So far we’ve gone over how to get benefits on our credit cards, utilizing the generous bank’s interpretation of the Servicemember’s Civil Relief Act (SCRA). We’ve seen how to get annual fees and late fees waived on American Express cards, Chase cards, and Capital One cards if you’re in the military – nominally Active Duty although I’ve gotten feedback from Reservists and Guard members who’ve gotten their fees waived.
I received a question in the comments from my Capital One article from @Jake, who wanted to know, “Does anyone know anything about citi? Jason Steele wrote an article last year saying they also waived fees but I can’t find anything confirming it”. I’d never heard of Jason Steele, but I googled him and found this article about getting credit card fees waived, including Citi. I wanted to add to his findings, so I emailed Citicards, since I have both the Citi Platinum Select World Mastercard which has 50k bonus miles after $3,000 spent in 3 months, and 10% off redeemed rewards, amongst other benefits, as well as the CitiBusiness World Mastercard (no landing page available), which also offers 50k AA miles after $3,000 of spend in 3 months. Both have a $95 annual fee that are waived the first year. (I also think both of these offers expire on Jan 31st, although I’m not sure – btw both links are non-affiliate). Having both of those fees waived would be clutch!
Here is the conversation that transpired (if you have trouble reading it, just click on the image):
This is amazing! Next year, I don’t have to pay $190 in annual fees, and can keep both cards! Honestly, I only got them for the signup bonus – I haven’t put any spend on them otherwise, but they are nice to keep around for the 10% off redeemed miles. There is a pretty fantastic link out there for a Citi AA Executive card that gives you a 60k AA mile signup bonus, and membership to the Admiral’s Club (which is going away for Amex Platinum members come March 31st); it costs $495 annually, and you need to spend $5k in 3 months, but since SCRA applies to Citi cards, this would be a pretty sweet card if you were planning a lot of American Airlines flights. The link is here (Citi AA Executive).
So now we’ve gotten annual fees waived for Amex, Chase, Capital One, and Citi – Andy, there couldn’t possibly be more, could there? Well, you’ll just have to wait and see!
This obviously is only for active duty personnel. Recently, Chase Marriott refused to waive the fee and told me to cancel the card if I didn’t want to pay it.
Being a lontime MR customer with an excellent payment history and a loyal Marriott guest for over a decade and a half meant nothing. Yes, at times, loyalty is a one-way street.
@thebone – as I said above, I’ve heard from Reservists and Guard members who’ve had their fees waived. I’m not sure what criteria they use to determine your eligibility though. I will say that Chase in particular has been stingy on giving out SCRA benefits, and I still haven’t found a reason why.
Nice series of blog posts about the SCRA and Amex, Chase, Capital One, and Citi credit card fees for active duty military personnel. Considering the name of the blog is “The Military …” AND that there are many many reserve military personnel AND (perhaps most significantly) the major contributions of the Reserve in Iraq and Afghanistan, it would be appropriate as well as helpful to research and write about the SCRA and how each issuer applies those benefits to reserve personnel, both when mobilized and when not mobilized. FWIW, Chase waived all fees on my existing credit card accounts at the time of my mobilization to Afghanistan and for about 2.5 years after my mobilization ended. I did not look into SCRA benefits with the other issuers, I cancelled all those cards prior to my deployment in preparation for re-application (and repeat sign-up bonuses 🙂 ) after my deployment. Thank you.
@Harry – I will let Andy comment more authoritatively, but I suspect that the variable response we have seen is due to Reserve Soldiers having different backgrounds so the CC companies treat them differently. Some are currently activated, others activated for tours, but now TPU and still others who have never been activated. Read “About Us” and you’ll know that I care a lot about reservists! Thanks for sharing your experience with Chase. Amex seems to be much less of a problem and we are researching the others.
Hello again Glenn and Andy. I certainly don’t mean to seem demanding but curious if you have anything further to offer about this subject (SCRA benefits for Reserve personnel at different banks). Needless to write, I’d go for the Citi AA 100,000 and an AmEx Platinum in a flash if I knew the fees would be waived. Thanks again.
@ Harry – Unfortunately, there is no set answer as far as how they treat Reservists.If you are currently mobilized, previously mobilized, never mobilized would likely all get different answers from the CC Companies. Try AmEx first (they seem the most liberal) and see what they say. Note that even those previously exempted, have not been exempted for the Citi AA 100,000 deal. Understandable, since this is a $450 annual fee that gets you $200 credit and access to the Admirals Club. So basically, $250 for 100,000 miles and club access? Pretty good deal anyway.
