Amex Platinum Military | 75k Offer, $550 Fee Waived for Active Duty in 2020

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The Amex Gold card is annual fee waived for military. It's even better than the Amex Platinum for everyday spending on dining and groceries.

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The Amex Platinum military policy waives the $550 per year annual fee on the Amex Platinum card for active duty servicemembers and spouses.

Amex waives the annual fees on all of their personal credit cards to comply with the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) and the Military Lending Act (MLA).

If you or your spouse opens your Amex card while on active duty military service, you are eligible to have your account enrolled in Amex Military Lending Act benefits and pay no annual fees.

American Express Platinum for Military Servicemembers

American Express Platinum Military

My Top Recommended Amex Active Duty Military Card (Updated November 2020):

  • Learn how to apply for the Platinum Card from American Express
  • Annual fee of $550 waived for US military
  • 75,000 point welcome bonus when you spend $5000 in the first 6 months
  • 5x points on flights booked directly with airline or on AmexTravel.com
  • $200 annual Uber or Uber Eats Credit plus Uber VIP status
  • $100 Saks Fifth Avenue annual credit
  • Centurion and Priority Pass airport lounge access for free
  • No foreign transaction fees

Amex is very generous in their interpretation of the MLA and SCRA laws, extending very generous annual fee waivers to active, guard, and reserve military servicemembers and their military spouses. If you are on active duty orders for at least 30 days, you can qualify for the Amex Military Lending Act (MLA) benefits.

I've been an American Express Card Member since 2007. Today, I directly experience Amex's legendary support for the military with amazing customer service and credit card products. I have over a dozen Amex cards, all without ever paying an annual fee thanks to my military service.

My military spouse wife is also growing her AMEX collection without any annual fees. So far she has the Gold Card (Amex Gold card review for military), the Platinum card, the Hilton Honors Aspire card (full review of Hilton military credit cards), and the Delta Reserve card (review of Delta military credit cards.

My first credit card in college was an American Express card. Since then, I've opened up dozens of accounts with Amex, including Hilton Hotels cards with FREE Diamond Status, several Platinum cards, Marriott cards with free nights annually, and the AMEX Gold Card.

All the cards I carry from American Express come with an annual fee that is waived by the company exclusively for military SMs and spouses. That's means thousands of dollars saved every year.

Currently I save over $5000 a year but still get all the benefits of a cardholder. This is a great deal that all military servicemembers need to take advantage of!

Amex Platinum Military Experience

So there I was… On a deployment exercise, sitting at a bar on a military base near Gulfport, Louisiana. Behind the bar was a wooden, multi-tiered stand to keep cards of open tabs.

Of the 2 dozen or so cards on there, at least half were AMEX Platinum cards. It was comical. You could see them all shining in their metallic glory in this low-rent bar in backwater Louisiana.

But it makes total sense – Why would a military member NOT get the Platinum card when it has such a substantial welcome bonus and has annual benefits that have actual monetary value?

The benefits of this card easily justify it's $550 annual fee. But as an active duty military servicemember or spouse, you will not pay that $550 fee!

75,000 Point Welcome Bonus

To start off, the AMEX Platinum card offers a 75,000 AMEX Membership Reward (MR) point welcome bonus when you spend $5000 in the first 6 months of card membership. That's only $833 of spending per month required.

75,000 points can be cashed out through the AMEX Schwab Platinum card at 1.25 cents per point, making 75,000 AMEX worth $937.50 cash. You can also redeem MR points for Amazon credit, but only at .7 cents per point, making 75k points worth $525.

However, if you really want to make your 75k AMEX points go far, you should transfer them to a travel partner, like an airline or hotel. You can earn much more than 1.25 cents per point.

Amex Travel partners include:

Aer Lingus, AeroMexico, Air Canada, Alitalia, All Nipon Airways (ANA), Cathay Pacific (Asia Miles), Avianca, British Airways, Delta, El Al, Emirates, Etihad, Flying Blue (Air France / KLM), Iberia, Hawaiian Airlines, JetBlue, Qantas, Singapore Airlines, Virgin Atlantic, Choice Hotels, Hilton Honors, Marriott Bonvoy

AMEX Travel Partners

As an example, I recently cashed in 240,000 AMEX MR points for $27,000 first class flight from Hawaii to Tokyo, Japan. That's 11 cents per point! 11 cents per point means 75,000 AMEX MR points would be worth $8250.

$27,000 ANA First class tickets…

ANA booked with AMEX points

…or 240,000 AMEX MR points and $485 cash!

Even at a conservative 2 cents per point, the 75k AMEX MR welcome bonus is worth $1500!

$200 Uber Credit

Every month, like clockwork, I get a $15 credit in my Uber account, just for keeping my no annual fee AMEX Platinum card around. If you have more than one Platinum card or your spouse has a Platinum card, you can stack the credits as well. In December AMEX hands out $35 in Uber credit.

When I lived in the United Arab Emirates for 2 years and could not use the credit, I sent UberEats to family and friends back home. Don't let those credits go to waste! The credits do not carry over month to month.

$200 Airline Fee Credit

You pick an airline of your choice every year on the AMEX website. You can spend $200 on incidentals on that airline and get the reimbursement posted to your credit card statement.

$100 Global Entry Credit

Since all military personnel already have TSA Pre-Check with their DOD ID numbers (the number on the back of your CAC), it makes sense to apply for the Global Entry program. With the Platinum card, your $100 sign up fee is reimbursed.

Global Entry gives you fast track access to the US when returning from overseas. This can be really nice when coming back to the US from OCONUS. The last thing you want after an economy class flight is to wait in a long line for Customs and Immigration.

Centurion & Priority Pass Lounge Access

The Centurion Lounges offered by American Express have some of the best food and drink available in lounges in the US. You can get into all of them for free with your Platinum card.

The AMEX card also gives you complimentary membership in the Priority Pass program, giving you access to an additional 1200+ airport lounges around the world.

When you're travelling internationally or domestically, it's really nice to not have to worry about food, where you're going to charge your phone, or if the bathrooms are going to be nice. Lounge access takes you far from the madding crowds and gives you a little bit of peace in your travels.

Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite + Hilton Gold Status

The hotel elite status you get automatically just for having a Platinum card make this card a no-brainer. As a military servicemember, chances are pretty good that you travel for work or fun. Here are my top recommended hotel credit cards for military.

