Citi Military Credit Card Benefits | 2024 MLA Policy Update

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The Citi credit cards MLA program waives annual fees for military servicemembers. This is a similar policy to the The Platinum Card® from American Express military benefits and Chase Sapphire Reserve® Card military perks.

Citi credit cards with no annual fee for military include:

Citi Strata Premier Card Military

Citi Strata Premier Card
Learn how to apply on our partner's secure site

  • Earn 70,000 bonus ThankYou(R) Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • 70,000 points are redeemable for $700 in gift cards at
  • Earn 10 points per $1 spent on hotels, car rentals, and attractions through
  • Earn 3 points per $1 spent at at restaurants and supermarkets
  • Earn 3 points per $1 spent on Gas Stations, Air Travel, and Hotels
  • 1 point per $1 on everything else
  • $100 Annual Hotel Savings Benefit
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • $95 annual fee waived for military with Citi military policy

Citi MLA Explained

Here is how I got my annual fees waived on my Citi Premier card.

  1. Verify your Military Lending Act eligibility on the MLA database website
  2. Send a quick email to MILITARYORDERS@CITI.COM

Here is an example of a Citi Military Lending Act request email:

Good morning!
I recently applied for and was accepted for a Citi Premier card. Could I please have Military Lending Act (MLA) protections applied to the account?

Please see my attached MLA certification as evidence of military service.

Thank you!

I attached my MLA certification from the MLA database in the hopes it would speed up the process. I received the following email in return automatically a few minutes later:

Your request has been received. It will be processed in the order it was received.

Thank you,
Citi Military Response Unit


Some users note that your first statement should close with a balance LESS THAN the annual fee divided by .36 but greater than $0. This is to ensure that the annual fee is 36% of your usable credit and therefore it will trigger an MLA fee waiver. I have not had to do this.

For example, on the Citi Prestige with a $495 annual fee, you take 495 / .36 and get $1375. You need to make sure that your first statement closes greater than $0 but less than a balance of $1375. Then request the MLA fee waiver through the method above.

Citi Prestige Military Fee Waiver

The Citi Prestige is a excellent travel rewards credit card for military servicemembers and their spouses.

The Citi Prestige Travel Rewards Credit Card normally has a $495 annual fee. Military servicemembers and their spouses eligible for Military Lending Act (MLA) benefits can get the annual fee waived down to $0. See an example from a Ultimate Military Credit Cards Course below:

Citi Prestige Military MLA fee waiver

Benefits of the Citi Prestige card include:

  • 50,000 bonus ThankYou points after spending $4000 with 3 months of account opening
  • $495 annual fee waived for military
  • $250 travel credit every calendar year
  • 4th night free at hotels booked through
  • 5x points on all air travel and restaurants
  • 3x points on hotels and cruise lines
  • 1x points on everything else
  • $100 Global Entry credit every 5 years
  • No foreign transaction fees

The Citi Prestige card benefits easily compares to the better known AMEX Platinum and Chase Sapphire Reserve. You can compare the AMEX Platinum vs the CSR in this article. I recommend all military servicemembers and spouses pick up an AMEX Platinum, Chase Sapphire Reserve, and a Citi Prestige, along with all of my other recommended military credit cards.

Citi ThankYou Points Transfer Partners

You can transfer Citi ThankYou Points (TYP) to:

  • Aeromexico
  • Asia Miles
  • Avianca Lifemiles
  • Etihad Guest
  • Eva Air
  • Flying Blue (KLM and Air France)
  • JetBlue
  • Malaysia Airlines Enrich
  • Qantas
  • Qatar
  • Singapore
  • Thai Royal Orchid Plus
  • Turkish Air Miles and Smiles
  • Virgin Atlantic Flying Club

Citi Premier MLA

Here's what my MLA fee waiver looked like when I opened a Citi Premier card:

Citi Military Lending Act: No Annual Fees

As you can see, the annual fee was charged and then credited back to the account once MLA benefits were applied to the account.

Check out all of the credit cards that waive annual fees for military, including Marriott cards, Hilton cards, Delta credit cards, all Chase cards, and all Amex cards, including the Amex Platinum.

Citi American Airlines Card

Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard®
Learn how to apply on our partner's secure site

  • Earn 50,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after spending $2,500 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Earn 2 AAdvantage® miles for every $1 spent at gas stations and restaurants, and on eligible American Airlines purchases
  • Earn 1 Loyalty Point for every 1 eligible AAdvantage® mile earned from purchases
  • Earn a $125 American Airlines Flight Discount after you spend $20,000 or more in purchases during your card membership year and renew your card
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees
  • First checked bag is free on domestic American Airlines itineraries for you and up to four companions traveling with you on the same reservation
  • Enjoy preferred boarding on American Airlines flights
  • Annual fee $99, waived for first 12 months for everyone, and ongoing for US military spouses and servicemembers
Citi AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard Military

Citi® AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard®
Learn how to apply on our partner's secure site

  • Earn 70,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after making $7,000 in purchases in the first 3 months of account opening
  • Admirals Club® membership for you and access for up to two guests or immediate family members traveling with you
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases
  • Earn 1 Loyalty Point for every 1 eligible AAdvantage® mile earned from purchases
  • First checked bag is free on domestic American Airlines itineraries for you and up to 8 companions traveling with you on the same reservation

Citi Credit Cards MLA FAQ

How long does the Citi MLA fee waiver process take?

