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2018's Top 9 Credit Cards for Military Members & Perks That Come With Them

Getting more perks from your military service got a lot easier, thanks to these highly rated credit cards for military members.

When you join the Navy, or decide to join any other part of the US Armed Forces, it's safe to say that you will have a lot of perks coming your way. Even if you're not getting paid like a Navy SEAL, you'll still have tons of respect, lodging vouchers, healthcare, and more headed your way. 

Most of the time, the free healthcare and ample amounts of women who are interested in the military wife life would make most recruits pretty happy. However, we're not going to lie—military life is rough as can be and you might as well get all the perks you're entitled to. 

Believe it or not, the credit card company world has taken notice and has created a number of credit cards for military members to enjoy. The following ones are regarded as the best in their class, and offer ample perks for the right member. 

PenFed Promise Visa® Card

One of the most commonly used credit cards for military members is the PenFed Promise Visa Card, and it's easy to see why. This card is known for being extremely low-fee, holding a low-interest rate, and being very understanding when it comes to the craziness that comes with military life.

One reason we're loving this credit union card is the fact that it's not exclusively for people in the 700+ FICO range. It works for just about every type of person out there.

  • Typical APR: 10% to 17%
  • Rewards Program: None
  • Best Perk: Low-interest rates, not exclusive to very high FICO scores

USAA Cashback Rewards Plus American Express® Card

It's hard not to sound like you're bragging when you say that you have an AmEx card in your wallet, but hey, they make some really great credit cards for military members. Like you'd expect from a USAA American Express card, the perks that come with the card are impeccable. 

Card holders get to enjoy up to 5% cash back on purchases made on military base, with an additional 2% cash back on groceries and 1% back on all other purchases. 

That's not all this card offers, either. A 4% special deployment APR and no foreign transaction fees make this a must-have for those who end up going abroad. 

  • Typical APR: 13.15% to 27.15% when at home, 4% while deployed or on PCS
  • Rewards Program: Up to 5% cash back on all transactions, with a minimum of 1% cash back 
  • Best Perk: 4% deployment rates and excellent on-base cash back

Navy Federal Credit Union Platinum Mastercard®

If you've joined the Navy, then you already are a member of the Navy Federal Credit Union. This union, as you can guess, is all about offering quality credit cards for military members that work in the Navy.

Their Platinum Mastercard is currently the gem of the bunch, at least for budget-conscious service members. What makes this card so great are the nearly zero fees and the jaw-droppingly low APR.

In terms of perks, it's spartan. But cost-wise? You really can't beat it.

  • Typical APR: 7.24% - 18.0%
  • Rewards Program: None
  • Best Perk: No balance transfer fees, no annual fees, no foreign transaction fees, exceptionally low-interest rates

Capital One® QuicksilverOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card

Though a lot of the most highly regarded credit cards for military members come from specialized unions, not all do. Civilians will recognize the Capital One brand right off the bat. 

Their QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Credit Card has a great perk for service members: extended SCRA benefits for family members. SCRA benefits are legally-mandated limits on how much interest card companies can charge military members while deployed. This perk means military wives get to save on bills while you're away. 

Getting credit limit increases is a cinch with this card. Additionally, card holders get to enjoy 1.5% cash back on all the purchases they make alongside great security measures. 

  • Typical APR: 14.49% - 24.49%
  • Rewards Program: 1.5% cash back on all purchases
  • Best Perk: Extended SCRA benefits for family members

PenFed Platinum Rewards Visa Signature® Card

Did we mention that we really love the PenFed credit union cards? PenFed's reward credit cards for military members are sterling choices. If you aren't too into having a basic credit card, the PenFed Platinum Rewards Visa Signature® Card is about as good as it gets.

No annual fee, no foreign transaction fees, and a 0% introductory APR make this a great card to have in your wallet on a finance level. Up to 5 times reward points at the gas pump and groceries, though, make this perfect for military families on the go.

Sound bougie yet? It gets better. This card comes with complimentary concierge service.

  • Typical APR: 10.99% to 17.99%
  • Rewards Program: Up to 5 times your reward points at the gas and grocery stores, with 1 reward point per dollar spent everywhere else. Points are redeemable for gift cards, travel, and more
  • Best Perk: Complimentary concierge service

American Express Platinum Card

The American Express Platinum Card is one of the best credit cards for military members and civilians alike—if you have the income and credit score to get it, anyway. Though the card might be pricey with its $550 annual fee, it offers a lot of perks to service members and civilians alike. 

A wild rewards program that includes 75,000 bonus points if you spend $5,000 on the card in the first couple of months says it all. AmEx is a good choice for veterans who want a little luxury in life. $200 in Uber coupons and excellent travel perks make it a great choice for military members who tend to globetrot. 

A private concierge, cell phone protection, and warranty extension make this a great option for the well-off vet. That being said, you usually will need an income of at least $700,000 per year to qualify. This will probably be a bit too pricey for most, if only for that reason alone. 

  • Typical APR: None. Balances need to be paid off every month 
  • Rewards Program: Up to 5 times bonus points at selected retailers, excellent shopping rewards, and enviable introductory bonuses. 
  • Best Perk: It's hard to choose, but we'll go with the rewards program 

Navy Federal Credit Union New Flagship Rewards Card

Navy Federal Credit Union does it again, with one of the best credit cards for military members who have a penchant for good rewards programs without high prices. Discounts at hotels and restaurants around the world, plus two times the rewards points based on purchases make this a solid card.

Travelers who do a lot of driving, in particular, will find this card to be a good one to have. The 24/7 Roadside Assistance they offer, for example, couldn't be better.

  • Typical APR: 11.24% - 18.0%
  • Rewards Program: Two times bonus points redeemable in a variety of ways, extra introductory bonus points offers
  • Best Perk: 24/7 Roadside Assistance and hotel discounts 

USAA Secured Visa Platinum Card

Though we all know how much responsibility it is to be a service member, the truth is that bad things can happen to good people. That's why there are specialized credit cards for military members and family who want to improve their credit. 

Right now, the USAA Secured Visa Platinum Card is one of the best in its category. It's a secured credit card, which means that you will need to load it up in advance. It is used to help everyone, (millennial or not) build credit, and reasonable APRs make it a good choice for members who have low credit. 

Most secured credit cards are pretty terrible, but not this one. No foreign transaction fees, rental car insurance assistance, and low deployment APRs make this an exception in a sea of terrible secured cards.

You can extend the limit up to $5,000. Not too bad! 

  • Typical APR: 11.15% to 21.15%, 4% APR when deployed
  • Rewards Program: None
  • Best Perk: Credit rebuilding, rental car insurance, warranty extension, and no foreign transaction fees are tied

PenFed Pathfinder Rewards American Express® Card

Last but not least is the PenFed Pathfinder Rewards American Express® Card—one of the few credit cards for military service members that blends AmEx-style rewards with PenFed-style rates.

Like standard AmEx cards, you get three to four times rewards points on tons of different purchases with a 1.5 point reward minimum per dollar spent. Unlike most AmEx cards, this credit card has no annual fee and a surprisingly low APR.

  • Typical APR: 11.99% to 17.99%
  • Rewards Program: Up to four times rewards points at travel locations and restaurants, with a minimum of 1.5 points given per dollar spent
  • Best Perk: The rewards program is amazing 
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