PenFed Pathfinder Rewards Visa Signature Card 2021 Review


Want to know how to take amazing vacations and not pay full price?

The secret is using credit card rewards to pay for some or all of your travel expenses.

This is a growing trend as more credit cards are offering great promotions to new cardmembers.

One of the best travel rewards cards out there is the PenFed Pathfinder® Rewards Visa Signature® Card.

In this post, I’ll show you why this card stands head and shoulders above other travel credit cards out there.

PenFed Pathfinder Rewards Visa Signature Card 2021 Review

My Experience With Discount Travel

beach vacation

I first heard of people using credit card rewards to pay for vacations back in 2011.

It blew my mind hearing how people were flying first class and staying in luxury hotels without paying full price.

Excited to learn more I started to look into it.

And fell into a web of confusion.

This is because back then, there weren’t a lot of credit cards offering travel rewards and the ones that were, dealt only with specific partners.

This meant you could redeem points earned with a certain credit card only for a certain airline loyalty program.

In other words, there were tons of hoops to jump through.

I didn’t want to lose my mind, so I set a simple goal to pay for a portion of our honeymoon.

I set up a plan and ended up succeeding with it.

our honeymoon

We took a 2-week Caribbean vacation to St. Maarten and Anguilla.

Our credit card rewards covered the first-class round trip airline tickets as well as the hotel in Anguilla.

We paid out of pocket for the hotel in St. Maarten.

The reason I am telling you my story is so you can see that discounted or even free travel is possible.

Here is how the PenFed Pathfinder Rewards Visa Signature Card will help you get there.

Benefits Of PenFed Pathfinder Rewards Visa Signature Card

Here is a rundown of the main features of the card.

First, you earn 50,000 bonus points when you spend $3,000 in the first 90 days.

This comes down to $1,000 a month, which should be doable for most people.

In addition to that, you earn 3 points per dollar spent on all travel categories. This jumps to 4 points per dollar if you are a PenFed Honors Advantage Member.

For all non-travel purchases, you earn 1.5 points per dollar spent.

So if you spend $3,000 during the first 3 months on non-travel categories, you end up with 54,500 points.

The benefits of the card don’t end there.

You also get the advantage of the following:

  • $100 annual domestic air statement credit
  • $100 Global Entry or $85 TSA Pre-Check statement credit
  • Complimentary Priority Pass at airport lounges


Nothing in life is perfect, including this credit card.

There are a few drawbacks that you need to be made aware of.

The good news is many other premium credit cards charge hundreds of dollars annually, so $95 is a great deal. The $95 fee can be waived if you’re an Honors Advantage member.

It’s just compared to no annual fee credit cards, it’s a drawback.

The other main drawback is you need to join PenFed credit union if you want this card.

As with the point above, this shouldn’t be a dealbreaker.

Credit unions typically rate higher than traditional banks in terms of customer service, products, and interest rates, so there are added benefits to joining.

To become a member, simply open a savings account with a minimum deposit of $5.

And truth be told, there is a good chance you will see how PenFed is different from your current bank and you will want to switch all your banking over.

Redeeming Your Points

When it comes to redeeming the points you earn, PenFed gives you some options.

First, you can redeem points for gift cards or merchandise.

This can change based on promotions.

This is better than most credit cards as the industry average is 1 point equals 1 cent.

Of course, depending on when you travel, in-season vs off-season, and other factors, you might realize a slightly better or worse conversion rate.

To redeem your points for travel, you login to your PenFed account and click on the ‘Redeem Rewards’ section to make travel plans.

Who Is This Credit Card A Fit For?

dream vacation

This card is a great fit for anyone who enjoys travel.

You not only get a nice sign-up bonus of 50,000 points, but you get 3x points on travel spending and 1.5x points on all other spending.

These points add up and can help you to lower the cost of your vacations.

Final Thoughts

At the end of the day, there are many credit cards that offer travel rewards out there.

If you were to compare all of them, the PenFed Pathfinder Rewards Visa Signature Card would be near the top of the list.

With 3 times the points for travel spending and 1.5 points for all other spending, you can quickly amass points for reduced or free travel.

All that’s left for you to do is decide where you want to go!

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