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Title 32 and Title 10 National Guard can receive American Express Military Lending Act and Servicemember Civil Relief Act benefits including annual fee waivers on their credit cards, such as The Platinum Card® from American Express.
Here is an email I received March 29, 2020:
Spencer,Email from UMC3 student
Thanks for putting this web site together, lots of good info. I am a traditional Guardsman at this stage of my career. I have just been activated for 4 months to lead the COVID-19 response in (state redacted). I will be Title 32 AD. If I get one of these cards while on AD for the 4 months, will I be able to renew it on my anniversary or do they check each year to verify status?
First to answer your question, when Title 32 or Title 10 National Guard orders end, I believe that Amex checks your active duty status monthly or quarterly in the MLA database.
Once Amex check the MLA database and see you are no longer active duty, they will warn you before they charge the annual fee. You have 30 days to close the account after the annual fee is charged and still get a full refund of the fee.
After 30 days, the annual fee is pro-rated by month, so if you wait 6 months, Amex will refund half of the annual fee.
In this post:
Amex Platinum National Guard
Amex waives the annual fees on all personal cards for active duty US military and military spouses, as it has since at least 2012.
Every Guard/Reservists who has contacted me and applied for SCRA or MLA with Title 10 or Title 32 orders has had the fees waived thus far. MLA or SCRA benefits were applied, no problems.
US National Guard and Air Guard servicemembers serving their countries under Title 10 and Title 32 orders greater than 30 days are eligible for American Express SCRA credit card annual fee waivers.
Eligible statuses for the American Express Servicemember Civil Relief Act (SCRA) or Military Lending Act (MLA) benefits are:
- Active duty US military
- Reservists on Title 10 active duty orders
- National Guard on Title 10 mobilization orders
- National Guard on Title 10 CO-ADOS orders
- National Guard on Title 32 orders
My top recommend card for all US military personnel eligible for SCRA protection, including National Guard and Air Guard is the American Express Platinum.
The second most popular card on my site is the Chase Sapphire Reserve® Card. Chase also waives annual fees for Guard and Reserve on 30 day or greater active orders under MLA. Check the MLA database before you apply to confirm that you are correctly showing as eligible for MLA benefits as a “covered borrower.”
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
The annual fee of $695 is waived for Guard and Reservists on 30 day or greater Title 10/32 Orders.
Please note that I have not yet tried this National Guard SCRA program myself, since I am still active duty. I have several reliable data points from National Guards members, including an Army National Guard Warrant Officer. In his words:
Got a notice back today that Amex has put my account under SCRA protections…Title 32 didn’t seem to be a problem.
I am on a finite set of orders, ending 30 Sep in my case, my notice said I would be protected until the end of my orders. I’ll just have to send in a new set of orders, if I get carried on AD after 30 Sep.
Anyway, there you have it. And thanks to you for all your info! I only wish I had known all this 15 years ago!
You can read about how I originally discovered this benefit while on active duty and got the word out to my email subscribers way back in 2013.
Other Amex cards with SCRA fee waivers for National Guard include:
- American Express® Gold Card
- The Platinum Card® from American Express
- Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card*
- Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card
- Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card
- Chase Sapphire Reserve® Card
- Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
*All information about American Express Hilton Honors Aspire Card has been collected independently by MilitaryMoneyManual.com
American Express and Chase both waive the annual fees on all of their personal credit cards.
Amex Platinum Military Reservist
Here's an email I received from 8 June 2019:
I’m a veteran and my spouse is currently on active duty for training orders Title 10 with the USANG.
Wanted to let you know that Amex applied SCRA benefits to our accounts, no questions asked.
*** **** in Denver
This is a very encouraging data point! Please leave a comment or send me an email if you also have an Army/Air National Guard SCRA or MLA Amex data point.
