American Express Waives Annual Fees On All Cards For Military Members & Spouses

11
This post may contain affiliate links; please read our advertiser disclosure for more information.
Disclosure: Miles to Memories has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Miles to Memories and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. Links in this post may provide us with a commission.

American Express Waives Fees For Military

American Express Waives Fees For Military Members & Spouses

Did you know American Express waives fees for military and spouses on all of their cards? Yes, they really do (Learn More). That includes all charge and credit cards, even $550 annual fee cards. This is not a well-advertised perk, so let’s look into it and how to apply it to your account.

Servicemembers Civil Relief Act of 2003

The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act of 2003 (updated several times since) applies to all military in times of active duty. That means it also covers Reserve / National Guard members when called up to active duty for training periods more than 30 days or during  deployments. It also covers spouses of military on active duty. Financial protections apply to everything from housing and auto repossession to loans and credit cards.

Here are the credit card benefits:
  • Interest rate capped at 6%
  • No late fees
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • American Express also waives annual fees, but not all issuers do this (Learn More)

How to Qualify and Have American Express Waive Fees

This is a treasure trove of perks, so it must be incredibly difficult to activate, right? Wrong. When I was in the Army, it took me a few minutes.

Here’s the process:
  1. Print out a copy of your orders to active duty
  2. Write up a letter to the credit card issuer stating your personal information, information related to your accounts with American Express, that you’re on active duty (including start date and predicted end date, if any), and then have it signed by your commanding officer. Company-level worked for me.
  3. Send these documents and a proof of identification to American Express. It can take up to a month to process, and they should refund any fees you had to pay during the waiting period that are waived by the SCRA.
The address for sending everything to:

American Express
Attn: Servicemembers Civil Relief Act
PO Box 981535
El Paso, TX 79998-1535

This also applies to spouses of active duty military. American Express waives fees for military and spouses, so make sure to cover your spouse. If your spouse has a separate card, or the authorized user card has a fee, these should be waived during periods of active duty. The same procedure applies, but add information about the spouse and a marriage certificate.

Maximizing the Waived Fees for Military and Spouses

In this hobby, many people get scared by high annual fees. The American Express Platinum Card has a fee of $550. If you’re on active duty, that fee is $0 each year. This is a great time to go for the luxury cards, because of the savings implicit in not paying the large fees. Aside from the other benefits covered under SCRA, this saves hundreds of dollars every year in this hobby. You still get to enjoy all of the amazing perks the card offers.

Even amazing everyday cards like the American Express Gold card that earns 4X at US Supermarkets up to $25,000 per year and 4X at US restaurants is free.  Plus you will still get the $100 airline incidental credit as well as all of the other perks. (Learn More)

Final Thoughts

American Express waives fees for military members and spouses during periods of active duty. They will verify your documents, but the process is quite simple. The only caveats are proving that you qualify and providing updates on any changes of service status. Within 180 days of leaving active duty, you are required to notify any financial institutions where you claimed SCRA benefits. When you call banks and credit issuers, many phone reps aren’t familiar with the SCRA benefits. Just ask to speak with someone who is.

Learn more about maximizing the fee savings with American Express.

11 COMMENTS

  1. “Within 180 days of leaving active duty, you are required to notify any financial institutions where you claimed SCRA benefits.”

    The statement implies that a service member needs to notify a bank who is providing him/her with benefits that he/she is no longer on active duty. This is a misstatement of the law. Rather, the law provides SCRA protections for those who provide proof of their active duty status within 180 days of the end of their orders.

    • Yes, the maximum length any of the benefits extend past service is 180 ays. My understanding, and what I was advised by JAG when leaving the military, is that you need to notify any institutions where you claimed SCRA of the end of your active duty service. If you don’t notify them at the right time, they could claim you received exemptions you weren’t eligible, so you need to repay. Since the benefits extend up to 180 days, you should notify them by 180 days. That’s how JAG explained it to me. Have you heard something different?

  2. My husband had 5 deployments during his career in Army Reserves. It’s difficult to overstate how much the SCRA helped our family.

    • All banks are required to follow SCRA yes. They aren’t all required to waive the annual fees, though. The other perks are mandatory, though.

  3. It may sound crazy, but it did play a (somewhat small, but still…) part in my decision to re-enlist recently for another 4 years. It’s a huge perk.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here