American Express Military Fee Waiver

Updated: June 13, 2024

American Express military benefits offer a significant financial advantage for those serving in the military, thanks to the protections provided by the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA). This legislation caps the rate of interest on eligible loans and credit products at no more than 6%—a cap that includes not just the interest but also any potential fees, such as annual memberships, late fees, and returned payment fees.

This particular benefit, though somewhat under the radar, can significantly enhance the financial flexibility of American Express cardholders, especially for service members interested in leveraging the high-end luxury perks of premium credit cards like The Platinum Card® from American Express, or the everyday utility of the American Express® Gold Card. What makes this offer even more appealing is that spouses of military personnel also qualify for these benefits, extending the financial advantages to the whole family.

It’s important to note that the benefits under SCRA extend beyond just the savings on annual fees. This Act provides comprehensive financial protections for active duty military personnel and their spouses across various financial aspects and loan terms—protections that are offered regardless of the credit card issuer. American Express steps up its support by assisting with the annual fees, setting it apart in its commitment to military families.

» Learn More: Amex Platinum’s $695 fee waived for active military

Military Relief Offered by American Express

American Express provides significant financial relief to active-duty military members through compliance with the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) and the Military Lending Act (MLA). These acts limit the amount of interest that can be charged on credit lines, with the SCRA also considering annual membership fees as part of the interest calculation. To adhere to these laws, American Express generally waives annual membership fees for eligible service members.

However, it’s important to note that American Express doesn’t automatically waive all annual fees for every service member. Eligible military personnel need to apply for this relief, and each application is reviewed on an individual basis.

Duration of Amex’s Military Relief Provisions

The protections provided under the SCRA and MLA are only applicable during active duty. Once a service member leaves active duty, they are no longer eligible for these financial protections. American Express periodically reviews accounts to verify eligibility. If it determines that an account is no longer eligible for relief, the cardholder will receive a notification letter at least 45 days before the relief ends.

card_name

Why the Amex Platinum Is a Great Card for Active Duty Military

The Platinum Card® from American Express stands out as an exceptional choice for active-duty military personnel. While most cardholders pay a $695 annual fee for the extensive perks that come with this card, service members are exempt from this fee, making it an incredible value.

Platinum cardholders enjoy extensive travel benefits, including access to over 1,400 airport lounges worldwide through Amex’s Global Lounge Collection. This includes Centurion Lounges, Priority Pass lounges (with enrollment), and Delta Sky Clubs when flying with Delta on the same day. Starting February 1, 2025, Amex Platinum card members will have 10 Delta Sky Club visits per year, with unlimited visits possible after spending $75,000 in a calendar year.

Additional travel perks include savings on flights through Amex’s International Airline Program and exclusive benefits at luxury hotels through the Fine Hotels & Resorts Program.

The Platinum Card also offers a variety of annual credits: up to $200 for airline fees on a selected airline, up to $200 in Uber Cash for U.S. Uber purchases when linked to the card, up to $100 for Saks Fifth Avenue purchases (with enrollment), and up to $85 for TSA PreCheck® or $100 for Global Entry application fees. These credits can total up to $600 annually.

Cardholders earn 5 Membership Rewards Points per dollar on flights booked directly with airlines or through American Express Travel, up to $500,000 per calendar year. They also earn 5 points per dollar on prepaid hotels booked through American Express Travel and 1 point per dollar on other eligible purchases.

Moreover, service members can still benefit from the welcome bonus despite not paying the annual fee. New Platinum cardholders can earn 80,000 Membership Rewards Points after spending $8,000 on eligible purchases within the first six months of membership.

Features:

  • bonus_miles_full
  • Access to the Global Lounge Collection, including over 1,200 airport lounges worldwide
  • $200 a year for airline incidental fees
  • $200 Uber credit each year
  • Fine Hotels & Resorts program, offering exclusive benefits at over 1,000 luxury hotels worldwide
  • Complimentary Platinum Concierge service, available 24/7 to assist with travel, dining, and entertainment reservations
  • No foreign transaction fees

Benefits:

  • Enjoy VIP treatment and exclusive access to luxury experiences
  • Earn Membership Rewards points, which can be redeemed for travel, merchandise, and more.
  • Receive automatic elite status with hotel and car rental loyalty programs
  • Travel with peace of mind, thanks to travel insurance and other protections
  • Enjoy the convenience of contactless payment technology and mobile wallet compatibility

» MORE: Read more about The Platinum Card® from American Express and learn how to apply in our review.

card_name

American Express® Gold Card

The $250 annual fee for the American Express® Gold Card might seem steep, but the card offers many valuable benefits.

It offers 3X Membership Rewards Points® on flights booked directly with airlines or through amextravel.com and 4X points on dining, including takeout and delivery in the U.S. and at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per year, then 1X). This makes it an excellent option for both travelers and those who spend significantly on everyday needs.

Additionally, you can bonus_miles_full This is a generous window to earn one of the card’s largest bonus offers.

Further perks include up to $10 monthly dining credits at select restaurants and Uber Cash for rides or eats in the U.S., adding up to substantial annual savings.

