American Express Offers Major Perk to Active Military Members

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Active-duty United States military services members and their spouses are eligible to get the annual fees waived on any American Express credit card. That even includes The Platinum Card® from American Express, which carries a hefty $695 annual fee.

Whether you already have an Amex card or are considering getting one, you’ll want to make sure you’re taking advantage of this perk.

I spoke with an American Express customer representative to get the details on how this works.


American Express Will Waive Annual Fees on All Credit Cards for U.S. Military Members and Spouses

I heard about this perk for military families, so I called American Express to verify that this was a valid offer. The representative I spoke with confirmed that it is legitimate.

Here’s how he said the process should work:

  • Apply for the American Express credit card of your choice.
  • Just like all new applicants, you will be subjected to credit and background checks via your Social Security number.
  • If the Social Security number properly flags your associated military affiliation, the American Express system should automatically waive your annual fee.
  • If that automated process does not happen, you may need to contact American Express to ensure that you qualify for the waiver.
  • Activate your card and get to spending without worrying about the annual fees
  • If you already have an Amex card, the fee should be waived automatically. But you can call the number on the back of your card to confirm.

Depending on the card you choose, this could be a savings of up to $695 each year!

The representative told me that the military perks don’t end here. Keep reading to learn more about them.


SCRA and MLA Provide Additional Credit Card Relief for Military Members

In addition to the “no annual fee” policy, American Express also provides relief to eligible active-duty members under the provisions in both the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) and Military Lending Act (MLA).

The Amex representative I spoke with provided this link with more details on each of those programs.

I read through the information and have some quick takeaways for you.

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Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA)

Created in 2003, this provides a cap on interest rates for active service members.

Per American Express, “The SCRA limits the rate of interest that may be assessed on eligible loans and credit products to no more than 6%. ‘Interest’ for SCRA purposes includes fees such as annual membership fees, late fees, and returned payment fees.”

You must request the SCRA relief while on active duty or within 180 days of leaving or completing active duty.

Military Lending Act (MLA)

Created in 2006, this provides protections on new credit U.S. military members sign up for while they’re on active duty.

Per American Express, “The MLA limits the cost of consumer credit to members of the Armed Forces and his or her dependents to an annual percentage rate that may not exceed 36%. This rate must include, as applicable: the costs associated with credit insurance premiums; fees for ancillary products sold in connection with the credit transaction; and any participation fee (other than certain participation fees for a credit card account).”

Unlike the SCRA, you don’t have to request this relief. It should be automatic while you’re on active duty. Amex says it conducts periodic checks with the Department of Defense to ensure that your consumer credit is treated properly based on your military status.


Which American Express Credit Cards Should You Consider?

If you’re an active-duty military service member who is considering adding an Amex card to your wallet as a result of the annual fee waiver, check out the information below to help you pick the right card for your needs.

Blue Cash Preferred® From American Express

Blue Cash Preferred

If you’re looking for a card that rewards spending at places like U.S. supermarkets or U.S. gas stations, you may want to consider the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express.

This $95 annual fee card ($0 intro annual fee for the first year) can earn you up to 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets, up to $6,000 in annual purchases (then 1%), and select U.S. streaming subscriptions. It also can earn you 3% back at U.S. gas stations and on other types of transit expenses.

Its welcome bonus offer gives you the opportunity to earn a $250 statement credit after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new card within the first 6 months of card membership. Terms apply.

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Platinum Card®from American Express

Amex Platinum

If you’re more of a traveler, you may prefer to indulge with the Platinum Card® from American Express.

This card carries a hefty $695 annual fee, so the military waiver would be particularly helpful here. And it comes with travel-related perks that can have plenty of value for the avid traveler (see rates and fees).

American Express advertises that it provides more than $1,480 in annual value in the perks it makes available to its Platinum cardholders.

Here’s a rough sketch of how Amex is doing this math:

  • Get up to $300 back per calendar year on the Equinox+ digital fitness app, or eligible Equinox club memberships when you pay with your Platinum Card. Enrollment required.
  • $240 Digital Entertainment Credit: Get up to $20 back each month on eligible purchases made with your Platinum Card(R) on one or more of the following: Audible, Disney+, The Disney Bundle, ESPN+, Hulu, Peacock, SiriusXM, and The New York Times. Enrollment required.
  • $200 back in statement credits each year on prepaid Fine Hotels + Resorts(R) or The Hotel Collection bookings, which requires a minimum two-night stay, through American Express Travel when you pay with your Platinum Card(R).
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit: Get up to $200 in statement credits per calendar year in baggage fees and more at one select qualifying airline.
  • $200 Uber Cash: Enjoy Uber VIP status and up to $200 in Uber savings on rides or eats orders in the US annually. Uber Cash and Uber VIP status is available to Basic Card Member only.
  • Breeze through security with CLEAR(R) lanes available at 100+ airports, stadiums, and entertainment venues and get up to $189 back per calendar year on your membership when you use your Card.
  • $155: Walmart+ Credit: Cover the cost of a $12.95 monthly Walmart+ membership with a statement credit after you pay for Walmart+ each month with your Platinum Card. Cost includes $12.95 plus applicable local sales tax. Plus Ups are excluded.
  • Terms apply

If you use everything in the list above, it adds up to $1,484 in annual value.

To see the rates and fees for the American Express cards featured, please visit the following links: The Platinum Card® from American Express: See Rates and Fees


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