The Little-Known Premium Travel Rewards Card with a Low Annual Fee

This post is sponsored by PenFed Credit Union. All opinions are those of the author. Learn more about how we make money.

If you’ve spent any time learning about travel rewards, you’ve likely wondered whether premium credit cards are worth it.

These cards, and other high annual fee cards, have:

  • Generous sign-up bonuses.
  • Flexible travel redemption options.
  • Airport lounge access.
  • Statement credits for travel-related expenses that help offset the annual fee.
  • Credits for fees like Global Entry and TSA Pre✓.

The credit card reward space has really heated up lately, especially on the travel side. Right now, we’re seeing some of the best offers and benefits ever.

In fact, one such card — the PenFed Pathfinder® Rewards Visa Signature® Card — offers all the benefits mentioned above (plus a few more generous perks) for just a $95 annual fee. This annual fee is waived for Honors Advantage Members

And you can even get the annual fee waived. As a PenFed Pathfinder® Rewards cardholder, if you qualify for Honors Advantage (as a member of the military or an Access America account holder) at the time of the application, they’ll waive the annual fee on your account.

If you were not eligible at account opening, but subsequently become eligible, the annual fee will be waived on your next anniversary. (If at any time you fail to meet the eligibility requirement, you will no longer be eligible for the waiver. You will receive advance notice of this change.)

Here are the details:

  • Generous sign-up bonus. Earn 50,000 bonus points when you spend $3,000 within the first 90 days after opening your account.
  • Flexible travel redemption options. Points can be redeemed within the travel portal.
  • Airport lounge access. Free Priority Pass airport lounge annual membership, which allows you to enter a lounge for $32 per visit.
  • Travel statement credit. An annual $100 domestic air ancillary travel statement credit, which can be used to offset baggage fees and onboard food and drinks purchases.
  • Credits for fees like Global Entry and TSA Pre✓. A $100 Global Entry or $85 TSA Pre-Check statement credit every five years.

In addition to all of that, the PenFed Pathfinder® Rewards Visa Signature® Card includes some extra perks that are very unique in the award space, such as:

  • Earn 1.5 points per dollar on all purchases and 3 points per dollar on spending in all travel categories with no spending limits.

How PenFed Travel Rewards Work

There are a variety of redemption options within PenFed, including gift cards, merchandise and services.

Where you’re likely to get the greatest value is in travel.

When you book travel through PenFed’s travel portal, points are valued at up to 1.25 each. You get up to a $799 value in your first year:

  • 50,000 Bonus Points = up to $500 in value
    • $100 annual domestic travel credit.
    • $100 Global Entry or $85 TSA Pre -Check statement credit.
    • Complimentary Priority Pass airport lounge annual membership (a $99 value).

More so, with no blackout dates, you’re getting the flexibility to travel when you wish.

Final Thoughts

It’s refreshing and rare to see perks like these without the high annual fee typically associated with premium travel rewards cards.

And with the flexible redemption options, I think this card is a great fit for someone just dipping their toes into travel rewards.

Even if you don’t get the annual fee waived, you’re still coming out ahead with the $100 per year travel credit, which can be used for baggage fees.

From there, earning 1.5 points per dollar on non-bonus category spending is another thing to like, as most premium cards pay just 1 point for non-category spending.

Visit PenFed to learn more.

R.J. Weiss
R.J. Weiss is the founder and editor of The Ways To Wealth, a Certified Financial Planner™, husband and father of three. He's spent the last 10+ years writing about personal finance and has been featured in Forbes, Bloomberg, MSN Money, and other publications.


  1. Penfed has removed the annual $100 domestic air ancillary travel statement credit, which can be used to offset baggage fees and onboard food and drinks purchases when they got rid of the AMEX relationship on this card and changed it VISA. I have the card and used it for baggage fees in Dec 21. I never got the credit; so upon calling them they said there is only baggage delay insurance now – No travel credit!

    1. Thanks for sharing your experience. I’m still seeing the $100 statement credit live on their application page (, specifically for the Visa card.

      Did you use a version of the The PenFed Pathfinder Rewards American Express Card and not get the credit?

  2. Comment about “Free Priority Pass airport lounge annual membership (which is the same benefit as offered by the Chase Sapphire Reserve”, is false. Chase has no additional fees, Pathfinder has 32.00 per visit fee.

    1. Great catch here. It’s been edited. Thank you!

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