Less than 2 weeks. In my experience, I sent my Citi MLA request via email on June 14th. On June 25, the MLA fee credit was posted to my Citi credit card online activity.

What is the email address for Citi MLA fee waivers?

MILITARYORDERS@CITI.COM is the best way to contact the Citi Military Response Unit for MLA benefits.

Does Citi Prestige waive annual fee for military?

Yes! Citi Prestige waives the $495 annual fee for US military servicemembers and spouses. Citi does this to comply with their Military Lending Act (MLA) program.

50 thoughts on “Citi Military Credit Card Benefits | 2024 MLA Policy Update”

  1. I’ve been AD since 2005. Opened my Citi Executive World Elite account last month and went through the email process to get MLA benefits applied as outlined above. It was denied. Called to follow up, and Citi confirmed that the account must be opened BEFORE entering the military (although the letter they sent me actually says the opposite: “it doesn’t qualify for coverage since you weren’t a covered borrower at the time your account was opened”).
    Also asked about waiving annual fees via SCRA coverage, but that too requires the account to be opened prior to entering the military.
    Not sure how so many of you have been successful getting it waived when opening the account after joining, but I didn’t have that luck.

        • Update: Both the MLA and SCRA requests were denied. I’ve confirmed I’m in both systems, so I’ll pursue filing a complaint.

            • Citi responded and denied both requests again, and closed the account. Their message is below. You should probably adjust your article to reflect their current position on AD military opening accounts after coming on AD, and their refusal to waive annual fees.

              CITI RESPONSE:
              Our records reflect your above-referenced account was reviewed for benefits under the Servicemember Civil Relief Act (SCRA). Unfortunately, because your account was established after the date that your active duty began in 2005, it doesn’t qualify for SCRA benefits.
              We also reviewed your account for benefits under the Military Lending Act (MLA); however, as stated in the attached copy of our January 16, 2024, you were not listed as a covered borrower at the time your account was opened.
              As you requested, your account was closed, and credits for the $595.00 and $175.00 annual fees have been submitted.

            • Sorry you’re having this experience. That’s really frustrating, and one of the reasons I tend to recommend Amex and Chase over Citi for MLA covered borrowers.

              Do you have the receipts from the MLA database around the date of your application?

              Did you have a balance on your statement when the annual fee was charged?

              I have multiple data points of other MLA covered borrowers getting their Citi annual fees waived. But, I also know of guys that have one Citi card with MLA fee waivers and one without! Citi seems to have a very confusing policy that is inconsistently applied.

            • So, guess what? I haven’t pursued this since Citi agreed to close my account and refund the annual fee. Today, out of the blue, Citi sent me an email saying my MLS was approved, and an offer to reopen the account. Unbelievable. I don’t know at this point that I want to mess with it anymore.

    • The same happened to me! I have been lucky and had help but each of the 7 times came back denied as well. I will be cancelling before my next fee in the coming month

  2. When you say that the statement should close with between $0 and AF/.36, does that mean total spent for that period or just the outstanding balance?

    For example, if AF/.36 is 1375 and I spend $2000 but make a payment of $1800 (leaving $200 balance) – does that work?

  3. Spencer,

    Can you explain it to me like I’m 5. Let’s say my statement closes on September 4th of the renewal month. Does that mean that I have to have a balance on my card on September 4th and to not pay it until September 5th at the earliest? Is this the same for all citi cards? All annual fee’s waived if you follow these steps?

  4. Hi Spencer,

    I opened my Citi bank AAdvantage card back in 2016 while on active duty and applied for MLA and was denied. They cited since my account was opened prior to the 2018 expansion of MLA which included annual fees, they will not waive it, ever. Not even after the law became in effect in 2018 going forward. Any solutions around this?

    • The account must be established after MLA was implemented. The account will never be eligible for MLA if it was opened prior to MLA implementation date. If you really want MLA on the account, you will need to close it and reopen it.

      • One point of confusion. Do we send the MLA email after being approved for the card or after the end of the first statement ? TIA

      • What happens if you end up losing your MLA benefit as a spouse from a divorce and you have only had the card for less than a full year? Would you have to pay a portion of it back or are the fees still waived for the original time frame?

  5. So I talked to a CSR on the Citi Military Customer Service line because I got charged the AF on my Citi Premier this month. I’ve had it since April 2020, been AD Army since Jan 2016, and have had MLA applied to the account from day one of having it. But what was different this year is that I didn’t have a balance on my card in the statement closing month in which the AF is due.

    The CSR did confirm for me what Spencer outlines above: you need a balance on the card during the statement closing month in which the AF is due in order to “exceed the 36% APR” requirement for MLA benefits to kick in. The CSR confirmed that it just needs to be above $0. So it doesn’t need to be some extravagant amount, just something so that when the AF is applied, it “exceeds the 36% APR” rule.

