Credit Cards That Waive Annual Fees For Military in 2024

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Military servicemembers and military spouses enjoy one of the most lucrative credit card benefit available: waived annual fees on the best travel rewards and cash back credit cards. There are over 30 credit cards that waive annual fees for military families.

Credit card military fee waivers mean you can apply for luxury travel cards, like the The Platinum Card® from American Express or Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, and not pay the annual fees everyone else has to pay.

Credit Card Companies that Waive Annual Fees for Military

American Express

Military SCRA MLA AMEX Platinum
American Express Gold Card No Annual Fee for Military Upgrade to Platinum
Free Diamond Status at Hilton Hotels for Military

American Express waives annual fees for active duty military card members and their spouses under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act or SCRA. More details on the Amex Platinum military policy here.

There are 11 American Express cards with a military fee waiver:

As of January 2020, only personal cards are included in American Express's military fee waiver policy. Military spouses (legal dependents) are also eligible for annual fee waivers on their own cards. More the best Amex cards for military spouses here.

Amex waives annual fees automatically on new accounts opened under the Amex Military Lending Act policy. This benefit is automatically applied, there is nothing required for you to do. If you opened an Amex card before joining active duty service, make sure you apply for Amex SCRA benefits. If you get an Amex SCRA denial letter, check this article for how to fix the issue.

Military SCRA MLA AMEX Platinum

The Platinum Card® from American Express
Learn how to apply on our partner's secure site

  • Annual fee of $695* See more details about military protections for you and your spouse 
  • Earn 80,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $8,000 on purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 5x points on airfare booked directly with airline or on amextravel.com up to $500,000 per calendar year
  • Earn 5x points on prepaid hotels at amextravel.com
  • $200 Annual Hotel Credit: Get $200 back in statement credits each year on prepaid Fine Hotels + Resorts® or The Hotel Collection bookings with American Express Travel when you pay with your Platinum Card®. Note that The Hotel Collection requires a minimum two-night stay.
  • $240 Digital Entertainment Credit: Get up to $20 back in statement credits each month when you pay for eligible purchases with the Platinum Card® at your choice of one or more of the following providers: Disney+, a Disney Bundle, ESPN+, Peacock, Audible, SiriusXM, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal. Enrollment required.
  • $200 Uber Cash: Uber VIP status and up to $200 in Uber savings on Uber Eats and rides
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit: Up to $200 in statement credits per calendar year in baggage fees and more at 1 qualifying airline
  • $189 CLEAR® Plus Credit: Breeze through security with CLEAR® Plus at 45+ airports nationwide and get up to $189 back per calendar year on your membership (subject to auto-renewal) when you use your Platinum Card®.
  • $300 Equinox Credit: Get up to $300 back each year on an Equinox+ subscription, or any Equinox club memberships when you pay with your Platinum Card. Enrollment required. Membership subject to auto-renewal.
  • $155 Walmart+ Credit: Cover the cost of a $12.95 monthly Walmart+ membership with a statement credit after you pay for Walmart+ each month with your Platinum Card. Cost includes $12.95 plus applicable local sales tax.
  • Up to $100 annual Saks Fifth Avenue credit, enrollment required
  • Access 40+ Centurion Lounges and 1,200+ Priority Pass airport lounge for free
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • The Platinum Card® from American Express – learn how to apply
  • Read my full review of the Amex Platinum card for military, terms apply

Chase

Chase Sapphire Reserve Military
Chase Freedom Flex military
Chase Ink Business Preferred Veteran and Military

Chase waives annual fees on all of their personal cards for active duty military servicemembers and spouses. Note that this does not include business cards.

There are 15 Chase credit cards with a military fee waiver

You can read more about the Chase Military Lending Act policy in this article.

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 Ultimate Rewards®
  • 5x points on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards® portal
  • 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 Ultimate Rewards Hotel Credit
  • Points can also be redeemed with “Pay Yourself Back” for 1.25 cents each on eligible purchases in select, rotating categories
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards(R). 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
  • 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
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 Ultimate Rewards portal
  • $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 Chase Ultimate Rewards® 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 the Chase travel portal 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
  • Learn more in the Chase Sapphire Reserve review

Citi

Citi credit cards waive annual fees for military personnel and military spouses to comply with the Citi Military Lending Act.

There are 5 Citi cards that have annual fees for military:

Citi Premier Credit Card Military MLA

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

  • Earn 60,000 bonus ThankYou(R) Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • 60,000 points are redeemable for $600 in gift cards at thankyou.com
  • 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
  • Annual Hotel Savings Benefit
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • $95 annual fee waived for military with Citi military policy

U.S. Bank

U.S. Bank waives annual fees for active duty military and spouses under SCRA and MLA. This includes the US Bank Altitude Reserve card.

There are 2 U.S. Bank credit cards that waive annual fees for military:

Credit Card Companies That DO NOT Waive Active Duty Military Annual Fees

Here are the banks, credit unions, and credit card companies that DO NOT waive annual fees for military servicemembers for accounts opened AFTER joining active duty military service.

All of these companies must comply with SCRA and MLA. However, these companies have decided their policy is to not to waive annual fees for military servicemembers or spouses.

