Best Credit Card Bonus Offers for September 2020

I will show you how to get your 1st $550 annual fee waived in my Ultimate Military Credit Cards course
The Chase Sapphire Reserve travel card is fee waived for military.

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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.

To be crystal clear: Chase and Amex waive annual fees for civilian spouses married to an active duty servicemember AND ALSO waive annual fees for the military servicemember. A married couple with one member in the military can double dip on annual fee waived cards. Each person can get their own card and get their fee waived. Not just authorized users, but their own actual account.

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.

Chase Sapphire Reserve (Chase Sapphire Reserve vs Amex Platinum)

Chase Sapphire Reserve No Annual Fee for Military
  • Learn how to apply for the Chase Sapphire Reserve
  • $550 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 (worth $750 when redeemed through Chase Ultimate Rewards)
  • 3x points on travel and dining worldwide after earning the $300 travel credit
  • Automatic travel insurance on trips purchased with the card including trip cancellation, delay, interruption, lost baggage, and auto rental collision
  • Up to $100 Global Entry sign up fee reimbursed every 4 years
  • No foreign transaction fees

The Platinum Card from American Express

Military SCRA MLA AMEX Platinum

Chase Sapphire Preferred (Best Ever Welcome Bonus)

Chase Sapphire Preferred Military SCRA MLA
  • Apply for the Chase Sapphire Preferred
  • Best Ever: Earn 80,000 Chase Ultimate after spending $4000 in the first 3 months of card membership
  • 2x points on travel and dining (includes takeout, delivery, and dine-in)
  • 5x points on Lyft rides until March 2022
  • Complimentary DashPass, the premium DoorDash membership with $0 delivery fee on orders over $12
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Primary rental car insurance coverage
  • Upgrade to a Chase Sapphire Reserve after 1 year
  • $95 annual fee waived for military and spouses with Chase Military Lending Act

The Chase Sapphire Preferred is offering the best welcome bonus seen in 5+ years: 80,000 Ultimate Rewards points! 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.

American Express Gold Card

American Express Gold Card No Annual Fee for Military Upgrade to Platinum
  • 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.

Chase Ink Business Preferred (Best Ever Offer for this Card)

Chase Ink Business Preferred Veteran and Military
  • Learn how to apply for the Chase Ink Business Preferred
  • 100,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards welcome bonus points after $15,000 of spend in the first 3 months
  • 100,000 UR points = $1250 worth of travel when redeemed through Ultimate Rewards portal. Can be worth $1500 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 up to $150,000 per year
  • 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
  • Learn how to apply for the Chase IHG Rewards Club Premier
  • $89 annual fee waived for US military according to Chase MLA policy
  • Earn 125,000 IHG points after $3000 of spend in the first 3 months of account opening
  • Earn a free night each account anniversary
  • Fourth night is free each time you redeem points for a 4+ night stay
  • Earn 25x points per $1 spent at IHG properties
  • Automatic Platinum Elite Status (2nd highest membership level)
  • Up to $100 Global Entry or TSA PreCheck Fee credit every 4 years – military members should get Global Entry, since you can get PreCheck with your DOD ID number off of your CAC
  • No foreign transaction fees – essential for international travel

Chase World of Hyatt

Chase The World of Hyatt Military MLA
  • Learn how to apply for Chase World of Hyatt Card
  • $95 annual fee waived for active duty US military and spouses thanks to Chase MLA policy
  • Earn up to 50,000 Bonus Points (good for up to 10 nights) – 25,000 Bonus Points after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
  • Then earn an additional 25,000 Bonus Points after you spend a total of $6,000 on purchases within the first 6 months of account opening
  • Earn 9 points per $1 spent at Hyatt properties
  • Automatic World of Hyatt Discoverist status

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

Southwest Credit Cards for American Military

Southwest often does limited time offers that, added together, can be worth a Southwest companion pass. Go to my Southwest Companion Pass for Military page for more details. For example, you could earn 40k with a personal credit card and up to 100k 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 Jan or Feb of 2021.
  2. Earn the welcome bonus in January 2021.
  3. 40k on the personal and 100k on the business = 140,000 Southwest points
  4. You only need 125,000 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 2021, you will have the companion pass until Dec 2022, 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® Rewards card for military is offering a sign up bonus worth at least $500 when you spend $3000 in the first 3 months.


