Chase Military Credit Cards | No Annual Fees for Active Duty in 2019 with Military Lending Act

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Chase now waives all annual fees on their personal credit cards for active duty military servicemembers and spouses. This includes the ultra-lux Chase Sapphire Reserve, with $300 of annual travel credit and a 50,000 point welcome bonus after spending $4000 in 3 months.

Chase Sapphire Reserve No Annual Fee for Military

This is a fantastic benefit available to all servicemembers on active duty orders (30 days or more) and their dependents and is on par with the American Express military fee waiver program.

Every servicemember should now have a no annual fee Chase Sapphire Reserve card in their wallet alongside the AMEX Platinum!

Best Chase Credit Cards for Military With No Annual Fees

Chase CardWelcome OfferAnnual Fee WaivedOther BenefitsValue
Sapphire Reserve50,000$450$300 travel credit$1500
Sapphire Preferred60,000$952x points travel/dining$1500
IHG Premier125,000$891 free night annually$1200
Southwest Priority40,000$149Companion Pass$500
World of Hyatt50,000$951 free night annually$500

Chase Military Lending Act

Chase updated their military policy on September 20, 2017 to comply with the Military Lending Act. Any account opened AFTER Sep 20, 2017 is eligible for the Chase military fee waiver.

I recently opened a Chase IHG Premier card and received my MLA fee waiver letter from Chase before I even received the card. When my wife opened up her Sapphire Reserve card, she also received the Chase MLA letter the same day she got her cards.

Here's a scan copied the MLA letter I received. You can click on the image to see a PDF copy:

Chase MLA Credit Card Letter

The text of the letter says:

Update: We Applied MLA benefits to your account

Dear Spencer

Your account is eligible for benefits under the Military Lending Act (MLA) and Chase policy (collectively referred to as “MLA”).

We applied these benefits to your account:

  • Your Military Annual Percentage Rate (MAPR) won't be more than 36%
  • If you have a promotional or introductory rate, you'll keep it for the existing balances until it expires
  • Your contract rate won't be impacted and will remain as outlined in your Cardmember Agreement
  • We won't charge you fees, other than late fees an non-sufficient fund fees, if applicable

If you have any questions, please call our Military Specialists anytime at 1-800-235-9978. If you're overseas, call us collect at 1-318-340-3308.

Thank you for your business and your service to our country,

Chase Military Specialists are available to discuss MLA benefits on the Chase Military Hotline at 1-800-235-9978 or from overseas 1-318-340-3308.

Unfortunately, if your account was opened before 20 Sep 2017, you are out of luck with MLA benefits. You could always open a new card though and receive the fee waiver benefit.

The MLA caps interest the banks can charge at 36% Military Annual Percentage Rate (MAPR). This MAPR includes annual fees, so Chase decided it was easier to waive the annual fees for military members rather than calculate the 36% MAPR for each military servicemember.

The only fees Chase now charges military personnel are late fees and insufficient fund fees. This is a very generous interpretation of the MLA, as “bona fide fees” on premium cards are allowed under the MLA. That said, take advantage of Chase’s military fee waiver while you can!

My second oldest credit card on my credit history is a Chase Freedom card I opened in 2011. This is a great card with it’s 5% quarterly rotating categories (usually gas for half the year) and 1% back on every other purchase. I’ve been a happy Chase customer for over 7 years and plan to increase my business with them now that they waive annual fees for military personnel.

Chase Sapphire Reserve MLA SCRA Fee Waiver

Dubai, Auckland, Melbourne

Chase Bank is very restrictive with the amount of credit cards you can have opened in the last 2 years. Known as the 5/24 rule, Chase will deny most but not all credit card applications if you have opened 5 credit cards in the past 24 months.

If you are interested in earning lots of credit card reward points, you cannot go wrong starting with the Chase Sapphire Reserve.

The welcome bonus is 50,000 Ultimate Reward points after spending $4000 in the first 3 months after opening the card. In addition, you will receive annually:

  • Ultimate Reward Points can be redeemed at 1.5 cents per point (cash out value 1 cent per point)
  • UR Points can also be transferred to over a dozen airline and hotel partners, giving you access to free 5 star hotel stays and first/business class flights (like my trip to New Zealand, Australia, and Dubai)
  • 3x points on travel and restaurants, great for TDYs
  • Priority Pass complimentary airport lounge access. VERY nice to get free food, drink, and a place to rest when on the road.
  • NO foreign transaction fees, essential for TDYs, deployments, and OCONUS assignments
  • $300 travel credit on your statement
  • Military: $450 annual fee waived AND additional cardholder $75 fee waived

This is how the $300 travel credit is applied instantly to any travel related purchases:

Chase $300 Travel Credit

Other benefits include every 4 years you can get your Global Entry $100 fee waived. Don’t bother with TSA Pre-check, as all military personnel and dependents get automatic TSA Pre-check with your DOD ID (CAC) number.

Learn more about the Chase Saphire Reserve military fee waiver. Or, see my step-by-step guide for the optimal order to apply for military credit cards.

How to Get the Chase SCRA Active Military Fee Waiver

The easiest way to have the Chase active duty military annual fee waiver applied to your account is apply for any Chase card and select “Military” as your income source.

Chase will compare the Social Security number on your application to the DoD database. If you’re a dependent spouse, they will check the DEERS database to confirm your eligibility for the MLA waiver.

Note that unlike American Express, Chase does not waive the annual fee for military business card holders.