How to Get Amex SCRA Benefits in the National Guard
If you input your social security number, your birthday, last name, and today's date, it will present you with a PDF certificate of your Title 10 status. You want to look for the “Active Duty End Date” and “Status.”
If the end date is in the future and your status is “Yes,” then you are eligible for Title 10 SCRA coverage until your end date.
If the SCRA check comes up with N/A, then you can still apply for SCRA benefits from Amex, you may just need to provide a copy of your Title 32 orders.
Step 1 – Apply for an American Express Platinum card or any of the other excellent American Express cards with no annual fees for military.
Step 2 – As you are spending to meet the minimum spending for the huge welcome bonus (learn more about maximizing your military credit card benefits in my course, apply for SCRA benefits through this link or on your Amex account services page.
Step 3 – Answer the questions as they are asked. I answered “no” because I am not a National Guard Member, but you might be:
Step 4 – At the end of the SCRA questionnaire you will receive a notification that looks similar to this:
The text reads:
Military Orders Request
Thank you for your recent request for benefits under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act.
We will make every effort to complete the review within 60 days of receipt of your request. You will be notified in writing of the actions we have taken.
You may check the status of your request at any time by visiting americanexpress.com/inquirycenter. We are grateful for the service and devotion you have shown to our country.
You may be asked to provide a copy of your orders. If you are asked, just upload the orders to the secure Amex site as requested.
Redact any information you don't feel comfortable sharing with them, but remember they already have your Social Security number!
The Amex SCRA review process usually takes 2-3 weeks to complete. If you are charged an annual fee in that time, AMEX will refund it.
Recently my wife applied for the SCRA benefits as a military spouse. She applied on Feb 27 and the case was closed 4 March, so only 5 days with a weekend in the middle.
Here is the response you want to see from Amex:
To support the men and women who serve in the United States Armed Forces, we are handling your account referenced above in accordance with the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act.
The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act provides for a maximum annual interest rate of 6% per year on loans you received before starting active military duty. As of today, your account does not have a balance owed which generates interest charges so there is no eligible balance. However, we have suppressed the following fees from billing on your account statement for the duration of your active military duty:
*Annual Membership fees
*Late Payment fees
*Returned Payment fees
*Statement Copy Request fees
This completes our review of this account. If there are any additional accounts you would like reviewed for Servicemembers Civil Relief Act benefits, please call us at 1-800-253-1720. If you are outside the United States, please call us collect at 1-336-393-1111.
We are grateful for the service and devotion you have shown to our country.
American Express Customer Care
What are the Amex SCRA Benefits for Title 32 National Guard?
Title 32 National Guard get the same Amex SCRA benefits as active duty servicemembers. These include:
- Annual Membership fees
- Overlimit fees
- Late Payment fees
- Returned Payment fees
- Statement Copy Request fees
This is NOT due to the SCRA law. The way the SCRA law is written, only Title 10 National Guard members are eligible for SCRA benefits.
However, American Express goes above and beyond what is required by the law to support the men and women of the National Guard.
Why do they do this? I don't think it's out of the goodness of their heart. I think it's due to Amex's lawyer's interpretation of the SCRA and Military Lending Act (MLA) laws. AMEX proceeds with an abundance of caution with how they treat military servicemembers, no matter what their activation status.
American Express has probably calculated that rather than risk lawsuits, federal legal action, and bad press from negative treatment of servicemembers, they would rather just not charge fees to US military and be done with it.
What Happens When My Title 10/32 Orders End?
Ok now this is a tricky one. I will be honest, I'm not sure. If anyone does know, please sound off in the comments.
My best guess is Amex will get in touch with you to confirm your status and ask you to provide documentation you have been extended beyond your original orders end date.
If you cannot produce new orders, I suspect they will remove you from SCRA protection and you will be eligible for annual fees at that point. I suspect they will not charge the annual fee until your card anniversary, or the day you opened the account.
Please note that Amex will refund the annual fee completely if you cancel the card within 30 days after the statement in which the annual fee hits.
