Advertising Disclosure: Links and credit card offers on this page may earn us a small commission. They never influence what we cover but they do keep the lights on. Learn More
Something that I don’t think gets enough airtime in miles and points is the simple fact that credit card issuers take part in the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA).
Since it’s Veteran’s Day today, this is a good time to remind everyone about these waivers! Also, Thank you very much to all that have served or are currently serving.
While the act itself calls for relief for cardholders entering active duty (things like waiving late fees and interest), many card issuers flat out waive annual fees for active duty servicemembers.
With fees on high end credit cards reaching the $500 range, servicemen and servicewomen can pick up more than one of these cards, enjoying rich benefits without paying the annual fees.
In this article
And why not?
Since you can get the fees waived across issuers, why not pick up a high end Amex card as well as a high end Chase card.
Two Great Credit Cards to Use Your SCRA Fee Waivers On
The Platinum Card from American Express, which carries a $550 annual fee for most people, will have its fee reduced to $0 for active military. You may pay the fee upfront, but once Amex verifies your active duty status, it will be credited back. Spouses of active military are also eligible for the annual fee waiver.
The reason the Amex Platinum card has such a high annual fee is the rich benefits:
The benefits include $200 in yearly Uber credits and Uber VIP status, $100 in yearly Saks Fifth Avenue credits, and $200 in annual incidental airline credits for your chosen airline, as well as access to the American Express Global Lounge Collection, which includes the Centurion Lounges, Priority Pass, and Delta SkyClubs when you are flying Delta.
The Centurion Lounges are only accessible by American Express Platinum and Centurion (Black Card) card holders.
This card will also reimburse your Global Entry or PreCheck membership fees every 4 years.
Once you apply and are approved for the Platinum Card from American Express, you can call them and start the process of being validated as active duty military and receiving the annual fee credit.
Note that Amex (as of Jan 2020) may no longer waive under SCRA for new cardmembers applying after entering service. The MLA may apply to in that case. Right now, some people are getting waivers under SCRA or MLA when SCRA is not approved. If you aren’t already a cardholder consider the risk that they may not approve. That disclaimer does not apply to Chase, below.
Amex does have a page dedicated to explaining their benefits for military here.
One of the most popular travel cards, the Chase Sapphire Reserve, has an annual fee of $550. Even for non-military, the net annual fee becomes $250 after you factor in the $300 annual travel credit that happens automatically.
But Chase will waive your annual fee as well as authorized user fees, if you are active military. You can call 1-877-469-0110 to make sure the waiver is applied to your new account.
In exchange for the $550 annual fee that you don’t have to pay, you’ll still receive that $300 annual travel credit (good on ANY travel purchases) as well as Priority Pass Lounge Access (which still includes participating airport restaurants, unlike Amex), and a $100 Global Entry or PreCheck credit once every 4 years. You’ll also get free DoorDash DashPass, $60 in annual DoorDash credits for two years, and one free year of Lyft Pink (15% off rides).
This card also allows you to redeem any and all Chase Ultimate Rewards points through the Chase Travel Portal for 1.5 cents a piece in value.
I just picked these two cards because of their outsized annual fees. You can choose any Amex, Chase, Citi or Capital One cards (personal cards only) and use this benefit.
Long Story Short
These waivers are in place for any new accounts, so why not get the best bang for the buck (or lack thereof) that you are entitled to.
You can find credit cards that best match your spending habits and bonus categories at Your Best Credit Cards.
New to all of this? My “introduction to miles and points” book, MilesTalk: Live Your Wildest Travel Dreams Using Miles and Points is available on Amazon and at major booksellers.