  • Chase Sapphire Preferred 80k offer added 15 Sep 2020
  • Updated various offers March 2020
  • 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

25 thoughts on “Best Credit Card Bonus Offers for September 2020”

  1. Spenser,

    Thanks for the great info. Do you have any data points on Amex users facing issues for having multiple plat/gold cards on the same account (after re-linking them after de-linking the accounts to upgrade)? Also, is the ability to upgrade a green/gold 1 year from the inception date of the account or 1 year from when you disassociated it from your “primary” account. I am very interested in this particular scenario as your blog is the only place i have really seen it mentioned. Thanks again for the help

    • No issues, I have 6 Platinums on my main account.

      1 year from when you opened the Green or Gold due to the CARD Act law. You could delink and add the card to a new account and upgrade an hour later, as long as it was opened a year or more ago.

      • Awesome. It’s definitely a nice work around and probably exploitable because so few people qualify for waived af AND are interested in churning cards AND have ever delinked their cards. I suppose pleading ignorance if confronted would work as well since it’s literally being offered up on their own site. Is it functionally any different than just applying for another of the same card on the same account if thats even allowed? I suppose Amex wouldn’t really care if you wanted to have more than one since they’re making af and bringing in money when you use them

  2. Just finished your course–awesome, thanks! Have you used an app like award wallet or something else to track your rewards/mileage or how do you do it? Old school with an excel? Just go to each page frequently to check awards/expirations? Or do you just use them so frequently that it doesn’t really matter?

    • There is an excel file available in the course content. That is what I use to keep track of my benefits and points balances.

  3. So I just went to apply for the Chase Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Card, and they told me I wasn’t eligible for the sign up bonus because I already got the bonus with the Amex Marriott Bonvoy card (which is true). This is a deal breaker, so I won’t be getting that particular Chase card, for now. This is the first time I’ve seen this where Chase and Amex are talking to each other about sign up bonuses. Does this only happen with the Marriott Cards, or have you seen it in other cards too?

  4. Spencer,

    It’s a little bit unclear in your posts, but do military members’ civilian spouses get the CSR annual fee waived? I have the CSR, and my wife doesn’t. However, I’d love for her to have one if her fee is waived.

  5. Spencer,
    My wife and I started this game a few years ago and want to ask your suggestion for our next card. Currently we hold CSR, platinum and gold (me only), she has the CSP, and we both have Chase’s Marriott bonvoy. We are supposed to PCS this July and plan to use points for hotel stays, but with upcoming PCS expenses, thinking it is time to get a new card. We have four kids, so we don’t travel by plane much, but sometimes pay for family to visit. As far as new cards go, I’m leaning to sending her referals for amex since she can’t hold both CSR and CSP and Gold seems to be the better play, but not sure if I’m missing something. Any advice would be appreciated.

    • I recommend you work your way through my list of best credit cards for military servicemembers. Why not refer her for a Gold from your account for a 50K bonus for her and a 20k bonus for your referral? Spouses should always be referring each other for cards. Is her CSP fee waived? Look at upgrading that to a CSR if it is.

      I think you should look at Hilton cards, especially if you’re using points for your PCS. By the way, PCS is a great time to get a awesome roadtrip vacation in. Enjoy it! Here’s my list of best hotel credit cards that you might find interesting as well. IHG, Hyatt, Marriott, or Hilton could be a good option for you depending on what hotels you want to stay in on your PCS. Good luck!

  6. To get the added benefits for multiple AMEX cards, do you have to create new accounts? I have an AMEX platinum that I have had for a few years. Do I use that log in info if I want to apply for a Gold Card, Hilton Honors Aspire, Marriott Bonvoy, or AMEX Delta Reserve? Or do I have to create a separate account?

    Also, my wife’s AMEX platinum card is just an extra card on my account. It does not receive extra benefits. Should I have had her apply for a separate account?

    Thank you for the help,

    • For the Bonvoy Brilliant, Hilton Aspire, and Delta Reserve you can use the same login. Those are all different families of cards.

      For the Gold card, if you want to upgrade to another Platinum in a year, put it on its own login account. You can use the same email address as your primary account. If you just want a Gold card and don’t plan on upgrading, you can have it on the same account as your Platinum.

      Yes, you wife should apply for her own card. Annual fee is waived for military spouses. Authorized user cards do not get extra benefits, like you said.

  7. Spencer, what are your thoughts on the U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve? My understanding is that they waive annual fees for AD military and they seem to be promoting the card as a competitor to Chase’s Sapphire Reserve and Amex’s Platinum.

    • 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.

  8. 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?

  9. 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.

    • 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.

  10. 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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