So if the annual fee is charged April 2, the statement closes April 30, you have until May 30 to close the account and get a full refund.
If you product change the card, so for instance downgrade your Amex Platinum to a no annual fee Amex Everyday card, you can keep your Membership Reward points and the annual fee will be prorated.
For example, if you wait 6 months after the annual fee is charged on the AMEX Platinum, you will receive $225 back after the product change.
Why Should I Get the Amex Platinum?
Do you ever travel? Hate airports? Let me tell you about airport lounges: free food, free drinks (usually beer, wine, and mixed), quiet, and separated from the loud and obnoxious crowds. It will change the way you travel and make travelling so much less of a painful experience.
You can access over 1200 Priority Pass Lounges and the famous Amex Centurion Lounges for free with the Amex Platinum. You can even get a guest in free.
I used the 60,000 point welcome bonus I earned with minimum spending to upgrade my wife and me to business class. A 14 hour flight is much more manageable when you spend half the time sleeping. I can show you how to do this in my 5 day, free, military credit cards course.
The Platinum Card from American Express has a $15/month ($35 in December) Uber credit, good for rides or ordering food on Uber Eats.
You can also get $200 in airline fees reimbursed.
How Many Amex SCRA Cards Can You Get With No Annual Fee?
Currently, I have 14 and my wife has 5 of the following 19 American Express cards, all with the annual fees waived:
- Amex Platinum x7 ($4,875)
- Amex Gold Card x2 ($500)
- Green Card ($150)
- Charles Schwab Amex Platinum Card ($695)
- Amex Delta Reserve $550
- Amex Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant x3 ($1,350
- Amex Hilton Honors Aspire x4 $1,800
Total annual fees waived: $9,920
From these 13 cards we receive annually:
- 3 free nights at Marriott annually and Marriott Gold Elite
- 1 free night at Hilton annually with Diamond Status
- $1150 in airline fee credits reimbursed
- $800 of Uber or Uber Eats credit annually
- $250 Hilton Resort credit
- $600 Marriott expenses credit
- Annual companion pass in Delta first class
And those annual benefits are on top of the 250,000+ Hilton points, 260,000+ AMEX Membership Reward Points, 400,000+ Marriott Bonvoy points, and 75,000 Delta Skymiles I earned by meeting the minimum spend and earning the welcome bonuses on these cards.
As you can see, the Amex MLA & SCRA benefits are extremely lucrative for US military servicemembers. Lounge access, free hotel nights, free credit at the hotels, upgraded status, airline fees reimbursed, and free food make this a very lucrative hobby.
Start travelling easier by taking my 5 day, 100% free, email based Ultimate Military Credit Cards Course.
If you are in the Guard or Reserve and have successfully received SCRA or MLA annual fee waivers from AMEX, please let me know either by email or in the comments below.
Amex National Guard & Reserves FAQ
Yes! If you are a National Guard servicemember on Title 10 or Title 32 active duty orders for 30 days or more, you are eligible for annual fee waivers on your American Express cards.
Yes, the American Express Platinum card annual fee is waived for National Guard and Reservists if you are on Title 10 or Title 32 active duty orders for 30 days or more. Learn more about the Amex National Guard fee waiver in this article.
Yes, if you are in the Reserves and on 30 day active orders, Amex Platinum fees are waived for you and your spouse.
Yes, military reservists can get Amex cards with no annual fees, thanks to MLA and SCRA.
Amex Platinum verifies military service in the Military Lending Act database. You can check your status in the MLA database before you apply.
Yes, if you in the Reserves and on active orders for 30 days or greater, you are eligible for MLA fee waivers on cards you open while on active orders, or SCRA benefits if you open the account before active status.
Yes, military reservists can qualify for Amex Platinum with a credit score over 720. They can also qualify for annual fee waivers through MLA and SCRA if on active orders of 30 days or greater.