There is almost always an Marriott or Hilton property near your TDY location or your vacation spot. Since SPG and Marriott just merged you should have no problem cashing in on this benefit.

You will earn extra points when you stay at these properties because of your status and you might get freebies like breakfast, room upgrades, or other perks.

To get even better Marriott and Hilton Elite status, check out the no annual fee Marriott credit cards for military and automatic Diamond status (the highest offered) on the Hilton credit cards for military.

No Foreign Transaction Fees

The best luxury travel cards offer no foreign transaction fees. Most of the cards in my wallet have no foreign transaction fees. If you are stationed OCONUS or travel a lot OCONUS, you need to make sure you always have a no foreign transaction fee card in your wallet.

It just doesn't make sense to pay foreign transaction fees, especially when you get an awesome card like the AMEX Platinum with no annual fee. Do the math and don't pay extra when you do not have to!

Best Amex Cards for Military with No Annual Fees

Learn How to ApplyWelcome OfferAnnual Fee WaivedOther BenefitsValue
Platinum Card75,000$550$200 Uber + airline credit, 5x points on airfare$2000
AMEX Gold Card60,000$2504x points on groceries and restaurants$1500
Hilton Honors Aspire150,000$450Free night, Diamond Status, $250 credit$2000
Bonvoy Brilliant125,000$450Free night, $300 credit$1500
Delta Reserve75,000$450Annual companion benefit$2000

How I First Learned That the Amex Platinum is Free for Military

While on a TDY to France in 2013, a military buddy of mine (an Air Force E-6, Tech Sergeant) mentioned that he had the American Express Platinum card that comes with a $550 annual fee. He had access to great airport lounges in Amsterdam while we were travelling on TDY. While I paid $15 for an airport sandwich, he was enjoying free food and drink courtesy of AMEX.

He also told me about the $200 of airline fees AMEX reimbursed annually. I thought the rewards program sounded good and the benefits were great, but I couldn't justify that insanely high annual fee. $550 a year was WAY too much money for a young lieutenant!

However, he mentioned to me that he wasn't paying any annual fee because AMEX had waived the fee under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act, a law Congress passed in 2003. I thought this was too good to be true so I had to do some more research.

The SCRA has a long history dating back to the Civil War and it protects servicemembers' from many legal and financial troubles that they could encounter while serving their nation both at home and overseas.

The SCRA has several sections covering taxes, lawsuits, and outstanding debt. Credit card companies are only legally required to keep your interest rate below 6% on any outstanding debt you have with them BEFORE you enter military service.

I had never heard of a credit card company waiving annual fees because of the SCRA so I had to investigate further. Plus I had recently become a cardholder (again) at AMEX and I would definitely remain a cardholder for much longer if I knew I wouldn't have to pay annual fees.

AMEX Active Duty MLA and SCRA

After further research, I discovered that American Express waives annual membership fees for active duty military servicemembers. This includes the $550 per year AMEX Platinum card and all of the other personal credit and charge cards in the AMEX portfolio.

AMEX decided that they are going to be a true class act and go beyond their legal requirements. For the duration of your active duty military service, they will waive the following fees:

American Express Credit Cards Military Discount
  • Annual membership fees ($5000+ savings for my 12 cards)
  • Overlimit fees
  • Late Payment fees
  • Returned Payment fees
  • Statement Copy Request fees

Here's the email I received from AMEX once my active duty status had been verified:

Dear Spencer

To support the men and women who serve in the United States Armed Forces, we are handling your account referenced above in accordance with the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act. The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act provides for a maximum annual interest rate of 6% per year on loans you received before starting active military duty.

As of today, your account does not have a balance owed which generates interest charges so there is no eligible balance. However, we have waived the following fees on the account for the duration of your active military duty:

* Annual Membership fees
* Overlimit fees
* Late Payment fees
* Returned Payment fees
* Statement Copy Request fees

This completes our review of this account, if there are any additional accounts you would like reviewed for Servicemembers Civil Relief Act benefits, please call us at 1-800-253-1720. If you're outside the United States, call us collect at 1-336-393-1111.

We are grateful for the service and devotion you have shown to our country.

Sincerely,

American Express Customer Care

Here is the MLA statement from the AMEX Cardmember agreement:

Military Lending Act – Federal law provides important protections to members of the Armed Forces and their dependents relating to extensions of consumer credit. In general, the cost of consumer credit to a member of the Armed Forces and his or her dependent may not exceed an annual percentage rate of 36 percent.

This rate must include, as applicable to the credit transaction or account: the costs associated with credit insurance premiums; fees for ancillary products sold in connection with the credit transaction; any application fee charged (other than certain application fees for specified credit transactions or accounts); and any participation fee (other than certain participation fees for a credit card account).

To listen to this statement, as well as a description of your payment obligation for this Account, call us at 855-531-0379. If you are a covered borrower, the Claims Resolution section of this Agreement will not apply to you in connection with this Account. Instead, the Claims Resolution for Covered Borrowers section will apply.

How to Apply for AMEX MLA Benefits

The AMEX MLA process is automatic. When you apply for a card (like the AMEX Platinum) your Social Security number is run against the MLA database here.

If the credit applicant pops positive on the MLA database (i.e., they are a military SM or a military spouse), then that SSN will be identified as a “covered borrower” and your annual fees will be waived, just as it has been for the past 10+ years.

All of my (active duty US servicemember) and my wife’s (civilian military spouse) card agreements opened after Oct 2017 (when MLA started being enforced) with AMEX state “You have been identified as a ‘Covered Borrower’ under Military Lending Act”.

If you want to see if your account has been identified, follow these steps:

  1. Go to your AMEX Account Management page.
  2. At the bottom there is a link to “Request Cardmember Agreement”
  3. In the agreement you should see the text: “You have been identified as a ‘Covered Borrower' under Military Lending Act.” on the bottom of page 2.

How to Get AMEX SCRA Benefits

Please note you only need to apply for AMEX SCRA benefits if you opened the account BEFORE active duty military service. If you open your AMEX account while on active duty military service, you will automatically be enrolled in AMEX Military Lending Act.

