Credit Cards Credit Card Reviews

Navy Federal Visa Signature Flagship Rewards Review

overall rating
4

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With generous rewards, especially on travel purchases, the Navy Federal Visa Signature Flagship Rewards credit card can be an appealing option for Navy Federal Credit Union members. But with an annual fee after the first year and no one-time offer, its value proposition isn’t as strong as some other travel credit cards.

Navy Federal Visa Signature® Flagship Rewards

overall rating
4
Navy Federal Visa Signature® Flagship 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
Good - Excellent
Regular APR (%) 9.99% - 18% variable
Annual Fee $0 first year, then $49.
Rewards Earning Rate Earn 3X points on travel and 2X points 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 Visa Signature Flagship 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 Visa Signature Flagship Rewards

Pros
  • High rewards rates

  • Flexible redemption options

  • Fees are relatively light

Cons
  • No one-time offer

  • Travel benefits are limited

  • Not available to everyone

Pros Explained

  • High Rewards Rates: This card offers triple points on travel purchases, which isn’t out of the ordinary for a travel credit card, but it also offers 2 points per dollar on everything else. The Capital One Venture Rewards credit card also offers this base rewards rate, but it charges an annual fee that’s almost double this card’s. 
  • Flexible Redemption Options: You can use your rewards in many ways, including:
    • Cash back
    • Statement credits
    • Gift cards
    • Travel
    • Event tickets
    • Merchandise

With many of those options, including cash back, statement credits, and airline tickets, you can expect to get 1 cent per point in value.

  • Fees Are Relatively Light: The card charges a $49 annual fee after the first year, which is modest compared with many of the best travel cards on the market. And, like other travel cards, it doesn’t charge a foreign transaction fee. What makes it stand out, though, is that it doesn’t charge fees for balance transfers or for cash advances obtained at a Navy Federal branch or ATM. Cash advances obtained elsewhere cost a modest $0.50 for domestic transactions and $1 for foreign ones. 

Cons Explained

  • No One-Time Offer: Travel credit cards typically offer a one-time offer as an incentive to apply, and even travel cards with no annual fee often provide at least a couple hundred dollars worth of points or miles. These bonuses can help you get a head start on planning your next vacation. With the Navy Federal Visa Signature Flagship Rewards credit card, however, there’s no bonus, so it’ll take longer to earn enough rewards to cover a major travel expense.
  • Travel Benefits Are Limited: As a cardholder, you’ll get an application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck every four years, which is worth up to $100. That’s impressive considering most cards that provide this benefit charge higher annual fees. Aside from that, though, there aren’t any travel benefits beyond the standard insurance protections most travel cards offer. 
  • 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, and 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 qualify to join the credit union, this card won’t be an option.

This Card is Best For

  • Avatar for Rewards Strategist Persona
    Seeks to maximize points or miles earnings across spending categories
    Rewards Strategist
  • Avatar for Frequent Diner Persona
    Dines out regularly while traveling or in home city
    Frequent Diner
  • Avatar for Head of Household Persona
    Primarily responsible for household grocery and other major purchases
    Head of Household
  • Avatar for Driver/Commuter Persona
    Incurs gasoline or other commuting expenses each month
    Driver/Commuter

The Navy Federal Visa Signature Flagship Rewards credit card can be a good fit for members of the credit union who have very good or excellent credit. According to FICO, a very good credit score starts at 740.

This card could be especially beneficial for people who travel at least a few times per year and can take advantage of the higher rewards rate on travel purchases and Global Entry or TSA PreCheck. 

If you’re not a big spender, though, the card’s annual fee after the first year can make it less appealing. Also, if you’re looking for a big bonus—some cards offer several hundred dollars worth of value—this card may not be for you.

Navy Federal Visa Signature Flagship Rewards Credit Card One-Time Offer

The card doesn’t offer a one-time offer. If you’re looking for a card with a bonus, consider the Chase Sapphire Preferred, which offers 60,000 points after you spend $4,000 in the first three months. That’s worth $750 in travel when you book through Chase.

