Credit Cards Credit Card Reviews

Navy Federal GO REWARDS Review

overall rating
3.6

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With decent rewards on dining and gas, as well as few fees, the Navy Federal GO REWARDS credit card could be a good fit for people who have significant spending in those categories. However, the credit union’s strict criteria for who can apply for the card makes it inaccessible for many consumers.

Navy Federal GO REWARDS®

overall rating
3.6
Navy Federal GO REWARDS®
On Navy Federal Credit Union's Secured Site.
Recommended Credit Score Our recommended ranges are based off of the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model. Credit score is one of the many factors lenders review in considering your application.
350 579
580 669
670 739
740 799
800 850
Fair - Excellent
Regular APR (%) 8.99% - 18% variable
Annual Fee $0
Rewards Earning Rate Earn 3X points at restaurants, 2X points on gas, and 1X point on everything else.
Balance Transfer Fee None
Foreign transaction fee (%) 0%
how this card stacks up
When compared among all rewards cards in our database:
Rewards
Benefits
Low Fees
Security/Customer Experience
Low Interest
worst best

The Navy Federal GO REWARDS® is not one of our top-rated rewards credit cards. You can review our list of the best rewards credit cards for what we think are better options.

Full Review of Navy Federal GO REWARDS

Pros
  • Available for average credit

  • Multiple redemption options

  • Light on fees

Cons
  • No one-time bonus

  • No standout rewards

  • Not available to everyone

Pros Explained

  • Available for Average Credit: There aren’t a lot of solid credit cards for people with average credit, which is often translated as a “fair” FICO score of 580 to 669. While this card’s rewards program won’t blow you away, it’s pretty good compared with other cards for that credit score range, especially considering how few fees it charges.
  • Multiple Redemption Options: Once you have enough points to redeem, you can choose from the following options:
    • Cash back
    • Statement credits
    • Gift cards
    • Travel
    • Event tickets
    • Merchandise

If you use your points to get cash back, statement credits, or air travel, you’ll get 1 cent per point in value. So, for example, 5,000 points are worth $50.

  • Light on Fees: Most credit cards charge fees for balance transfers and cash advances, and many also charge a fee on foreign transactions. This one, however, doesn’t charge any of those—though you need to get your cash advances at a Navy Federal branch or ATM to avoid a fee. Even if you don’t, it’s just $0.50 in the U.S. and $1 abroad. The card also has no annual fee. 

Cons Explained

  • No One-Time Offer: Many rewards credit cards offer an introductory bonus after you meet a certain spending requirement, so it’s a bit disappointing that the Navy Federal GO REWARDS Credit Card doesn’t. If you’re looking for some upfront value, it may be worth considering a card from another issuer.
  • No Standout Rewards: The card offers 3 points per dollar at restaurants and 2 points per dollar on gas, neither of which is out of the ordinary for tiered rewards credit cards. What’s more, most of your purchases will likely net just 1 point per dollar, which means it can take a while to earn enough rewards to redeem.
  • Not Available to Everyone: You have to be a member of Navy Federal Credit Union to be eligible for this card. To qualify for membership, you’ll need to belong to at least one of the following groups:
    • Active-duty service members, reservists, veterans, retirees, and annuitants of the Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, or Coast Guard
    • Army and Air National Guard personnel
    • Delayed Entry Program personnel
    • Department of Defense civilians
    • U.S. government employees assigned to DoD installations
    • Contractors assigned to DoD installations
    • Family members of one of the above

If you don’t belong to any of these groups, you’ll need to find a different card from another issuer.

This Card is Best For

  • Avatar for Annual Fee Averse Persona
    Resists or refuses an annual fee on principle or due to cost
    Annual Fee Averse
  • Avatar for Rewards Strategist Persona
    Seeks to maximize points or miles earnings across spending categories
    Rewards Strategist

The Navy Federal GO REWARDS credit card can be a good fit for Navy Federal members who spend a lot on dining and gas. 

