Best Military Credit Card Bonus Offers for October 2019

See why the AMEX Platinum is my top recommended military credit card.
I can show you how to get your 1st $550 annual fee waived when you sign up for my Ultimate Military Credit Cards course

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Credit card companies are desperate for you to use their cards. Some of the welcome bonuses they offer are ridiculously high, easily surpassing $1000 of value. For military servicemembers and spouses, the benefits are even greater since annual fees are waived on Chase personal cards and all American Express cards.

You can earn free hotel stays, almost free* air travel (*just paying taxes and fees, usually under $50), business or first class upgrades, airline fee reimbursement, monthly Uber or UberEats credits, free Centurion and Priority pass airport lounge access, and the list goes on.

My wife and I have earned over 2 million points over the past 2 years without paying a dime in interest or fees. Thanks to military annual fee waivers, the outstanding travel, hotel, and airline benefits of the best credit cards are unlocked for military personnel and their families.

Learn more about how servicemembers and their spouses can get their annual fees waived on Chase and AMEX cards in my free course.

The Platinum Card from American Express (Best Overall Travel Card for US Military)

Military SCRA MLA AMEX Platinum

Chase Sapphire Preferred (Increased Sign Up Bonus)

  • Learn how to apply for the Chase Sapphire Preferred here
  • 60,000 bonus after you spend $4000 in the first 3 months of card membership
  • $95 annual fee waived for military personnel and spouses
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Primary rental car insurance coverage

The Chase Sapphire Preferred is offering an increased 60,000 sign up bonus. This is the best bonus we have seen on this card in years and is a great opportunity to earn some more UR points.

I recommend US military servicemembers open up a Chase Sapphire Preferred and then upgrade to a Chase Sapphire Reserve after 1 year, primarily for the $300 annual travel credit. Learn more about the best Sapphire Preferred and Reserve strategy for military servicemembers in this article.

You can earn up to 250,000 Marriott points with the 3 new Marriott Bonvoy cards from Chase and American Express. All 3 cards have the annual fees waived for military.

Chase Ink Business Preferred (Best Limited Time Offer for this Card)

Chase Ink Business Preferred Veteran and Military

  • Learn how to apply for the Chase Ink Business Preferred
  • 80,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards welcome bonus points after $5000 of spend in the first 3 months
  • 80,000 UR points = $1000 worth of travel when redeemed through Ultimate Rewards portal. Can be worth $1200 in travel if transferred to Chase Sapphire Reserve
  • Cell Phone Protection: Up to $600 coverage against theft or damage when you pay your monthly cell phone bill with your CIP
  • Earn 3X points on travel, shipping purchases, Internet, cable and phone services, and online advertising purchases
  • NO Foreign Transaction fees
  • $95 annual fee (not waived for military), but worth it just for the welcome bonus alone

American Express Hilton Honors Aspire Card

Free Diamond Status at Hilton Hotels for Military

  • American Express Hilton Honors Aspire Card
  • $450 annual fee waived for US military servicemembers and spouses
  • Complimentary Diamond Status at all Hilton brands (suite upgrades, breakfast, check in gifts, etc)
  • 150,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points welcome offer after $4000 of purchases in the first 3 months
  • 1 weekend night reward after opening your account and every year on renewal
  • $250 Hilton Resort Credit
  • $250 airline fee credit (similar to the AMEX Platinum, also free for military)
  • 14x Hilton Honors Bonus Points at Hilton properties
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Full review of AMEX Aspire card

Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express Card

  • American Express Bonvoy Brilliant
  • $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

Chase IHG Rewards Club Premier

Chase IHG Premier MLA

American Express Delta Cards

AMEX Delta Reserve card free for US military

You can earn the coveted AMEX Delta Reserve card companion pass, unlocking a buy 1 get 1 round-trip US domestic first class ticket annually with the American Express Delta Reserve card. Learn how to apply for this card here.

Normally this card as a $450 annual fee, but it's waived for US military servicemembers! Learn more about the AMEX Delta cards for military servicemembers.

Chase Ink Business Cash Card

Chase Ink Business Cash Credit Card for Veterans and Military

  • Learn how to apply for the Chase Ink Business Cash Card
  • $500 bonus cash (50,000 UR Points) after you spend $3000 in 3 months
  • 5% cash back on the first $25,000 spent at office supply stores and on internet, cable and phone services
  • 2% cash back on the first $25,000 spent at gas stations and restaurants
  • 1% cash back on everything else
  • No Annual Fee (for everyone, not just military)

Chase Ink Business Unlimited

Chase Ink Business Unlimited Credit Card for Veterans and Military

Chase Sapphire Reserve

Chase Sapphire Reserve bonus

  • Learn how to apply for the Chase Sapphire Reserve
  • $450 annual fee and $75 authorized user fee WAIVED for US military and spouses (Chase MLA policy explained)
  • $300 annual travel credit. That's $300 FOR FREE on any travel purchase (Uber, taxi, airfare, hotel, train, car rental, etc)
  • 50,000 bonus points when you spend $4000 in the first 3 months of opening account (at least $750)
  • 3x points on travel and dining worldwide
  • Automatic travel insurance on trips purchased with the card including trip cancellation, delay, interruption, lost baggage, and auto rental collision
  • $100 Global Entry sign up fee reimbursed every 4 years
  • No foreign transaction fees

American Express Gold Card

  • American Express Gold Card
  • $250 annual fee waived for military (more details here)
  • Bonus increase: 35,000 Membership Reward welcome bonus offer after $4000 spending in first 3 months
  • NEW JUNE 2019: 4x Points at GLOBAL restaurants
  • 4x points at U.S. supermarkets
  • $100 annual airline fee credit
  • $10/month credit at Grubhub, Seamless, The Cheesecake Factory, Ruth's Chris Steak House and participating Shake Shack locations
  • No foreign transaction fees

You can upgrade this card to another AMEX Platinum after 1 year of card membership. This gives you an additional $200/year of Uber/UberEats credits and $200/year of airline fee credits or gift cards.

