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

Disclosure: Emily & I get a commission for links on the blog. You don’t have to use our links, but we’re very grateful when you do. We don’t write about all the credit cards available in the US, but only the ones which get us miles and points or cash back for Big Travel with Small Money!

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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These responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

23 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. @John777 – That’s the standard disclaimer at the top of posts.

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

  12. Sandra Sanders

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

  13. Pingback: Discounts for military service members on just about everything

  14. 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.

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

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

  17. William Sze

    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.

  18. Judy Jones

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

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  21. @Alex Vogel – This is great news. Thanks so much for sharing!

  22. 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.

  23. Iesha Stanley

    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?

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