PenFed Platinum Cash Back Rewards Card Review

If you’re looking to earn rewards on gas and groceries, applying for the PenFed Platinum Cash Back Rewards Card can be a great option. This card is one of few that provides the best rewards benefits for this particular category.

However, potential cardholders must first be aware that there are distinct hurdles to cross to become eligible members. There are also noticeable downsides regarding inconsistent rewards point values and limited redemption options.

If you’d like to make an informed decision about whether this card is right for you, then this PenFed Platinum Cash Back Rewards Card review can help. Take a look below for helpful information regarding the specifications, benefits, and disadvantages of this card.

PenFed Platinum Cash Back Rewards Card Review: Benefits

The PenFed Platinum Cash Back Rewards Card has several significant benefits for cardholders. These benefits allow cardholders to take advantage of:

  • Receive 3x points on groceries and 5x points on gas purchases. There isn’t any limit on the rewards you can receive, which is surprisingly great for a card without an annual fee for members.
  • Rewards points can be redeemed for a variety of purposes, such as charitable donations, gift cards, merchandise, and travel.
  • Travel redemptions don’t come with any blackout dates.
  • There aren’t any foreign transaction fees. This card can be used anywhere across the world without any extra cost.
  • For the first year of enrollment, cardholders pay a 0% APR on balance transfers. This rate will increase to 11.74% to 17.99% Variable after the first year.

PenFed Platinum Cash Back Rewards Card: Drawbacks

Every card isn’t perfect, and the PenFed Platinum Cash Back Rewards card is no exception. Before you commit to applying, you should consider these critical disadvantages first:

  • Rewards points are often worth less than 1 cent. This can make the effort of acquiring rewards points frankly not worth it.
  • This card does not provide a statement credit redemption option.
  • Rewards points can only be redeemed through the PenFed Credit Union, creating limited options to cash in on your points.
  • Your points will expire after five years, so this card isn’t ideal to cardholders who won’t aggressively pursue them.
  • Travel bookings will cost you. You will pay $25 to book by phone and $15 to book online.
  • The sign-up bonus is quite underwhelming and doesn’t provide a high return on what you’re going to spend.
  • You must have a membership account with the PenFed Credit Union. Though, you can open this account with just a $5 deposit.

How to Get the Most Out of the PenFed Platinum Cash Back Rewards Card

If you don’t have a plan, redeeming your rewards points can be a hassle. If you are considering enrolling, here are some effective methods to get the most out of the PenFed Platinum Cash Back Rewards Card:

  • Buy gas and groceries: To increase your point balance in a hurry, only use this card for gas and grocery purchases.
  • Take advantage of the intro bonus: If you spend at least $1,500 in the first 90 days, you’ll receive an $150 credit.
  • Redeem points for merchandise and gift cards: It may seem a bit tempting to cash in your rewards points for travel purchases. However, the booking fees associated with travel purchases along with the low point values make it more beneficial to redeem merchandise and gift cards instead.
  • Only transfer a balance if necessary: If you do apply for this card, you should pay off any existing debt with the introductory balance transfer offer.

Earning Rewards with The PenFed Platinum Cash Back Rewards Card

To make up for the rewards points’ underwhelming cash value, the PenFed Platinum Cash Back Rewards Card has high reward rates. Cardholders can earn up to 5x rewards points per $1 spent on gas, groceries, and everyday purchases.

With an individual point value of 0.85 cents, you can receive approximately 4.25% in Cash Back every day.

Here is a recap on how you can earn rewards points with the PenFed Platinum Cash Back Rewards Card:

Spending Rewards:

Gas Purchases (At the Pump)

5x points per $1 spent


3x points per $1 spent

All Other Purchases

1x points per $1 spent

Again, there is also an introduction bonus offer of $150 if you spend at least $1,500 in 90 days. Admittedly, the value of each point you earn is very low compared to other similar cards.

Nonetheless, the high rewards rate of this card can offset the imbalance of the low point values. You should be able to acquire rewards points very easily, considering that gas and groceries are common purchases.

With that said, enrolling for this card is probably not for you if paying for groceries and gas isn’t an issue for your finances. A great perk this card offers is that there is no spending limit on gas and grocery purchases.

Redeeming Rewards with The PenFed Platinum Cash Back Rewards Card

The process of redeeming rewards points with this card is where there is also a major disadvantage. Other similar cards offer redemption offers for a wide variety of different purchases.

This card, however, only allows redemptions for charitable donations, merchandise, gift cards, and travel. There is also no way you can transfer your rewards points to other loyalty programs, and it’s impossible to view your redemption options unless you have a PenFed credit card.

One of the only ways you can truly redeem these points is by signing up for PenFed’s monthly newsletter, which provides more insight into promotions the company offers for travel, gift cards, and merchandise.

PenFed Platinum Cash Back Rewards Card Review: The Verdict

The PenFed Platinum Cash Back Rewards Card is a great rewards credit card that expectedly has a few marginal flaws. If you enroll for this card with the sole purpose of making consistent gas and grocery purchases, then you’ll earn amazing rewards at a high rate.

If you want to make other purchases, then this rewards credit card is not the right one for you. With no annual fee, it’s simple for cardholders to achieve a high return if they plan on making regular gas and grocery purchases throughout the week.



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