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Navy Federal Credit Union GO REWARDS® Credit Card Review


Gorewards Cc

Our rating

4.1/5

Pros

  • thumbs-upNo annual fee
  • thumbs-upUp to 3x rewards on restaurant purchases
  • thumbs-up1.99% APR for 6 months on purchases

Cons

  • thumbs-downMediocre base rewards rate
  • thumbs-downNo sign-up bonus
  • thumbs-downNot available to the general public

Get a $350 Cash Bonus.

Open a BMO Harris Premier™ Account online and get a $350 cash bonus when you have a total of at least $7,500 in qualifying direct deposits within the first 90 days of account opening. Expires 5/12. Conditions Apply.

The Navy Federal Credit Union GO REWARDS® Credit Card is a rewards-earning credit card with no annual fee.

With a relatively low APR and a solid rewards program redeemable for cash back, award travel, merchandise, it’s a great choice for folks seeking a greater variety of credit card rewards. With accelerated earnings on restaurant spending and gas station purchases, it’s comparable to popular credit cards such as BankAmericard Cash Rewards Credit Card and Blue Cash Everyday Card from American Express.

There’s just one catch.


How Do You Get the NFCU GO REWARDS Credit Card?

The NFCU GO REWARDS Credit Card is reserved for:

  • Members of the U.S. Armed Forces
  • Civilian Department of Defense employees
  • Immediate family members off the above (including spouses and children)

Translation: This card is not available to members of the general public. If you’re not keen on joining the military, haven’t served in the past, and don’t know anyone who is or has, you need to look for another rewards credit card.

Those who do meet NFCU’s qualifications can expect an above-average credit card experience with GO Rewards. With almost no fees, a solid introductory balance transfer promotion, and a nice fringe benefit lineup for Visa Signature cardholders, NFCU GO Rewards Credit Card is worth considering alongside better-known options.

Let’s dive a little deeper into what you can expect from this card.

navy federal credit union go rewards card

What Is the Navy Federal Credit Union GO REWARDS® Credit Card?

The NFCU GO REWARDS Credit Card earns points on all eligible purchases and bonus points (up to 3x) on restaurant and gas purchases. You can redeem those points for cash, gift cards, travel, and merchandise.

There’s no limit to how much you can earn with your NFCU GO REWARDS Credit Card, and points never expire once they’re earned. There’s also no annual fee, foreign transaction fee, balance transfer fee, or cash advance fee.

All in all, NFCU GO REWARDS is a nice little credit card — if you can get it.


How to Join Navy Federal Credit Union

If you think you’re eligible for NFCU membership, joining is easy. You will need to provide proof of eligibility, answering basic questions about your military service status or relation to a service member.

Here’s where you’d specify which branch of the military you currently or previously served with, for example:

Nfcu What Branch

Once you get past the questions — which shouldn’t take more than a few minutes — you’ll need to create your Membership Savings Account, deposit $5, and then apply for whichever NFCU financial account you’re most interested in. (Probably the NFCU GO REWARDS Credit Card, if you’re still reading this.)

That part of the process is a lot like applying for any other bank or credit card account. You’ll need to provide the following information and complete an application, sacrificing another few minutes of your time.

Nfcu What You Need To Join

You don’t have to apply for any NFCU account other than the Membership Savings Account right away. If you’d like to spend a few months working on your credit before circling back to apply for a GO REWARDS card, have at it.


What Sets the NFCU GO REWARDS Card Apart

Back to the card at hand. The NFCU GO REWARDS card ranks highly in our eyes for three reasons:

  • Bonus Points on Popular Purchases. NFCU GO REWARDS earns 3x points on eligible restaurant purchases and 2x points on eligible gas purchases. Needless to say, these are popular spending categories that probably take more of your discretionary income than you’d like.
  • Great Intro APR Promotion for Purchases. NFCU GO REWARDS has a 6-month, 1.99% intro APR promotion on purchases. This isn’t a huge runway, but it’s long enough to avoid regular interest on moderately sized purchases you can’t afford out of pocket.
  • Doesn’t Require Perfect Credit. Unlike some popular rewards credit cards, NFCU GO REWARDS doesn’t require excellent credit to qualify. You do need decent credit, but a few blemishes won’t hurt.
Nfcu Go Rewards Best For

Key Features of the Navy Federal Credit Union GO REWARDS® Credit Card

Here’s what you should know about the NFCU GO REWARDS card before you apply (if you decide to at all).

