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The 10+ Best Credit Cards for Military Veterans [2023]

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Christine Krzyszton
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Christine Krzyszton

Senior Finance Contributor

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Christine ran her own business developing and managing insurance and financial services. This stoked a passion for points and miles and she now has over 2 dozen credit cards and creates in-depth, deta...
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A long-time points and miles student, Jessica is the former Personal Finance Managing Editor at U.S. News and World Report and is passionate about helping consumers fund their travels for as little ca...
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Juan Ruiz

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If you have served or are currently serving in the U.S. military, you may be familiar with the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA). The act, passed in 2003, included several financial protections for active military members.

One such protection is a cap on interest rates that can be charged to military members. With these protections in place, it’s easy to determine the best credit cards while on active military duty (spoiler alert, Amex cards are the most generous). Unfortunately, the act’s benefits disappear after 12 to 15 months of leaving duty, at which time credit card selection could then become more difficult.

During this transition, veterans may be wondering which credit cards still offer benefits they can use while keeping the cost of using credit under control.

Today, we’re taking a look at some of the best credit card options available to veterans, discussing the associated benefits, then looking at alternative card options that might be an equally appropriate fit.

Let’s get started.

The Value of Military Financial Organizations

Chances are, during your term of service, you joined a financial institution that catered to the specific needs of military members and their families.

Such financial institutions have experience dealing with the unique circumstances of military duty. The organizations specialize in offering services that active military members need, such as online access, locations on base, the ability to deal with deployments and reassignments, international access, and more.

Even when you leave active duty, these institutions can still offer services that add value to you as a veteran.

Here are some of the most popular military financial organizations and some of their services offered to veterans:

  • USAA — personal loans, credit cards, insurance, retirement, and investment options and advice
  • Pentagon Federal Credit Union (PenFed) — banking accounts, mortgages, credit cards, student loans, home equity, and retirement options
  • Navy Federal Credit Union (NFCU) — banking accounts, CDs, individual retirement accounts, personal loans, credit cards, and mortgages

Bottom Line: Veterans are still welcomed as members of military financial organizations and can benefit from the products and services offered by these institutions. 

Credit Cards Offered by Military Financial Organizations

You don’t have to be an active military member to qualify for the credit cards offered by the aforementioned financial organizations. Let’s look at a sampling of credit card options available to veterans via these institutions and the benefits you can expect.

Credit Cards Offered by Military Financial Organizations — Overview

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CardWelcome Bonus and Annual FeeBenefits
USAA Rewards™ American Express® Card*
  • No welcome bonus
  • $0 annual fee
  • 3x points on dining
  • 2x points at grocery stores and gas stations
  • Secondary car rental coverage, trip cancellation/interruption, and baggage delay reimbursement
  • No foreign transaction fees
USAA Rewards™ Visa Signature® Card
  • 2,500 points after first purchase
  • $0 annual fee
  • 2x points on gas and dining
  • Visa Signature benefits, including secondary car rental coverage, trip cancellation/interruption, and baggage delay reimbursement
  • No foreign transaction fees
PenFed Platinum Rewards Visa Signature® Card
  • $100 statement credit after spending $1,500 in the first 90 days after card approval
  • $0 annual fee
  • 5x points on purchases at gas stations
  • 3x points at supermarkets
  • Visa Signature benefits, including secondary car rental coverage, extended warranty, and more
PenFed Power Cash Rewards Visa Signature® Card
  • $100 after spending $1,500 in the first 90 days after card approval
  • $0 annual fee
  • 2% cash-back on all purchases (must have affiliated checking account)
  • Introductory 0% APR on balance transfers for 12 months (fees apply)
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Extended warranty, secondary car rental coverage, roadside dispatch services, and more
Navy Federal More Rewards American Express® Card*
  • 20,000 bonus points (a $200 value) when you spend $2,000 within 90 days of account opening
  • $0 annual fee
  • 3x points on gas, restaurants, supermarkets, and transit
  • Redeem points for cash, travel, gift cards, and merchandise
  • Secondary car rental insurance
Navy Federal Credit Union Visa Signature® Flagship Rewards Card
  • 30,000 bonus points (a $300 value) after spending $3,500 within 90 days of account opening
  • $49 annual fee
  • 1 free year of Amazon Prime from card approval date
  • 3x points for travel purchases
  • 2x points for all other purchases
  • Global Entry or TSA PreCheck credit
  • Visa Signature benefits, including cell phone protection and extended warranty

*All information about these cards have been collected independently by Upgraded Points.

USAA (United Services Automobile Association)

USAA is known as a leading insurer of military members. The organization also offers a complete line of financial products including credit cards, real estate financing, banking, retirement and investment products, and personal loans.

Joining USAA is free and veterans qualify for membership.

Here are just 2 of several credit card products offered by USAA and their associated benefits:

USAA Rewards™ American Express® Card

  • $0 annual fee
  • 3x points on dining
  • 2x points at grocery stores and gas stations
  • 1x points on all other purchases
  • Secondary car rental coverage, trip cancellation/interruption, and baggage delay reimbursement
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Terms apply

USAA Rewards™ Visa Signature® Card

  • $0 annual fee
  • Earn 2,500 points after your first qualifying purchase
  • 2x points on gas and dining
  • 1x points on all other purchases
  • Visa Signature benefits such as secondary car rental coverage, trip cancellation/interruption, and baggage delay reimbursement
  • No foreign transaction fees

Bottom Line: USAA specializes in offering insurance products to U.S. military members, veterans, and their families. Even widows/widowers of members or veterans qualify for membership and have access to the USAA product portfolio that includes several credit card options. 

