Chase Sapphire Preferred Military: Waived Annual Fee, 60k Bonus

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The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card military benefit is an annual fee waiver for active duty, Guard and Reserve on 30 day orders, and military spouses.

The Chase Sapphire Preferred annual fee is lowered to $0 for anyone listed as a covered borrower in the Military Lending Act Database.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
Learn how to apply on our partner's secure site

  • Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 when you redeem through Chase Travel℠
  • 5x points on travel purchased through Chase Travel℠
  • 3x points on dining (includes takeout, delivery, and dine-in), select streaming services and online groceries
  • 2x on all other travel purchases
  • 1x on all other purchases
  • $50 Annual Chase Travel Hotel Credit
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Travel℠ . Example- 60,000 points would be worth $750 toward travel.
  • No foreign transaction fees, great for overseas OCONUS assignments, TDY, and PCS
  • Primary rental car insurance coverage & trip cancellation/interruption insurance, and more.
  • DashPass access is complimentary which unlocks $0 delivery fees and lower service fees for a minimum of one year when you activate by December 31, 2024.
  • Upgrade to a Chase Sapphire Reserve after 1 year (compare Reserve vs Preferred)
  • $95 annual fee waived for military and spouses with Chase Military Lending Act
  • Member FDIC

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is a great starter card for military servicemembers. If you are building an awesome portfolio of annual fee waived credit cards, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card or Chase Sapphire Reserve® Card are important cards to get early on because of Chase's 5/24 rule.

You should compare this card to the Chase Sapphire Reserve in my Chase Sapphire Preferred versus Sapphire Reserve article. Chase waives the annual fee on the CSR and the CSR comes with a $300 annual travel credit.

Military troops and their spouses can both open this travel rewards card, earn the huge welcome bonus, and pay no annual fee. You can then upgrade the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card to a Chase Sapphire Reserve® Card after one year, giving you a card with even better recurring travel benefits.

Personally I opened the Preferred for the extra Chase Ultimate Rewards points and then upgraded to an annual fee waived Chase Sapphire Reserve after one year.

How to Use 60,000 Ultimate Reward Points

Chase's Ultimate Rewards (UR) points are extremely flexible. With 60,000 Chase points, you have the following options to redeem:

  • Spend the points at Amazon for $420
  • Cash out and received an $600 check
  • Apply a $600 statement credit to your credit card bill
  • Book a flight through Chase Travel℠ for $750 of airfare
  • Transfer the points to a travel partner for potentially $1,200 or more of value (best value!)
Check out this direct flight from Boston to Edinburgh Scotland.
$890 cash or only 59,292 UR points!

In the above example, I searched for a flight from Boston to Edinburgh in August. Normally it would cost $890, but you can cash in your UR points at 1.5 cents per point when you have the CSR. The total roundtrip cost is under 60,000 UR points.

The best value of UR points is when you transfer them to partner airlines. You can get 2 cents or more value per point, making your 80,000 UR points worth $1600 or more of airfare.

Chase Ultimate Reward Transfer Travel Partners

Chase's UR Transfer Airline partners are:

  • Aer Lingus AerClub
  • British Airways Executive Club
  • Flying Blue AIR FRANCE KLM
  • Iberia Plus
  • JetBlue TrueBlue
  • Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
  • Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards
  • United MileagePlus
  • Virgin Atlantic Flying Club

And the Chase hotel transfer partners are:

  • IHG Rewards Club
  • Marriott Bonvoy
  • World of Hyatt

All of these programs transfer at a 1 UR point = 1 airline/hotel point. Sometimes they run promotions where you can get more than one airline/hotel point for a UR point.

Chase MLA Rules

Chase began waiving annual fees for military servicemembers and spouses in September 2017. The easiest way to confirm you are eligible is to check your MLA status in the MLA database.

Any personal (not business) Chase credit card opened after 20 Sep 2017 is eligible for Military Lending Act or MLA protections for active duty servicemembers (Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, Coast Guard) or guard/reservists on 30+ day active duty orders AND their spouses.

A covered borrower is a consumer who, at the time the consumer becomes obligated on a consumer credit transaction or establishes an account for consumer credit, is a covered member of the armed forces or a dependent of a covered member (as defined in 32 CFR 232.3(g)(2) and

Covered members of the armed forces include members of
the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, or Coast Guard currently serving on active duty pursuant to title 10, title 14, or title 32 of the U.S. Code under a call or order that does not specify a period of 30 days or fewer, or such a member serving on Active Guard and Reserve duty as that term is defined in 10 U.S.C. 101(d)(6).

Both my wife and I have opened several Chase credit cards since the new Chase MLA rules went into effect. Both of us received letters stating our annual fees would be waived in accordance with Chase's MLA policy.

Chase Sapphire Preferred Benefits

The CSP offers many recurring benefits and perks that allow you to rack up points and savings.

$50 Annual Chase Travel Hotel Credit

The first $50 you spend on hotels through Chase Travel℠ is reimbursed. This is a great way to save on hotel stays.

The annual period is defined as the month you open the card account and the following 12 months. It resets on the date of your card approval.

No Foreign Transaction Fees

Military service frequently brings servicemembers and their families on international travel. When you leave the United States, you need a credit card that gives you no foreign transaction fees.

Personally, I estimate I saved over $2000 in foreign transaction fees over the last 7 years of military service. With over 400 days on overseas TDYs, deployments, and 2 years spent stationed in the Middle East, I spent a lot of money overseas on dining, travel, groceries, gas, and many other items.

