There are many credit card options that feature perks for being a military member. You will find military fee waivers offered by a variety of high-profile credit cards including American Express, which means you may be eligible to access high-value credit cards (assuming the applicant is otherwise financially qualified) that can push your access to credit to a new level.
The military credit card offers discussed in this article are valuable perks for active duty military and their families, but one thing that is important to note: credit card companies change their terms and conditions frequently and the offers open to you today may be modified in weeks or months to come.
If you find a particular feature of a military credit card benefit to your liking but you cannot find it advertised on the company’s official site, always call customer service to specifically request the feature. You may find that in some cases, even though the promotion is no longer being advertised publicly, it may (or may not) still be available for the asking. The key is knowing to ask.
At the time of this writing, all features discussed here are available to those who qualify for them.
The American Express Military Credit Card Fee Waiver
American Express has generated headlines among military-themed publications for its policy of waiving the annual fees on its credit cards for active duty military members (Terms Apply). This perk gives the applicant access to a variety of AMEX cards including its American Express Platinum for Military with a waived $695-per-year fee, plus the following:
- 100,000 point sign-up bonus after spending $6,000 in purchases within the first six months
- Earn 10x points on eligible purchases on the Card at restaurants worldwide and when you Shop Small in the U.S., on up to $25,000 in combined purchases, during your first 6 months of Card Membership
- Centurion and Priority Pass lounge access
- Uber VIP status and up to $200 in Uber savings on rides or eats orders
- 5X Membership Rewards® Points on prepaid hotels booked on amextravel.com
- Get up to $100 in statement credits annually for purchases at Saks Fifth Avenue
- $200 airline fee credit yearly
- $240 Digital Entertainment Credit: Get up to $20 in statement credits each month when you pay for eligible purchases with the Platinum Card® at your choice of one or more of the following providers: Peacock, Audible, SiriusXM, and The New York Times. Enrollment required.
- New! American Express has expanded The Centurion® Network to include 40+ Centurion Lounge and Studio locations worldwide.
- $300 Equinox Credit: Get up to $25 back each month on select Equinox memberships. Enrollment required.
- $179 CLEAR® Credit: Use your Card and get up to $179 back per year on your CLEAR® membership.
There are other American Express credit cards you could apply for with a request for a no-annual-fee perk for military members:
- Business Platinum Card
- Platinum Delta Skymiles
- AMEX Gold Card
- Hilton Honors Aspire
- SPG Luxury Card
Eligible military members may also be offered one or more of the following perks:
- No overlimit fees
- No late payment fees
- No returned payment fees
- No fees for statement requests
Why Does American Express Offer These Military Credit Card Incentives?
The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) is a federal law designed to protect service members from certain fees and expenses related to having and using credit. The SCRA requires a 6% interest rate cap on loans and credit you had prior to starting military service.
While that has little to do with the perks offered to you by American Express for your active duty military service, it does inform how AMEX does business with you. American Express is a company that tends to liberally interpret laws like SCRA to remain in compliance and in good standing with the military community.
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 sign up 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.
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 have SCRA benefits applied to your account. One is done when you first sign up for the card-it’s important to choose “military” as your income source when signing up for the card in order to be recognized as eligible for SCRA benefits.
If you did not do this when you signed up 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.
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.
To see the rates and fees for the American Express cards featured, please visit the following: Rates and Fees.
Joe Wallace is a 13-year veteran of the United States Air Force and a former reporter for Air Force Television News
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