To have AMEX handle your account in accordance with the SCRA, you can go 2 ways: call AMEX or apply online. The online application is easy and they are quick to respond. Follow this 3 step process or click the picture:

  1. Log in to your account, click “Account Services”
  2. Click “Card Management” on the left
  3. Click “Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) Benefits”
AMEX Platinum Military

If you want to call, simply dial the number on the back of your card or 1-800-528-4800. Tell them you are serving on active duty military and had heard that AMEX offers to handle your account in accordance with the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act.

You will be asked 5-10 questions about your situation, such as when you entered active duty and how long your commitment is.

This information is then verified by AMEX before they approve your account for the fee waivers. The entire process took about 6 weeks for me, from phone call to receiving the secure message that my account had been approved.

You can check your eligibility before you even apply at the official DOD SCRA and MLA websites here and here.

AMEX SCRA Denial

If you have any issues with an Amex SCRA denial, check out this post to resolve it.

9+ Years of Amex Military Fee Waivers

Just a quick update in 2020 here – I've had AMEX cards since 2012. I have never been charged an annual fee.

Imagine if I keep all the cards I listed above for another 8 years of active duty military service. That would be over $40,000 in annual fees waived over the next 8 years.

Think of all the free airport lounges I've been in, the hotels I've been upgraded at, and the upgraded flights I've taken in those 7 years! The value of this benefit for military servicemembers is truly astronomical.

In December every year I receive over $210 of Uber Cash from my 6 AMEX Platinum cards. That's at least a few free meals from a restaurant!

Fee Waiver Success Stories

Fellow servicemembers report thousands of dollars of fees refunded and excellent cards obtained with no annual fees. Just read some of the dozens of comments below this post. Here's a few highlights:

Brian from the Army sent me this email on Christmas Eve, 2013:

Wanted to thank you for your posts about American Express's unique support for SCRA. I called AMEX last month (Nov '13) and applied to have my account associated with the program. Last week I received $2500 in returned fees (annual fees, interest charges, etc…), all paid to AMEX over the last 10 years as a Delta AMEX card member. Today I just applied for the AMEX Blue Preferred Card and according to customer service, the annual fee is waived. Thank you again for sharing and for the support you've provided to all Servicemen.

So awesome to hear, Brian!

Kevin reported in 2016 getting over $8000 back!

I was looking around the AMEX website and came across their SCRA link. I have the AMEX Blue card and recently opened up an AMEX Platinum account…mostly for the airport lounge access. A friend of mine said AMEX will waive the annual fee for active military, which is a hefty $495 annual fee. I didn’t even speak to anyone, just clicked on the link. This was March 19th. I received an email saying I had a message in the secure message center which in turn said my “issue” has been resolved and I would be receiving written confirmation of the results. On April 2nd, I started downloading transactions through Quicken and had several from American Express. They were all refunds in varying amounts, ranging from $50 all the way to $5,382.61. The total amount I received back was $8,604.05. I actually have a credit of nearly $1,900! I was happy, but at the same time concerned a mistake had been made. I’ve had an AMEX account since 2002 and been active army since 1999, so I’ve amassed some fees, however when I called to confirm, I was told, yes, this is all correct, no errors made. Needless to say, I am forever dedicated to AMEX.

Since writing this post nearly 5 years ago, I've received hundreds of responses from military servicemembers getting their fees waived and enjoying the benefits of great cards like the AMEX Platinum.

There are also lots of posts on Reddit describing the fees AMEX has waived for military personnel.

Best AMEX Cards Free for US Military

American Express has the best travel reward credit card lineup of any of the major credit card companies. These cards include:

With just these 4 cards, you get $1900 of annual fees waived and you get perks like:

  • Diamond Status at all Hilton Hotels
  • Free airport lounge access
  • $450 per year of airline fee credits
  • $200 per year of Uber credits
  • Gold Elite Status at SPG, Marriott, and Ritz Carlton Hotels
  • 360,000+ points in welcome bonuses
  • 4x points on dining, groceries
  • 5x points on airfare

Currently, I have the following American Express cards, all with the annual fees waived:

Total annual fees waived: $5810

With these cards I earned over 250,000 Hilton points, 270,000 AMEX Membership Reward Points, 410,000 Marriott Bonvoy points, and 75,000 Delta Skymiles.

Valued at a conservative 1.5 cents per point, that's $25,200 of travel value, just from the welcome bonuses.

Authorized User

Most of the time military spouses can get their AMEX Platinum card annual fees waived without adding the active duty servicemembers as an authorized user to the account.

Personally, my wife has 3 AMEX cards now and had the annual fees waived on all of them without adding me (the military person) as an authorized user.

Once the SCRA or MLA benefits are applied to the first personal AMEX credit or charge card, usually you don't need to apply for the benefits again – they are automatically applied to future accounts you open.

Final Thoughts

American Express offers a unique opportunity to US servicemembers to earn a ton of Membership Rewards points, Marriott Bonvoy points, Hilton Honors points, and Delta Skymiles.

You can earn hundreds of thousands of points in welcome bonuses and points just for doing your ordinary spending with your AMEX cards AND pay no annual fee.

These no annual fee cards can open up business/first class travel opportunities and free hotel stays that would cost you thousands if you paid cash.

Take advantage of your AMEX Platinum military benefits and get the best no annual fee AMEX Platinum card now:

The Platinum Card from American Express

Amex Platinum Military

Next, sign up for my 100% free, 5 day course on how to maximize your SCRA and MLA travel credit card benefits! You can also check out the other credit cards that waive annual fees for military.

AMEX Platinum Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Is American Express Platinum free for military?

Yes! The AMEX Platinum card for US military servicemembers AND their spouses has NO annual fee. The normal $550 annual fee is waived under AMEX's interpretation of the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) law.

Where can I apply for the AMEX Platinum?

Learn how to apply for the AMEX Platinum card here.

What credit score is needed for Amex Platinum?

Usually the Platinum Card for American Express requires good to excellent credit. That means at least 700 points out of a maximum 850 FICO score. You can check your credit score fore free with Credit Karma or Credit Sesame.

Does American Express waive annual fees for military spouses?

Yes, AMEX waives all of their annual fees, including on the Platinum card, for US military spouses.

How does AMEX waive annual fee for military?

AMEX waives the annual fee on all of their cards, including the AMEX Platinum. Cards opened while on active duty are waived with Military Lending Act (MLA). Cards opened before active duty are waived with SCRA.

Is the AMEX Platinum card metal?

