Amex Platinum’s Benefits for Active Duty U.S. Military Members

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If you’re currently serving on active duty in the military or have served, we salute you. Serving in the military brings with it major responsibilities, associated family sacrifices, and even financial challenges.

The financial challenges of military families, specifically, came to the forefront years ago and resulted in the government passing key legislation to help alleviate and restrict some of the more burdening lending practices affecting military members.

The laws, applying to financial transactions such as vehicle leases, payday loans, mortgages, and housing rights, also had significant impact on how credit card practices, including fees and interest rates, were administered.

The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act of 2003 (SCRA) applies to accounts opened prior to active military service while the subsequent Military Lending Act (MLA) governs the limiting of fees and interest rates on debt acquired by active military members, their spouses, domestic partners, and dependents.

While credit card issuers must follow the law as written, they are also free to go above and beyond to offer additional concessions.

American Express is one of the credit card issuers that has embraced the purpose of the law and extended benefits beyond what is required by the legislation.

The Platinum Card® from American Express is one of the best examples of a value-added card that offers active military members an opportunity to enjoy hundreds, even thousands, of dollars in complimentary benefits.

Here’s an overview of the benefits offered to active duty military members with the Amex Platinum Card. If you decide to apply, we advise to take a look at the requirements of the Platinum Card (including estimated credit score needed) before pulling your credit.

The Amex Platinum Card

Why We Like This Card for Active Duty Military

The Amex Platinum comes with tons of benefits a military traveler can utilize. Complimentary access to airport lounges worldwide, hotel elite status, and car rental privileges, all make travel more comfortable.

A generous welcome bonus, a waiver of the high annual fee, and statement credits for airline incidentals all result in extraordinary value for the active duty military member.

Here’s a review of the benefits offered by the Amex Platinum and estimate the value, where possible, that you receive by having the card.

Centurion food
There’s always a quiet place to relax plus complimentary food and drink at the Centurion Lounge. Image Credit: Centurion

The Value of the Amex Platinum’s Benefits

Welcome Bonus

Welcome bonuses vary but you can count on a value of at least 1 cent per Membership Reward point when redeeming those bonus points for travel. This translates to at least $600 in travel if the welcome bonus is 60,000 points.

You may receive additional value by transferring your Membership Rewards to airline and/or hotel partners, but you should earn at least 1 center per point in redemptions. For our latest valuation, check out our credit card and miles valuations, which is updated monthly.

Hot Tip: You might have a targeted offer of a 100,000 point welcome bonus for the Amex Platinum – it’s completely free to check.

Waived Annual Fee — Value of $550

The annual fee of $550 is waived for active military members, spouses, and domestic partners when credit is extended jointly. This is a huge savings that American Express offers to military members as a thank you for your service. (See rates and fees).

Additional Waived Fees for Active Military

In addition to the annual fee, American Express will also waive late and returned payment fees, over-limit fees, and statement copy request fees for active duty military.

Worldwide Airport Lounge Access — Value of $700 (Estimated)

One of the most valuable benefits of having the Amex Platinum is worldwide lounge access to more than 1,200 properties. For travelers, including active military, this translates to having a comfortable place to relax, grab a beverage, and have a bite to eat; all for free.

The cardholder, plus 2 guests, can enjoy complimentary access to these lounge networks.

If we value a single Centurion Lounge visit at $50 (the cost of access for a 3rd guest), you’d simply need to visit a Centurion lounge 14 times a year to get that $700 in value. That’s 7 round-trips, with visiting the lounge on both legs.

Authorized Users — Value of $175

Adding an authorized user to your Amex Platinum Card normally costs $175 each card anniversary and includes up to 3 additional users (see rates and fees). This fee is waived for the active duty military cardholder.

Authorized users receive full airport lounge access privileges making it is easy to gain access for your entire family.

Read all about the benefits of adding an authorized user to your Amex Platinum Card for even more information.

Grand Wailea Waldorf Astoria
Enjoy an upgraded room with complimentary hotel elite status.  Image Credit: Hilton

Hotel Elite Status

It’s difficult to put a value on hotel elite status because the value you receive will depend on how frequently you stay at the associated hotel-branded property.

The Amex Platinum comes with Marriott Bonvoy Gold elite status and Hilton Honors Gold status. Having elite status instantly qualifies you for perks such as upgraded rooms, late checkout, free Wi-Fi, and bonus earnings.

To learn more about the value of having Marriott Bonvoy elite status and Hilton Honors elite status, check out our how-to guides.