Understood, thanks again.
Glenn, So the Citi AAdvantage Executive is running a 100,000 point signup right now, and has a $450 annual fee. I called Citi to confirm that the fee would be waived (like the other Citi fees are) and they said no for that card. Have you or anyone else had any luck getting the AAdvantage Executive fee waived? Thanks for the article, nothing beats waived annual fees.
@ Mark – I’ll let the CC expert Andy address that one. First I have heard of a company giving it to some cards but not others.
I’m active duty and Citi denied my SCRA on all cards since they were opened since I joined in 1994. Chase approved it for one United card, but denied it for the other 6-7 cards. Odd since that United card was definitely opened in the past decade. Wondering if Chase applied the date of my last PCS orders.
Just got off the phone with Citibank’s “Military Response Unit” at 877–804–1082. They told me that you must have had the account prior to entry into the military. I was going after the AAdvantage Executive offer as well.
AMEX had no problem waiving fees for their Platinum card.
@ Tom – The current offer is still a good deal for 100,000 miles for $450 and $200 statement credit. Getting the fee waived would have just made it a fantastic deal.
[…] the annual fee is $450 per year, and IT IS NOT WAIVED the first year (If you are military, you can get your fee waived – read this to find out how) […]
Did you receive a response after you sent in your documents. I followed your advice, and Citi rejected my SCRA request because my cards weren’t opened before my military service. This is another YMMV situation like Chase. Please update the article with your results. It would also be more responsible to change the tone of this article to be more YMMV as opposed to its current “sure thing” tone.
It would be very dissapointing to apply for the Citi AA Executive card expecting the fee to be waived (based on the contents of this article) and then find out the contrary.
Thanks for all of your content. I appreciate you researching this topic!
Andy, I had the same experience as benji. Has anyone had a different result?
While I don’t think there is any question that Citi is not violating the SCRA by denying the benefits in this manner, it’s definitely disappointing, particularly when other banks are extending the benefits beyond debts incurred prior to military service.
As a side note, in case any one was wondering, under the SCRA interest rate provision, the the “interest” is defined to include “service charges, renewal charges, and fees.”
After my inquires, I received a letter stating that my account was does not qualify “because it was opened after [I] entered active duty.” I made several calls, e-mail conversations and now this letter. All have been consistent, stating that Citi’s policy is that the SCRA only applies to accounts that were opened prior to the individual entering active duty.
Anyone get this card’s Citi Executive® / AAdvantage® World Elite™ MasterCard annual fee waived?
What about the southwest Chase card?
I also had the same poor luck as everyone else. I have been active duty for 7+ years and still could not get this fee waived. Sadly they have already charged the $450…they didn’t even wait till the end of the year! Any other strategies?
Cole. If you cancel they will prorate the card fee. I cancelled as soon as they denied my claim and they gave me the full fee back but YMMV
It’s ridiculous that they don’t allow annual fee waivers for new cards opened after you join the military. Very disappointing by Citi.
It’s not actually ridiculous. It’s in keeping with the spirit of the law. No company is REQUIRED to offer a break to the military except as provided by the SCRA. Those that do are awesome, but companies that don’t offer discounts or fee waivers aren’t necessarily bad or ridiculous.
That said, I will probably cancel my Citibank cards this year since I don’t want to pay any more annual fees and I have great benefits with my Amex cards. But I don’t think Citi has a ridiculous policy.
I know that American Express waives annual fees. I got my $400 fee waived for my AMEX platinum. But I don’t know if CitiBank will waive annual fees. I have both the Platinum and Executive, and after calling Citibank at 1-800-347-4934, I was told to send my LES to the SCRA pricing division where they would make a final decision. The biggest disqualifier is if a credit card account was opened after the servicemember went on active duty. They will definitely waive fees if the account was opened prior to receiving active duty orders, but I’m still waiting to see if they’ll waive my fee, considering I got the two Citi cards within the last year and I’ve been on active duty for 10 years.
@Byron – Unfortunately, that’s been my experience too w/ Citi. It kind of sucks, so my plan is to cancel (or get a retention offer) for my platinum, as it’s been almost a year, and just flat-out cancel my two executives next year. They don’t get to keep my business if they can’t offer us the same benefits that Amex does.
