American Express Waives Annual Fees for Military Members
Today on Veterans Day it’s a good time to remind readers about an American Express perk for service members that often goes under-the-radar. The issuer waives the annual fees for its credit cards, even for The Platinum Card® from American Express , which comes with a $695 annual fee and tons of benefits. (See Rates and Fees; terms apply). Getting this card without an annual fee is a great perk that active service members should utilize.
Read more about this benefit here and check out some of the best American Express credit cards. Plus keep in mind that you can also apply through a referral link from a friend or family member, so they can earn a bonus. Some welcome offers are even better through these referral links.
There are two laws establishing financial protections for servicemembers: the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) and the Military Lending Act (MLA).
The protections vary between the two. But the important difference—especially when applying these to American Express cards—is when you established the line of credit. The SCRA applies to credit acquired before active duty while the MLA applies to credit accounts established while on active duty.
Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA)
Military Lending Act (MLA)
|Established: 2003||Established: 2006, with an added Credit Extended to Covered Borrowers provision taking effect in 2017|
|Provides important protections to those who serve on active duty for the Nation’s defense and allows Servicemembers and in some instances their spouses to reduce the burden of some civil obligations during active duty. State laws regarding community property may apply.||Provides important protections to members of the Armed Forces and their dependents relating to extensions of consumer credit while they are serving on active duty.|
|Cap of 6% Interest Rate||Cap of 36% MAPR (Military Annual Percentage Rate)|
|Credit must be acquired prior to active duty||Credit must be acquired while on active duty|
|Eligible Card Members may request SCRA relief from start of active duty up to 180 days after they leave active duty.||MLA relief is applied to eligible Card accounts at the date of account opening. Enrollment is not required.|
Eligible military members may also be offered other perks such as no late payment fees, no returned payment fees and more.
Who is Eligible
To be eligible, you must be a:
- Member of the U.S. Armed Forces on active duty or a reserve component called to active duty,
- National Guard personnel under a call or order to active duty for more than 30 days,
- A Public Health Service and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration commissioned officer,
- A U.S. citizen servicing with another nation, which is allied with the U.S. “in the prosecution of a war or military action,” or
- The spouse of an active duty service member.
How to Claim Your Military Credit Card Benefits
When you sign up for a credit card, you should choose “military” as your income source in order to be recognized as eligible for SCRA benefits. If you signed up before you were eligible, or just forgot to do it, you can contact American Express and inform them that you are an active duty military member. You can also call 800-253-1720 in the U.S. or 336-393-1111 collect from outside the country.
If a customer service rep isn’t familiar with these benefits. don’t worry. Just politely ask to speak with a supervisor.
You will need to submit documents for proof of service to show you are on active duty and in good standing. But this is well worth it to get these special benefits. Once SCRA relief has been requested and confirmed, American Express will apply relief to your eligible account within 2 billing cycles.
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