*Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It has not been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any credit card issuer. This site may be compensated through a credit card issuer partnership.
This article was last updated Jul 26, 2018. Terms and conditions may have changed. For the most accurate information, please consult the issuer website.
If you’re already a member of the armed services or are related to someone who is, it’s highly likely that you take advantage of the services offered by San Antonio-based financial company USAA. It offers its members services including insurance, banking, investments and tools to help you manage it all.
To become a USAA member, you must be one of the following: active or former military, an eligible family member or a cadet or midshipman. Once you’re in, you can take advantage of everything USAA offers, including its own portfolio of branded credit cards, like The American Legion USAA Rewards™ Visa Signature® Card.
This card comes with protections under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) that benefit active-duty military who may need financial relief and protections. And because of its focus on military members and their families, USAA is in a better position to walk members through what those benefits entail.
Frankly, there are other credit cards out there that have more generous sign-up bonuses and offer better points per $1 spent. But one big appeal of this card may be its ties to the American Legion, the largest wartime veterans service organization in the United States that advocates for military members and veterans. USAA has pledged to donate to the organization every time a member makes an eligible purchase.
So if you want a card that makes you feel good about donating to a worthy organization, then The American Legion USAA Rewards™ Visa Signature® Card is a good option. If you want a card that offers more when it comes to sign-up bonuses and points per $1 spent, then you may want to consider a card like the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card.
Where The American Legion USAA Rewards™ Visa Signature® Card stands out in its category
You want this card for the same reason you want any USAA card — because of the organization’s strong customer service for military members and their families.
As you earn points on The American Legion USAA Rewards™ Visa Signature® Card, you can redeem them to buy travel, gift cards, merchandise or donate them to military affiliate groups. You do it all through the USAA Rewards Service Center, available at usaa.com or by calling 800-980-8722. You can also redeem your points for cash that can either be credited to your card account or deposited into your USAA checking or savings account.
There’s no maximum on the points you can earn, and your points don’t expire as long as you have the card.
The card comes with a 0% for 12 months APR balance transfer rate (after, 12.40% - 27.40% Variable). The balance transfer fee is 3% on balance transfers and cash advances, $200 maximum.
The American Legion USAA Rewards™ Visa Signature® Card is a big help for active-duty personnel, since they can get special assistance if they’re deployed or if they experience a permanent change of station (PCS). During that time, their balance APR drops to 4% on all balances for up to 12 months during deployment or PCS. After 12 months, the regular APR returns.
And if you’re having financial trouble as an active-duty service member, USAA customer service agents are ready to walk you through the benefits of SCRA. The act restricts or limits actions against military personnel on active duty, allowing them to have 4% on an existing balance, including credit cards, until a year after completing active duty.
If you’re feeling especially patriotic, you can even choose from nine different credit card designs at no charge.
Where The American Legion USAA Rewards™ Visa Signature® Card falls short in its category
You must be a USAA member in order to apply for this card. If you do a balance transfer on the card, make sure you pay it off before the end of the term, since the card then goes to a 12.40% - 27.40% Variable APR balance transfer rate.
If you’re going to redeem your points to book travel or buy gift cards and merchandise, you can only do it through the USAA Rewards Center, either online or by phone.
There are other cards besides The American Legion USAA Rewards™ Visa Signature® Card that offer bigger sign-up bonuses. You can also earn more points per $1 spent, especially in the travel, dining, gas and groceries categories, with other cards.
Additional card benefits
- Concierge services.
- Collision damage waiver coverage for rental cars.
- Extended warranty.
- Travel accident insurance.
Compare it with the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card
If you don’t think the bonuses, points and benefits that come with The American Legion USAA Rewards™ Visa Signature® Card are good enough, you may want to consider a non-USAA card that offers straight cashback rewards and more.
The Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card starts with a One-time bonus of 50,000 miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $500 in travel. The rewards rate is 2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day.
The card has an annual fee of $0 intro for first year; $95 after that, while The American Legion USAA Rewards™ Visa Signature® Card’s annual fee is $0. But the perks and flexibility the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card offers compared with The American Legion USAA Rewards™ Visa Signature® Card may be worth the fee to potential cardmembers.
You have much more flexibility when redeeming miles on the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card. They can be used to pay for travel booked either on the website or app of any airline, hotel, rental cars and more using the Purchase Eraser feature, which gives you an account credit for what you spend. You can also book travel with your miles at capitalone.com. If you don’t want to use your miles for travel, redeem them for a check, an account credit or gift cards.
The perks that come with the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card are better than The American Legion USAA Rewards™ Visa Signature® Card. The Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card offers free upgrades and savings at hotels, resorts and spas; access to Visa Signature® Concierge 24 hours a day from home and when you travel; auto rental collision damage waiver; discounts at retailers and online merchants; and extended warranty protection. You also receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA Precheck when you use the card to pay for it.
Unlike The American Legion USAA Rewards™ Visa Signature® Card, the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card doesn’t have an intro purchase or balance transfer rate.
In the end, you want a card that gives you the flexibility and perks that fit your spending, and you get that with the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card. But if you want a card from a company that understands the unique needs of military members and their families, then The American Legion USAA Rewards™ Visa Signature® Card may be a better fit.
|The American Legion USAA Rewards™ Visa Signature® Card||Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card|
|Annual Fee||$0||$0 intro for first year; $95 after that|
|Regular Purchase APR||12.40% - 27.40% Variable||17.24% - 24.49% (Variable)|
|Rewards||Earn one point for every dollar spent on your everyday purchases.||2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day|
|Sign-up Bonus||Get 2,500 bonus points with your first purchase.||One-time bonus of 50,000 miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $500 in travel|
|Foreign Transaction Fee||None||None|