Chase Military Credit Cards Fine Print

If you’re interested, here’s the fine print on all Chase cards now describing the Military Lending Act:

MILITARY LENDING ACT NOTICE: 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 charged (other than certain participation fees for a credit card account). To receive this information and a description of your payment obligation verbally, please call 1-800-235-9978.

Let me know in the comments if you successfully had your Chase annual fee waived. My wife just opened her Chase Sapphire Reserve card and the annual fee was waived! That's $450 annual fee waived for her and $75 authorized user fee waived for me!

If you're interested in supporting my site, applying for credit cards through my links is the easiest way to do it. I'll receive a referral bonus at no cost to you. Thanks!

20 thoughts on “Chase Military Credit Cards | No Annual Fees for Active Duty in 2019 with Military Lending Act”

  1. No annual fee must be applied for only personal credit cards not the business credit cards. The annual fee was waived for CSR but not for Chas Ink business preferred. Do you know if the same rule applies for Amex business cards? As far as CIP goes, I would still pay $95 and collect 80,000 sign-up bonus points anyway. However, I am planning to either close the account or downgrade to Ink Cash or Ink Unlimited. Any suggestion?

    • Correct, Chase MLA is only for personal cards. AMEX business cards are fee waived, including the $595 per year AMEX Business Platinum.

      I agree that the $95 annual fee is definitely worth it on the Chase Ink Preferred to collect the 80,000 welcome bonus. I recommend closing the account or downgrading to an Ink Cash or Ink Unlimited if you are not getting value from your CIP.

  2. My wife is the account holder for our CSP (in which I am an authorized user) and was turned down for the SCRA due to opening the account after already being active duty. Would it work better if she downgraded to Freedom and then waited a year and upgrade to CSR to get the fees waived under MLA, but how does this work? when she upgrades to the CSR doesn’t she still have the same account opened since 2016? or is it better if I (also active duty) opened a new account for the CSR and applied for the fee waived under MLA? Thank you

  3. Sorry if this is a repeat question but I’m trying to gain clarification as well.

    I have the CSR opened before 9/2017=fees not waived.

    My wife who opened her CSR 03/2019 = fees waived.

    What would be the best course of action if we both wanted to keep our own cards (double dip on benefits)?

    A) Downgrading my CSR to a Chase Freedom, then reapplying for a new CSR a few months later?

    B) Applying for a Chase Freedom now, canceling the CSR and then upgrading the Chase Freedom in a year?

    C) Do you have a better solution?

    • A) Might work but I think they go based on account opening date. Downgrading and upgrading again wouldn’t change the fact the account was opened before SEP 2017

      B) Yes this should work and would be my solution

  4. Do you know if this applies to all Chase credit cards? I have the Marriott Rewards Premier Plus card and wondering if I can get the fees waived (I opened it after 9/2017). I am a military spouse.

  5. This is a common question you’re getting but i was hoping to get more clarification.

    I have the CSP opened before 9/2017=fees not waived.

    I have no spouse so I can’t open an account under another name.

    It seems upgrading my CSP to CSR = not opening another account, meaning they will not waive the 450 fee.

    It seems like the only option i have would be to downgrade my current CSP to a Chase Freedom (1. To avoid a yearly fee and 2. Keep my earned points) and apply for the CSR. Would this be correct???

    • i had the CSP (fees are paid every September) and just recently upgrade to CSR after receiving my active duty order (exp 2021). Same account/credit card number and keep my previously earned points. No bonus points for me for upgrade but they’ll waive the $450 annual fee. Did it all over the phone in 20 minutes.

  6. Thanks for this post. I’m an active duty SM who opened a Chase Sapphire Preferred account in 2013 with my wife, and recently upgraded to the CSR (Dec 2018). Unfortunately I don’t meet criteria for the SCRA or MLA. Do you think I would have success closing my CSR account, then opening again several months later to get the military benefits?

    • @John – Does your wife have her own Chase Sapphire Reserve/Preferred? If no, you could close your account and open one in her name. Her annual fees will be waived under MLA. Add yourself as an authorized user and you now have a CSR with no annual fees.

      If you both had a CSR/CSP opened before 20 Sep 2017, you can open a Chase Freedom or Freedom Unlimited and then product change (upgrade) it to a CSR after a year. Since it’s a new account opened after 20 Sep 2017, MLA will apply to the account. Then close your old CSR and now you’re left with a CSR with no annual fees.

  7. Is there anyway that you can think of to product change from a Chase Freedom to a Chase Reserve and not pay the annual fee if I opened my Chase Freedom in December 2016? Opened after SCRA but before MLA benefits… I was waiting to be under 5/24 since I’m on a deployment and didn’t have enough expenses to earn bonuses on new cards but now that Sapphire credit cards are under the new 48 month rule I decided to open an Ameriprise Plat, Ameriprise PRG, and Amex Green before the end of the year. I don’t think I will be under 5/24 for a long time and won’t be eligible for the Reserve.

    • Marcus – I have no data points on this after searching around a bit. Do you have a spouse? That’s the easiest way around this problem. You could try product changing the Chase Freedom to the CSR but it won’t be a new account opening so I doubt they will apply the MLA benefits to the account, as the account was opened before 20 Sep 2017. You could always try it and report back. Worst that happens is $450 annual fee, offset by $300 in travel credits, so $150 fee. Then you could downgrade it back to a Chase Freedom. Something to consider.

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