I'm not a lawyer, but from my reading of the relevant laws it seems that annual fee waiver is not a requirement. The MLA states that “bona fide and reasonable” fees may be charged. Therefore the companies that do waive all annual fees for servicemembers and their spouses are going above and beyond.

Why Credit Card Companies Waive Annual Fees for Military

The two relevant laws to this issue are the SCRA or MLA. The SCRA, or Servicemembers Civil Relief Act, is designed to protect SMs from civil suits and financial issues arising from their active duty military service.

The Military Lending Act, or MLA, is a recent law that is designed to prevent predatory lending practices from targeting military servicemembers. It caps the interest rate that any lender can charge military servicemembers at 36% per year.

Note that when I refer to “active duty military servicemembers,” that means anyone on active duty military orders 30 days or greater. So National Guard and Reservists are eligible for these benefits if activated. Save a copy of your orders to provide to the respective company.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which credit cards waive annual fees for military?

American Express, Chase, Capital One, Citi, and U.S. Bank all waive their personal credit card annual fees for US military servicemembers and their spouses.

Why do credit card companies waive annual fees for military?

There are 2 laws Congress passed to help protect military servicemembers and their families: The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) and the Military Lending Act (MLA). The SCRA primarily provides protections for accounts opened before active duty starts. The MLA primarily protects military families for accounts opened while on active duty. Both laws restrict the interest and fees credit card companies may charge military families.

What is the maximum interest rate on a credit card for active duty military?

Active duty military servicemembers are protected by the SCRA and MLA laws. The SCRA restricts any debt acquired prior to active duty to 6% interest. The MLA requires no more than a 36% interest rate on all debt acquired during military service.

Does Chase waive fees for military?

Yes, Chase waives annual fees on all of their personal credit card for active duty military and military spouses.

Does Amex waive fees for military?

Yes, thanks to the Military Lending Act (MLA) and Servicemember's Civil Relief Act (SCRA) laws, American Express (Amex) waives the annual fees on all personal Amex cards for active duty, Guard or Reserve on 30+ day active duty orders, and military spouses.

Does Citi waive fees for military?

Citi waives the annual fees on all of their personal credit cards for active duty military personnel and their spouses, This includes the Citi Prestige card.

Does U.S. Bank waive fees for military?

Yes, US Bank waives annual fees on their credit cards for US military servicemembers and their spouses. This includes the US Bank Altitude Reserve credit card.

20 thoughts on “Credit Cards That Waive Annual Fees For Military in 2024”

  1. If I incur the cards during military service (Chase, US Bank, Citi, or Amex.) Am I still eligible as an active duty member to waive the fees once approved?

    Reply
  2. I am writing to inquire whose responsibility it is to notify of leaving the service. In my case retire. I know people who have retired from the military and are still not being charged an annual fee for the platinum card. I also called and AMEX told me(not sure how official this is) that it would be there responsibility to start charging the fee and no need to notify them. Maybe once retired you stay in the database that they reference to determine military service in the first place?

    Any insight or experience you can share is very much appreciated. 8 months out!!

    Reply
  3. Hello, Can you get the welcome bonus for both the chase preferred and reserve ? Or are they the same family of cards?

    Reply
  4. Hello. I am curious how you are receiving all the card sign up bonuses. I received an initial bonus when I opened my AMEX Platinum card and when I later, maybe a year later, opened the AMEX bonvoy and delta cards they said I was not eligible for the sign up bonus and I simply assumed it was because I had another AMEX card and had received a bonus already.

    Reply
    • It sounds like you’re stuck in the Amex pop up jail. You are eligible for bonuses on each card. Just wait until you get out of jail before finalizing the application. You don’t want to miss out on these welcome bonuses! Welcome bonuses are the most valuable part of credit cards. See our recent podcast episode #70 for more info.

      Reply
  5. As a heads-up, you have Capital One Venture X listed as both a card that gets the annual fee waived and one that doesn’t get the fee waived; I imagine that you mean if you got the card before active service it would be waived, but it reads rather confusing.

    Reply
    • Capital One is tricky because the annual fee is waived for active duty military servicemembers if you open the account before active duty starts and then apply for SCRA benefits.

      The annual fee is not waived under MLA, so if you are already on active duty and you apply for the card the fee will not be waived. The Capital One Venture X Card can still be worth having.

      Reply
    • I have no data points on this but I would love to get one!

      My guess is that Amex would waive the annual fee on the Centurion Card for a covered borrower, aka active duty servicemember orb military spouse. But it would be a rare scenario where an MLA covered borrower would qualify for an Amex Centurion Card.

      Reply
    • Active duty, spouses and dependents of active duty, Guard and Reservists on active duty orders of 30 days or more all qualify for Military Lending Act benefits as covered borrowers. Benefits include annual fee waivers on top cards from Chase, American Express, Citi, U.S. Bank. Check your status in the MLA database before applying.

      Lots of Reservists will apply for cards when they are on active orders for 30 days straight after confirming the MLA database has been updated by the personnel office of your respective branch to reflect that you are on active duty and eligible for the MLA benefits.

      Reply
    • Do you have a recent data point? Recent ones I’ve seen say you still can. I will test it this month at Saks Fifth Avenue NYC.

      Reply

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