Best American Express Cards For Active
American Express offers some of the most generous policies for active servicemembers. Unlike other banks, Amex will waive annual fees for all of its credit cards, whether they’re business or personal.
With a huge suite of premium cards, like The Platinum Card® from American Express , military members can receive hundreds of dollars per year in free perks. Depending on the card, these include benefits such as monthly or yearly travel and shopping credits, free hotel stays, top-tier elite status, and airport lounge access all for absolutely nothing out of pocket.;
Even if you’re not a traveler, you can still take advantage of perks, like up to $200 per calendar year in credit at Dell, up to $100 per calendar year credit at Saks Fifth Avenue, and monthly credits for free food delivery. Coupled with the ability to earn a substantial amount of American Express Membership Rewards, airline miles, or hotel points via welcome bonuses and bonus category spending, applying for one of these Amex cards is almost a no-brainer if you’re active duty.
Here are our top picks for American Express’ best cards for the military:
Main Credit Card Issuers That Focus On Veterans
There are some banks and credit unions that are tailored to the service member and his or her family. Here, we look at 3 financial institutions that offer credit cards that appeal to those groups of people, including who can join, what kinds of products are available and special features that might be offered:
The Platinum Card From American Express: Best Travel Card
- Welcome Bonus: 75,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $5,000 within the first 6 months from account opening
- Earning Potential: 5X points on prepaid hotels booked on amextravel.com and flights purchased directly through the airline or American Express travel , 1X on other purchases
- Annual Fee:
$550WAIVED for SCRA-approved cardholders
The Platinum Card offers premium travel perks. It has one of the highest credit card annual fees at $550, but this fee is waived for SCRA-approved military members!
Besides earning 5X Membership Rewards points on select travel purchases, you also receive:
- up to $200 airline credit for baggage fees and other expenses at 1 selected airline
- up to $200 annually to spend on Uber and Uber Eats
- $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre-check application fees
- No foreign transaction fees
Pro Tip: Check out all of our Best Travel Rewards Credit Cards for 2021.
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How To Check Your Credit Score
Did you know that you can have several different credit scores? The number used by a car dealership could be slightly different than the number used by a department store when evaluating your credit application. Score calculations happen at different times and in different ways.
A great way to check your credit score is to work with nonprofit and HUD-approved housing counselors for a free credit report and score with help to review them.
Request Your Free Credit Report
Online:AnnualCreditReport.com 1 322-8228
Stay up-to-date with your credit report with AnnualCreditReport.com and know your score before you apply for a credit card.
Contact Your Card Issuer
Even if youre not in the market for a new card, check with your current credit card issuers to see if they offer any special benefits to service members. Some go above and beyond, offering lower rates and even waived annual fees to eligible active-duty service members.
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The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act
SCRA benefits are legally required for eligible servicemembers for every credit card, no matter the issuer. If youre on or will be going on active duty, you can use these benefits to get an exceptionally good deal on certain cards.
Active-duty servicemembers of several kinds are able to get reduced interest rates on credit cards and other loans. These benefits apply only to active-duty military;servicemembers, to avoid punishing you with high interest and fees while serving your country.
The main benefits of the SCRA that relate to credit cards are:
- A cap of 6% APR for any credit card debts owed before entering active-duty military service .
And a few more things to know:
- These terms only apply to cards that were opened before beginning active duty. If you get a credit card while on active duty, these terms will not apply to it.
- Youll need to apply for SCRA benefits, you wont get them automatically.
- You can also apply to have SCRA benefits retroactively applied to your account, to cover the period when you were on active duty. If you do so, any eligible fees you paid will be reimbursed.
So, for example, if you had debt with an interest rate of 20% when you began active duty, that previous balance would get a new APR of 6%. But any new purchases you make after beginning active duty would be subject to the regular 20% rate.
Best Credit Card Benefits For Active Duty Military Members
The credit card benefits you receive during military service can vary depending on the card issuer. The chart below explains how these benefits vary depending on which bank issues the rewards credit card you sign up for.
Which Credit Card Companies Offer The Best Military Credit Card Perks Bonuses And Incentives
Opinions may vary, but one of the best things military members and their families can do to get military-oriented credit card benefits is to apply for credit cards from a military or military friendly company such as USAA, Navy Federal Credit Union, or the company currently servicing your government official travel charge card.
