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To all the National Guard mobilizing for Coronavirus and COVID-19 response: thank you. I salute your efforts in defending our people, nation, and world against this deadly pathogen.
I am 95% positive Title 32 and Title 10 National Guard can receive American Express MLA and SCRA annual fee waivers on their credit cards, such as the Amex Platinum. Check out my full AMEX Platinum military review.
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 (but have not 100% confirmed) that AMEX checks your active duty status every 2-3 years. That means you can continue to get the fees waived even after you have come off of active duty status.
Once AMEX check's and see you are no longer active duty, they will warn you before they charge the annual fee.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 $550 annual fee = $275.
Amex Platinum for National Guard
AMEX waives their annual fees on all personal cards 100% of the time for active duty US military and their 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 AMEX's 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 annual fee of $550 waived for US 30+ Day Title 10/32 Orders
- 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
- Get $200 back in statement credits each year on prepaid Fine Hotels + Resorts® or The Hotel Collection bookings, which requires a minimum two-night stay, through American Express Travel when you pay 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
- $189 CLEAR® Credit: Use your Card and get up to $189 back per year on your CLEAR® membership. CLEAR® is available at select airports and stadiums.
- $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.
- $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. Plus Ups are excluded.
- 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
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!
Click here for more information on the American Express military program. 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:
|Read the Review||Annual Fee Waived||Other Sample of Benefits||Value|
|American Express® Gold Card||4x points on US supermarkets and restaurants||$1700|
|The Platinum Card® from American Express||$200 Uber + $200 airline credit + $200 hotel credit||$2000|
|Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card||Free night, Diamond Status, $250 credit||$2000|
|Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card||Free night, $300 credit||$1500|
|Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card||Annual companion benefit||$2000|
|Chase Sapphire Reserve® Card||$300 annual travel credit||$2000|
|Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card||Upgrade to a Chase Sapphire Reserve||$1600|
American Express and Chase both waive the annual fees on all of their personal credit cards. AMEX goes beyond and waives the annual fees on all of their business cards as well.
AMEX SCRA and MLA for National Guard
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 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 – Open an American Express Platinum card (more information on the card here) 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.
AMEX 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?
See why this is my top recommended card here.
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.
You can read much more detail on the AMEX Platinum benefits in my post.
How Many AMEX SCRA Cards Can You Get With No Annual Fee?
Currently, I have 11 and my wife has 2 of the following 13 American Express cards, all with the annual fees waived:
- Platinum x2 (my wife and me) ($1100)
- Gold Card ($250)
- Green Card ($95)
- Charles Schwab Platinum ($550)
- Ameriprise Platinum ($550)
- Ameriprise Gold (will upgrade to Platinum soon) ($195)
- Delta Reserve ($450)
- Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant x2 (upgraded an AMEX SPG) ($900)
- Hilton Honors (upgrade to another Aspire soon)
- Hilton Honors Aspire ($450)
- Bonvoy Business ($125)
Total annual fees waived: $4665
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 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.
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. Thank you for helping your brothers and sisters in arms!
AMEX National Guard 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.