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The American Express Platinum card is offered with no annual fee to military servicemembers on active duty (Title 10) orders. The AMEX Platinum military benefit is exceptional and every military member should take advantage of it.
The normal $550 annual fee is waived for military personnel. You get all the annual benefits of cardholder membership without paying a penny in annual fees.
Once on a deployment exercise, I was 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 almost 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?
- $550 annual fee completely waived for active duty military
- $200 Uber credit annually – good for rides and UberEats (free food!)
- $200 airline fee credit that can be used for gift cards (free airfare!)
- $100 fee credit for Global Entry (military personnel already get TSA Pre-Check with their DOD ID number)
- Access to Centurion Lounges and 1200+ other airport lounges
- Automatic SPG Gold Elite and Hilton HHonors Gold Status
- No foreign transaction fees
Not only should every servicemember get 1 AMEX Platinum, but I think you should try to accumulate up at least 3-4. The benefits continue to stack if you get the Schwab Platinum, Ameriprise Platinum, and Business Platinum. And there's still no annual fee. Heck, this guy already has 11 Platinum cards and is working on getting more!
You can also upgrade the American Express Gold Card to a Platinum card and the AMEX Green card, even if you already have another Platinum. I describe how to in those links.
AMEX Platinum Military No Annual Fee
The process to get the fee waived on your AMEX Platinum card used to require a secure message or phone call to AMEX. Now, it's all automated and a simple 3 step process. Click the image below to see the process.
- Log in to your account, click “Account Services”
- Click “Card Management” on the left
- Click “Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) Benefits”
AMEX will compare your information against the DOD employment verification database and award your fee waiver to your card. Most servicemembers never even see a fee charged to their account.
If you do see an annual fee charged, it should have a credit to offset it within a few weeks of AMEX accepting your SCRA eligibility.
Once you get your card, you can start enjoying the free perks that come with Platinum membership.
$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.
Although I'm OCONUS at the moment and can't use the credit, I can send 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 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 statuses 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.
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'll 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.
No Foreign Transaction Fees
Lots of cards have this benefit. 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!
American Express Platinum Military: An Excellent Deal
You're missing out on tremendous annual benefits plus a fat welcome bonus if you don't get this card.
You can learn how to apply for this card here. You don't want to be the guy checking into the hotel on your next TDY who doesn't have SPG or Hilton Gold Status because you are the only guy without an AMEX Platinum.
The AMEX Platinum and the Chase Sapphire Reserve are my two “must have” cards for US military personnel.