There are other credit card companies that have historically offered perks and military credit card benefits, including Chase Bank, Bank of America, American Express, and Capital One.
Of these, Capital One is rated by third-party websites as being less of an advantage than the others, but Capital One credit cards have waived both annual fees and overseas charge fees for active duty military members. Its always best to call to inquire about the most current military-friendly credit programs available.
Best For Rewards On Base: Usaa Cashback Rewards Plus American Express Card
From our partner
Heres why: The USAA® Cashback Rewards Plus American Express® Card helps military personnel stationed on a military base maximize their cash back benefits.
The USAA® Cashback Rewards Plus American Express® Card offers 5% cash back on your first $3,000;in combined gas and qualifying military base purchases each calendar year. After spending $3,000, youll earn 1% back. Qualifying purchases at military bases include those at commissaries, exchanges and shoppettes.
Youll also earn 2% cash back on the first $3,000 you spend on supermarket purchases each year . On all other purchases, youll get 1% cash back.
The card has an annual fee of $0 and foreign transaction fees? None. But youll need to join USAA to be able to apply for the card. Both active-duty and retired service members are eligible to join, among other military-affiliated people and their families.
Find out why we think the USAA® Cashback Rewards Plus American Express® Card is one of the best USAA cards.
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Best Credit Cards For Military Members
To start your search for the best credit cards for military members, weve combined expert opinions in finance, consumer advocacy and travel into our Making Money Moves Tic Tac Toe. Explore the boards links to find the credit card that works best for you and your family.
Winner! Winner! Winner!
An assessment of the boards overlapping xs and os reveals 3 of the Best Military Credit Cards.
Its base rewards earned recognition from two of the four expert sources. Why?
- 5% cash back on the first $3,000 in gas and military base purchases every year.
- 1% cash back on purchases at commissaries, exchanges and shopettes for charges from $3,001 and up.
- No annual fee or foreign transaction fees.
A low APR and interest caught the eye of half the experts on our board. Why?
- No annual fee or foreign transaction fees.
- 4% APR for existing balance during active duty, including deployment and PCS.
Its travel benefits scored more than one place on the board. Why?
- $550 annual fee waiver under SCRA or MLA.
What Are The Best Credit Cards For Veterans
The Blue Cash Everyday Card from American Express is another card that isnt specifically for military members but offers a slew of valuable benefits. It has no annual fee and allows members to earn cash back on a variety of purchases.
Another good choice for veterans is also the PenFed Power Cash Rewards Visa Signature Card, which offers a higher cash back program rate for retired and honorably discharged military members.
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Usaa Cashback Rewards Plus American Express Card
The USAA® Cashback Rewards Plus American Express is another favorite military credit card, thanks to the impressive, enhanced cash back it earns on select purchases. The card earns a massive 5% back on gas station and military base purchases and 2% back on groceries.
USAA caps these cash back rewards to the first $3,000 spent each year in those categories. Still, for a card with no annual fee and the same great interest rates as the Preferred Cash Visa Signature, its hard not to include this impressive card on our best military cards list.
Delta Skymiles Platinum American Express Card
Annual fee: $250, waived for military and spouses to $0
Welcome Bonus: Earn 50,000 bonus Skymiles after spending $2,000 in the first 3 months of card membership. Plus earn a $100 statement credit after you make eligible purchases at US restaurants in the first 3 months of opening the card.
- Receive an annual Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate on your account anniversary. Payment of government taxes and fees up to $75 may be required.
- 3x Skymiles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels
- 2x Skymiles on restaurants worldwide and U.S. supermarkets
- 20% off in-flight purchases on Delta, posted as a statement credit
- Main Cabin Priority 1 boarding get that overhead storage!
- First checked bag free Delta usually checks up to 4 bags free for US military on leave or on orders
- Fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Precheck
- No foreign transaction fees
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How Many American Express Cards Can You Have
Like all banks, Amex limits the number of cards each member can hold at once. For Amex, this means you can hold up to 4 credit cards and 10 charge cards. These numbers include both personal and business cards.
