Chase Military Credit Cards | No Annual Fees for Active Duty in 2020 with Military Lending Act

I will show you how to get your 1st $550 annual fee waived in my Ultimate Military Credit Cards course
The Chase Sapphire Reserve travel card is fee waived for military.

Military Money Manual has partnered with CardRatings and OMAAT for our coverage of credit card products. Military Money Manual, OMAAT, and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. Thank you for supporting my independent, veteran owned site.

Chase 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 military spouses or dependents. This benefit is similar to 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$550$300 travel credit$1500
Sapphire Preferred60,000$952x points travel/dining$1500
IHG Premier125,000$891 free night annually$700
Southwest Priority40,000$149Companion Pass$500
World of Hyatt50,000$951 free night annually$1000

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 5% quarterly rotating categories up to $1500 per quarter (usually gas for half the year) and 1% back on every other purchase.

I am a happy Chase customer for over 10 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. Read my full review of the Chase Sapphire Reserve for military here. You can also compare the Chase Sapphire Reserve vs the AMEX Platinum card.

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, after earning the $300 travel credit – 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: $550 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 like 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 $550 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! You can also check out other credit cards that waive annual fees for military.

Chase Military Credit Cards Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Does Chase waive annual fee for military?

Yes, Chase waives all annual fees on their personal credit cards for US military and their spouses. Chase Bank waives the annual fees to comply with the Military Lending Act. This includes the $550 annual fee Chase Sapphire Reserve!

What is the best Chase credit card for military?

The best Chase credit cards for military servicemember and their spouses is the Chase Sapphire Reserve. The Chase World of Hyatt, Southwest, IHG Premier, and Chase Freedom are also cards that deserve a slot in your wallet.

Is Chase military friendly?

When it comes to credit cards, Chase is extremely military friendly. The bank waives all annual fees on all of their personal credit card for active duty US military and their spouses!

What is the best credit card for military?

The best credit card for military servicemembers and their spouses depends on whether you want cash back or travel points. If you want cash back, have a look at the American Express Blue Cash Preferred with up to 6% cash back on US grocery stores. If you want a luxury travel credit card, check out the Chase Sapphire Reserve or the AMEX Platinum.

Does Chase waive annual fees for military spouses?

Yup! Chase Bank waives all annual fees on all of their personal credit cards for military spouses. It's part of their Chase Military Lending Act program.

34 thoughts on “Chase Military Credit Cards | No Annual Fees for Active Duty in 2020 with Military Lending Act”

  1. People are making this too complicated. Yes or No question. I’m active duty. If my spouse obtains an amex card (charge card or credit card) or chase credit card and I am added as an authorized user on the account, will the annual fee be waived?

    Reply
    • Yes, but you don’t need to be added as an authorized user. Your spouse gets fee waived cards by her or himself. MLA applies to both the active duty servicemember and any legal dependants in DEERS.

      To be clear: You can add yourself as an authorized user, but it’s not required for fee waiver. Check your and their status in the MLA database.

      Reply
  2. Hi, I just commissioned into the AF and I’m waiting for my orders. I would like to know if I should apply for this card before I EAD or after I EAD to get the benefits ( fee waived, etc.)? I tried calling Chase to ask about the military benefits they offer and the person I spoke to did not seem to understand the questions I was asking.

    Reply
  3. I already have a CSR, we want to get my wife a CSR. She is a civilian, should we say her income is “Military” to facilitate her getting the MLA waiver for the CSR?

    Reply
  4. Spencer,

    Great site! Do you recommend the Chase Marriott Bonvoy Boundless? I know you can’t double dip on the bonuses for the Chase and the Amex Bonvoy cards, so I’m curious if you recommend going with the Chase card instead of the Amex, and then upgrading it one year later to the Ritz card?

    Reply
  5. Recently opened an IHG RCP and a CSR card. Applied for MLA and received the following reply:

    The account isn’t eligible for one of the following reasons
    * The active duty period started and ended entirely before the account was opened.
    * The account was opened during the active duty period.

    I’ve been on active duty since 2001 and still serving (estimated final date, Feb 2025). Their reasoning seems contradictory- I’m being denied because wasn’t on active duty when I opened it, or I’m being denied because I WAS on active duty…?

    I’ll call the number tomorrow and hopefully get it sorted.

    Reply
      • Hi Spencer,

        I have the Chase Sapphire Preferred credit card and tried to apply for the MLA/SCRA benefits because I have been charged the annual membership fee every year since I opened it back in April 2017.

        I got the same responses from Chase when I contacted them. I do not understand, because it seems like a lot of people who opened their similar credit cards before, after, or around the same time I did are still having their annual membership fees waived.

        I have been on Active Duty in 2014.

        What can be done for me to have this fee waived?

        I really like this web page you have created on “Chase Acitve Duty Military Credit Cards,” and I would like to successfully benefit from it, but I am having a hard time because of getting the same response Jake did.

        How are people resolving this issue? Can anyone help shed light on this?

        I cannot afford to close my Preferred credit card and then apply for the Chase Sapphire Reserve because the Preferred makes up the majority of my credit score. If I close it to apply for the Reserve, I will probably be denied for having a low credit score.

        I cannot afford to upgrade to the Reserve from the Preferred right now because if Chase is not waiving the annual membership fee for me for the Preferred ($95 per year), then they will definitely not waive the fee for the Reserve ($550 per year). Being enlisted, and regardless of how my finances are, I truly cannot afford that.

        I really want to benefit from the Reserve, so long as I can have the annual membership fee waived, otherwise it is not worth it for me because I cannot afford it (the expense outweighs the benefits).

        I also asked and tried to see if I could change or downgrade my Preferred to another card and then apply for the Reserve, but Chase still insists that (1) I will not be waived the annual membership fee, and (2) I will not be given the sign-on bonus because 48 months have not yet passed yet since my last Sapphire sign-on bonus. To be a military member and not receive both of those is a huge loss for me.

        Please help.

        What are your thoughts?

        Thank you so much!

        Reply
        • Close your CSP and open a CSR. You will not be eligible for the CSR welcome bonus since it is less than 48 months since you received the bonus on the CSP. But you should be still able to open a CSR. Or you could wait until May 2021, close your CSP, then open a CSR and receive the welcome bonus, since it will be 48 months since you last opened the Sapphire Preferred.

          Also the reason you are not getting your annual fees waived is simple: Chase does not waive annual fees on cards opened on active duty before Sep 2017. If you had opened the card before active duty and before Sep 2017, you might be eligible for SCRA fee waivers.

          And if you opened the card AFTER Sep 2017 while on active duty, you are eligible for MLA, and will also get your annual fees waived. But you are stuck in a pre-MLA, post-SCRA trap. The easiest way to escape is to close your old account and open a new one. You could also downgrade the CSP to a Chase Freedom so that you don’t have an annual fee and the line of credit remains good with Chase.

          Reply
  6. I received a CSP before the Sep 2017 mark, so fees not waved. At the same time, I had my wife added as an authorized user. Can my wife get a CSR with fees waved, then I get added as an authorized user on her account. Then I can cancel my CSP and we can just use the CSR with all fees waved? Thanks for the help.

    Reply
  7. 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?

    Reply
    • 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.

      Reply
  8. 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

    Reply
  9. 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?

    Reply
    • 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

      Reply
  10. 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.

    Reply
  11. 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???

    Reply
    • 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.

      Reply
  12. 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?

    Reply
    • @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.

      Reply
  13. 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.

    Reply
    • 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.

      Reply

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.