5x Points on Chase Travel℠

You can earn 5x points on all travel including hotels, rental cars, and flights booked through Chase Travel℠ .

The 5x points on hotel purchases excludes hotel purchases that qualify for the $50 Anniversary Hotel Credit. In other words, you start earning the 5x points on hotel purchases after you've received the $50 hotel credit.

2x Points On Travel

Travel includes any of the following:

  • Airlines
  • Hotels, motels, timeshares,
  • Car rental agencies
  • Cruise lines
  • Travel agencies, discount travel sites
  • Campgrounds
  • Ground transportation such as: Trains, buses, taxis, limousines, ferries
  • Toll bridges and highways
  • Parking lots and garages

Any purchases at these types of places will give you 2 Ultimate Rewards points per dollar spent.

3x Points on Dining at Restaurants

Restaurants include any establishment classified as a sit-down or eat-in dining, including fast food restaurants and fine dining establishments. Anything from a McDonald's in Paris to the French Laundry in NYC counts.

If you go TDY often, you know how hard it is to keep costs down on the road. If your going out to eat, might as well get some points for it. 2 UR points per dollar spent on dining adds up fast!

Upgrade Chase Sapphire Preferred to Sapphire Reserve After 1 year

Chase Sapphire Reserve bonus

Chase Sapphire Reserve® Card
Learn how to apply on our partner's secure site

  • $550 annual fee waived to $0 for US military + spouses with Chase MLA policy
  • Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $900 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Travel℠
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year.
  • Earn 5x total points on flights and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through through Chase Travel℠ immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually.
  • 3x Points on other Travel (airfare, hotels) after earning the $300 travel credit
  • 3x Dining restaurants, takeouts, delivery
  • Chase Ultimate Reward Points redeemed through Chase Travel℠ are worth 1.5 cents, a 50% bonus.
  • Priority Pass lounge and restaurant access with over 1300+ airport lounges worldwide
  • Up to $100 application fee credit for Global Entry every 4 years
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Primary coverage with Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
  • No foreign transaction fees, Member FDIC
  • Learn more in the Chase Sapphire Reserve review

Due to the CARD ACT, a federal law passed in 2009, credit card companies are not allowed to charge you an increased annual fee for a period of one year. Because of this, you are restricted from upgrading your CSP to a CSR for 1 year.

However, once that 1 year has passed you can upgrade to the CSR and start using the $300 annual travel credit immediately. You can also get the 3x points on dining and restaurants, which adds up fast versus the 2x points of the CSP.

I recommend you compare the Chase Sapphire Reserve to the Preferred and decide if you want the $300 annual travel credit or the extra welcome bonus points. Personally I would take the extra welcome bonus points and upgrade to the CSR after 1 year.

Long term, the Chase Sapphire Reserve is definitely the superior card for military servicemembers, thanks to it's 3x points and $300 annual travel credit.

Since active duty military get the annual fee waived on both cards, you don't need to worry about the increased annual fee!

Learn how to apply for the
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

11 thoughts on “Chase Sapphire Preferred Military: Waived Annual Fee, 60k Bonus”

  1. I have already retired from the military (retired in 2021) and was wondering if I could still qualify for the Sapphire preferred or reserve with no annual fee?

  2. Thank you so much for all of your information. I have a question: I recently became active duty with the USPHS 9 months ago. I’ve been told that I was supposed to already have a Chase card prior to becoming active duty by other commissioned officers and I’ve called Chase’s military line and they seemed confused if they will waive my annual fee. Just wanted to know if I apply today do you believe they will waive my annual fee or will I have to do something to get the fee waived. Thank you for your help, time and all of your information.

  3. Sir, thank you for all the valuable info on the site, great learning about all the stuff mil members can take advantage of. One question though as I’m looking to start the credit card journey, what’s a good rule of thumb for time between applying for credit cards if I want to accumulate at a fast pace? I have a decent credit score of 760 right now too if that matters in the decision for how quickly you would want to apply for cards.

    • Happy to be of service! At my fastest pace, I applied for 1 card per month for 12-16 months. Credit score never moved by more than 10-20 points and never below 760. Initially I would just pace yourself to meet the welcome bonuses, so every 3-6 months. If you can meet the welcome bonuses faster, than 4-8 weeks pace per card is probably reasonable. You might run into the Amex pop up jail or Chase 5/24 rule first and they will slow you down naturally. Have fun and don’t stress!

  4. If I upgrade the chase preferred to reserve card after 1 year and I already have a reserve card can I have 2 reserve cards?

    • Chase won’t approve you for a Chase Sapphire Preferred if you already have a Chase Sapphire Reserve. It’s called the “one Sapphire rule.”

      However, you could apply for a Chase Freedom Flex or Chase Freedom Unlimited and upgrade them to another Chase Sapphire Reserve.

      This is allowed and does not violate the one Sapphire rule. I have multiple data points of servicemembers and military spouses with 2 or 3 Chase Sapphire Reserves and no annual fees.

  5. Thank you for all this savings intel! I am a new user and loving everything thus far.

    I have the CSR, AMEX platinum, and recently approved for AMEX gold. Am I able to apply for another Chase credit card to then upgrade to the CSR after a year? If so, what card would you suggest?

  6. Thanks for all this information! Currently looking into getting our first travel card- with the high welcome offer Chase Sapphire Preferred is offering right now, would you suggest getting that one first? Or the Amex Platinum?


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