» MORE: Learn more about the American Express Gold Card and how to apply in our full review.

card_name

Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

For those who focus their spending on domestic necessities, the Blue Cash Preferred® Card offers 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000 per year) and on select U.S. streaming subscriptions, 3% back at U.S. gas stations and on transit (including taxis/rideshare, parking, tolls, trains, buses, and more), and 1% back on other purchases. Given its cash back on everyday purchases, it’s an excellent complement to the travel-focused benefits of other AMEX cards.

Other American Express Cards Eligible for SCRA or MLA Benefits

The following cards from American Express are also eligible for SCRA or MLA benefits:

  • American Express Platinum Card® for Schwab
  • American Express® Green Card
  • Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card
  • Marriott Bonvoy Bevy™ American Express® Card
  • Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card
  • Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card
  • Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card
  • Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card
  • Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card

Why Does American Express Offer These Military Credit Card Incentives?

The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) and the Military Lending Act (MLA) are federal laws designed to provide various protections to military personnel. These laws aim to ease financial burdens and offer legal protections that allow servicemembers to devote their full attention to their duties while securing their peace of mind about certain financial and legal obligations.

Key Provisions of SCRA and MLA

SCRA Benefits:

  • Reduced Interest Rates: SCRA caps interest rates at 6% per year on credit obligations incurred before military service, including credit cards, mortgages, and other loans.
  • Foreclosure and Eviction Protections: Provides protection from eviction and foreclosure under certain conditions for active duty members.
  • Contract Termination Rights: Allows servicemembers to terminate certain contract obligations such as automobile leases, cellphone contracts, and housing rentals without penalty in instances of deployment or reassignment.

MLA Benefits:

  • Cap on Interest and Fees: The MLA limits the total charge on most types of consumer loans to a military annual percentage rate (MAPR) of 36%, which includes interest and other fees.
  • No Mandatory Waivers: Prohibits creditors from requiring servicemembers to submit to mandatory arbitration or give up certain rights under federal or state law.
  • Loan Disclosure Requirements: Lenders must provide clear disclosures about the loan costs and terms.

This military interest rate limit is set so that military credit users are charged “no more than six percent per year, including most fees.” But this is not an automatic benefit; it must be applied for including when you apply for an American Express Platinum card or any other type of AMEX credit. Claiming both your military discount on a credit card AND getting additional SCRA consideration is a smart move.

» MORE: The American Express Platinum Card offers strong benefits for Military

Requesting SCRA Benefits from American Express

If you’re an existing American Express cardholder or plan to apply, initiating your SCRA benefits is straightforward. You can contact American Express directly at 1-800-253-1720 to inform them of your active duty status. If initial customer service interactions don’t recognize the SCRA request immediately, asking for a supervisor is advisable. Online options are also available, allowing you to log into your account and request these benefits digitally, followed by mailing necessary documentation to confirm your eligibility.

Once American Express verifies your active duty status through the Department of Defense Manpower Data Center, your SCRA benefits will be applied to your account, retroactively forgiving any interest over 6% and ensuring you receive all applicable fee waivers.

Claiming Your Military Credit Card Benefits And SCRA Protections

There are two basic things that need to be done to claim both your no-annual-fee American Express military discount and SCRA benefits on your account. One is done when you first apply for the card. It’s important to choose “military” as your income source when applying in order to be recognized as eligible for SCRA benefits.

If you did not do this when you applied for an American Express card in the past, don’t worry. You can claim your military credit card benefits by informing AMEX customer service of your status as an active-duty military member.

That is the second step you should take when claiming your military discount and your benefits under SCRA. You will be required to submit military orders and/or other proof of service to show you are on active duty and in good standing with your branch of military service.

Remember, if you are a current AMEX card holder, call customer service to request your SCRA benefits and military credit card benefits. If you encounter a customer service rep that does not know about these issues, ask to speak to a supervisor.

How to Check if You Will Receive SCRA or MLA Protections

The simplest way to check if you will receive MLA or SCRA protections on your account is to check the MLA Database or SCRA Database.

The MLA and SCRA database are the same databases that the credit card companies check to determine if you qualify for MLA or SCRA benefits.

If you are not listed as eligible in these databases, you will not receive MLA and SCRA benefits applied to your account. You must be listed as eligible in these databases for the credit card companies to apply your military benefits.

SCRA Benefits Do Expire

When you claim SCRA benefits under any credit card provider, including American Express, your benefits include forgiveness of interest incurred above six percent, which is applicable retroactively for debts you had before starting your military career. That means that if you already had an American Express card before you served, you could find a refund is due depending on the interest rate and other factors.

The catch is that you have a time limit to claim such SCRA benefits-you can claim them as many as 180 days after the end of military service. When you file your SCRA notice with any creditor, AMEX or otherwise, the creditor is required to fully forgive, rather than defer until later, the amount of interest greater than six percent per year that may be affected by your SCRA rights.

» Next Step: Learn more about The Platinum Card® from American Express


To see the rates and fees for the American Express cards featured, please visit the following: Rates and Fees.

Written by Joe Wallace

Joe Wallace is a 13-year veteran of the United States Air Force and a former reporter for Air Force Television News.

Edited by Veteran.com Team