Rewards Earning Details

As a cardholder, you’ll earn 3 points per dollar on travel and 2 points per dollar on everything else. There aren’t many credit cards that offer a 2% base rewards rate, and the travel cards that do typically charge higher annual fees. In fact, many cards with a tiered rewards system like this provide just 1% back as a base rewards rate. 

This means that you can make this card your primary payment method without worrying about losing value in rewards.

You can also earn up to 15 points per dollar on top of the card’s rewards rate if you shop online through Navy Federal’s Member Deals platform. 

Rewards Redemption Details

The Navy Federal Visa Signature Flagship Rewards credit card provides plenty of redemption options, including:

  • Cash back: You can request a cash deposit into a Navy Federal savings account, though not a checking account.
  • Statement credits: This option, called Pay with Points, essentially provides a statement credit on your card account.
  • Gift cards: Use points to purchase gift cards or a Navy Federal Visa Awards card. 
  • Travel: Book flights, hotels, cruises, rental cars, vacation packages, tours, and attractions.
  • Event tickets: Redeem your points for concerts and other events.
  • Merchandise: Use points to buy items through Navy Federal’s catalog.
  • Annual fee credit: You can use 4,900 points to apply the cost of your annual fee every year after the first year.

If you use your points to get cash back, statement credits, airline tickets, or an annual fee credit, they’ll be worth 1 cent apiece. However, redemption value can vary with other options. Also, note that if you want cash back or a statement credit, you’ll need to redeem at least 5,000 points, which will give you $50.

How to Maximize Your Rewards

Plan to use the card as much as possible to maximize your rewards, but make it a goal to pay off your bill in full every month to avoid interest charges. Also, check the Member Deals portal regularly to see if you can take advantage of bonus rewards on purchases you’re planning to make.

When it’s time to use your rewards, check the redemption rate before you redeem to make sure you’re getting the maximum 1 cent per point in value. 

Navy Federal Visa Signature Flagship Rewards Credit Card’s Outstanding Benefits

  • Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee credit: These programs allow you to get expedited security screening when returning to the U.S. and in domestic airports, respectively While membership isn’t guaranteed, the card will cover up to $100 in application fees.
  • Cell phone protection: If you use your card to pay your monthly phone bill, you’ll get up to $250 in coverage twice per year if your phone is damaged or stolen. 
  • Lost luggage reimbursement: If your luggage is lost or stolen, you’ll get up to $3,000 in coverage to replace your belongings.

Standard Benefits

  • Rental car insurance (secondary coverage)
  • Travel accident insurance
  • Travel and emergency assistance
  • Extended warranty coverage
  • Roadside dispatch

Cardholder Experience

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

As a member of the credit union, you’ll have 24/7 access to customer service, which is standard for major credit card issuers. You’ll also get access to your FICO credit score, which can be beneficial for credit monitoring. Many other card issuers offer FICO score access, but not all of them. 

Security Features

You can lock and unlock your card from the Navy Federal mobile app, which can come in handy if you misplace your card or it’s stolen. The card’s other security features, which include fraud notifications and zero-liability fraud protection, are standard for the credit card industry.

Fees to Watch Out For

The Navy Federal Visa Signature Flagship Rewards credit card’s fees are lower than those of most travel credit cards. Its $49 annual fee after the first year is modest, given its high rewards rates, and there are no balance transfer or foreign transaction fees. There’s also no cash advance fee if you request the advance at an eligible branch or ATM. Even the late and returned payment fees on this card, which go as high as $20, are well below average.

Our Verdict

If you’re already a Navy Federal Credit Union member or eligible to become one, the Navy Federal Visa Signature Flagship Rewards credit card is worth considering. 

Its rewards rates are solid compared with other travel credit cards and can provide more long-term value than some cards that offer bonuses. Its other benefits aren’t life-changing, but they could come in handy, especially if you travel a lot.

Apply Now
For Navy Federal Visa Signature® Flagship Rewards
on Navy Federal Credit Union's Secured Site.
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CURRENT CARD
Navy Federal Visa Signature® Flagship Rewards
overall rating
4
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
Good - Excellent
Regular APR (%) 9.99% - 18% variable
Annual Fee $0 first year, then $49.
Rewards Earning Rate Earn 3X points on travel and 2X points 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.