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Waived Annual Fees for Active Duty Military

The Best Credit Cards with Waived Annual Fees for Active Duty Military

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As a way to say thank you to members of our armed services, many top travel rewards credit cards offer waived annual fees for active-duty military members. In some cases, this benefit will even apply to the spouses of active-duty military members.

It's one of the lesser-known credit card benefits out there, and it can provide serious value if you serve in any branch of the armed forces. This will put money right back into your pocket each and every year of card membership.

With today being Veterans Day, here's a list of our favorite travel rewards credit cards that waive annual fees for active-duty military members.


The Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card

Almost a year ago to the day, the *venture x* stormed onto the scene. And it rapidly became one of our favorite premium travel credit cards.

With just a $395 annual fee and a $300 annual travel credit to use through the Capital One Travel portal, no other top-tier travel card provides an easier path to come out ahead on your annual fee. But that case is even clearer for active-duty military members, who can get that $395 fee waived.

This card can get you into 1,300-plus airport lounges, including the incredible new Capital One Lounge in Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW). Plus, we think it's the best card for traveling families.

  • Welcome Bonus: Earn 75,000 Venture Miles after spending $4,000 in the first three months. Factor in that spending requirement, and you'll have at least 83,000 Venture Miles, since the card earn 2x miles on every dollar you spend.
  • Earn unlimited 2x miles on every purchase, plus earn 10x miles on hotels and rental cars and 5x miles on flights booked via the Capital One Travel portal
  • Travel Statement Credits: Every year, you get a $300 annual travel credit to use on any flights, hotels, or rental cars booked through the Capital One Travel portal.
  • Lounge Access: Complimentary access (with two free guests) to 1,300-plus lounges in the Priority Pass network and Capital One's brand new lounge in Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW), plus upcoming locations in Denver (DEN) and Washington, D.C.-Dulles (IAD).
  • Global Entry or TSA PreCheck: Up to $100 in statement credits to sign up for either TSA PreCheck or Global Entry. This credit is good once every four years, and membership in both programs lasts five years.
  • Earning More Points: Capital One Venture X cardholders will earn 10x miles on hotels and rental cars and 5x miles on flights booked via the Capital One Travel portal, then an unlimited 2x miles on every dollar spent on all other purchases with the card.
  • 10,000 bonus miles: Every year starting in year two, you'll get 10,000 bonus miles after renewing your Venture X Card.
  • Great Travel & Rental Car Insurance: By paying for your travels with a Venture X, you'll get unbeatable primary rental car coverage, trip cancellation insurance, trip delay coverage, and reimbursement if your baggage gets lost or stolen.

Active Duty Military Benefit: Capital One removes all fees for active-duty military members. This includes credit card annual fees, late fees, and balance transfer fees.


*venture x*


Learn more about the *venture x*.


The Chase Sapphire Reserve

The *chase sapphire reserve* is another top dog in the world of credit card travel rewards. While the card has an annual fee of $550, the $300 annual travel credit it provides each drastically reduces it for most of us.

But with waived annual fees for active-duty military members, this card will essentially put $300 cash back into your pocket each year of card membership – not to mention all of the other benefits it provides.

  • Earn 60,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points after spending $4,000 in purchases in your first three months of card membership.
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit, which kicks in automatically for almost any travel purchase
  • Earn 3x Points On travel and restaurants worldwide after using full $300 travel credit.
  • Complimentary airport lounge access to 1,200-plus Priority Pass Lounges plus the upcoming slate of Chase Sapphire Lounges
  • Redeem Chase Ultimate Rewards points For 1.5 cents apiece through Chase Travel℠, making the welcome offer worth up to $1,200 towards travel
  • Up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck once every four years.
  • … and more!

Active Duty Military Benefit: Chase completely waives the $550 annual fee and any associated late fees when you're on active duty with any branch of the US Military. They will even waive the $75 fee for adding an authorized user. Chase will not wave late fees and/or non-sufficient funds fees.

Chase reportedly will credit your annual fee automatically as the bank compares social security numbers to the Department of Defense databases. No action should be required on your part, but if the credit doesn't come through, you can always call the number on the back of your card to get this taken care of.


*chase sapphire reserve*


Learn more about the *chase sapphire reserve*.


The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

The *capital one venture card* is one of our favorite travel rewards credit cards. The card has a $95 annual fee and earns 2x Venture miles on every dollar spent which can be redeemed for a fixed one cent towards travel. Because of this, Venture miles are great for travel expenses that can't be covered with traditional points and miles.

  • Earn 75,000 miles once you spend $4,000 on purchases within three months from account opening, netting you $750-plus in travel
  • Earn unlimited 2x miles per dollar on every purchase, every day. That means spending the money to earn the bonus nets you at least 66,000 miles
  • Up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck once every four years
  • Miles won’t expire for the life of the account and there’s no limit to how many you can earn
  • No foreign transaction fees

Active Duty Military Benefit: Capital One removes all fees for active-duty military members. This includes credit card annual fees, late fees, and balance transfer fees.


