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I’ll show you how military personnel can avoid these high annual fees. And still enjoy awesome travel perks!
American Express Serves You Because You Serve Us
- An active-duty member of the US Armed Forces (Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and Coast Guard)
- A member of National Guard under a call or order to active duty for more than 30 consecutive days (as a response to a national emergency declared by the President and supported by federal funds)
- A Public Health Service and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Commissioned Officer
- A US citizen serving with a US ally in the prosecution of a war or military action
- A spouse of an active-duty Servicemember where credit is extended to a Servicemember and spouse jointly
If you meet any of these requirements, (or know someone who does), American Express will waive:
- Annual fees
- Overlimit fees
- Late payment fees
- Returned payment fees
- Statement copy request fees
And depending on the credit cards you have, you can save a LOT of money!
AMEX Business Platinum
Until January 25, 2017, the sign-up bonus on the AMEX Business Platinum has increased to up to 100,000 bonus AMEX Membership Rewards points after meeting tiered minimum spending requirements. That’s worth ~$2,000 in travel, and definitely worth paying the $450 annual fee the first year.
The AMEX Business Platinum also comes with:
- Earn 1.5X AMEX Membership Rewards points on single purchases of $5,000+
- Get 50% of your points back for ALL First Class or Business Class flights booked through the AMEX travel portal using Pay With Points
- Get 50% of your points back for all flights, including coach tickets, booked with your selected airline through the AMEX travel portal using Pay With Points
- $200 in statement credits per calendar year for airline incidentals with your selected airline (luggage fees, in-flight food & drink, etc.)
- Access to airport lounges (Delta, Priority Pass, Airspace, and American Express Centurion Lounges)
- Statement credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck
- Terms & limitations apply
These travel benefits are among the best available from ANY credit card! But some folks might not think they’re worth paying the annual fee year after year. Fortunately, members of the military can get this $450 annual fee waived!
Credit card sign-up bonuses go up and down all the time, making annual fees harder or easier to swallow the first year. But if you can enjoy perks like airport lounge access and $200 statement credits for airline incidentals for free, that’s a good deal!
How to Request Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) Benefits
Call the number on the back of your American Express card and ask them to waive annual fees under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act. You’ll probably be asked several questions regarding your active duty service. AMEX will also verify the information with the Department of Defense.
You can also submit an online request. You can upload any documents that support your request, like active duty orders or change of station orders.
Other Banks Waive Fees, Too
American Express is not the only bank that waives fees under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA). But they’re known for going above and beyond the rest. For example, the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) doesn’t require banks to waive annual fees.
Here is an overview of other banks’ policies for waiving annual fees:
Not long ago, Barclaycard was the MOST accommodating credit card issuer for members of the military by waiving annual fees and late fees. Million Mile Secrets reader Matt reported that Barclaycard would even eliminate your previous and current interest charges! But they’ve recently made lots of negative changes.
Barclaycard is only giving folks in the military the minimum required benefits, like capping interest charges at 6% and reduced monthly minimum payments.
If you’ve never applied for the benefits with Barclaycard, you’ll only receive the minimum benefits Barclaycard is required to provide.
For the most part, Chase is hit-or-miss. Some folks have had luck getting Chase to waive annual fees. But Chase isn’t as consistent as American Express.
Million Mile Secrets reader Mary reports that Chase waived the $95 annual fee on her Chase Sapphire Preferred, which she applied for BEFORE she became active duty. Chase typically likes to see active duty orders AFTER you’ve opened your account before they’ll waive your annual fee.
Similar to Chase, Citi is willing to waive your annual fee if you opened your account BEFORE entering active duty. Several data points show you’ll have a hard time convincing Citi to waive that $450 annual fee on your Citi Prestige card if you opened it after you became active duty.
Million Mile Secrets reader Jenny reports that Synchrony bank follows the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA), though I can’t find data points of waived annual fees. This will be handy for many folks, because Synchrony issues cards from stores like Amazon, Dillard’s, and Walmart.
Note: Even if one of these banks declines your request, try hanging up and calling back to speak with a different agent. Sometimes agents don’t completely understand certain benefits and procedures, so it’s worth trying a few times before you give up.
If you are a member of the military, you can take advantage of incredible travel benefits for free!
American Express abides by the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) to reduce costs for folks in the military. But they go above and beyond by waiving annual fees on cards like the AMEX Business Platinum card, allowing you to enjoy annual travel credits, airport access, and more. That’s a $450 discount!
Other banks, like Chase, Citi, and Capital One, also waive fees for members of the military. But they aren’t as generous as American Express.
Do you have any experience with getting annual fees waived with the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA)? Let me know in the comments!