Earning GO Rewards Points

Navy Federal Credit Union GO Rewards Credit Card earns:

  • 3 points per $1 spent at restaurants
  • 2 points per $1 spent at gas stations
  • 1 point per $1 spent everywhere else

There are no caps or restrictions on the total number of points you can earn.

Redeeming GO Rewards Points

Points can be redeemed for a variety of items, including cash back via statement credits or direct deposits, gift cards to major retailers such as Amazon and Target, travel purchases made through a proprietary booking portal, merchandise (including new electronics), and special experiences such as spa treatments.

The minimum redemption threshold is 1,000 points, though certain items require more points. Points are generally worth $0.007 to $0.01 apiece, but this value can vary slightly depending on the redemption option. For example, points can be worth less when redeemed for merchandise or experiences. Points expire four years after they’re earned, so it’s important for occasional users to redeem them periodically.

Introductory APR Promotion (Purchases)

This card comes with a 1.99% APR for 6 months on eligible purchases. That’s not category-leading by any stretch — the best intro purchase promotions last for 18 months or longer — but it’s enough time to reduce the cost of moderate purchases you can’t cover with ordinary cash flows.

Important Fees

This card has no annual fee, foreign transaction fee, or balance transfer fee. Cash advances are free as well, though you must pay $0.50 per cash advance at domestic ATMs outside NFCU’s network and $1 per cash advance at international ATMs outside NFCU’s network. Late and returned payments cost up to $20.

Visa Signature Benefits

If you have adequate income and very good to excellent credit, you may be entitled to a Visa Signature version of this card. NFCU GO Rewards Visa Signature cards boast credit limits of at least $5,000 plus some valuable fringe benefits, such as complimentary loss and damage protection on rental cars charged in full to the card, automatic fraud monitoring with real-time notifications, and cell phone damage protection.

Nfcu Go Rewards All Cards

Visa Merchant Discounts

NFCU GO Rewards Credit Card includes additional cardholder-friendly perks. The best include moderate to deep discounts on purchases at popular Visa partner merchants, such as Calvin Klein and other apparel vendors, cultural institutions like the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, and travel companies such as Gray Line Tours (a favorite urban sightseeing choice for international tourists).

Credit Required

NFCU GO Rewards Credit Card requires good to excellent credit. If your credit history includes any notable blemishes, you may have difficulty qualifying.


Advantages of the NFCU GO Rewards Credit Card

These are the most compelling advantages of the NFCU GO Rewards Credit Card — the top reasons you’d want to apply for this card if you’re elgible for it.

  • No Annual Fee. NFCU GO Rewards Credit Card has no annual fee, which is great news for low-spending cardholders who wouldn’t earn rewards fast enough to offset any recurring levy.
  • Few Additional Fees. The nonexistent annual fee is just the start.  There’s also no balance transfer fee, foreign transaction fee, or cash advance fee (in most cases). If you pay your bill on time, in full, and don’t take cash advances at non-NFCU ATMs, it’s possible to never pay a cent in fees.
  • Earning Rates Up to 3x. NFCU GO Rewards Credit Card earns up to 3x points (3 points per $1 spent) at restaurants. At the card’s average redemption rate, that’s equivalent to a return on spending of 2.5% – better than most cash back cards.
  • Doesn’t Require Excellent Credit. This card doesn’t require excellent credit. If you have a blemish or two on your credit report, you won’t necessarily be disqualified from consideration. That’s a nice point of distinction between GO Rewards and premium cash back rewards cards such as Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express.
  • Nice Intro Purchase Promotion. NFCU GO Rewards Credit Card has a 6-month, 1.99% APR introductory promotion for purchases. That’s just long enough to pay off big purchases you can’t make out of pocket all at once without incurring (much) interest.

