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.
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.
If you’re looking for a card that rewards spending at places like supermarkets or gas stations, you may want to consider the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express.
This $95 annual fee card can earn you up to 6% cash back on groceries and streaming services. It also can earn you 3% back on gas purchases and other types of transit expenses.
Its welcome bonus offer could net you up to $350 in cash back when you spend at least $3,000 within the first six months of card membership. And it has an intro 0% APR period on new purchases for the first 12 months. Terms apply.
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.
Some of those include an annual $200 hotel credit, an annual $240 digital entertainment credit, a $300 Equinox credit, hotel status upgrades and access to airport lounges. Terms apply.
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