I’d like to introduce Andy to all my readers.  Andy is a Navy Officer who is interested in contributing to the blog.  Expect to see him regularly around here.  He already cowrites a financial blog for military personnel named militarymoneymanual.com  His first post is very cool and I know that I want to take advantage of it ASAP.

I’m sure there are many of you out there who would like to apply for some big-gun credit cards from American Express, like the Amex Platinum Card, where you can get free airport lounge access and $200 off yearly airline fees, or the Business Rewards Gold Card, where you can get 50,000 membership rewards points after $5,000 spent in 3 months. However, most, if not all of you are turned off by the steep annual fee, $450 per year and $175 per year respectively. I am here to tell you how to get these amazing cards annual-fee free. And if you’re reading this particular website, you’ve probably already done it. You just need to join the military!

In 2003, congress passed the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA), which was mainly aimed at alleviating high interest rates on active duty military members, especially while they were deployed. In accordance with this act, they will waive your annual fee on any of their cards (and will credit you for retroactive annual fees you might’ve payed in the past). In addition, they waive the following: overlimit fees, late payment fees, returned payment fees, and statement copy request fees. I’m not quite sure when they started offering this benefit; the earliest I could find a reference to it on google was from a flyertalk post in 2011. And I have not heard of any other credit card companies doing this.

To ask for this benefit for future applications, you can call 1-800-253-1720. If you’re outside the United States, call collect at 1-336-393-1111. Some of their customer service reps might not have heard of this benefit, so please be patient and explain it to them, so they can clear it with their supervisors. Read here for one servicemembers experience obtaining this benefit.

Posted by glenn | 44 Comments

44 responses to “How to Get Your Annual Fees Waived on American Express”

  1. Jonathan says:

    Wow, this is really amazing. Thank you for this extremely valuable information. I intend to call Amex about this today.

    • Andy says:

      @Jonathan – No problem man, I was floored when I first heard about it too. Apparently they will reimburse you any past annual fees you might’ve paid while active duty as well, make sure you ask them about that.

  2. DJ says:

    just a small measure to show the appreciation, thanks for all the servicemen’s contributions to this country.

  3. Jonathan says:

    Just to follow up… Amex is in the process of verifying my active duty status with the DoD. Once that process is complete, I’m told I will receive a letter in the mail stating that the annual fees on all of my accounts will be waived for the duration of my service.

    Amex just became my new favorite credit card issuer. Thanks again, Andy and Glenn.

  4. J.C. says:

    Actually, it is inaccurate to state that AmEx waives annual membership fees “in accordance with” the SCRA. The SCRA does not obligate in any manner waivers or reductions in annual fees. AmEx chooses to waive these membership fees either out of the goodness of their heart — likely for the PR value — or out of an over-abundance of noncompliance caution.

    To be fair, AmEx isn’t the only card issuer that will do this. Capital One is good about waiving annual fees as is Chase. Diners Club, however, will not.

    I’m glad American Express waives these fees. You do need to ask, though, as it isn’t automatic. They have been waiving my platinum card fee for ages and also waive my Delta Reserve fee. About a year ago they came out of the blue and offered to waive my wife’s and my son’s fees, too, on their own personal cards.

  5. Tiff says:

    Does this apply to active reservists? Or only during the time they’re activated?

  6. […] military can get American Express annual fees waived! [Via a Frequent Miler post, who linked to the original post by The Military Frequent […]

  7. Will says:

    AMEX just submitted my package for verification, It was really simple I just followed the instructions from the linked article. Has anyone done this with Chase and is the process similar?

  8. Ian says:

    so you were able to get Chase to waive fees too? I saw links where they had certain cards for military people but I’m curious about my CSP and Ink bold…

  9. Arin says:

    Will AmEx do this for widows of those who died in line of duty? I am thinking of applying for their gold card.

  10. Chris says:

    I called 1-800-253-1720 and the rep told me to snail mail a copy of my orders to an AMEX address in FL…(vastly different than what was shared here and the linked site)

  11. […] something led me to believe that this news was first published on the new BoardingArea blog, The Military Frequent Flyer, but it was actually published back in July on a blog that’s been around since the beginning […]

  12. Derrick says:

    So I got my fees waived, but my wife has an additional card and we were told we would have to pay the $175 additional card fee for the Platinum.

    The two customer service people I spoke two both insisted this was the case. Anyone hear otherwise?

  13. Andy says:

    @Derrick, I was told the same thing after I got my Amex Mercedes Benz Platinum.