You still pay no annual fee if military, giving you another AMEX Platinum card for free. I have 3 at the moment and I'm working on 3 more. Sign up for my course here to see how I do it.

Southwest Credit Cards for American Military

10 September 2019 – there is a 60,000 point limited time offer on all Chase Southwest personal credit cards. Go to my Southwest Companion Pass for Military page for more details. You can earn 60k with a personal credit card and up to 80k with a business credit card.

My advice to earn a Southwest Companion Pass for almost 2 years:

  1. Open a personal and business Southwest card in Nov or Dec of 2019.
  2. Earn the welcome bonus in January 2020.
  3. 60k on the personal and 80k on the business = 140,000 Southwest points
  4. You only need 110,000 points earned in one calendar year to earn the Southwest companion pass for the rest of the year and the following year.
  5. Since you earned the Companion Pass in Jan/Feb 2020, you will have the companion pass until Dec 2021, almost 2 full years!
  6. More details on how the Southwest Companion Pass for military works here.

Capital One Travel Cards for Military

Currently the Capital One SCRA military policy is to only waive annual fees if you get the card before going on active duty orders. Reserves and National Guard can sign up for a Capital One credit card, go on 30+ active duty orders, and get the annual fees waived.

The Capital One Venture card for military is offering a sign up bonus worth at least $500. You can also earn 10x points on hotels.com purchases, great if you have a long TDY coming up or a large gathering.

Updates:

  • Added Capital One cards
  • Updated AMEX Delta offers 4 July 2019
  • Removed Chase Southwest cards offering 60k 11 June 2019
  • Removed Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Mastercard 8 June 2019
  • Removed Capital One Savor 19 May 19
  • Added Southwest cards offering 60,000 points on all cards 2 May 19
  • Added Chase Sapphire Preferred 60k Bonus 19 March 19
  • Added AMEX Delta LTOs 2 Mar 19
  • Added Marriott Bonvoy Chase and AMEX Offers 2 Mar 19
  • Removed limited time Southwest Companion pass offer 12 Feb 19
  • Added Southwest Companion Pass deal 11 Jan 19
  • Added Capital One Savor card 10 Jan 19
  • Added Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Mastercard 3 Dec 18

11 thoughts on “Best Military Credit Card Bonus Offers for October 2019”

    • Hi,
      Just a quick question. If an active duty military service member were to apply for a bunch of these cards and several years later were to retire, would the service member’s credit score take a huge hit if they choose not to continue the card use by paying the annual fees associated with each one?

      Thank you for your time!

      • Just close the accounts of the cards you are no longer getting value from when you retire. There is no significant impact on your credit score as long as you leave your oldest account open, never miss any payments, and any accounts you close have a zero balance.

  1. Hi, I am a Air Force reserve. Am I qualified for the same benefits as the active members? I will deploy in 2 months, will I be qualify if I apply for these credit cards now? What is the best option for me with the cards?

  2. Sir,
    I currently have no credit card with the annual fee and expected to go active duty like one year later.
    If I get CSR with paying the annual fee now and go active duty 6 months later, do they refund the annual fee I paid when I was not active duty? or they will only waive the annual fee starting the following year?
    Also since I have options for both SCRA and MLA not being active duty yet, should I get the cards before I go active? Because I worry about they change their policy (especially Chase) on 36% MLA, so even after they change, I can still be covered under 6% SCRA.

    • Chris,
      Both Chase and AmEx will generally refund the annual fee for you if it’s within the past year, but that’s not a written policy so your mileage may vary (there are some accounts on Reddit of people’s requests being denied, though those are mainly spouses before marrying military, not the service member).
      You may want to read up on Citi and some other companies (Barclay?) who’ll waive annual fees of cards opened before entering the military, but not if you open them once you’re on active duty. You have an opportunity some of us have missed.
      -David

    • I would wait to get the CSR until you go active duty, to ensure that the MLA protections kick in automatically on the account when you open it. The interest rates do not matter if you are paying your account in full every month.

  3. Hi Spencer,

    I was referred to your website to learn about the SCRA benefits for military members, and have signed up for your free course. I had a question I’m sure you get all the time, but have you heard of any national guard /reservists being able to take advantage of these benefits? If for example I’ve got title 10 orders this year for over 30 days, but next year I don’t, but I’m still on reserve status, would I end up paying the annual fee for the that year?

    • My understanding is if that you submit the Title 10 orders, you will receive the annual fee waiver for that year and retroactive for any annual fees paid in the past few years. Furthermore, I believe (but cannot confirm) AMEX checks SCRA status once a year. If they discover you are no longer showing as active duty status in the DOD database, they will probably ask you to provide orders showing you are still eligible for SCRA benefits. If you cannot produce evidence to support SCRA support, they will probably notify you of removal from SCRA protection and give you a few months to close any accounts you don’t want to pay annual fees on.

      Best thing to do is try it and let us know what happens! Worst case scenario you pay an annual fee. Best case you discover how the system works and can share the knowledge with all your fellow servicemembers.

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