Oh yeah! The AMEX Platinum card is made out of metal and will even rust if left in water. The card makes a satisfying “thunk” sound when you throw it down. You'll want to pick up the bill for your friends just to drop it on the table!

How do I apply for AMEX MLA benefits?

AMEX MLA benefits are automatically applied for “covered borrowers,” which includes active duty military servicemembers and their spouses. If your fees are not waived and you think you should qualify based on military service, call the number on the back of your card or start a secure chat on AmericanExpress.com

How do you know if you are an AMEX “covered borrower”?

Go to your AMEX Account Management page. At the bottom there is a link to “Request Cardmember Agreement” In the agreement you should see the text: “You have been identified as a ‘Covered Borrower' under Military Lending Act.”

How to get AMEX Platinum fee waived?

The easiest way to get your AMEX Platinum annual fee waived is apply and open the card while on active duty military servicemember or while married to an active duty servicemember.

Which credit cards are fee waived for military?

Amex, Chase, Citi, and US Bank all waive their annual fees for credit cards opened after starting active duty military service. You can see the full list of fee waived credit cards for military.

144 thoughts on “Amex Platinum Military | 75k Offer, $550 Fee Waived for Active Duty in 2020”

  1. AMEX is not waiving the annual fee for business cards under the Military Lending Act. As of January 2020, AMEX is enforcing the distinction between new business card accounts that were opened prior to military service under the SCRA and those accounts opened after military service under the MLA. AMEX declined to waive the annual fee for my recently opened business AMEX card because AMEX is only applying the MLA to personal credit cards and loans.

    Reply
    • Correct, I have updated all of my posts and material to reflect this recent change. If you opened an AMEX business card before January 2020, it was fee waived under SCRA and still is. Now with the new AMEX MLA policy, AMEX business card annual fees are not waived. This is in line with Chase’s MLA policy.

      Reply
  2. Question for the crowd, iv seen that it has been asked, wonder what the outcome was. Im going on active orders very soon, looking to get the platinum for the obvious benefits. My question is are they going to ring me up for $550 after my orders end, How frequently do they audit their cards. When i retire in 4 yrs am i going to begin paying, or is this a one and done deal showing proof of orders. I know most cant specifically state what they will and will not do, but has anyone had this card on active order and have since gone off and kept the card waiver free. and if so for how long. Thanks

    Reply
  3. Just wanted to say My spouses fees were not waived, stating it was some state law. We applied when I came on to active duty in Florida.

    Reply
  4. Question regarding reservists: 30+ days, roger got it. Any DPs on whether the entire AF will be waived or just a prorated amount to cover the time on AD orders? Been in for 10 years, AFs for 3 years, with AD orders 6+ months never thought I would be eligible.

    Thanks!

    Reply
      • Great thanks! Have you known them to go retroactive and refund past fees? At least one story on your page mentions it. Thanks!

        Reply
        • Yes, lot’s of data points that they go back to your account opening and waive all fees charged you if you have 30+ day active duty orders. Let us know how your experience goes, this site thrives on good data from servicemembers of all activation levels!

          Reply
  5. Thank you for all of this information that you have put together. What happens to all of your cards when you retire from Active Duty? Will they begin charging you the $5,800+ a year of fees or will you cancel all of your cards?

    Reply
    • I will keep the cards I’m getting value from in excess of the annual fees and close the accounts I no longer need. I will probably keep at least 1 type of card open, for example a Marriott, Hilton, AMEX Platinum, Chase Sapphire Reserve, Hyatt, IHG, AMEX Gold. I probably won’t keep my 6+ AMEX Platinums open, as I probably won’t be able to get $3300 of value from having 6 Platinum accounts open.

      Reply
  6. Thank you so much for posting this info. I am a military spouse and have a Delta Amex, I added my hubby (active duty Army) when we got married as an additional card holder. I applied thru the online process and was approved in less than 30 days. We love our Amex, but this makes the deal a little sweeter!

    Reply
  7. Hello,
    So I am with Air Nation Guard and I will be in title 10 active duty status for 6 months. If I apply for AMEX platinum would my fee be waived? If so, once my orders are finished would I get charged with the fees?

    Reply
    • Yes, during your Title 10 service you are eligible for SCRA benefits. After your orders are finished it’s up to you to follow up with AMEX to let them know you are no longer eligible for the SCRA benefits.

      Reply
  8. It is amazing you have all these AMEX cards. I am definitely following your suit. I have a few questions.
    I found out you can have 5 AMEX cards after I did my own research. I know Platinum, Gold, and Green cards are charge cards so they don’t count but how did you end up with more than 5 AMEX cards. Also, you have 2 separate platinum card accounts? (including one from the upgrade)?

    The second question is whether you have looked at cards from different issuers besides Chase and AMEX. It appears Citi Prestige and US Bank Altitude Reserve also waive the annual fees and they do have annual travel credits. I am not sure about Capital Venture card. Have you considered those already or do you already own them?

    Thanks in advance.

    Reply
    • Justin – you are correct that 5 AMEX credit cards (not charge cards, as you mentioned) appears to be the limit. I have not exceeded this limit, as I only have Hilton Aspire, Hilton Honors card, 2 Marriott Bonvoy Brilliants, and a Bonvoy Business. The Delta Reserve card listed above is on my wife’s account.

      Yes, I have multiple Platinum cards due to upgrades and co-branded cards like the Ameriprise and Schwab Platinums.

      Correct – Citi Prestige is waiving my annual fee and US Bank Altitude Reserve also reportedly waives annual fees but I have yet to look at it yet. I have a Capital One Venture Military article here.

      Reply
        • It depends on the co-branded card. Some are marketed as charge cards, some as credit cards. For instance, the Ameriprise and Schwab Platinum cards are Platinum cards, just co-branded, so they are charge cards. The AMEX Bonvoy Brilliant and AMEX Hilton Honors Aspire cards are co-branded cards but they are credit cards. It depends on the co-brand and the underlying product.

          Reply
      • Can anyone (active duty) w/the US Bank Altitude Reserve confirm USBank waives annual fee. Plz provide date credit card account open and the process for the community. Thanks

        Reply
      • Both my (AD mil) and spouse’s US Bank Altitude Reserve have annual fees waived automatically since we were both identified as “Covered Borrowers” during applications… Both applied/approved in 2018 with subsequent annual renewals waived. Much like Chase (and now AMEX it seems), it’s an auto-check during application.