Car Rental Benefits and Elite Status

Receive complimentary National Emerald Club Executive status, Avis Preferred benefits, and Hertz Gold Plus benefits just for having the Amex Platinum. Benefits include vehicle upgrades, discounted rental rates, return time grace periods, no second driver fees, and more.

To ensure you’re getting the most of this benefit, dive into our guide on the Amex Platinum’s car rental benefits.

Airline Incidental Credits — Value of $200

Use your card to purchase seat upgrades, baggage fees, and other airline incidentals and receive a statement credit, up to a maximum of $200 per year. It can be a little intimidating to know how to utilize your airline credit, but here’s a guide to maximizing your airline credit to ensure you get the most of this benefit.

Uber Statement Credits  —Value of $200

Charge your Uber ride to your Amex Platinum and receive up to $15 in statement credits each month (January through November) and a $35 statement credit in December.

You can receive up to $200 in total statement credits each calendar year.

Global Entry card and passport
Sign up for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck and have your application fee reimbursed. Image Credit: Shutterstock

Global Entry/TSA PreCheck Credit — Value of $100/$85

Travel becomes so much easier when you breeze through immigration and customs. Pay for your Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee and receive a statement credit reimbursement once every 4 years for Global Entry or every 4.5 years for TSA PreCheck .

Saks Fifth Avenue Statement Credit — Value $100

Even if you don’t normally shop at Saks, it’s fun to splurge once or twice a year and use your shopping credit. Enroll via your online Amex Platinum account and enjoy a $50 credit to be used between January and June and another $50 credit to be used between July and December.

The Hotel Collection and Fine Hotels & Resorts

Splurge a little at the Hotel Collection and receive $100 hotel credit to use for qualifying purchases when staying 2 consecutive nights. You’ll also receive an upgraded room at check-in.

Fine Hotels & Resorts steps it up a notch with even more benefits. A minimum stay is not required so you can enjoy these benefits even during a one-night stay.

  • Complimentary daily breakfast for 2
  • 4 p.m. checkout
  • Noon check-in
  • Room upgrade at check-in, when available
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi
  • Unique amenity worth $100

Hot Tip: Learn more about these 2 hotel programs and the benefits provided in our comparison of the Hotel Collection and Fine Hotels & Resorts.

Additional Benefits of the Platinum Card

The Amex Platinum Card comes with several additional benefits that could save you money.

Car Rental Loss and Damage Insurance – pay for your rental car with your Amex Platinum Card, refuse the car rental agency’s collision damage waiver coverage, and have secondary car rental coverage for damage or theft. This coverage is secondary to other car insurance.

American Express Auto Purchasing Program – the program could save you thousands on your next vehicle purchase

Extended Warranty – extends the U.S. manufacturer’s warranty by 2 years for qualifying items with less than a 5 year manufacturer’s warranty

Purchase Protection – provides 120 days of protection (90 days for New York residents) for damage, loss, or theft of qualifying items

This is not a complete list of additional card benefits and descriptions have been abbreviated. Full terms and conditions can be found in the Amex Platinum Card guide to benefits.

Qualification and Requesting Benefits

Amex Military Benefits Apply
You can apply for your Amex active military benefits online. Image Credit: American Express

Who Qualifies for Amex’s Active Duty Military Benefits

American Express lists the following qualified individuals who are eligible to receive benefits.

  • A member of the U.S. Armed Forces (any military branch) serving on active duty
  • Reserves called to active duty
  • National Guard member under active duty for more than 30 consecutive days
  • Commissioned Officer with the Public Health Service or NOAA
  • U.S. citizen serving with U.S. allied forces in war or military action
  • Spouse of an active duty military member when credit is extended jointly

How to Request Benefits

Applying to receive SCRA benefits, which includes the waiver of the annual fee on your Platinum Card, is simple. Just log into your Amex Platinum Card account online and select “Account Services” at the top of the page. Then select “Credit Management” and choose SCRA Benefits.

You can upload any requested information after answering a few questions.

Additionally, you can request benefits via the following methods:

  • Phone: Call 800-253-1720 from the U.S. or call 336-393-1111 collect from outside of the U.S.
  • Fax: Fax the required documents and include your American Express account numbers to 623-444-3000.
  • Mail: Mail documents with your account numbers to American Express, Servicemembers Civil Relief Act, PO Box 981535, El Paso, TX 79998-1535

American Express will verify your information then process the benefit which can take up to several weeks.

You can also check your eligibility before you apply for the card here.

Everything Else You Need to Know

The welcome bonus on the Amex Platinum Card is earned after meeting minimum spending requirements within the first 3 months after card approval. For how to meet the minimum spending requirements, you may want to read our list of ideas; you’ll be surprised by a few.

