AMEX and Chase Marriott Bonvoy Credit Cards with No Annual Fee for Military

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The Chase Sapphire Reserve travel card is fee waived for military.

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All annual fees are waived on these 4 Marriott credit cards for US military personnel. Marriott has recently released 3 new credit cards in partnership with American Express and Chase.

These cards are all offering limited time welcome bonuses of up to 100,000 Marriott points. Depending on how and when you redeem these points, 75,000 points could be worth more than to $750.

For instance, I booked a stay on Marriott Bonvoy points at the Kyoto Ritz Carlton. 2 nights and 2 rooms would have been $3500, but I only paid 280,000 Marriott Bonvoy points, giving me over 1.25 cent per point of value.

$3,564.21 USD for 2 rooms, 2 nights at Kyoto Ritz Carlton

Or 280,000 Marriott Bonvoy Points and $73 USD for the same rooms!

Marriott has re-branded the Marriott Rewards, Ritz-Carlton Rewards, and Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) Rewards into “Marriott Bonvoy.”

With the re-branding comes some excellent credit card opportunities.

The 3 best Marriott Chase and AMEX cards for military personnel are:

Best Marriott Cards for MilitaryWelcome OfferAnnual Fee Waived for MilitaryBonus Features
AMEX Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant75,000$450$300 Annual Marriott Credit, Free Night up to 50k
Chase Marriott Bonvoy Boundless75,000$95Free night up to 35k Points
Chase Marriott Bonvoy Bold 30,000$015 Elite nights

Active duty US military personnel can get their annual fees waived on all personal AMEX cards and all personal Chase cards opened on or after 2018. Activated reservists and guard on Title 10 and Title 32 orders should also be eligible.

AMEX Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ for Military

  • Learn how to apply for this excellent, fee waived card for military
  • $450 annual fee 100% waived for US military personnel
  • $300 Marriott Statement Credit on all charges to your room including spa, restaurants, room service, laundry, and nightly rates
  • 75,000 Marriott Bonvoy points after spending $3000 in the first 3 months of card membership
  • Earn 6 points per dollar spent at participating Marriott Bonvoy hotels
  • Receive 1 Free Night Award every year after your Card account anniversary (any redemption up to 50,000 points)
  • Complimentary Gold Elite Status at all Marriott, SPG, and Ritz-Carlton properties

This is my top recommend Marriott card for US military personnel. It really is a complete no-brainer. Let's review the benefits:

First and foremost, you get a $300 Marriott statement credit. That means the first $300 you charge at any Marriott property to your card is refunded as a statement credit. So as long as you spend at least $300/year with Marriott, you are getting $300 of value from this card.

Secondly, you get the annual fee of $450 waived if you qualify for SCRA benefits. So now you are getting the $300 statement credit for free.

On top of all that, you can earn 75,000 points after meeting the minimum spend of $3000 in 3 months.

And you get an annual free night at any Marriott property up to 50k points. That means you could stay 1 night at a Category 7 hotel, like the St. Regis Deer Valley or the Moana Surfrider on Honolulu's Waikiki Beach for free during off-peak season. Every year!

What are you waiting for? If you are in the military, get this card.

Chase Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™

  • Learn how to apply for a Chase Marriott Bonvoy Boundless here
  • $95 annual fee waived for active duty US military
  • 75,000 Bonus Points after you spend $3,000 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening
  • 6x Bonvoy points per $1 spent at Marriott properties
  • Automatic silver status
  • 15 Elite Night Credits each calendar year
  • 1 free night award annually at properties up to 35,000 points
  • No foreign transaction fees

AMEX Marriott Bonvoy Business

  • Learn how to apply for this card here
  • $125 annual fee
  • 75,000 welcome bonus Marriott Bonvoy points after you spend $3,000 in purchases on the Card in your first 3 months from account opening
  • 1 free night award annually at any property up to 35,000 points
  • Earn 4 points at U.S. restaurants, at U.S. gas stations, on wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers and on U.S. purchases for shipping.

Chase Marriott Bonvoy Bold for Military

Chase Marriott Bonvoy Bold credit card for Military

While this card may be a good starter travel card since it has no annual fee, no foreign transaction fees, and gives you a big Bonvoy bonus after meeting the minimum spend, military servicemembers are better off getting any of the other Marriott Bonvoy credit cards above.

Military servicemembers should especially be focused on the AMEX Bonvoy Brilliant (I have 2), since the huge $450 annual fee is 100% waived under AMEX's SCRA policy.

Marriott Bonvoy Redemption Chart

Here is the redemption chart or free night award chart for the Marriott Bonvoy program.

It ranges from 5000 points for a category 1 hotel off-peak to 100,000 points for a category 8 peak redemption.

