Do you buy gasoline for your car? Me too. Would you like a no-hassle 5% discount on every tank? Then do what I've been doing for the last few years, use the Pentagon Federal Credit Union Platinum Cash Rewards card. These guys just came out with an affiliate advertising program, so as you might imagine, I signed the blog right up. If you get this card using the links on this page, you can help support this site (since I get a commission on it.) I love it when affiliate programs come out for companies and products that I actually use and can recommend wholeheartedly. I've done Ally Bank, USAA, and now PenFed. Maybe someday Vanguard will come out with one.
5% On Gas
I don't use the PenFed card for much besides gas, but for gas, it's awesome – 5% back. You can get 5% with lots of gasoline-branded cards, but you have to have one for each brand, which is a pain, or you can only do it for 3 months of the year, which is gimmicky. This one can be used at any gas station and you still get your 5% back. There are no caps, tiers, or limits on that 5%. The rewards aren't much for other purchases (0.25%) so you'll need another card if you want to maximize your credit card rewards.
My favorite part about this card is the no hassle cash reward redemption. It just gets applied to your credit card each month. You buy $500 in gas this month? There's a credit on the statement for $25. No muss, no fuss. No logging in to check your rewards, waiting for cards or merchandise to ship to you, or waiting until you accumulate a certain amount ($50 or $200) of rewards before you get them. Just cold hard cash applied to your statement without you having to do anything. It's also a VISA card, so you can pretty much use it anywhere, unlike American Express or Discover.
Setting It Up
I guess there's a tiny bit of hassle. You do have to join Pentagon Federal. That's free if you have any kind of association with the military or another qualifying organization (click on the join now button to see them all). You just have to deposit $5 into a share account and you're a member. If you don't belong to a qualifying organization (and there must be at least 100), you can join Voices for America's Troops as you apply for the card for a one time $15 fee. $20 total, of which you get $5 back if you ever leave PenFed. You can link the card to any bank account and just have the total amount due automatically withdrawn each month. I automate my finances by doing this with all my credit cards.
There is NO annual fee. There are NO foreign transaction fees. If for some reason you ever have to carry a balance on the card, it's a pretty low interest rate- currently 9.99%. There's even a temporary 0% APR on electronics purchases this month, so if you are buying a TV or computer for the holidays, now might even be a better time to join Pen Fed and get the card. But since you don't carry balances (RIGHT!?), that wouldn't do you any good anyway.
Other Cool PenFed Cards
They have some other cool cards too. Their Platinum Rewards Card (not the Platinum Cash Rewards Card) gives you 5% on gas, 3% on supermarkets, and 1% on everything else, but you do you have to deal with the hassles of a rewards program. It might be worth it to you, and you can always redeem it for a pre-paid VISA cards which spend pretty much like cash. I prefer the Fidelity American Express card for everything but gas (2% on everything, but can only be deposited into a Fidelity account,) but I am missing out on some rewards for grocery store spending. There is also the Promise Card, which doesn't have any rewards, but it's no-fees. At all. Even an over the credit limit fee or a late payment fee. Weird, I know, but I guess it's good for people who pay fees all the time. There's also a card just for military members (and vets) called the Defender Card. It's 1.5% cash back on everything and is also no fees like the Promise Card. It's only 6.99% for the first 5 years, then goes to the regular variable rate (currently 9.99%.) 7% ain't bad for a credit card; it's better than a lot of student loans out there. The Travel Rewards Card is similar to the Platinum Rewards Card, but it's 5% back on airfare and 1% back on everything else.
Downsides of Using Pen Fed For Gas
You have to buy the gas at a gas station and you have to pay at the pump. You can't use a VISA at Costco, and you may not get 5% back on supermarket gas. It has to be “Visa Merchant Category Codes 5542”. If you go inside and pay, that's 5541, and doesn't count. I understand many supermarket gas stations including Safeway, Smith's, King Sooper, and Sam's Club do use code 5542, but you might want to check your first statement just to check.
Other Benefits of Pen Fed Membership
PenFed is also pretty well-known for good CD rates (particularly in January for some reason), decent mortgages, and good home equity loans. Your $5 membership may turn out to be worth more than you think.
Are you buying gas and not getting 5% back on it? Got room for another rewards card in your quiver? I suggest you get the Pentagon Federal Platinum Cash Rewards Card for a no-hassle 5% discount on all your gasoline.
What do you use for gas? Do you use this card? Comment below!