    BTW, unless something has changed recently, Amex no longer offers the Mercedes Benz Platinum. I would never buy a mercedes, but they offered 50k MR points for only 3k spend, and my local CVS still sells Vanilla Reloads 🙂 I also got the Amex Blue Cash Preferred, for the 6% back on groceries and 3% on gas. Next January, I’ll get the Business rewards gold (50k MR points) and the Starwood personal (already have the business). Now, Amex allows 2 business and 4 personal cards, which leaves one more personal card for me…any suggestions for which I should get? Of note, I rarely fly Delta, so that wouldn’t be a great option.

  14. Andy says:

    @Arin, I don’t know. Call the above number and ask, I’ve definitely heard of non-active duty members getting this privilege, so it might work.

  15. Andy says:

    @Tiff – yes you should be eligible even if you’re not currently activated, I’ve definitely heard of others getting this benefit.

    @J.C. – I’ve never heard of other card companies waiving this fee, I will call Chase sometime this week and ask them.

  16. Scott M. says:

    Any idea if retirees would be eligible? I have had an AMEX card for about fifteen years (first Delta, then SPG), so would love to avoid the annual fee.

  17. Andy says:

    @Tiff – I just wrote an article on Chase annual fees, check it out on the front page – long story short, yes, Chase waives your fees as well!

    @Scott M. – I’m not sure about retirees, please call and ask, and let us all know!

  18. […] a good credit score. In addition to free access to lounges, Amex Platinum also gets you $200 off of yearly airline fees, and lets you bring a guest to the lounge with […]

  19. […] a nice feature of the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act. (And let’s not forget about getting Amex and Chase annual fees waived, either.) That Venture 50,000 point offer has apparently expired, but […]

  20. Nicole says:

    I have had an AmEx card for 10 years. I did this in December and have just been credited thousands of dollars. Amazing. THANK YOU!!!

  21. […] airfares, you could say that these points are more valuable than that. And, remember that Amex waives annual fees for military members, just like Chase. This is one of my go-to cards for non-category spend in the […]

  22. […] meant I would probably have to downgrade to a Gold card next year. Through reading an article from The Military Frequent Flyer, I learned about the fact that American Express waives any fees on their cards for members of the […]

  23. […] it out! Remember that American Express waives annual fees for military members, so you should try and get as many as you […]

  24. Jules says:

    I was denied my request today by American Express, they said that it would only count for charges made before entering into service; since my spouse has been in service for 17 years, they would waive anything for me (the account has been in place for 10 years).

  25. Jules says:

    First comment shoudl read “they would not”.

  26. Mary says:

    Thanks again for this blog! I recently got the AMX Platinum with the 100k MR bonus AND all fees waived!! I don’t think it gets better than that!

    Upon arrival of my new AMX card, I have already applied and have interview scheduled for Global Entry, used the $200 United reimbursement and have used many of the other benefits (Emerald to Hertz Status Match, Hilton Gold Status, etc).

    Thanks again!

  27. Peter says:

    So I have question. I am trying to apply for Platinum and customer service guys are saying that SCRA might only apply to the customer who were using AMEX before the law pass. They said I need to apply first and call customer service to know if i am eligible or not. Is there any way that i can get waiver 100% sure or not? I am active-duty army since 2013.

    • glenn says:

      @Peter – there is no way to be 100% sure, but I’ve never heard of anyone get turned down by Amex, even those that’ve gotten the card after they were active duty. Sorry I can’t be more help, but with the airline reimbursements, in my mind the Amex plat makes sense even if for some reason you didn’t get the fee waived.

  28. Marie says:

    I clarified that the annual fee will only be waived if billed during the period of active duty. So if you open the Plat account 1/1/14 and active duty is 3/1/14 to 8/1/14 the fee would not be waived because it was not billed between 3/1/14 to 8/1/14.

  29. Chris says:

    Does anyone know whether AMEX will waive fees for multiple products? For example, if I were hoping to capitalize on a targeted offer for the Platinum card, but have recently seen appealing offers for the Premier Rewards Gold card, could I apply for the PRG, get those fees waived, and then (hopefully) apply for the Platinum at a later time and have those fees waived as well?

  30. Tracie says:

    Husband was just denied, he is active duty national guard. This is his year around job, she said nope. This is the person you submit paperwork to. She said it doesn’t fall in srca guidelines

  31. Tracie says:

    They said order had to be from President or Secretary of State, so essentially title 10?

  32. […] How to Get Your Annual Fees Waived on American Express … […]

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