The Amex Platinum Card is a charge card and therefore the balance must be paid off each statement period.

Many of the benefits that come with the Amex Platinum, such as Priority Pass Select membership, car rental privileges, and hotel elite status, require registration. You can register online by signing into your Amex Platinum Card account and access the Benefits section.

Hot Tip: American Express issues over 60 credit/charge cards and waives all annual fees for active duty military members.

Additional Recommended American Express Cards for Active Military

While American Express has several cards that do not charge an annual fee, active military members will receive the most value from those that do.

You’ll find greater earning potential, flexible redemption options, luxury travel benefits, shopping and travel protections, and much more on cards that charge higher annual fees.

Here are a few of the American Express cards we recommend for active duty military:

The American Express® Gold Card

Why We Like This Card for Active Military

  • Generous welcome bonus
  • 4x earnings on everyday purchases at U.S. supermarkets and restaurants worldwide (up to $25,000 in purchases per year)
  • 3x earnings on flights booked directly with airlines and Amex Travel
  • $100 airline incidentals credit
  • Waiver of annual fee

Dive into all the benefits of the Amex Gold Card if this card sounds right for your spending habits.

The Hilton Honors™ Aspire® Card

Why We Like This Card for Active Military

  • Generous welcome bonus worth several free hotel nights
  • 14x earnings at Hilton properties
  • Complimentary top Hilton Honors Diamond hotel elite status
  • Annual free hotel night certificate
  • $250 resort credit
  • $200 airline incidentals statement credit
  • Priority Pass Select Membership for airport lounge access worldwide
  • Waiver of annual fee

For even more details about this card, explore the top benefits of the Hilton Aspire Card.

Delta Reserve® Card

Why We Like This Card for Active Military

  • Delta SkyClub access
  • Free annual companion ticket certificate
  • Free checked bag and priority boarding on Delta flights
  • 20% statement credit for in-flight food/beverage purchases
  • 2x earnings on Delta purchases
  • Ability to earn Medallion elite qualifying miles through spending on the card
  • Waiver of annual fee

Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card

Why We Like This Card for Active Military

  • Generous welcome bonus worth several free hotel nights
  • Free hotel night certificate at card anniversary  (worth up to 50,000 points)
  • Complimentary Marriott Bonvoy Gold elite status
  • $300 statement credit for Marriott hotel purchases
  • 6x earnings at Marriott properties
  • 3x earnings at U.S. restaurants
  • Global Entry or TSA PreCheck fee reimbursement
  • Waiver of annual fee

Bottom Line: The best credit cards for military will be those that generally have high annual fees because they’re offer great card benefits and that high annual fee is waived.

Final Thoughts

If you are anticipating entering active duty, currently on active duty, or know someone who is, consider sharing this information or taking advantage personally. The benefits offered by American Express for active military can potentially be worth thousands of dollars each year.

There are other credit card issuers who also offer active duty military credit card benefits. To learn more about the best credit cards for active duty military members, start with our article that lists our favorites including cards from other issuers.

 


FAQ

Does American Express waive fees for military?

Yes, American Express waives credit card fees for active duty military members.

Fees that are eligible to be waived include annual membership fees, over-limit fees, late payment fees, returned payment fees, and statement copy request fees.

Can I have more than one American Express Card?

Yes, you can have more than one American Express card. You can have as many as 5 American Express cards but keep in mind there are other card issuers you may want to consider, such as Chase.

Chase has a 5/24 rule that you cannot have acquired more than 5 credit cards in the past 24 months and get approved for one of their cards.

Also, if you do apply for more than one American Express card, there is a limit of 2 within a 90 day period so space out your applications accordingly.

Are credit card fees waived for retired military?

Unfortunately, American Express waives credit card fees for active duty military members only.

Does my spouse qualify for active military credit card fee waivers?

Yes. America Express will waive fees for spouses and domestic partners when credit is granted jointly.

How do I get the fee waived for military on the Amex Platinum Card?

You can call the number on the back of your card, go online to your credit card account, fax in your information, or mail it in.

The easiest way is to call 800-253-1720 to start the process. You can also log in to your Amex Platinum Card account online, select Account Services, then Credit Management, then SCRA benefits.

Christine Krzyszton

About Christine Krzyszton

Christine, who lives in Northern Michigan, travels about 300,000 miles a year despite her remote location. Her expertise is traveling the world on a weekend with no pre-determined destination in mind, letting the cost of the airfare determine where she will go. She has over four million flown miles and elite status on all three major domestic carriers.

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