Do You Know Someone in the Military? These Credit Cards Will Waive Their Annual Fees!

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I interviewed Andy from Military Money Manual and he mentioned that American Express waives his credit card fees under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act.  However, American Express isn’t required to do this.

Do You Know Someone In The Military These Credit Cards Will Waive Their Annual Fees

American Express Waived Andy’s Annual Fees Because He’s Active Military

Servicemembers Civil Relief Act

Link:   Servicemembers Civil Relief Act

The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) is a federal law designed to financially protect active duty military.  Some ways this laws helps is by capping credit card interest rates at 6 percent and the ability to end a housing lease in the event of transfers.

American Express Goes Above and Beyond

However, American Express (and a few other banks) have decided to go above and beyond the requirements of the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act.  American Express not only limits interest rates on credit cards at 6 percent for active duty military members, they also waive annual fees on credit cards!

In addition to waiving annual fees they also remove:

  • Overlimit fees
  • Late payment fees
  • Returned payment fees
  • Statement copy request fees

How to Get Your Fees Waived

Do You Know Someone In The Military These Credit Cards Will Waive Their Annual Fees

Call AMEX to Get Your Fees Waived

You can get your fees waived by calling the number on the back of your American Express card or one of the following numbers:

  • 800-253-1720
  • 800-528-4800

and telling them you are an active duty military member and heard that AMEX offers annual fees waivers under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act.

You may be asked several questions regarding your active duty service.  AMEX will also verify the information with the Department of Defense.  It could take a few months before your annual fees are waived.  I’d recommend you start the process several months before your annual fees are due.

Who Else Waives Fees?

Via The Military Frequent Flyer, American Express isn’t the only bank that waives credit card annual fees for active duty military members.

You can also get your credit card annual fees waived by:

Making the Most of the Fee Waiver

Do You Know Someone In The Military These Credit Cards Will Waive Their Annual Fees

Because Active Military Pay NO Annual Fee, They Should Apply for Cards With High Fees!

Having your annual fees waived on all your American Express cards is a great deal!

There are 3 cards with outstanding benefits (terms & limitations apply) that have annual fees for folks NOT in active military service:

You get free airport lounge access and a $200 annual statement credit from the airline of your choice from the Platinum American Express.

Do You Know Someone In The Military These Credit Cards Will Waive Their Annual Fees

You Can Get $200 Credit On US Airways

You get 10,000 elite qualifying miles from your 1st purchase and can earn up to 30,000 additional elite qualifying miles from spending with the American Express Delta Reserve card.  Delta points can be hard to redeem for low level availability but they can come in handy, especially if you want to send your wife to the Dominican Republic for her birthday!

Do You Know Someone In The Military These Credit Cards Will Waive Their Annual Fees

I Used Delta Miles to Treat Kirsten & Emily to a Week in the Dominican Republic

You can transfer points from the American Express Starwood Preferred Guest card to ~ 30 airlines or use points for cheap stays at Starwood hotels.

Bottom Line

If you’re an active duty military member (or know someone who is!) you can get your credit card annual fees waived by American Express, Bank of America, Capital One, Chase, and Citibank.  And thanks for your service!

Via Cardhub, Capital One will also waive annual fees for Reservists and National Guard members.  And according to the Department of Justice, Reservists and National Guard (active duty) members qualify for a waiver of credit card annual fees.

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Editorial Disclaimer: Neither the responses below nor the editorial content on this page are provided or commissioned by the bank advertisers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertisers. Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of the bank advertisers. It is not the bank advertisers’ responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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42 responses to “Do You Know Someone in the Military? These Credit Cards Will Waive Their Annual Fees!

  1. What about an authorized user that’s in the Military?

  2. FYI when I applied for my Citi AA Ex 100k points card I called Citi and they told me I couldn’t receive an annual fee waiver. I even called Citi and told them American Express was willing to waiver my annual fee and they basically didn’t care. I closed my Citi AA Ex card 3 months after opening it. I’ve been active US Army for 14 years.

  3. Do you have to call every year to have the fees waived do you know?

  4. I can confirm that this also works for those in the US Army Reserve.

  5. Adrian: Citi only waives fees if you obtained the card prior to entering service.

  6. Glenn (The Military Frequent Flyer)

    The SCRA only applies to debts (in this case fees) that are obtained prior to entering active service. Since these credits card programs are not technically required to rebate the fees to you, they vary individually on how they apply this rule. Never hurts to try! And you can always cancel if they don’t want to cooperate. We even had one reader who pointed out that AMEX rebated his fee and Chase turned around and did so as well so that he wouldn’t cancel. Also remember the rule that we use when calling the airlines – if you don’t get the answer you want, hang up and call again. Each person answering may give you a different answer and you just need to find the one who will grant your request.

