About Navy Federal Credit Union Visa Signature Flagship Rewards Card
The Navy Federal Credit Union Visa Signature Flagship Rewards Card is a travel rewards credit card that gives its owners rewards points nearly every time they use their card for purchases.
Those rewards points can be redeemed for various rewards through Navy Federal’s online shopping portal, which gives you the ability to use your points to purchase travel, gift cards and more.
The fact that the Flagship Rewards card is a travel rewards card puts it in some pretty esteemed company. Many experts, along with HighYa, hail travel rewards cards as the best kind of card there is for consumers because the rewards are usually pretty amazing.
However, not all travel rewards cards are amazing, which is why we need to take an in-depth look at the Flagship Rewards, a look that will include digging into the card’s:
- Long-term benefits
- Short-term benefits
- Fees and Rates
- Reviews from other sites
- Comparison to other travel cards
We’ll work through each of these topics, using accurate information and simple explanations to help you understand whether or not this is the best travel rewards card for your wallet.
Pro tip: Only members of Navy Federal Credit Union can get this card, and to be a part of that credit union, you have to be active or retired military or a dependent of someone who is active or retired.
The Short-Term Benefits of the Navy Federal Flagship Rewards Card
Most travel rewards cards have a short-term benefit or bonus that the credit-card issuer uses to entice you to sign up.
Those short-term rewards include free nights at a hotel or, in the case of airline rewards cards, free miles/points for the airline’s frequent flyer program.
40,000 Bonus Points
Since the Flagship Rewards card isn’t linked to a particular airline or hotel brand, you get generic “points” you can use to buy things through their site.
If you’re able to spend $3,000 in the first 90 days of owning this card, then Navy Federal will give you 40,000 points, no strings attached.
Those points, like any points you rack up while owning the card, won’t expire unless you close your credit card account or Navy Federal catches you doing something fraudulent with your card.
Pro tip: Your 90-day timer starts the day Navy Federal approves you, not the day you get the card in the mail.
How Do You Redeem Your Points?
As we mentioned earlier, Navy Federal allows you to use your points to buy things through their shopping portal.
To get an idea of what kind of redemption options and rates you could get with your rewards points, we called Navy Federal’s customer service line to get the most up-to-date information possible.
A traditional travel rewards card has a set rate of points value. For example, the usual cash value of 100 points is $1. So, if you redeem 40,000 points, you’ll get $400 in cash back.
Other cards, like the Chase Sapphire Preferred, will let you transfer your points to airline or hotel frequent flier/loyalty programs.
The Flagship Rewards card uses the following conversion rates to calculate points redemption rates for travel purchases, gift cards and statement credits.
- $400 in travel rewards
- $200 Navy Federal Visa cash card
- $200 Amazon gift card
- $300 in cash as a statement credit
Our initial reaction to this points-redemption structure is a lukewarm one. We really like how you get 1:1 value on your travel purchases.
However, you have to redeem at least 10,000 points at a time for travel purchases.
So, if you book a flight for less than a hundred dollars, for example, then you can’t use your points. Same goes for taxi fares, public transportation charges and other travel-related purchases.
We were disappointed by the redemption rate on gift cards, as you’ll only get $0.50 for 100 points.
The cash redemption rate is $0.75 per 100 points, a rate that’s lower than the usual 1:1 redemption you’d get with a cash rewards card.
However, there is a silver lining here. The card’s 1:1 redemption rate on travel makes us view this card as a travel rewards card. Using it any other way wouldn’t be wise, considering the reduced rewards rates.
So, as we move forward, think about this card purely as a travel rewards card.
Pro tip: You can’t transfer your Flagship Rewards points to travel partners.
Long-Term Benefits of the Navy Federal Flagship Rewards Card
Owning a credit card should be a long-term relationship. There are plenty of blogs out there that will encourage you to get a card, use it for the intro bonus and then cancel the card before the next year’s annual fee kicks in.
Our biggest complaint with this method is that it’s not a sound strategy for building and maintaining good credit scores and habits.
Your credit scores will constantly be in flux because hard credit checks are dropping your score every time you get a new card, and the average age of your credit decreases each time you get a new card.
In lenders’ eyes, this is risky behavior, which means your constant churning of credit cards may raise red flags when you try to apply for a mortgage or a car loan.
How does the Flagship Rewards fit into this? Well, it has two long-term rewards that can benefit you if you choose to use this card beyond the first year: points on purchases and the Visa Signature program.
Points for Purchases
The Navy Federal Flagship Rewards Card gives you 2 points for every dollar you spend on your card, not including the following charges/purchases:
- Balance transfers
- Cash advances
- Late fees/Finance charges/reloading cash cards
- Buying traveler’s checks or gambling credits
These points are automatically deposited to your Navy Federal account and you can check your balance whenever you log into your account.
The Flagship Rewards Visa Signature Program
Your Flagship Rewards card is part of the Visa Signature program, which is a series of shopping and travel benefits you get whenever you use your card to make your purchases.