*capital one venture card*


Learn more about the *capital one venture card*


The Platinum Card® from American Express

The Platinum Card® from American Express is one of our favorite travel rewards cards thanks to some incredible lounge access and other great travel perks. But with an annual fee of $695 per year, it's not for everyone.

But active-duty military members can get that fee waived. And that allows you to come out far, far ahead every year with the card.

  • Earn 80,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $8,000 on purchases on your new card in your first six months of card membership. But check to see if you're eligible for the 150,000-point targeted offer via CardMatch or these other methods!
  • Earn 5x Membership Rewards® Points for flights booked directly with airlines or flights and prepaid hotels booked via American Express Travel (on up to $500,000 in spending each calendar year).
  • Automatic Hilton Honors and Marriott Bonvoy Gold Status.
  • Lounge access: Get complimentary access to the Global Lounge Collection. That includes Delta Sky Clubs, Amex Centurion Lounges, Priority Pass, and many more.
  • Up to a $200 credit for prepaid hotel bookings through the Amex Travel booking portal. This new credit only applies to Fine Hotels + Resorts® or Hotel Collection properties, which includes some great resorts and hotels around the globe. Stays at Hotel Collection properties require a minimum stay of two consecutive nights.
  • Up to $189 Credit for a CLEAR Plus Membership annually
  • Get Uber VIP status and up to $200 in Uber Cash for rides or Uber Eats orders in the U.S. annually. You’ll receive $15 each month, then $35 to use in December each year.
  • Up to a $100 Credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck once every four years for global entry and 4 1/2 years for TSA PreCheck. Membership in either program is good for five years.
  • Up to $200 Airline Incidental Fee Credit. Check out our guide on how to maximize Amex airline fee credits!
  • Get up to $100 in statement credits annually for purchases at Saks Fifth Avenue on your Platinum Card®. That’s up to $50 in statement credits semi-annually.
  • A $240 Entertainment Credit, doled out in $20 monthly installments for purchases with The Wall Street Journal, Peacock, the New York Times and more.
  • Up to a $300 Equinox Gym Credit, with $25 a month until Jan. 1, 2023, when it switches to an upfront annual credit
  • Walmart+ Membership: Cardholders get up to $12.95 a month to cover the entire cost of a Walmart+ membership, which comes with benefits like free next-day shipping, free local delivery of groceries and other items ($35 order minimum), and more.
  • Cell Phone Insurance Protection: If your phone is stolen or damaged (damage even includes a cracked screen), Amex will reimburse the cost of repair or replacement for up to two approved claims for a maximum of $800 per claim.
  • Premium private jet program: 20% discount on Wheels Up Connect and a 40% discount on Wheels Up Core memberships.
  • $695 annual fee.

Active Duty Military Benefit: American Express completely waives the $695 annual fee and any associated late fees when you're on active duty with any branch of the U.S. Military. They will even waive the annual fee if the active-duty military member is registered as an authorized user on a spouse's account.

And not only does American Express waive the annual fee on the Platinum Card for active-duty military members, but they will waive the annual fee on all of their personal cards. That includes the American Express® Gold Card, which we feel is well worth its $250 annual fee.

You must request the benefit from American Express after you receive your card, as they need to validate your military service via an automated system with the Department of Defense. You’ll then receive a statement credit within a few weeks for the amount of the annual fee.


Bottom Line

While all of these are fantastic credit card products, *venture x* or the *chase sapphire reserve* card should be your choice if you are an active-duty military member. There are simply no other cards that stack up to these in terms of benefits – especially when you're not paying an annual fee.

Citi and U.S. Bank may also waive annual fees on their credit cards, but these are simply the best options.

Not paying an annual fee on these credit cards is an unbeatable perk and will allow you to put money right back in your pocket each year. Make sure to take advantage of this fantastic benefit of serving in the armed forces. And thank you for your service!


Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

8 Responses

  • Actually, I was recently in the Centurion Lounge at the Dallas-Fort Worth airport, talking to a military person. He stated that they checked his active duty years ago, and have never bothered to recheck his status. He retired from the military about 6 years ago. Therefore, once they check your status, they will never check it again, and you will get the American Express Platinum Card with no fee, for life!!

  • Capital One only waives the annual fee according to SCRA benefits not MLA benefits. Meaning you must have opened the card prior to service to get the fee waived.

  • You NEED to make this more clear the distinction between opening cards AFTER/DURING active duty periods and getting cards BEFORE you join. Your post is EXTREMELY misleading and leads active duty personnel to believe they will get a fee waiver when they DONT in 99% of cases (the 1% being those who actually had all these cards open before going on active duty).
    I followed your advice in this post to open a Capital one card with a $395 fee thinking it was going to be waived based on this article, only to find out it was not. I would not have opened it had I known. PLEASE make this more clear AND UPFRONT — NOT in the very last post on your page. Military members rely on these posts and people are getting FALSE information because of them.

    • Capital one treats this differently than American Express or Chase Sapphire. Both of those cards will waive fees regardless of when you applied for the card (before or after entering service). I have both of those cards, applied for and received years after joining, and pay zero annual fees on either.

      The Amex platinum, you need to request for SCRA relief after opening the account. It takes a week or so, but once applied you won’t have to worry about the fee.

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