  7. BLUF – dont apply for a whole bunch of cards with high annual fees thinking you wont have to pay the AF. Only exception being AMEX.

    AMEX and Barclays are the only two companies that this will work 100%. I am active duty Army and Citi denied all requests, Chase initially denied and then reversed the decision. However they did not waive annual fees just lowered the interest rate, which is really a non-event as I pay in full every month.

  8. You are taking commissions off of this? Wow.

  9. It really varies from issuer to issuer how they handle this, for the most part only amex waives fees for debts incurred after entering military service.

  10. Thank you, Adrian and others, for your service to our country.

  11. Sandra Sanders

    I like being treated like a human when traveling business class rather than a piece of luggage.

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  13. Great Post Darius! You have done a great service by posting this information, keep up the good work.

    @John777 if you find Darius distasteful, maybe you should avoid giving him the enjoyment of your visits to his blog.

  14. Chase won’t waive any fees unless you had the card before you entered the military.

  15. Ooo. If you can get your centurion card AF waived…

  16. Great Post! keep up the good work. Once I applied for 100k points card(don’t want to disclose the company name). I told this company, but my bad luck they told me that I couldn’t receive any aanual fee weiver. After that I closed my card and applied for another company card name Alliance Bankcard. In my point of view Alliance Bankcard services is an organization that works perfectly now a days.

  17. I wish they would extend this to we 50% disabled military as well.

  18. I can also confirm that AMEX indeed waives fees on all cards if you are active duty no matter what. In fact, when I applied with AMEX, they refunded every fee they charged me since I got my first card to the tune of over $1300! However, YMMV on others (i don’t have a barclay card, so I don’t know about them). Someone in my office got his fees waived by chase, but they turned me down.

  19. I’ve been in the Army for 25+ and just started applying for these about 3 weeks ago. I can guarantee that Capital One will retroactively apply 4% to any card you currently or previously had with them and it will stay 4% the entire time you are on Active duty. They refund all fees and then don’t charge you any fees, even balance transfer fees. Just google for “Capital One SCRA” and it will come right up. Hit the Green button at the bottom of the page, enter some basic info, and click Blue Button. That’s it. Takes 8-14 days or so, with one of the 6 an extra week (between my wife and I we have 6 because Capital One bought HSBC who had bought Orchard and Captial One had also bought Direct Merchants Bank) Yes, they will do this for your military spouse also. They don’t ask for any paperwork. Your information is verified through DMDC which is responsible for military records and assorted related functions. I’ve got back just under 8300 from them so far. GE Capital Retail Bank does the exact same thing, except they lower it to 6%. Their process requires you actually fax/mail or email as .pdf some required documents. Just google GECRB or GE Capital Retail Bank, call and ask for the SCRA Team and they will give you all the info you need. I’ve got back 1100 or so from them and 3 cards now at 6%. GECRB handles a LOT of retail cards to include Lowes, Amazon, JCPenny, and a plethora of others. Capital One and GECRB do this for all Active duty members and dependents back to when you got the card or when you came on Active duty (whichever applies the longest at the same time). This is above and beyond the letter of the law in the SCRA. Chase, Bank of America, Citi…No way, no how, not playing it…unless you incurred the debt/account prior to entering active duty. However, if you do have debt from before active duty began, I believe its Chase that will drop it all the way to 0% Everyone in my office and about 10 other people that we have spread the word to in the last 3 weeks or so has had 100% success with Capital One and GECRB. My Sergeant Major has received over 20k back between the 2 and I’m at roughly 9400. Good Luck and spread the word.

  20. With capital one I had been a member since 1998 and a second card from them in 2008. Joined Navy in 2003 I call them January of 2013 and told them I was military and wanted to enrolled in the program they refunded all fees on accounts mananged by them under my name. I mean all fees overlimit fees, balance transfer fees cash advance fees not only that but they retroactively refunded all interest paid over 4 percent on all 3 cards from the date I entered active duty and lowered interest rate across the board on all cards to 4 percent. I ended up getting around 10,000 dollar check all together. It was sweet and ended up paying my closing costs on my home loan. They even went back and removed the one missed payment on my credit report from 2007. And no foriegn transaction fees, balance transfer fees for the duration of my military service. So if you have capital one call them they will lower your interest rate and refund your money even if you got the card after getting in. I just had one of my sailors who works for call and get the same deal and he was completely suprised.