[…] The Military Frequent Flyer, American Express isn’t the only bank that waives credit card annual fees for active duty […]
[…] How to Get Your Annual Fees Waived on Citi Cards […]
[…] military members who qualify to get annual fees waived through the SCRA, I’d say the Citi Prestige is pretty amazing, but not talked about nearly as much as the […]
With the Citi Prestige they absolutely WILL NOT waive your $450 annual fee. I signed up last month and was told they would waive it however, the fee materialized on my first bill. I called Citi Prestige customer service and spoke with the customer service supervisor to no avail. They will only waive the fee if you had the card prior to entering the service or are activated. I closed the account and will go with Visa Black or AMEX plat.
This Monday, I called the Citi Military Response Unit line and the representative I talked to DID confirm that all fees are waived, including the Citi Prestige. I also asked about the authorized user fee for Citi Prestige and it was confirmed that ALL fees on the account are waived. She said first apply, get approved then send AD military orders in via mail, email (non-secure) or fax.
I would recommend calling the Military Response Unit instead of regular customer service.
Just wanted to let everyone know, I called the Citi Military Response Unit line and the representative I talked to DID confirm that all fees are waived, including the Citi Prestige. I also asked about the authorized user fee for Citi Prestige and it was confirmed that ALL fees on the account are waived. She said first apply, get approved then send AD military orders in via mail, email (non-secure) or fax.
Data Point: We’ve never had a Citi account so this would be new (meaning we didn’t have it prior to joining the service).
I just had the exact opposite experience with the Citi Military Response Unit. I signed up for a Citi Prestige about two months ago and when I put in the request to have the annual fee waived I received feedback that I would not get a reduction in APR or a waiver of the fee since I have been active duty for much longer than I have owned the card. I tried calling back again and the Military Response Unit again said the fee would not be waived. If you feel you will use the card enough to make up for the $450 annual fee then go for it, but do not get the card thinking that the fee will be waived…
I am active duty military and got the Citi card based on what I read here (looks like I should’ve read all the comments). However, when I submitted all of the paperwork required, they declined to waive my annual fees, saying that since I was active duty prior to receiving the card, I didn’t qualify for any SCRA benefits. The Military Response Unit wouldn’t help me anymore than that, so I got transferred to an “account specialist” who put me on hold to see what she could do. She ultimately said that the fee couldn’t be waived since the card wasn’t set up as a “military account”. She did credit me back the $450 fee when I closed the account since I was still in the “full refund” period. I won’t be getting another Citi card.
I too have asked Citi for something in writing prior to me applying even though I’ve been told 1 out of 2 times that I’ve called that it would be waived. I’ve gotten the run around and said I would need to call the MRU. Looks like I will pull the trigger on the AMX Platinum until Citi gets it together on what they want to waive for AD military.
Here’s the response I got from Citi:
We’re unable to approve your request
We’re not able to change the Annual Percentage Rate (APR) on your Citi® /
AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World MasterCard account under the
provisions of the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act because the Act offers a
lower APR on debt prior to your active duty service. This account was
opened after you entered active duty so it doesn’t qualify for a lower APR.
If you have any questions you can call us at the number on this letter. If
you’re outside the U.S., we’ll accept a collect call at 1-904-954-8001. If you
prefer, you can write to us at:
PO Box 6500
Sioux Falls, SD 57117-6500
No go for me – They wouldn’t waive it. $450 is steep for me, as I was signing up solely for the 50k bonus. That would be awesome if they matched Amex’s policy, but I think the odds are greater that Amex will match everyone else.
Bad news for me too. Citi Military Response Unit initially told me that they would wave the $450 fee for the Citi prestige card. I’ve put $2500 in the first billing cycle and when I saw that the $450 fee was posted, I called back the Military Response Unit and they said that I didn’t qualify. Looks like since others have had this problem I wont be able to talk them out of it. You have 37 days from when the fee posts till you can cancel the card.
Have to say I am disappointed with Citi.
AMEX impressed the hell out of me, not only did they waive everything for me back in 2013, they also refunded EVERYTHING prior to that since my account was opened. APR remained though.
Which brings me to Barclay – by FAR the best response. Have the VISA Black Card and my annual fee is waived AND my APR is 0% while I am still Active Duty.