Disadvantages of the NFCU GO Rewards Credit Card

Beyond the elephant in the room — that the NFCU GO Rewards Credit Card isn’t available to the general public — this card has a few disadvantages to weigh before applying.

  • No Sign-up Bonus. The NFCU GO Rewards Credit Card lacks a sign-up bonus, which is a major bummer for new cardholders looking to boost their rewards earnings right out of the gate. Many comparable cash back and travel rewards credit cards have sign-up bonuses worth $100, $150, or even more. If a sign-up bonus is an important factor, keep looking before you settle on this product.
  • Mediocre Baseline Earning Rate. This card’s baseline rewards rate is just 1 point per $1 spent. Given that points are typically worth less than $0.01 at redemption, this equates to a return on spending of around 1.00%. That’s far lower than comparable rewards cards such as Citi Double Cash Card (2.00% return on spending) and Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Card (1.5% return on spending).
  • Points Worth Less Than $0.01 Apiece at Redemption. GO Rewards points are generally worth less than $0.01 apiece at redemption. That makes them less valuable than cash back points earned on the NFCU cashRewards Credit Card (and other cash back cards, such as Chase Freedom and Chase Freedom Unlimited), dampening this card’s overall rewards-earning rate.
  • Not Available to the General Public. The NFCU GO Rewards Credit Card has a final, crucial catch: it’s not available to members of the general public. You can only get your hands on this card if you’re a current or former member of the Armed Forces, a civilian employee of the Department of Defense, or an immediate family member of someone who meets either criteria. This is a big drawback relative to general-purpose cash back cards such as Discover it, which are open to anyone with a sufficiently high credit score and adequate income.

How the NFCU Platinum Card Stacks Up 

Not sure the NFCU GO REWARDS Card is the best fit for your day-to-day spending needs? See how it compares to another popular rewards credit card with an intro purchase promotion: the Citi Rewards+ Card.

NFCU GO REWARDSCiti Rewards+
0% Intro APR Promo6 months at 1.99% APR on purchases, then variable regular APR applies0% APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers, then variable regular APR applies (currently 17.99% to 27.99% APR)
Rewards3x points on restaurant purchases; 2x points on gas purchases; 1x points on all other eligible purchases2x points on gas station and grocery store purchases, up to $6,000 in annual combined category spending; unlimited 1x points on all other purchases
Annual Fee$0$0
Credit NeededAverage to excellentGood to excellent

Final Word

Though you don’t have to have a U.S. Navy service record to qualify for membership with Naval Federal Credit Union, you do have to have some record of service in the Armed Forces, a civilian position at the Department of Defense, or close family ties to someone who meets either criterion.

Unfortunately, this means that most people don’t qualify for NFCU membership. After accounting for current and former members of the military, current Department of Defense employees, and their immediate family members, perhaps 15 million people (out of 330 million Americans, give or take) are technically eligible for NFCU membership.

Fortunately, NFCU isn’t the only game in town for federal government employees and military families seeking low interest rates and friendly service. Virginia-based State Department Federal Credit Union (SDFCU) was originally designed to give State Department employees a place to park their money and take out low-interest loans, but it has since loosened its eligibility requirements so that anyone can join. If you’re not a State Department employee, just make a $15 one-time donation to a worthy charity and you’re in for life. So, if NFCU isn’t right for you, there’s always SDFCU.

Gorewards Cc

Our rating

4.1/5

Pros

  • thumbs-upNo annual fee
  • thumbs-upUp to 3x rewards on restaurant purchases
  • thumbs-up1.99% APR for 6 months on purchases

Cons

  • thumbs-downMediocre base rewards rate
  • thumbs-downNo sign-up bonus
  • thumbs-downNot available to the general public
Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any bank, credit card issuer, airline, or hotel chain, and has not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, not those of the bank, credit card issuer, airline, or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Brian Martucci writes about credit cards, banking, insurance, travel, and more. When he's not investigating time- and money-saving strategies for Money Crashers readers, you can find him exploring his favorite trails or sampling a new cuisine. Reach him on Twitter @Brian_Martucci.