American Express Waives All Fees for Active Duty Military (Updated 2019)

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American Express waives the annual fees on all their cards for active duty military servicemembers. This includes the $550/year AMEX Platinum. The company waives the AMEX Platinum annual fees to comply with the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) and the Military Lending Act (MLA).

AMEX is very generous in their interpretation of these laws, extending very generous fee waivers to active, guard, and reserve military servicemembers. If you are on active duty orders for at least 30 days, you can qualify for the AMEX SCRA benefits.

American Express Platinum for Military Servicemembers

AMEX Platinum Military SCRA MLA

My Top Recommended AMEX Active Duty Military No Fee Card (Updated November 2019):

American Express continues to offer me amazing customer service and credit card products since 2007. I've had nearly a dozen AMEX cards, all without ever paying an annual fee.

My military spouse wife is also growing her AMEX collection without any annual fees. So far she has the Platinum card, the Hilton Honors Aspire card, and the Delta Reserve card.

My first credit card 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 Platinums, 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.

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!

Best AMEX Cards for Military with No Annual Fees

Learn How to ApplyWelcome OfferAnnual Fee WaivedOther BenefitsValue
Platinum Card60,000$550$200 Uber + airline credit, 5x points on airfare$2000
AMEX Gold Card35,000$2504x points on groceries and restaurants$1200
Hilton Honors Aspire150,000$450Free night, Diamond Status, $250 credit$2000
Bonvoy Brilliant75,000$450Free night, $300 credit$1500
Delta Reserve75,000$450Annual companion benefit$2000

AMEX Platinum Military Fee Waiver

While on a TDY in 2013, a military buddy of mine 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 cards in the AMEX portfolio. It even includes business cards, which is great for military business owners or freelancers.

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 ($3000+ 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

How to Get AMEX Active Duty Military Discount

AMEX Platinum Military

To have AMEX handle your account in accordance with the SCRA, you can go 2 ways: call them 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”

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.

The first customer service representative I spoke to didn't know about the program and had to ask her supervisor. (This was back in 2012, the program is much more popular now and every rep you talk to should know about the program.) You'll 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 Military Reddit 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 Travel 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
  • 300,000+ points in welcome bonuses

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.

Seven Years of AMEX Platinum Military Fee Waivers

Just a quick update in 2019 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 7 years of active duty military service. That would be over $40,000 in annual fees waived over the next 7 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.

Just this month I received over $75 of Uber Cash from my 5 AMEX Platinum cards. That's at least two free meals from a restaurant, every month!

AMEX Platinum Military 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 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.

Best American Express SCRA Benefits for US Military

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:

Military SCRA MLA AMEX Platinum

The Platinum Card from American Express

And then sign up for my 100% free, 5 day course on how to maximize your SCRA and MLA travel credit card benefits!

129 thoughts on “American Express Waives All Fees for Active Duty Military (Updated 2019)”

  1. 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!

  2. 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?

    • 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.

  3. 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.

    • 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.

        • 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.

  4. 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?

    • 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.

  5. 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 ?

    • 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.

  6. 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?

    • 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.

      • 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.

      • 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?

        • 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.

          • 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..

  7. 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.

    • 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.

      • 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?

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. If I open an AMEX Platinum and AMEX Marriott Bonvoy, will AMEX waive the fees for both?

    Thanks!
    Dan

  12. 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.

    • 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.

  13. – 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!

    • 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.

  14. 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!

    • 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.

      • 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?

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

    • 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!

  16. 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

  17. 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?

    • 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.

  18. 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?

  19. 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 ?

      • 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.

        • 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!

  20. 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 ?

    • 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.

  21. 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?

  22. 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) ?

  23. 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.

  24. 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.

    • 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.

  25. 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?

  26. 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.

  27. 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.

  28. 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.

  29. 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.

  30. 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.

  31. 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.

  32. 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.

    • 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.

      • 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.

        • 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.

  33. 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.

    • 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.

  34. 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

      • 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 …

    • 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.

  35. 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.

  36. 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.

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

  38. 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!

  39. 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.

    • 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?

      • 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!

  40. 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?

    • 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.

  41. 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?

  42. 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..

  43. 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?

    • 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.

      • 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

        • 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.

  44. 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.

  45. 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!

  46. 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.

    • 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.

  47. 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.

    • 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.

    • 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. :)

  48. 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?

    • 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).

    • 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.

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