    I was not able to get the AF waived this year, but I now know what to do going forward and I’ve put a reminder in my Google calendar to remind me every April. As a side note, without prompting, the CSR did give me 5,000 TY points for the inconvenience and misunderstanding. Not enough to cover the AF in whole, but it was something. Especially given that Citi isn’t know for handing out “retention offers” like Amex.

    Hopefully this DP helps some of yall out.

  6. Spencer,

    When I applied MLA to my AMX, they refunded all the late fees and annual fees dating back several years. It sounds like Citi is not that generous and you have to be aware of when your annual fee is so you can have a purchase on the account for that month in order to not be charged the fee.

  7. Spencer,

    AMX offers a personal loan and active duty can apply MLA benefits to it. I have received $40k loan twice from AMX and they applied the MLA to it which resulted in zero interest for 36 months. Does Citi offer the same benefit with their loan?

  8. Does anyone have any data points on the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard®. There are multiple people saying different things. Does anyone have this card and got the AF waived? Thanks in advanced

  9. omg!! I really confuse greater than $0 but less than $1375 mean Im not supposed to pay off all ? leave a balance then ill get charged late fee? I still don’t get it .

    • No, just have charges on the statement when it closes. No late fees. Just spend money in whatever month you get charged the annual fee. Wait until the statement emails to you before you pay them off. Pay them off as soon you receive the statement, do not get a late fee.

  10. Hi Spencer,
    I have both the Citi Premier and Advantage card opened I. 2019. I sent them an email and they responded with this. We have reviewed your account and it does not qualify for SCRA. I sent the email with the wording for MLA. What are your thoughts?

      • I have been charged annual fees on both my Citibank cards the Premier and the AAdvantage. 2019, 2020, and 2021 all in January and May. I am active duty AF since March 2017.

        • Did you have MLA benefits applied to your account? Did you have a balance on the account when the statement closed in January and May?

          • I payoff my balances by the cutoff, so no, no balances. Is this why they wont apply my MLA ? I requested MLA with the email template you provided so I’m super confused.

            • Yes, I think that’s the issue. You need to have at least something on your statement when it closes in the month you will be charged the annual fee. You don’t need to carry a balance, you just need to have a non $0 statement.

  11. Looks like the account has to be opened after 2017 in order to qualify for MLA benefits. At least that is what they are saying.

  12. Spencer,

    In order for the AF to be waived for my spouse, would I need to have the card first or can she get it before me and still have it waived?


  13. Based on your screen shots, it does look like you had to have a balance above $0 but less than the set amount even though you mentioned that “I have not have to do this.” I am pretty sure if you did not meet that requirement, your annual fee would have have been waived.

  14. How can I tell if my account is receiving MLA benefits or not? I’d rather not deal with Citi customer service representatives as they are notorious for their incompetence. Is there anywhere I can go on to check my benefits?

  15. Spencer, it seems Citi may not be as cut and dry as Chase or Amex and has waffled on their interpretation of MLA against annual fees. Do you have any verification of a data point suggesting that you must maintain more than a zero balance on the statement your annual fee posts on in order to trigger a credit?

  16. Do you know if Citi MLA fee waivers also apply to their CitiPrestige card? In my situation I’d be applying for the card while on active duty, not before. I’m unsure if that affects the MLA benefits or not.

      • Spencer,

        I applied for MLA benefits through the phone, and I received a letter a few weeks later stating I am not eligible since the account was opened after I went on active duty. Would I have better success trying it through the website/email as stated above in order to waive my annual fees?

        • Yes, try the steps above for MLA benefits. Sounds like they declined to extend SCRA benefits to you, which makes sense since you opened the card after going active duty.

          • Any follow up on this? I am still fighting with Citi to get my wife’s annual fee waived for the citi prestige.

            • I followed Spencer’s instructions this past week and had MLA benefits applied to my new AAdvantage MC. It should waive the fees of $99/year, but I won’t know until 10 months from now. I applied when the balance was $0.

        • Some users report that your statement should close with a balance LESS THAN the annual fee divided by .36 but greater than $0. This is to ensure that the annual fee is 36% of your usable credit and therefore it will trigger an MLA fee waiver. Personally, I have not had to do this.

          For example, on the Citi Prestige with a $495 annual fee, you take 495 / .36 and get $1375. You need to make sure that your first statement closes greater than $0 but less than a balance of $1375. Then request the MLA fee waiver through the method above.

          • I just received my Prestige card, and spoke with their military customer service representative. Spencer’s comments matched what the lady said, however, she mentioned the MLA benefit is only for the first year. After one year the fee would not be waived.

            Can anyone verify if the fee was still waived after the first year?

            • Fee is waived after the first year, but you need to make sure you close the statement with a balance greater than $0. I made the mistake on my Citi Premier card with a $0 statement and was charged the $95 annual fee.

          • Spencer, Do you need to keep the balance greater than $0 but less than $1375 every monthly statement in order to avoid the annual fee?

            • No, just on the statement where the annual fee will be charged. I missed this on my Citi Premier this year and had to pay the annual fee.

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