        Reply
  9. Hello,
    The SCRA states that the loan rates for all credit cards you had PRIOR to joining the military would be dropped to a 6% interest rate, not cards you get while in the military. If I apply now for the AMEX platinum card while on active duty will they waive the yearly fee and give me an interest rate of 6% even know I will be getting this card while on active duty and not prior?

    Reply
    • Yes, AMEX waives fees and lowers your interest rate to 0% on all AMEX card accounts opened before or during active duty military service. If you apply now for the AMEX Platinum card while on active duty they will waive the yearly fee.

      Reply
  10. I was in the air force, I applied and got the amex platinum while I was serving. I just left the military 2 months ago but they still have not charged me for the $450 annual fee. looking to get the amex gold card. will they waive the fees automatically since in their records I have SCRA benefits or will I have to apply for SCRA and get rejected since I left the service ?

    Reply
    • They will waive fees automatically but they will probably review your account within a year and remove your SCRA benefits unless you can show active duty orders. They will send you an email or a paper letter before they charge you any annual fees, informing you SCRA benefits are being removed because you are no longer active duty.

      Reply
  11. Did Amex provide you with the welcome bonus for all those cards? Also, is Amex strict on the 5/24 rule? Lastly, did you have to submit the SCRA each time or did they keep the first application on file for you?

    Reply
    • Great questions, keep them coming!

      If they are different credit/charge card products, then yes, I have received bonuses for all of these cards I’ve opened and met the minimum spend on. For instance the AMEX Hilton Honors Aspire is different than the AMEX Hilton Honors Surpass card. Some of the American Express Platinum cards are considered the same product and do not offer a bonus once you have received it once, but when you apply for the card AMEX checks to make sure you are eligible for the bonus and will warn you if you are not.

      AMEX does NOT have a 5/24 rule. That is a Chase card rule only. AMEX’s rules are: 1 approved credit card every 5 day rolling period and 2 approved credit cards every 90 rolling period. Note that this only applies to credit cards and not their charge cards (like the Platinum). Also you can only have a maximum of 5 AMEX credit cards but unlimited AMEX charge cards (again, like the Platinum).

      Finally, AMEX keeps your SCRA status on file. Once you apply, you’re automatically in for all future cards. Saves everyone time and stress! I have NEVER had an annual fee charged on an AMEX card while on active duty military service.

      Reply
      • That’s good to hear. I have the Amex Platinum, Delta Reserve, and Hilton Aspire. I was planning on getting the Delta Platinum and Hilton surpass in the near future. Thanks for the heads up on the 5/24.

        Reply
      • So I have the platinum, Hilton Aspire and Delta reserve. I applied for the Delta Platinum but got rejected right off the bat. I did open Hilton Aspire and Delta reserve within the last 90 days but I thought that the platinums don’t count against the quota.

        Also, I heard that the additional card holders don’t count against me. Fact or fiction?

        Lastly, for spouses, does Amex merely look at your orders? Or do they ask for other substantiating documents?

        Reply
        • So you opened and were approved for two AMEX credit cards in the last 90 days? Then yeah, you fall under the “2 approved credit cards every 90 day rule” that AMEX has. When I said cards like the “Platinum” don’t fall under this rule, I meant the Platinum Card from American Express, which is a charge card, and very different from the American Express Delta Platinum Card, which is a credit card.

          What do you mean “additional card holders don’t count against me?” If you’re asking are you charged annual fees for them, the answer is NO, there are no annual fees for additional cardmembers if you have AMEX SCRA benefits.

          For spouses, it depends. Most of the time they just run a database check in the background to determine their eligibility and you do not need to show orders. If you do need to show orders, PCS orders with their name on it should be sufficient.

          Reply
          • For clarification regarding whether “additional cardholders count against me”, I was referring to cases where I had my spouse as an additional cardholder, if that counted towards the 2 cards in 90
            Days for 5/24..

            Reply
  12. Hi there! A quick question for you. I am a military spouse and just applied (and received) the Amex Platinum Delta Skymiles credit card. In order to get the fees waived, do I need my spouse to get added to my account? And if he were to do this, does that mean he cannot later get his own card and get the benefit of points (skymiles)? TIA.

    Reply
    • Apply for the AMEX SCRA benefits as described above in the 3 step process. If AMEX waived your fees (because you live in a community property state or another reason), then no need to add the active duty husband.

      This was the case in my civilian wife’s situation. She has AMEX cards with the fees waived and I (the military servicemember) am not an authorized user on the account.

      If AMEX does not waive the fees, then add the active duty servicemember as an authorized user and they should. Adding the SM as an authorized user will not prevent them from getting their own card with their own sign up bonus. Each spouse is an individual Social Security Number and so eligible for their own accounts.

      Reply
      • Sorry, just a follow-up to this. When I go online to add an additional card to my Amex account (I was going to do it, just wanted to see what the process was), it has a space for SSN#. It is not required, but it does say that you must submit it within 30 days. Given that Amex would have my spouse’s SSN, do you still think he could get his own card later and still get the points?

        Reply
  13. I am in the AF Reserves. I had my AMEX Platinum card fees waived, and have submitted the same documents for the AMEX Aspire card. AMEX will not provide me a fee waiver. Is there anything else I can submit to them that they are looking for? Note: I do NOT have active duty orders at this time nor did I have active duty orders when I had my fees waived for AMEX Platinum.

    Reply
  14. Do you have any experience/trouble applying for cards during an OCONUS PCS? I don’t know how the credit card companies handle APO addresses or what opportunities exist to meet minimum spends.

    Reply
  15. Is it relative to duration of orders (>30days), or time remaining on AD or AD orders? And is it possible to do in conjunction with a referral? I have a referral from a friend who will benefit from this but it seems as though the link is an independent application link and does not factor in any military benefit.

    Reply
  16. I will be separating from the military in a couple of months. Will the anual fee still be waived after I separate? I think I know the answer but I just want clarification. Thank you.

    Reply
    • Based on recent data points AMEX will continue to waive the annual fees for at least a few years after you leave active duty. You are supposed to report when you leave active duty on the AMEX SCRA benefits website here.

