SCRA-Friendly Credit Cards for Military

Updated: December 23, 2022
In this Article

    From generous rewards and huge sign-up bonuses to travel rewards and low APRs, some credit cards available to military service members and their spouses outperform other credit cards. 

    Military banks and credit unions, traditional banks and online lenders offer military credit cards. Some come with annual fees, while others charge no fees but require a good to excellent credit score. 

    Read on to find one that fits your specific needs.

    American Express Benefits for Military

    American Express capitalizes on Servicemembers’ Civil Relief Act (SCRA) protections by waiving their annual fees for military personnel and their spouses. American Express also offers some of the highest reward points anywhere, and you get to choose for a line-up of cards that are accepted just about everywhere. Check out these features and choose for yourself. 

    American Express Gold Card

    The American Express Gold card comes with a $250 annual fee that is waived for US military service members and their spouses. There are also no foreign transaction fees, so you can travel OCONUS TDY, PCS or just for fun without worry. 

    Additional benefits include: 

    • 60,000 Membership Reward points when you spend $4000 in the first 6 months of opening an account.
    • 4x points on restaurants, including takeout and delivery
    • 4x points on US supermarkets and OCONUS Commissaries (up to $25,000 per year). 
    • 5x points on hotels prepaid at
    • 3x points on flights booked on or directly with the airline.!

    American Express Platinum Card

    The American Express Platinum card is the top dog among credit cards. It has a $695 annual fee that is waived for all military personnel and their spouses. Plus, you can earn 100,000 membership points when you spend $6,000 in the first 6 months. That’s a value of $2,000+. In addition, you’ll get all of these great benefits:

    • 10x points at restaurants worldwide or when you Shop Small in the US. 
    • 5x points on airfare booked on or directly with the airline. 
    • 5x points on hotels at when prepaid ahead of time.
    • $200 annual hotel credit when booked on Amex Travel and paid for with your card.
    • $240 digital entertainment credits (restrictions apply). 
    • $200 Uber Cash on Uber Eats and rides
    • $200 airline fee credits per calendar year.
    • No foreign transaction fees

    Learn more about American Express credit cards.  

    Chase Sapphire Benefits for Military

    All active-duty military service members and their spouses enjoy no annual fees on all Chase personal credit cards. Chase Sapphire Preferred and Sapphire Reserve cards top our list of best cards for military personnel. While the Preferred card offers 10,000 more sign-up bonus points, the  Reserve credit card offers an o ongoing $300 annual travel credit.

    Sapphire Preferred for Military

    • $95 annual fee waived for military service members and their spouses. 
    • No fees ever, except for late fees and insufficient-funds fees.
    • Earn 60,000 Chase Ultimate points after you spend $4000 in the first 3 months of card membership.
    • $50 annual Ultimate Rewards hotel credit. 
    • 5x on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards.
    • 3x on dining and 2x on all other travel purchases.
    • 3x points on dining (includes takeout, delivery, and dine-in)
    • 3x points on select streaming services
    • No foreign transaction fees
    • After one year, upgrade to a Chase Sapphire Reserve 

    Chase Sapphire Reserve for Military

    • An annual fee of $550 is waived for US military and their spouses.
    • $300 annual travel credit, including taxis, Uber and car rentals. 
    • Earn 50,000 bonus points when you spend $4,000 in the first 3 months of opening your account
    • 3x points on restaurants and travel worldwide
    • 10x points on car rentals and hotels when you book your travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards.
    • When you use your card, you get automatic travel insurance, including trip cancellation and interruption, lost baggage, and auto rental collision.
    • Global entry sign-up fee of $100 reimbursed every 4 years.
    • No foreign transaction fees.

    Learn More About the Chase Credit Cards.

    Citi Double Cash Card for Military

    Citi Bank offers 0% APR and waives all annual fees and other fees such as late fees and balance transfer fees, during active duty.  Plus, you can earn 1% back on every dollar you spend and 1% back on every dollar you pay off on your account balance. You will likely need good to excellent credit to qualify for this card.

    • Rewards rate of 1% + 1%
    • No annual fee for service members and their spouses. 
    • No balance transfer fees charged on SCRA-eligible accounts
    • You will pay foreign transaction fees and there is no current sign-up bonus. 

    Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

    If you travel or plan to travel, the Capital One Venture Rewards credit card can’t be beaten. Although they offer no points or awards, you do get travel miles each time you use your card. Capital One also waives all credit card fees and caps interest rates at 4% when on active duty and for one year afterward. 

    • 60,000 travel miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within 3 months.
    • Earn 2 miles per dollar on most purchases.
    • No foreign transaction fees.

    The USAA Rate Advantage Visa Platinum Card 

    The USAA Platinum Visa card offers a low-interest rate of only 4% during PCS or deployment.  However, cash advances and balances transfers come with a 3% fee, and you must be a USAA member to apply.

    • 0% annual fee for service members (both active and retired) and their spouses.
    • No foreign transaction fees.
    • Auto rental coverage.
    • Travel accident insurance.
    • Trip cancellation coverage.
    • Baggage delay and reimbursement for lost luggage.

    USAA Rewards Visa Signature Credit Card

    You can earn points on all qualifying purchases – including at restaurants and gas stations. You must be a USAA member to apply and there is a 3% balance transfer and cash advance fee for each transaction.

    • 2X points on dining out and gas
    • 1X points on all other qualifying purchases.
    • After your first qualifying purchase, receive 2,500 bonus points.
    • No annual fee for service members and their spouses.
    • No foreign transaction fees.

    Learn more about the USAA Rewards Visa Signature card

    Navy Federal Credit Union Platinum Credit Card

    The NFCU Platinum Credit Card charges no balance transfer fees and has an introductory 0% APR on balance transfers for the first 12 months. Other perks include:

    • No foreign transfer fees.
    • 0% intro APR for 12 months.
    • No annual fee for military personnel and their spouses.
    • $0 balance transfer fee.
    • $0 maximum over-limit fee.
    • No Cash Advance fee if performed at an ATM or Navy Federal branch.
    • Membership is open to active-duty, veterans, and retirees in all branches of the armed forces and their families..

    Learn more about the NFCU Platinum Credit Card

    Written by Team