One of the more well-known perks of this program and other programs like it is complimentary rental car insurance when you use your Flagship card to purchase the rental.
However, the Visa Signature program isn’t limited to just that perk. Here’s a list of coverages and warranties you can expect:
- Trip interruption/cancellation insurance
- Lost luggage reimbursement
- Roadside dispatch
- Travel and emergency assistance
- Extended warranties on certain items
Each one of these programs has their own specific set of limitations and requirements, so read through the benefits guide you’ll get with your Flagship Rewards card.
Without getting too deep into the details, just know that your lost luggage reimbursement only covers up to a certain amount of money per claim. Also, you’ll be covered for trip cancellations if you suffer a severe injury, but, in some cases, pre-existing conditions can disqualify that protection.
The Navy Federal Visa Signature Flagship Rewards Card Rates and Fees
One of the things that really stands out about this credit card from Navy Federal is its interest rate, which is significantly lower than all but a few travel rewards cards on the market:
- APR on purchases: 10.74% to 18%
- APR on balance transfers: 2% higher than Purchase APR
- Penalty APR: 18%
- Annual fee: $0 first year, $49 after
- Balance transfer fee: None
- Foreign transaction fee: None
What jumps out at us here is the card’s low-end APR. When we say “low-end”, what we mean is that most credit cards have a great, good and bad APR they hand out to their customers based on credit scores.
The better your credit scores, the better your APR will be. So, if you have a credit score of 750 or above, there’s a good chance you can get the 10.74% interest rate.
As far as travel rewards cards go, the Flagship Reward’s 10.74% APR is the best, beating out the Discover it Miles card by half a percent.
The annual fee is competitive, too, because it’s $10 lower than the Capital One Venture card and, among the cards we’ve reviewed, second only to the BankAmericard Travel Rewards and Discover it Miles cards. $0 annual fee.
Reviews of the Navy Federal Flagship Rewards Card
Some of the major review sites aside from HighYa who’ve written about the Flagship Rewards are CreditCards.com and Nerd Wallet.
CreditCards.com’s Kelly Dillworth gave the Flagship Rewards a 3.2 out of 5 stars, noting that the card “offers twice the points with every purchase, making it an ideal pick for cardholders who want to rack up points without a lot of effort.”
NerdWallet’s review of this card is pretty paltry and a little outdated. They give the card the thumbs up for its high rewards rate and lack of a foreign transaction fee.
The main drawback, they said, is the card’s annual fee, although we’re certain they wrote this review before the Flagship Reward’s current promotion of a waived the annual fee the first year.
Aside from NerdWallet and CreditCards.com, there aren’t too many reviews on this card. We think that’s disappointing, considering this card could be a great option for Navy Federal customers who like to travel.
Our Final Thoughts on the Navy Federal Flagship Rewards Credit Card
The Navy Federal Credit Union Visa Signature Flagship Rewards Card card has some good features and some bad ones. We’re going to wrap up this review with a quick list of pros and cons, then concluded with our final thoughts.
Pros of the Flagship Rewards Card
What we like about this card is its potential for travel rewards via the 40,000-point sign-up bonus and the double points you can earn on most dollars you spend with your credit card.
On top of that, the card has a really competitive annual fee and industry-leading APRs, both of which can save you a lot of money over the course of the year.
Cons of the Flagship Rewards Card
We’ve referred to this card as a travel rewards card because, as we pointed out earlier, you get the best benefits from this card when you redeem your rewards points for travel.
If you use this card for anything else, you’ll lose a lot of points value by redeeming them for gift cards or merchandise through Navy Federal’s online shopping portal.
Also, the cash rewards rate of $7.50 per 1,000 points is lower than other competing travel credit cards.
Finally, we’d say the main drawback of this card is that you have to be a Navy Federal member in order to get the Flagship rewards.
Considering that membership is exclusive to military and their dependents, only a limited number of consumers can get it.
Who Is the Flagship Rewards Card Good For?
This card is a great fit for someone who makes frequent travel purchases of more than $100 and is a member of Navy Federal Credit Union.
The Final Word: A Great Card for Navy Federal Customers
We think that this card presents a great deal of value to Navy Federal customers for three reasons.
First, the 40,000 bonus points you get if you hit the spending limit leads the travel-rewards industry alongside the Capital One Venture card.
Second, the low-end APR on this card is an industry leader, too. The Discover it Miles and the Venture card come close, but they don’t hit the 10% range.
Third, the annual fee on this card is pretty low when you consider that you’re getting double points on purchases.
Yes, the BankAmericard Travel Rewards card doesn’t have an annual fee, but it also has a 20K points bonus and only a 1.5x bonus on purchases.
The Discover it Miles doesn’t have an annual fee, but you don’t get an intro bonus and your rewards rate for purchases is 1.5:1 instead of the Flagship Rewards 2:1.
Based on our research, we think this card surpasses the Venture and the Miles, making it one of the best travel rewards cards you can find.