      Reply
  17. – My (military) spouse (not military) opened the AMEX Bonvoy Marriott Business Card
    – AmEx charged us the annual fee ($125) for the card
    – The customer service line is stating that I could send proof of military service by mail or fax to an office in TX BUT that I would still probably be charged the fee
    – Anyone with luck getting an annual fee waived on AMEX business cards for spouses?
    – Do I need to add myself as an additional user?
    – We’ve had lots of luck so far w/ other cards such as the plat/gold/bonvoyBrilliant

    THANKS!

    Reply
    • What state do you live in? You may need to add yourself as an authorized user to get the fees waived if you are not in a community property state. The community property states are: Louisiana, Arizona, California, Texas, Washington, Idaho, Nevada, New Mexico, and Wisconsin.

      Reply
  18. Spencer,

    Thanks for your site. What a wonderful resource! Wish there was something like this around back when I was a new 2d Lt! I just applied for the American Express Platinum card using your link and look forward to following more of your advice!

    Reply
    • Thank you for the kind words and your support! I wish I had known about this stuff when I was a 2d Lt as well, which is part of the reason I started the site.

      Reply
      • Do you have experience with AMEX personal loans and reduction or elimination of interest charges with SCRA benefits? I have the Platinum charge card per your advice and recently was offered a loan at 8% for $25k. I’m curious what those loan rates go to with the benefits. 2nd question, do the credit card rates go to 4% with AMEX like they do for Chase and USAA?

        Reply
      • Hey Spencer,

        I’m a recently commissioned Air Force 2d Lt out of ROTC and am waiting to go on active duty in a couple months. Should I apply to the AMEX card right before I go on active duty or after to get the fees waived properly? Also would you recommend starting with the AMEX Platinum or Chase Sapphire Preferred then upgrade to Reserve?

        Thank so much for your advice. Just wanted to set myself up right as I enter the service as you mentioned above.

        Reply
        • Hey Rikki

          Congrats on commissioning! I commissioned myself out of AFROTC in 2010. It’s been a great ten years.

          I would wait on all the cards until you are official EAD and on active duty orders. Check your MLA status here: https://mla.dmdc.osd.mil/

          Right now the Chase Sapphire Preferred is doing a huge 80k bonus. It will probably be that way at least until the end of 2020. I recommend you get a Sapphire Preferred first, then an Amex Platinum, then hit the rest of the Chase cards you want while you are under 5/24. Upgrade your CSP to a CSR after 1 year.

          Your first PCS and initial training TDYs are a great time to rack up some easy minimum spend. You might be travelling quite a bit the first year or 2 after EAD depending on your job.

          Again, wait until officially on active duty. This isn’t something you want to screw up if you know better now.

          Best of luck, let us all know how it goes!

          -Spencer

          Reply
  19. Does anyone know if this applies to the Amex Centurion? If someone were to be invited, would the $2500 a year fee be waived?

    Reply
    • Probably yes, but no data points yet on this one. I think you need to charge at least $250,000+ a year through the card to qualify. Way out of my league!

      Reply
  20. Spencer,

    I am concerned with the difference in language they used in my email. They used suppressed instead of waived. Have you seen this before?

    To support the men and women who serve in the United States Armed Forces, we are handling your account referenced above in accordance with the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act.

    The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act provides for a maximum annual interest rate of 6% per year on loans you received before starting active military duty. As of today, your account does not have a balance owed which generates interest charges so there is no eligible balance. However, we have suppressed the following fees from billing on your account statement for the duration of your active military duty:
    Annual Membership fees
    Overlimit fees
    Late Payment fees
    Returned Payment fees
    Statement Copy Request fees

    Reply
  21. I have heard that American Express goes above and beyond to support military spouses whose service member is not listed on the account. Is this true?

    Reply
    • Call the SCRA line or do the online process. Submit a copy of your orders if requested and you should get the fee waived. Please let me know if it works!

      There’s no harm in trying now. If it doesn’t work just wait until the next time you’re on active duty orders and submit again.

      Reply
  22. Thank you for the information. As far as I know, all cards still maintain their full benefits and you can get all the benefits with none of the annual fees. Isn’t it a great deal?

    Reply
  23. In the post, it says that reserve members also qualify for this waiver.
    Does the active reservist, not active duty, but drilling monthly qualify for this $550 waiver ?

    Reply
      • Hello
        What about foreign military officers under NATO travel orders stationed in the USA in a joint USA military program? We Will be living here for 4 years and issued US military number.

        Reply
        • Yes, you should be covered. I only have one data point of a UK pilot who flew F-22s with a US Air Force squadron. He was able to pick up the AMEX Platinum with the fees waived. He just sent in his US military orders when asked by AMEX. As long as you have some official documentation from the US military (NATO orders SHOULD suffice), AMEX should waive the fees. Let us all know how it goes!

          Reply
  24. Does the active reservist also qualify for the $550 annual fee waiver for AMEX Platinum card ? Do you have to apply and get the credit card first and then request the fee waiver ?

    Reply
    • Yes! Absolutely. You just need to be on active orders for a minimum of 30 days. Submit the orders to AMEX through their SCRA page. You can also apply for the card and then submit your 30+ day orders when you get them and AMEX should reimburse you for the annual fee.

      Reply
  25. My husband has been active duty for 14 years but only recently found out about the AMEX fee waivers. He now has a new Platinum card with fees waived. Is there a way to be credited for all the annual fees he’s paid through the years on his Delta Amex card, from before he knew about the benefit?

    Reply
  26. As a DoD Civilian that is serving overseas working along side the active duty member, am I eligible for the AMEX Platinum card under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) ?

    Reply
  27. Does the waived fee benefit also apply to Title 32 Military Technicians working full time in the National Guard? As mentioned by someone else previously, I would also be able to provide an LES for proof – but technicians do not have orders like a normal title 10 active duty service-member would.

    Reply
  28. does the platinum and gold card need to be plaid off in full monthly for active duty ? if so how does that work when they waive late fees ? I haven’t been able to find a cut and dry answer.

    Reply
    • Yes, they are charge cards and need to be paid monthly. You cannot carry a balance like a credit card. You should be doing this anyways and never carry a balance unless it’s no interest.

      Reply
  29. So I applied via the SCRA link after opening up a Platinum card account. I was then contacted and told I needed to supply my military orders. I can upload my LES or PCS orders but does anyone know what they want? Has anyone else had this issue?

