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The Chase Sapphire Reserve and Sapphire Preferred credit cards are offered with no annual fees to active duty military servicemembers and their spouses. This is an amazing opportunity for military servicemembers, along with their spouses, to pick up some of the top Chase travel rewards cards available.
This recent change was implemented on all personal Chase cards opened after 20 September 2017. Chase made the change to comply with the Military Lending Act (MLA), which is similar to the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA).
I recommend picking up 1 or 2 Chase Sapphire Reserve cards ASAP due to the new annual fee waiver. All Chase personal credit cards are fee waived for military members and their spouses, . The CSR is one of those ultra-luxury travel cards, like the AMEX Platinum, that offers tremendous recurring benefits and value with no annual fee for military personnel.
I have had a Chase Sapphire Reserve card since it launched with the epic 100,000 Ultimate Reward point bonus. Unfortunately, that is no longer available. However, my wife did recently pick up her own Chase Sapphire Reserve card.
Within a few days of receiving the card, she received a separate letter from Chase stating that her account was being handled in accordance with the MLA. Therefore, we now have a CSR that we pay no annual fee on! Thanks Chase!
Chase Sapphire Reserve for Military
- $450 annual fee (and $75 authorized user fee) completely WAIVED for US military and spouses
- $300 annual travel credit. That's $300 FOR FREE on any travel purchase (Uber, taxi, airfare, hotel, train, car rental, etc)
- 50,000 bonus points when you spend $4000 in the first 3 months of opening account
- 3x points on travel and dining worldwide
- Redeem points with a 50% bonus when booking travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal
- Automatic travel insurance on trips purchased with the card including trip cancellation, delay, interruption, lost baggage, and auto rental collision
- $100 Global Entry sign up fee reimbursed every 4 years
- No foreign transaction fees
$450 annual fee waived + $300 travel credit + $750 (minimum value) Ultimate Rewards points + $400 Priority Pass Lounge access + $100 Global Entry Fee = minimum $2000 of value for military personnel. Add a second card for your spouse and now you're looking at $4000 of value.
This card offers over $2000 of value in the first year alone. Add your spouse and double your value to $4000. The annual travel credit is one of the best benefits on any credit card currently available. 3X points on worldwide dining and travel is awesome and because you're paying no foreign transaction fees, you get to reap the rewards with no downsides.
The $300 travel credits will post to your account the same day your purchase posts to your account, so it's almost instantaneous. See my example below:
My Priceline car rental and Uber trip to the airport were reimbursed the same day. There's no activation or application required for the travel credit, it's just automatic and easy. I have used my $300 travel credit for 3 years now. Since I travel so much for the government, I alway use the benefit within the first few months of the year.
Chase has a “one Sapphire rule,” meaning that you can only hold the Sapphire Reserve OR the Sapphire Preferred, but not both. Because of the excellent travel benefits and the fact the the card is free, it makes total sense for both you and your spouse to pick up a Chase Sapphire Reserve card and skip the Chase Sapphire Preferred.
Chase Sapphire Preferred for Military
- 50,000 bonus after you spend $4000 in the first 3 months of card membership
- $95 annual fee waived for military personnel and spouses
- 2X points on travel and dining
- No foreign transaction fees
If you didn't receive a military fee waiver on the Reserve card, the Preferred could make a lot of sense for military folks. It has no foreign transaction fee, which is essential for OCONUS TDYs and PCSs. You also get 2X points on travel and restaurant purchases.
The welcome offer bonus is a solid 50,000 Ultimate Rewards points, worth at least $500 if you cash them out. If you transfer them to a travel partner, they can be worth substantially more.
Chase Military Lending Act (MLA)
Chase updated their military policy on September 20, 2017. Any account opened AFTER Sep 20, 2017 is eligible for the Chase military fee waiver under MLA. You can click the image to see a PDF copy of the MLA letter I received from Chase.
Unfortunately, if your account was opened before 20 Sep 2017, you are out of luck. You can always open a new Chase credit card 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!
I received my MLA letter from Chase before my card even arrived. My wife received her Chase Sapphire Reserve fee waiver MLA letter the day the card arrived in a separate envelope. It's pretty clear from the wording of the letter that all fees are waived except “late fees and non-sufficient fund fees, if applicable.” That's great news for all military members!
I’ve been a satisfied Chase customer since 2011. I plan to increase my business with them now that they waive annual fees for military personnel. If you or your spouse does not have a Chase Sapphire Reserve, make sure you both pick one up today!