That said, if you think this card may be a good option, also consider the Navy Federal More Rewards American Express card, which offers 3 points per dollar at supermarkets and restaurants, as well as on gas and transit. 

Both cards are available for people with average to excellent credit and are similar in other ways, making the Navy Federal More Rewards American Express Card a better option overall in terms of rewards. However, because the Navy Federal GO REWARDS Credit Card is issued as a Mastercard or Visa, it is likely to be more widely accepted worldwide than an American Express Card, which could be a consideration for some cardholders. 

Navy Federal GO REWARDS One-Time Offer

The card doesn’t offer a one-time offer. That’s not entirely out of the ordinary with credit cards for average credit, but if your credit score is good or better, you can get a bonus with another rewards card.

Rewards Earning Details

You’ll earn 3 points per dollar at restaurants, 2 points per dollar on gas, and 1 point per dollar on everything else. If you spend a lot in the card’s bonus categories, it could be easy to rack up rewards. 

You can also earn up to 15 points per dollar on top of what you’re already earning with the card through the credit union’s Member Deals shopping portal.

However, since many of your purchases will likely earn just 1 point per dollar, it may be worth considering pairing it with another card like the Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards credit card. That card offers 1.5% cash back on everything, so you could use it for non-restaurant and gas purchases to get more in the way of rewards.

Rewards Redemption Details

Navy Federal Credit Union offers several redemption options, giving you a lot of flexibility with your points. Options include:

  • Cash back: Get a direct deposit into your Navy Federal savings account ($50 minimum).
  • Statement credits: Though its Pay with Points feature, you can get a statement credit directly on your card account.
  • Gift cards: Buy gift cards from major retailers or request a Navy Federal Visa Awards Card. 
  • Travel: Book flights, hotels, cruises, rental cars, vacation packages, tours, and attractions. 
  • Event tickets: Includes concerts and other events.
  • Merchandise: Buy items through the credit union’s catalog.

Redemption rates can vary, but cash back, statement credits, and airline tickets all have a value of 1 cent per point.

How to Maximize Your Rewards

Take advantage of the card’s bonus rewards categories by using it every time you dine out or buy gas. Also, check the Member Deals platform regularly to see if you can get even more points when shopping online. 

For non-bonus spending, consider using another credit card that offers more than 1 point per dollar in value. Also, it’s always a good idea to pay your bill in full every month if possible, so you can avoid interest charges on the account.

Navy Federal GO REWARDS’ Outstanding Benefits

  • Cell phone protection: If you use the card to pay your monthly cell phone bill, you’ll get up to $600 in coverage per claim ($1,000 total per year) if your phone is stolen or damaged.

Standard Benefits

  • Rental car insurance (secondary coverage)
  • Purchase protection
  • Travel assistance services
  • Extended warranty coverage
  • Price protection
  • Identity theft protection

Cardholder Experience

Navy Federal Credit Union received the highest score among regional banks and credit unions in J.D. Power’s 2019 Credit Card Satisfaction Study, earning 871 points out of a possible 1,000. The average score was 802.

Navy Federal provides 24/7 customer service, which is standard for major credit card issuers. It also provides access to your FICO credit score. While some other card issuers provide that benefit, it’s not standard for the industry. 

Security Features

You can lock and unlock your card from the Navy Federal mobile app, which can help prevent fraud if you misplace your card or someone steals it. The card’s other security features are standard for the industry.

Fees to Watch Out For

For the most part, the card’s fees are lower than those on other, competing credit cards. There’s no balance transfer fee or cash advance fee if you request the advance at an eligible branch or ATM. There’s also no annual fee or foreign transaction fee. Even the card’s fees for late and returned payments (up to $20) are relatively low.

Our Verdict

The Navy Federal GO REWARDS card has many good features, and it could be a solid option for members of the credit union with just average credit.

That said, if you qualify for this card, you might get a lot more value from its sister card, the Navy Federal More Rewards American Express Card. Regardless of which card you choose, consider getting a second card with a high rewards rate across all spending categories, so you can maximize your rewards.

