Upgrading to the PenFed Platinum Rewards Visa Signature May Mean a Downgrade in Benefits

PenFed Visa SignaturePenFed has recently been sending out notices in the mail to many existing cardholders of the Penfed Platinum Rewards Visa card that they will soon be automatically upgraded to a Visa Signature card, touting such benefits as complimentary concierge service and other perks.

The new Visa Signature benefits do appear, however, to come at a cost–while the current Platinum Rewards Visa earns 5 points per dollar spent on gas, 3 points per dollar at the supermarket and 1 point per dollar on everything else, the Visa Signature card would only continue earning those rewards through 10/31/31. Afterwards, the Visa Signature card would only earn 3 points per dollar on gas, 2 points per dollar at supermarkets and 1 points per dollar on all other purchases.

While it seems odd that PenFed would allow the Visa version of the card to have a more lucrative reward structure than the Visa Signature, that is what one FW poster says PenFed plans to do (for now). (*See Update and comments below for updated information)

Given that the 3/2/1 reward structure would render the Visa Signature card virtually useless, it seems like the better bet would be to opt out of the conversion and hope to be grandfathered into the 5/3/1 rewards for as long as possible.

If you have received notice of the conversion already, you can opt out by either sending an email to OSC@Omaha.PenFed.org or by writing to the following address: Pentagon Federal Credit Union, Attn: Credit Card Dept., Box 247009, Omaha, NE 68124-7009.

Update 5/15/13: As pw points out in the comments below, it may still be possible to get the 5/3/1 rewards structure in a Visa Signature card, provided you have a qualifying PenFed product.

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  • pw

    It looks like it is still possible to get the 5/3/1 reward with the Signature version as long as cardholders have a qualifying product with PenFed.

    Quoting PenFed:
    “A qualifying PenFed product is defined as one of the following: active checking account with direct deposit ($250 minimum); any PenFed closed-end loan or Equity Line of Credit with a balance as of the date of review. Credit cards and lines of credit are not included.”


  • ccwatcher

    Thanks pw! That would make a lot more sense, rather than discouraging customers from upgrading to a premium product.

  • ccwatcher

    Based on this latest post from FW:

    “I called earlier this morning to do the opt out over phone. The lady said I’ve missed the May 10th deadline. But the bigger news is that Platinum Rewards card will cease taking new applications on June 1st. When the promotional period for the Visa Signature ends, the Platinum rewards program will also be sunset. Between then and the end of the year, all Platinum rewards card members will be either moved to the Visa Signature or to a similar-reward program without the Signature benefits. And finally, I was told that the max credit line combined across all credit cards for one member is 50K moving forward. Enforcement date for that is TBD.”

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