    Reply
  30. I was looking around the AMEX website and came across their SCRA link. I have the AMEX Blue card and recently opened up an AMEX Platinum account…mostly for the airport lounge access. A friend of mine said AMEX will waive the annual fee for active military, which is a hefty $495 annual fee. I didn’t even speak to anyone, just clicked on the link. This was March 19th. I received an email saying I had a message in the secure message center which in turn said my “issue” has been resolved and I would be receiving written confirmation of the results. On April 2nd, I started downloading transactions through Quicken and had several from American Express. They were all refunds in varying amounts, ranging from $50 all the way to $5,382.61. The total amount I received back was $8,604.05. I actually have a credit of nearly $1,900! I was happy, but at the same time concerned a mistake had been made. I’ve had an AMEX account since 2002 and been active army since 1999, so I’ve amassed some fees, however when I called to confirm, I was told, yes, this is all correct, no errors made. Needless to say, I am forever dedicated to AMEX.

    Reply
  31. Worked like a charm for me by simply filling out the form online. It still lists under SCRA. I think we can all agree that SCRA does not “really” cover annual fees but that’s how you will find it from AMEX website so go for it.

    Reply
  32. I know this post is pretty old, but I wanted to add that you can also have the SCRA benefits added to your card by filling out a form online — no need to call and speak with someone, and no need to fill out any paperwork and send it back. Log in to your account online, click on Account Services at the top of the screen, then select Inquiry and Dispute Center on the left side of the screen. Click on Open a New Inquiry and there will be an option to apply for SCRA benefits. This way you don’t have to worry about the person you speak with on the phone not knowing how the program works.

    Reply
  33. Has anyone had luck getting annual fees waived as a drill status guardsman or traditional guardsman? I’m on a deployable status and end up on active orders for short periods of time but not active duty.

    Reply
  34. I’m in the process of waiting for their official answer, but the first lady (level III escalation) simply told me they verify service via SCRA, but that AMEX’s policy of waiving fees and reimbursing past fees was “restricted” info and handled on case-by-case basis. The second lady I spoke to (level I) told me indeed the fee is waived, and that she knew this based on training she had received, and that not all employees know about the policy. Now, what I’m most interested in finding out (but the second lady didn’t have an answer for) is their exact policy on retroactively reimbursing fees. I’ve been a cardholder since 1993, and have been in the military since 1997. Something tells me there is an upper limit as to how much they’ll reimburse.

    Reply
  35. I just called and was told it only applies to financing fees and late fees, NOT the annual fees. I may try again with a different representative but she said she talked to her supervisor. Any tips for the next time I call? Don’t have a card yet, but don’t want to pay the fee on a chance.

    Reply
  36. I wish people would stop saying this is a SCRA benefit. It is not a SCRA benefit, as AMEX fee waiver is of its own volition and not anything with in SCRA.

    Reply
    • Tim, you are correct that annual fee waiver is not a benefit included in the SCRA federal law. However, as part of verifying that you are on active duty military orders to comply with the SCRA law, AMEX has chosen to waive annual fees. Therefore, it’s just easier to ask them to handle your account in accordance with the SCRA.

      Reply
      • Spencer, I can understand the “simpler” point you make, but it is important to be putting out accurate information, especially since many people are making the wrong assumption on linking the two (and sending me email links to your and other people’s sites citing it as fact). Again, asking American Express to handle your account in accordance with SCRA does not automatically guarantee fee waiver, since it is not mandated in SCRA to do so.

        Reply
        • When I called Amex I just said “I hear you waive fees for people in the military”. I didn’t mention SCRA. Without hesitating, the agent said “yes we do”. He asked a few questions and within 5 minutes I was done. You don’t have to mention SCRA, talk about legal, regulatory or any other requirements. Amex is generous to have this policy and has made it very easy to take advantage of it. No hardcore negotiating tactics are necessary.

          A downside of publicizing that this is “in accordance with the SCRA” could make people think that other credit card companies have to abide by the same policy Amex does. Generally, circulation of this false information would be pretty benign but annoying. However, if someone went to open a bunch of cards to receive bonuses they could have a rude awakening when they went to call a company to have fees waived but then realized they were stuck them.

          Reply
  37. I applied last Fall and was accepted into the program. However this Spring they put an interest charge on my account and said they wouldn’t remove it because the SCRA only applies to debt incurred prior to service. While that is the letter ofhe law, that is a change from their prior policy, and it is very hard to find any information online abou the terms of the agreement.

    Reply
    • Anon, how is getting charged interest while on active duty a change in policy? SCRA is pretty straight forward on interest rate charges. Everyone receives terms of agreement with their credit card, and it is easily found on AMEX’s website and through your online account.

      Reply
  38. Has anyone with SCRA benefits already applied to their account tried adding their wife to their account with a credit card like the AMEX platinum. Will they waive her annual fee because its associated with your account? Thanks

    Reply
      • Hi

        I spoke with a rep today and he suggested I add my husband’s card to the program as well, so I say go for it …

        Reply
    • If the servicemember is on the account as the primary or an authorized user, annual fees should be waived. Even if the primary account holder is a active duty dependent and the active duty servicemember is added as an authorized user.

      Reply
  39. Tara, was this resolved in your favor? I just learned about this waiver and I’m waiting for a good welcome offer to jump into this card (something over 25k at least). I’m hoping amex hasn’t changed its policy of fee waiver, and hoping some good incentives pop up to offset the apparent loss of some amex platinum airline lounge access.

    Reply
  40. Unfortunately, as of 11 February 2014, AMEX is now saying it will only credit the fees for deployed servicemembers. Just being active duty is not good enough. At least that is what the customer service guy said when I tried to apply.

    Reply
  41. It worked. I’m telling you right now… Absolute customer for life. Nice move on Americans Express’s part… I’m pretty brand loyal. :)

    Reply
  42. My wife and I are both active duty and have had the AMEX Platinum for many years. If you travel a lot, you can’t beat the perks. We called AMEX over the summer and asked about having the fee’s waived. It took two months, but we were credited $5,515, which covered all of our past membership fees. Way to go AMEX!

    Reply
  43. Quick feedback: I already have a AMEX Costco card and I have a call to AMEX to see about applying for the Platinum and waiving the fees. They told me I had to apply first. So I took the plunge and did. They approved both my wife and I for the cards… however;

    IMPORTANT: for those in FPO/APO – make sure that they send your cards via USPS. Otherwise, they will try to send via UPS and they will be RTS. My cards haven’t even arrived yet (and it’s been over a month).