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For Navy Federal GO REWARDS®
on Navy Federal Credit Union's Secured Site.
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CURRENT CARD
Navy Federal GO REWARDS®
overall rating
3.6
Recommended Credit Score Our recommended ranges are based off of the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model. Credit score is one of the many factors lenders review in considering your application.
350 579
580 669
670 739
740 799
800 850
Fair - Excellent
Regular APR (%) 8.99% - 18% variable
Annual Fee $0
Rewards Earning Rate Earn 3X points at restaurants, 2X points on gas, and 1X point on everything else.
Investopedia Credit Card Rating Methodology
Investopedia is committed to delivering the best credit card recommendations in the industry. We’ll tell you when a card is good, we’ll tell you when a card is bad, and we’ll only call a card the best if we would recommend it to our friends or family members.
Overall Star Rating Explained
To rate credit cards we objectively assess, score and weight nearly 100 individual card features which roll up into five major feature sets: fees, interest, rewards, benefits and security/customer service. Here’s how we weighted those feature sets for the overall star rating of a card:
We have applied our proprietary rating methodology to every generally-accepted credit card in the U.S. domestic market to allow consumers to make fully informed choices. It’s important to note that for our overall score that we make a number of assumptions about how you would be using your credit card:
  1. While we make no assumption as to whether balances are carried on a given card we do assign varying weights to all credit cards’ introductory APR (if present) in addition to the regular, long term purchase and balance transfer interest rates.
  2. We utilize BLS (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics) income and average category spending data to calculate annual earnings rates for rewards cards that offer cash back, points or miles rewards at a set rate on all spending or in consideration of bonus rewards for certain spending categories, like gasoline, groceries, restaurants or travel.
  3. We determine the maximum points value of rewards cards by dividing the points, cash back or miles required to exchange for the retail price of the most valuable redemption option (for example, in the case of a card that offers a domestic roundtrip airline ticket as a redemption option vs. another redemption option of lesser value that requires the same amount of points or miles to acquire, we would base the rewards value on the airline ticket).
  • Cards that are selected best overall in their respective categories generally feature most if not all of the following attributes:
  • Low or Reasonable Fees Credit card fees come in many forms but the primary ones involve those for annual card membership and balance transfer. There are a myriad of reward and non-reward card options that charge no annual fee but for the many that do assess an annual fee the cost is often justified by their lucrative ongoing rewards and initial signup bonuses. Balance transfer fees are occasionally waived during introductory periods with certain cards, a factor which is heavily and positively weighted in our scoring model for cards offering this benefit. When charged, balance transfer fees range between 3% - 5%, which we grade accordingly. Other standard fees can generally be avoided, such as those for paying late or taking cash advances but we rate those relative to other cards in the market for reference, though with less weight assigned
  • Competitive Interest Many cards offer 0% introductory APR on purchases and balance transfers for varying lengths and then revert to a permanent or regular APR (based on a variable rate tied to the prime rate) that applies to any balances not paid in full. We rate both introductory APR percentage and length (in months) along with the midpoint of the variable regular APR interest rate range.
  • Valuable Rewards Credit card reward programs can be based on cash back, points or travel rewards (which can be generic or travel partner-specific, as with airline and hotel co-brand card programs). For cards that offer rewards we determine the value per dollar spent along with average redemption values and assign more favorable ratings to cards that offer superior consumer value. We also assign value to sign-up bonus offers and their initial spending requirements, when present.
  • Excellent Benefits Credit card benefits cover a range of offerings like concierge service, TSA Pre-check, auto rental coverage, travel accident insurance, lost luggage assistance and free credit scores. We rate cards on the number and level of over a dozen standard and upscale benefits and provide extra weighting emphasis for those travel-related perks that apply to premium travel cards when present.
  • Solid Security/Customer Service Security and customer service features like lost or stolen card replacement, being able to lock one’s card from an issuer app and 24 hour customer support are becoming more standard across the card market and we provide a significant amount of weighting to features in this area.
  • You can also read the full version of our methodology for a more in-depth look at how we assess cards and award them the best in various categories.