  21. how were you able to get in touch with GECRB? I am having the worst time and no one seems to understand what I am talking about?

  22. Citi has not been waiving fees so beware

  23. I just had the SCRA applied to my CSP account and they waived the $95 AF.

  24. Just wanted to share my experience with this…

    Both Chase AND American Express have waived annual fees on the cards I have… They also REFUNDED me any annual fee I’ve paid since I’ve been in the Navy. They lowered all of my interest rates to a flat 6% and REFUNDED me any interest I paid that was figured at the higher percentage. (Wasn’t much at all, I VERY rarely, if ever have any type of balance on my cards).

    Just for reference, not that I’m sure it will matter, I’ll share what cards I have that had the fees waived.

    Chase: Sapphire Preferred, Hyatt Visa, Ink Bold, Southwest Business Premier, United Business
    AMEX: Starwood Personal and Business, Platinum Mercedes Benz

    Had I known about this sooner, I may not have closed out a few of my older cards, but I’m glad I know now!

  25. Steve M – Thanks for your info.
    Quick question though: were your cards open before you went active duty?

    Chase denied today saying the card was opened after enlistment date.


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  27. Michelle notgiven

    I Just wanted to add that CapitalOne went above and beyond my expectations they refunded me over $1,400 back on to my credit card, We will be for sure keeping them as our primary. 🙂 Thanks for supporting our troops.

  28. I’m a little late to the game, but Discover will also retroactively give you a 4% APR. I had a card for years and didn’t realize this… Once I asked for the 4% APR, they credited my account over $1600! Just search for Discover Military Benefit.

  29. You can do this EVEN on closed accounts
    I’ve had the following company’s lower apr and credit my account while active duty and bills made after joining.
    Citi cards,walmart cards,paypal,discover,
    Harley Davidson finance corp for motorcycle. ,Wells fargo,American express,capital one,zales,Alaska usa,usaa while deployed, star card while deployed and many more. You can do this even if the account is closed. Call your company’s we have been refunded in the thousands.

  30. I haven’t got a fee until until this month from chase and I’ve been with them years when I called they said they wouldn’t waive it as I opened the acct after I joined? Who cares 1. It’s been waived for years 2. What difference does it make? I’m in the military period I shouldn’t get an annual fee no one on active duty should

  31. Any luck with Wells Fargo? I submitted my orders 2 months ago and no answer. I understand I opened this account after entering n the military however, I understand some banks go the extra mile.

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  33. Synchrony – Amazon card, JC Penney, Walmart old navy, tj Max, care credit, and many others, they will do a search for all cards. Call, they will set up temp then you send info. 18002326954 before 10:00pst or after 1:30pst les statement needed (unless marines, then orders) extended to spouses
    First and last name and last 4 of social of each spouse and mil member email [email protected]
    8002326954 synchrony

    Jere Spencer: talking to them bc they own Dillard’s now which is a very old card for us, but they are being pretty hard on debts being prior to entering the service.

  34. We have had success with- Capital One, Discover, Kay Jeweler, Target Redcard.

    I was wondering if anyone has tried with Credit One or First Premier?

    We have received rejections from Victoria’s Secret and PayPal Credit, which were mailed out the same day. We haven’t heard anything, positive or negative from those two yet!


    • Katherine, could you pass along the contact info for Kay Jeweelers and Target bank? What benefits did they offer and is there a particular way to contact them to obtain benefits (aside from their basic customer service info)?

  35. Both Credit One and First Premier will honor SCRA if you’ve had the account before you joined the military. They will also do it if your spouse had the account before you joined.

  36. Katherine did you contact Target red card directly or send it through TD bank?

  37. Something that is not clear in this article but should be pointed out is there are 2 companies in particular (Barclays and American Express) – that not ONLY waive the fee’s BUT ALL INTEREST as well. This is a huge benefit. If you need to carry a balance it will be at 0% as long as you are active duty, and NOT only on balances incurred prior to service, but on all balances! Barclays even goes so far as to retroactively refund all fee’s and interested EVER CHARGED on the card since you became active duty.

    So…these two companies go well beyond the minimum requirements under SCRA. Just FYI everyone.

  38. Synchrony Bank (formerly GE Capital) changed their interest rate for those who qualify for SCRA down to 0%

    We revived over $4K back from Capital One on a very old very closed card (acct last used prior to ’07 and was under SM spouse name)