Military Money Manual has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Military Money Manual 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.
Military servicemembers and their spouses enjoy one of the most lucrative credit card benefit available: no annual fees on the best travel and cash reward credit cards. There are over 30 credit cards that waive annual fees for military families.
Credit card military fee waivers mean you can get luxury travel cards, like the The Platinum Card® from American Express or Chase Sapphire Preferred, and not pay the regular annual fees everyone else has to pay.
Credit Card Companies that Waive Annual Fees for Military
- American Express (Amex military policy explained)
- Chase (Chase military policy details)
- Citi (Citi military policy)
- US Bank
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 Amex credit and charge card with a military fee waiver:
- The Platinum Card® from American Express review – learn how to apply for The Platinum Card® from American Express
- American Express® Gold Card review – learn how to apply for the American Express® Gold Card
- American Express® Green card review – learn how to apply for the Amex Green card
- Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card review – learn how to apply for the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card
- Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express review – learn how to apply for the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express
- Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express
- Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card review – learn how to apply for the Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card
- Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card review – learn how to apply for the Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card
- Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card review – learn how to apply for the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card
- Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card review – learn how to apply for the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card
- Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card review – learn how to apply for the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card
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.
- The Platinum Card® from American Express – learn how to apply
- Annual fee of $695 waived for US military personnel and spouses
- Best Ever Public Offer: Earn 100,000 Membership Reward Points welcome bonus (valued at $2000+) when you spend $6000 in the first 6 months
- 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: Earn up to a $200 statement credit on prepaid Fine Hotels + Resorts or the Hotel Collection, which requires a minimum two-night stay, booked on Amex Travel and paid for with your Platinum Card
- $240 Digital Entertainment Credits: Up to $20 in monthly statement credits when you use your Platinum card to pay for: Peacock, Audible, Sirius, Disney+, The Disney Bundle, ESPN+, Hulu, and the New York Times. 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
- $100 annual Saks Fifth Avenue credit, can be used for gift cards, enrollment required
- 40 Centurion Lounges and 1200+ Priority Pass airport lounge access for free
- $179 CLEAR Credit: Get through airport security faster with CLEAR
- $300 Equinox Credit: Get up to $25 back each month on the Equinox+ digital fitness app, or eligible Equinox club memberships when you pay with your Platinum Card(R). Enrollment required.
- No foreign transaction fees
- Heavy metal card that looks and feels really cool
- The Platinum Card® from American Express – learn how to apply
- Read my full review of the Amex Platinum card for military, terms apply
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
- Chase Sapphire Preferred – Chase Sapphire Preferred review
- Chase Sapphire Reserve – Chase Sapphire Reserve review
- Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card – Southwest Airlines credit card review
- Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card – review
- Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card – review
- United Club Infinite Card
- United Explorer Card
- British Airways Visa Signature® card
- Aer Lingus Visa Signature® card
- Iberia Visa Signature® card
- Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ credit card – Marriott credit card review
- Chase World of Hyatt Credit Card – Hyatt credit card review
- Disney® Premier Visa® Card
- IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card – IHG credit card review
- Starbucks® Rewards Visa® Card review
You can read more about the Chase Military Lending Act policy in this article.
- Learn how to apply for the Chase Sapphire Preferred
- Earn 80,000 Chase Ultimate after spending $4000 in the first 3 months of card membership
- 80,000 points = $1000 minimum value when redeemed through Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal
- New benefits include $50 annual Ultimate Rewards Hotel Credit
- 5x points on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards portal
- 3x points on dining (includes takeout, delivery, and dine-in)
- 2x points on all other travel purchases
- Points can also be redeemed with “Pay Yourself Back” for 1.25 cents each on eligible purchases
- No foreign transaction fees, great for overseas OCONUS assignments, TDY, and PCS
- Primary rental car insurance coverage & trip cancellation/interruption insurance
- Unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on orders over $12 for one year with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Must activate by 3/31/22.
- Earn 5x total points on Peloton Equipment and accessory purchases through 03/31/2022
- 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
- Learn how to apply for the Chase Sapphire Reserve
- $550 annual fee waived to $0 for US military + spouses with Chase MLA policy
- Earn 50,000 Chase Ultimate Reward Points after $4000 of spend in the first 3 months – $750 value when redeemed through Chase Ultimate Rewards
- $300 annual travel credit
- 10x points on hotels and rental cars & 5x points on air travel booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards after the first $300 spent on travel annually
- 3x Points on other Travel (airfare, hotels) after earning the $300 travel credit
- 3x Dining restaurants, takeouts, delivery)
- 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
- Primary car rental auto insurance and trip cancellation/interruption insurance
- No foreign transaction fees
- Learn more in the Chase Sapphire Reserve review
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 Card military benefits
- Citi® Prestige Card
- Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard®
- Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard®
- Expedia® Rewards Voyager Card from Citi
US 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:
- U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve
- U.S. Bank FlexPerks Gold AMEX Card
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.
- Bank of America (see Bank of American credit card application rules)
- Capital One
- Navy Federal Credit Union (NFCU)
- Synchrony Bank
- Wells Fargo (Wells Fargo credit card application rules)
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
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.
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.
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.
Yes, Chase waives annual fees on all of their personal credit card for active duty military and spouses.
Yes, thanks to the MLA and SCRA laws, American Express or “AMEX” waives the annual fees on all of their credit and charge cards. This includes the AMEX Platinum card, AMEX Gold card, and 9 other AMEX cards.
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.
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.