Cons Explained

  • Unspecified points value: USAA doesn’t specify how many points it takes to get any of its rewards. You may qualify for many rewards, or it may take a frustrating amount of points to get anything—there’s no way to know beforehand without signing up for the card.  
  • Slow rewards earning rate: Every purchase will earn at least 1 point per $1 spent, but only gas station purchases and restaurant purchases earn more than that—and only 2 points per $1 spent. That’s less than many of this card’s competitors.  
  • Membership limitations: Only current or former military members and their spouses and adult children are eligible to apply for this card. 

USAA Rewards Visa Signature Card’s Sign-Up Bonus

USAA makes it super easy to earn this sign-up bonus. After your first purchase, you’ll automatically earn 2,500 bonus points. There are no rules about how much you have to spend or when you have to spend it by in order to earn these points. Few other rewards cards offer such an easy-to-earn sign-up bonus. 

Earning Points & Rewards

You won’t have to worry about navigating a complex rewards earning structure with the USAA Rewards Visa Signature Card. Every dollar you spend will earn at least 1 point, and if you spend money at a gas station or a restaurant, you’ll earn 2 points per dollar. There are no expiration dates or points limits to worry about, and if you close the card, you’ll get an additional 90 days to spend any of your remaining points.

Only purchases made at stores that function primarily as gas stations or restaurants will count towards earning more points. That’s because of the way Visa classifies merchants. For example, many gardening stores have cafes located inside, but because it’s classified as a gardening store, you might not earn the extra points for a “dining out” purchase.

Redeeming Rewards

Redeeming your points, on the other hand, isn’t so straightforward. The good news is, you get a lot of choices for how to use your points, including:

  • Gift cards
  • Merchandise
  • Cruise tickets
  • Airplane tickets
  • Charity donations
  • Cash back (as a statement credit or deposited into your USAA bank account)

You can redeem your points for any of these rewards by logging into your USAA account or by calling USAA’s Rewards Service Center. 

You can only redeem your points for cruises by telephone—and not via the website.  

The catch here is that you won’t know how many points it takes to buy a particular reward until you log into your USAA account. Thus, your points may be worth a great deal, or they could be mostly useless toward earning the rewards you want. There’s no way to tell in advance, which makes applying for this card a bit of a gamble.  

How to Get the Most Out of This Card

There really isn’t any way to maximize your rewards with this card beyond using it especially for gas station and restaurant purchases. If you do want to earn the most points possible, consider pairing this with another card that offers higher earnings rates in other areas where you spend a lot of money, such as at grocery stores or on travel purchases. Better yet, consider another rewards card entirely that offers a higher earnings rate and a more transparent rewards program.

With this card you won’t be charged a cash advance fee as long as the funds are deposited into a USAA account. While it’s never wise to carry a balance on a credit card, this feature could help if you need cash in an emergency.

USAA Rewards Visa Signature Card’s Excellent Perks

USAA does offer a few good travel perks with its credit cards that the editors of The Balance consider “excellent.” To qualify for these benefits, you’ll need to have purchased your trip with your USAA Rewards Visa Signature Card. 

  • Insurance coverage for delayed luggage: If your baggage is delayed, USAA may reimburse you up to $100 per day (three days max) for things like clothing or toiletry purchases. 
  • Insurance coverage for travel interruptions and cancellations: You may be able to get up to $1,500 back if your trip is cancelled or interrupted due to events out of your control such as an illness or a weather delay.
  • Travel accident insurance: If you’re seriously injured or die while in transit, you or your loved ones could receive up to $500,000 compensation. 

USAA Rewards Visa Signature Card’s Other Features

  • Extended warranties
  • Rental car collision insurance (secondary to your own policy)
  • Travel and emergency hotline
  • Concierge for booking events, travel, and other services

Customer Experience

Year after year USAA earns plaudits in J.D. Power’s Credit Card Satisfaction Study. Since it’s only open to military members, USAA caters to its members’ unique needs with special services like rate reductions when deployed or military-specific financial advice. 

USAA also offers a convenient mobile app that allows you to manage your finances from just about any place the military might send you. 

Security Features

USAA doesn’t offer some of the fancier features of other credit card issuers, such as free credit report alerts or Social Security number monitoring. USAA does offer identity theft restoration assistance and insurance to cover up to $1,000 of related expenses. Otherwise, USAA has all of the basic security protocols in place to keep your information and your money safe, including zero liability for fraudulent purchases

USAA Rewards Visa Signature Card’s Fees

USAA is a relatively fee-friendly card for military personnel and their families. It doesn’t charge any foreign transaction fees and even waives the cash advance fee if you have the money deposited into your USAA checking or savings account.

For USAA Rewards™ Visa Signature® Card
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CURRENT CARD
USAA Rewards™ Visa Signature® Card
overall rating
3.6
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 (%) 11.4% - 27.4% variable
Annual Fee $0
Rewards Earning Rate Get 2X points on dining and gas, and 1X points for every dollar spent on other purchases.

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. J.D Power. "2019 Credit Card Satisfaction Study." Accessed Jan. 10, 2020.