For instance, you could book the Ritz Carlton Al Hamra Beach Resort near Dubai for 60,000 points or a 1.4 cents per point value. This is a Category 7 hotel, soon to be upgraded to Category 8. See the screenshot below:

I usually try to get at least 1 cent per point on my redemption. If a room is $100 per night or more I'm willing to part with 10,000 points or less to get it. Most travel points enthusiasts value Marriott points from .5 cents to 1 cent.

Marriott Credit Cards Military Advantages

Opening all 3 of these cards and meeting the minimum spend would unlock at least 250,000+ Marriott Bonvoy points just in the welcome bonuses alone. That's enough for a free week's stay at some of the best hotels in the world.

Additionally, with these 3 cards, you can get 3 free nights stay every year. That's 2 stays worth up to 35k points with the Bonvoy Boundless and Business and 1 stay up to 50k points.

Since you are paying no annual fees, it makes sense to hold on to these cards as long as you are in the military.

If you go TDY frequently, chances are you will end up staying in a few Marriotts. Since the AMEX Bonvoy Brilliant gives you automatic Gold Elite status, you can usually earn Platinum Elite status pretty quickly.

A day off while TDY in Cairo. Poolside at the Cairo Marriott Hotel on Zemalek Island.

I earned Platinum Elite status with a single 2 week stay in Egypt in 2018. We stayed at the Cairo Marriott Hotel & Omar Khayyam Casino. It was a lovely spot, with great food, clean and quiet rooms, and literally on an island in the Nile river.

Watch out for Marriott “Elite Status Challenges.” This is an easy way to earn elite status with only a few stays. Thanks to this TDY, I'm now Marriott Bonvoy Platinum Elite for the rest of 2019.

How I Use Marriott Bonvoy Points

Marriott points are great to have stored up, as whenever you need to travel, whether it's for work or pleasure, chances are there is a Marriott nearby. For instance, if you have to go to your brother's college graduation, rather then shelling out $300 for a hotel you can just cash in some points.

My wife and I are catching a 6AM international flight out of an airport 1.5 hours away. Rather than get up at 2AM to get there 2.5 hours prior to takeoff, we are checking into an Aloft Hotel right by the airport the night before.

Now we'll get a good nights sleep, get up at a more reasonable 4AM, and it only cost us 17,500 points. The cash rate was $102 before taxes and fees, so we only got .6 cents per point, but it's better than paying cash!

If you are interested in getting more than one of these Bonvoy cards, just check this handy chart below from Frequent Miler, explaining the Chase and AMEX Marriott Bonvoy credit card rules:

I recommend you learn how to apply for the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant. This is the best Marriott Bonvoy credit card for all military servicemembers. If you are in the military, the no annual fee benefits of this card make it too good to pass up.

Marriott Properties List

Here is a list of all of Marriott Bonvoy's brands. They have over 7000 hotels and resorts worldwide, so there's probably one where ever you go!

The Ritz Carlton, Edition, W Hotels, The Luxury Collection, St. Regis Hotels and Resorts, JW Marriott, BULGARI Hotels and Resorts, Sheraton, Marriott, Marriott Vacation Club, Delta Hotels, Westin Hotels and Resorts, Le Meridien, Renaissance Hotels, Autograph Collection Hotels, Tribute Portfolio, Design Hotels, Gaylord Hotels, Courtyard by Marriott, Springhill Suites by Marriott, Four Points by Sheraton, Fairfield by Marriott, Protea Hotels, AC Hotels, Aloft Hotels, Moxy Hotels, Residence Inn, Townplace Suites, Marriott Executive Apartments, element by Westin

Marriott Bonvoy Brands

6 thoughts on “AMEX and Chase Marriott Bonvoy Credit Cards with No Annual Fee for Military”

  1. Another of your posts discusses new AMEX business cards as no longer qualifying as annual fee waived for military. If valid, recommend this post be updated to reflect this (or remove the references to the AMEX Marriott Bonvoy Business as “$125 annual fee waived for military”) as readers are trying to understand the pros/cons of new card membership.

    REF first comment @

    • Mike, you are correct, Amex no longer waives business card fees on new cards opened. I will update the post, thanks!

    • I upgraded an old SPG card (not available anymore) to Bonvoy Brilliant. Or, open another Bonvoy Brilliant but you won’t be eligible for the welcome bonus.

  2. I love Amex credit cards!They are the most military friendly company particularly their credit cards, their customer service is amazing, their website is easy to navigate and they are easier to get approved as long as your credit score is good. However, I’m scared of applying for too many cards and ruin my good relationship with Amex. Is there a limit of the number of cards that you can have at once? I currently have 2 charge cards, 4 credit cards and 1 business credit card.

    • AMEX allows a maximum of 5 credit cards per person and unlimited charge cards. I currently have 2 Bonvoy Brilliant, 2 Hilton Honors cards, 1 Bonvoy Business, and 6 charge cards with them (Green, Gold, Platinum).

      You won’t ruin your relationship with AMEX by applying for too many cards: that’s what they want! They want you to apply for as many cards as you can!


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