    Anyways, beside all that, I called and requested the AD fee waiver and the operator knew EXACTLY what I was talking about. She took all my info and added my new cards and existing card. I DID have to pay the $625 annual fee (another gamble), but I was told that it would be credited back to my account.

    So, that all being said, I’m still awaiting the official email and the credit in my account. I will provide feedback if this is successful. Some times “to good to be true” is very accurate. Hopefully, this doesn’t turn out to be one of those cases, but I thought it worth the time to pass this on to other AD folks. If it does work out, this will be a tremendous benefit, especially for those of us stationed overseas and who travel a lot.

    Reply
    • Does the Costco AMEX card apply for this also? I know technically there is no annual fee with a paid membership but would the SCRA benefits pay for the annual membership?

      Reply
      • Jim, I’m not sure, I don’t have a Costco AMEX. It definitely would not hurt to call them and ask. Other branded credit cards, like Delta, are included in the SCRA benefits and have no annual fees. Let us know what you find out!

        Reply
  44. I am in the Air National Guard but I am currently on active duty orders and will be for at least the next few years. Do you think that they will accept that?

    Reply
    • I believe they will. When I went through the process they asked me how long I was going to be on active duty orders. You should be able to at least get the fees waived for the length of your active duty orders.

      Reply
  45. I just called to get the AMEX Platinum card with the waived annual fee (im AD military) and the rep told me that this was a rumor and they dont waive the annual fees for this particular card. Should I call back and speak with someone else? is there a good 800 # where people are more knowledgable on this?

    Reply
  46. Thank you for the info! I just called, and they are submitting my request! This is for the Delta Skymiles card. I wonder if I will still get my free yearly companion ticket, though..

    Reply
  47. Does this only apply to cards issued directly from AMEX? I had an AMEX card through Citibank and asked about SCRA benefits but they said they would only apply them to cards I had before I entered active duty. Is there a way to contact AMEX directly instead? Or only cards without another bank on them too?

    Reply
    • To answer my own question, it does apply to business cards according to the agent I spoke with. I’m currently under a first year free on the card, but she told spoke with a supervisor and told me to call back when the annual fee posts on my statement.

      Reply
      • So I have had the AMEX platinum card for 6 months and it has SCRA benefits applyed to it. I just applied for the AMEX Platinum Business Card and was accepted. Will the benefits automatically apply or will I have to send in my military info again?

        Thanks

        Reply
        • I would definitely call the customer service number on the back of the card to confirm that your SCRA benefits will extend to your new card. You shouldn’t have to resubmit your paperwork (as they already have it on file), but it won’t hurt to remind them to apply it to the new card.

          Reply
  48. It worked. All we did was call and although we had to elevate to a supervisor, they immediately knew what we were asking for and after giving info on entry date and end of service date and other basic info they said they would start the process , to include previous held and cancelled AMEX cards during active duty. Money for active card reimbursed, still waiting for cancelled cards to hit. Thanks for the info.

    Reply
  49. This news about military having the annual fee waived is amazing. I have 3 amex that I planned to cnx in 9 months but im going to make this call first! And maybe get some more!

    Reply
  50. I just contacted them and they said they were going to fill out a form and send it to my house that then i would need to fill out and send back to them. Did anyone else have this experience? Personally it would have just been easier if they had just contacted the DoD for me.

    Should I call back and request that they contact the DoD? I’m in the reserves and I go on and off of active duty throughout the year. I am on active duty until Sept 27th so I would like to get this done before i go off again.

    Reply
    • Calling them back certainly couldn’t hurt. I think if you explain that, while you’re in the Reserves, you are frequently called to active duty, they may give the same benefit to you. Good luck, let me know how it goes.

      Reply
  51. I just thought I’d add a little bit to the discussion about American Express waiving membership fees for active duty military personnel.

    First of all, the SCRA does not obligate American Express to do that. My guess is that they do it for the goodwill and / or PR value. There’s also the distinct possibility they do it in an overadundance of caution to avoid unintentional noncompliance with the Act. It has been mentioned that the primary objective of the SCRA relates to financial obligations incurred prior to active military service. The Act also deals with obligations incurred while on active duty and carry over to a period in which the service member is deployed. Rather than monitor their military cardmembers for eventual deployment or to have to deal with such issues after the fact, it may be easier for them just to give a blanket fee exemption to all service members.

    Although not all card issuers will offer fee waivers to military personnel, American Express isn’t the only one who does. Capital One and Chase are also pretty good to us.

    I am not sure how American Express goes about actually verifying active military service. Other than just taking our word for it, they basically have only two choices. One would be using a publicly available online function that verifies TRICARE enrollment. However, this shouldn’t take them more than a few minutes much less 6 weeks. Also, it would result in an extremely high number of false positives. Most likely is they send a form letter to the DOD and wait for written confirmation.

    I’ve a number of American Express cards with fee waivers and they even waive the fee for additional cardmembers. They have even offered to waive the fee on my wife’s personal card and also my son’s.

    Reply
    • Thanks for the insight, J.C. I think you are spot on with your points on the SCRA and how AMEX actually verifies the card holders status. Personally I think it’s probably a form letter that they send to the DoD regarding SCRA compliance.

      Reply
    • That is correct. The way SCRA works is; “if” you are deployed and incurred said debt before joining the military, then your interest is capped at 6%. Also, you do not have to pay any late charges and no collection acts can be made against you. AMEX is going above and beyond. Also, they probably verify it through a website. When I worked in banking (and handled SCRA requests) there was a website you could go to and enter the persons name and SSN and it would tell you there enlistment date. :)

      Reply
  52. How do they verify military service? Would I send a copy of my military ID (which as I understand is technically not legal) or would they verify via my .mil email address or a copy of my enlistment contract?

    Reply
    • Hi Charles. They actually don’t require any verification from you. AMEX verifies your service with a few questions over the phone and I believe they contact the DoD to confirm your service as well. It takes a few weeks for them to confirm your active duty status. Hope that helps! (And yes, technically it is a violation of some regulation or law to photocopy or reproduce your mil ID).

      Reply
    • Hey Shannon! Based on what I’ve been told by AMEX, this only applies if the account holder is active duty military. If your spouse is the account holder and you are an authorized user, then yes, you’re fees will be waived.

      Reply

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