Another data point:
Received letter from Citi’s SCRA Unit on 17 June saying “This account was opened after you entered active duty so it doesn’t qualify”. I called in twice to their SCRA unit & received same response from 2 CSRs – only way that I would be elgible for annual fee waiver is if I opened the account before I entered military service. Sucks – oh well, I will just cancel my Citi AA Platinum Select before I get charged an annual fee. It’s not worth keeping.
Barclays & Amex are the only 2 companies that definitely refund all fees. I’ve had BoA refund me in the past, but I don’t have any recent data.
TL;DR – DON’T GET A CITI CARD EXPECTING THE FEE TO BE WAIVED!
I am a reservist. I applied for SCRA protection from AMEX, Barclay and Citibank earlier this year. Barclay and AMEX waived annual fees. Citibank refused, and would only lower the interest rate.
@LC – that, unfortunately, has been a lot of people’s experience.
I had the advantage world elite executive card last year and tried multiple times to get the $450 fee waived but just like everyone else, citi refused because I have been on AD for 8 years and only just applied for the card. I will say that even with the $450 fee, it was nice to get the 100k sign up bonus and also access to the admirals club since my regular airport does not have a delta or centurion lounge. Now the card is offering 75k miles to sign up and spend 7500 in 3 months which is still a great deal. For 75k miles you can easily find some outstanding deals for traveling to save well over 450$. I used my 100k miles to fly round trip to Ireland (40k total) and am using another 60k to book two round trip tickets to Belize. So you can definitely make good use of miles if you’re smart about how you spend them and the fee may end up being worth it for one year.
Since citi would not waive the fee I decided to downgrade the card after one year to the double cash card so that I could keep the credit line open but now my primary card is the Barclay arrival plus MC. Barclay has the best deal for military as they will waive AND refund all fees (annual, late, balance transfer, etc) and they drop ALL (even cash advance) interest rates to 0% while you are on active duty. I highly recommend any Barclay card for this reason.
@John – that sounds awesome, and I like the idea of a downgrade instead of a straight up cancellation. Well done! In terms of Barclay, now that they’re doing away with their benefits, I might favor something like the doublecash or the CapOne Venture.
@Andy – where are you getting your info that Barclay is doing away with their benefits? Will current 0% interest rates and annual fee waivers continue to be honored?
I can confirm that I carry the Barclay Black .. and it continues to have 0% interest, etc.
I can confirm that Barclays does it. I am a military spouse and did not realize that benefits were extended to me based upon my husband’s status until recently. They refunded fees/interest even on a card that I closed with them in 2011. Additionally, they refunded the same on a current card. They seem to do more for the armed forces.
They can check eligibility through the SCRA website. Using the single record request feature all they need is your birthday and last name to determine when you went active duty and if you are still in. Citi is having me fax them a copy of my LES and said they will send me a letter for each account they are willing to waive the fees for, though they told me they would not be willing to waive the fees for cards opened after I went active. I have a feeling I will be calling them back in a few weeks to cancel the card if they don’t waive the fees. There’s no reason AmEx can waive $450 but they can’t.
[…] How to Get Your Annual Fees Waived on Citi Cards […]
I just tried to get the fee waived for my Citi Prestige and I was told that because I joined active duty prior to when I opened the card that I was ineligible. Interesting, because the card didn’t even exist back then. Thoughts?
You actually make it appear so easy with your presentation but I find this matter to bbe actually one thing that
I believe I’d by no means understand. It seems too complex and very extensive for me.
I’m taking a look forward on your next submit, I will attempt to get the hold of
I just talked to Citi and they said they do not waive the membership fees under SCRA. I told them that all my other cards did and they said, “I’m sorry, but we do not.” I think I’m just going to call again and try and speak to a different person until I get what I want…or cancel my card.
I’m active, and Citi denied me any special Apr or waived fees due to the card being opened after my active duty start date. So it sounds like if you don’t meet the legal SCRA definition you are sol.
I have the amex platinum and the fee was waived for me and i added my parents so they could each have a card and they were also waived. If you plan on applying let me know son i can send you a referral link and get points, help a soldier out! Lol. Just email me at shiryujk AT hotmail dot com
Doctorofcredit is reporting that the annual fees are now being waived for Citi cards that were opened after you joined active duty! https://www.doctorofcredit.com/citi-waiving-annual-fees-credit-cards-opened-entering-active-duty/