Credit Cards That Waive Annual Fees For Military in 2021

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The Platinum Card® from American Express card is annual fee waived for military. Terms apply.

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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

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 Amex credit and charge card 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
  • Annual fee of $695 waived for US military personnel and spouses (rates and fees)
  • 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 10x points at restaurants worldwide and when you Shop Small in the US up to $25,000 in combined purchases for the first 6 months (an extra 250,000 points potentially!)
  • 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 statement credit on prepaid Fine Hotels + Resorts or the Hotel Collection 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, 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
  • 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

Chase Sapphire Reserve No Annual Fee for 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 Military SCRA MLA
  • Learn how to apply for the Chase Sapphire Preferred
  • Earn 60,000 Chase Ultimate after spending $4000 in the first 3 months of card membership
  • 60,000 points = $750 minimum 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 12/31/21.
  • Get up to $60 back on eligible Peloton Digital or All-Access Membership through 12/31/2021
  • 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
Chase Sapphire Reserve No Annual Fee for Military
  • 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 – through Dec 31, 2021 gas station and grocery store purchases also count towards your 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

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:

US Bank

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:

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 spouses.

Does AMEX waive fees for military?

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.

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.

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