Whats the difference between a credit and a charge card? A credit card, like the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card, has a fixed credit limit. Once youve maxed it out, thats it. Youre able to pay off a credit card over many months, though youll be on the hook for any interest you incur.
Charge cards, on the other hand, have varied spending power according to your use habits. Unlike credit cards, whatever you charge to your card will be due in full every month. American Express has many of these, such as the Amex Platinum card.
Now, lets take a look at all the best cards for the military that American Express has to offer.
Is A Rewards Card Right For Me
If youre confident that you understand the benefits and limitations of a particular card and will profit from its rewards structure, its probably a good option. However, read the fine print carefully to examine for hidden restrictions. For example, some big-box retailers such as Walmart may be excluded from eligibility for grocery rewards, and paying with your card via a mobile app like Apple Pay could reduce the number of points you earn.;;;
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More On Canadas Best Credit Cards:
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Which Credit Cards Waive Fees For The Military
Active-duty military personnel may be eligible for SCRA credit card benefits, which include a cap of 6% on interest rates .
But some card issuers will go even further, like reducing APRs to 0% and waiving some or all card fees .
American Express cards, for example, will waive annual fees and late fees; Capital One and Chase cards will waive;all;fees; and Citi cards will waive all fees and reduce APRs to 0% for balances accrued before active duty began.
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Chase Ihg Rewards Premier
One of the more generous hotel credit cards, the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card offers a large sign-up bonus of 150,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening. In addition, you’ll get valuable perks like an anniversary award night each year worth up to 40,000 points and;IHG Platinum elite status.
You can also save points with the fourth award night free on all standard award redemptions of four nights or more, which translates to a 25% discount just for being a cardholder. The card also offers up to a $100 statement credit for the Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee.
There’s an $89 annual fee, again waived for active-duty military.;
What Is A Good Apr For A Credit Card
The lower the APR, the less interest you will pay on credit card purchases. Its that simple. A low ongoing APR is likely better than the 0% APR introductory rate for you to carry a balance.
A 0% APR introductory rate credit card may be useful to finance a big purchase if you know you pay it off before the initial rate expires. Be aware that the APR often increases when the intro promo is over so hold off on buying that Porsche or private jet.
Did you know? The first digit of your credit card tells what industry issued the card.
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Decide Whether You Will Pay Off Your Balance Each Month
If you plan to carry a balance on your credit card, choosing a card with an ongoing low-interest rate should be your priority. The interest rate is referred to as the annual percentage rate or APR. Some cards offer an introductory 0% APR, which can be attractive if you plan to make a purchase and pay the balance off quickly. Be sure to note how long the initial rate will last and what the new APR will be. Its essential to recognize that late payments can trigger an increase in your APR.
If you plan on transferring a balance from another card to a new card to save on interest, be sure to answer these questions:
What is the balance transfer fee?
Is there a limit to how much debt I can transfer to the card?
What kind of debt can I transfer to the card?
What is the APR introductory rate, and what is the rate after the initial APR expires?
Navy Federal Cashrewards Card
Like USAA, Navy Federal also offers a flat-rate 1.5% cash back card the;Navy Federal;cashRewards;Visa. Like USAA, the card earns unlimited cash back, no foreign transaction fees, and no annual fee. New accounts also receive a $250 statement credit when they spend $2,500 in purchases within the first 90 days a nice 10% cash back bonus!
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What Is A Credit Card
pay for purchases over time, similar to a loan. You pay your credit card company back monthly for everything you charge. You might be asking yourself, is there a difference between credit cards and debit cards? Yes, a debit card purchase is automatically pulled from your account since the card is linked to your checking account.
Here’s Who Qualifies For The American Express Platinum Card Military Benefit:
- Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and Coast Guard members on active duty
- Reserve, National Guard and Air National Guard members called to active duty
- National Guard members on duty for 30+ days for a national emergency
- Public Health Service and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Commissioned Officers
- U.S. citizens actively serving with U.S. allies
- Spouses of all of the above
If you qualify for this perk, you should definitely take advantage of it, as you’ll save yourself a lot of money every year. But you need to request it in order to get it, since American Express doesn’t automatically know your military status.
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