Pentagon Federal Credit Union (PenFed)

While PenFed was originally established for active military members, membership is now open to anyone who first donates to an affiliated charity described in the application.

That said, the credit union’s primary focus is still on the financial needs unique to active and former military members.

Here are 2 of the many rewards-earning credit cards offered by PenFed:

PenFed Platinum Rewards Visa Signature® Card

  • $0 annual fee
  • Welcome bonus of $100 statement credit after spending $1,500 in the first 90 days after card approval
  • 5x points on purchases at gas stations
  • 3x points at supermarkets
  • 1x points on all other purchases
  • Visa Signature benefits, including secondary car rental coverage, extended warranty, roadside dispatch services, and more

PenFed Power Cash Rewards Visa Signature® Card

  • $0 annual fee
  • Welcome bonus of $100 after spending $1,500 in the first 90 days after card approval
  • 2% cash-back on all purchases (must have affiliated checking account)
  • Introductory 0% APR on balance transfers for 12 months (fees apply)
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Extended warranty, secondary car rental coverage, roadside dispatch services, and more

Points earned on your cards can be redeemed for travel, gift cards, or merchandise.

Bottom Line: While PenFed focuses on providing financial solutions for military and former military members, it has expanded its membership to include anyone who contributes to specific charities during the application process. 

Navy Federal Credit Union (NFCU)

Navy Federal Credit Union is a member-owned, not-for-profit institution that has over 11 million members. Veterans are welcome to join and take advantage of several offered services. Veterans are also eligible to apply for any of the organization’s offered credit cards.

Here are 2 of its most popular:

Navy Federal More Rewards American Express® Card

  • $0 annual fee
  • 20,000 bonus points (a $200 value) after spending $2,000 within 90 days of account opening
  • 3x points on gas, restaurants, supermarkets, and transit
  • 1x points on all other purchases
  • Redeem points for cash, travel, gift cards, and merchandise
  • Secondary car rental insurance
  • Terms apply

Navy Federal Credit Union Visa Signature® Flagship Rewards Card

  • 30,000 bonus points (a $300 value) after spending $3,500 within 90 days of account opening
  • Low $49 annual fee
  • 1 free year of Amazon Prime from card approval date
  • 3x points for travel purchases
  • 2x points for all other purchases
  • Global Entry or TSA PreCheck credit
  • Visa Signature benefits such as cell phone protection and extended warranty

Bottom Line: Navy Federal Credit Union is not just for those enlisted in the Navy. To be eligible to join NFCU, you can have ties to active duty military members in any of the armed forces, including the Department of Defense civilian members. Retired members, veterans, and family members, even minors, also qualify. All members have access to NFCU services and products, including several credit cards. 

Alternative Credit Cards for Veterans

While military credit unions and financial institutions serve the great purpose of providing discounts, loans, transition services, and financial help to our veterans and active service members, it’s always good to look at alternative options when selecting any financial product, including credit cards.

Here are a few credit card options available to the public that also come with benefits veterans may consider and use for comparison to cards offered via military-serving financial organizations.

Best Credit Cards for Veterans for Everyday Spending

We all, including veterans, spend daily on common purchases such as gas, groceries, dining, or at drugstores. Earning rewards on your greatest purchases within those categories is the key to maximizing rewards on any credit card.

Here are 2 popular everyday spending cards that will make sure you’re covered when it comes to earning rewards for those expenses.

Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

American Express does an excellent job of offering cards that reward our everyday purchases. Just one of the most popular options is the Amex Blue Cash Preferred card.

HIGHEST CASH BACK
Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

U.P. Rating
The rating for this card has been determined by our own industry experts who know the in's and out's of credit card products. Bonuses, rewards as well as rates and fees are all taken into account. Compensation from the issuer does not affect our rating. We only recommend products we either use ourselves or endorse.

This card is great for those who want to earn cash-back with U.S. supermarkets, U.S. streaming subscriptions, transit, and U.S. gas stations.

Apply With Confidence

Know if you're approved with no credit score impact

If you're approved and accept this Card, your credit score may be impacted.

Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

This card is great for those who want to earn cash-back with U.S. supermarkets, U.S. streaming subscriptions, transit, and U.S. gas stations.
Earn a $250 statement credit after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 6 months.
$250
$0 intro annual fee for the first year, then $95.
19.24%-29.99% Variable,0% on purchases for 12 months
Upgraded Points credit ranges are a variation of FICO®Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit cardapplication.
Good to Excellent (670-850)

The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express is a stellar cash-back credit card for those looking to maximize every purchase they make.

With bonus categories like U.S. supermarkets, select streaming services, U.S. gas stations, and transit purchases, this card rewards you for the items you spend the most on in a big way! For those looking to earn up to 6% cash-back on their purchases, this could be the card for you!

Pros

  • 6% cash-back at U.S. supermarkets (up to $6,000 per year) and on select streaming services
  • 6% cash-back on select U.S. streaming subscriptions
  • 3% cash-back on U.S. gas stations and transit (including rideshares, parking, etc.)
  • 1% cash-back on all other purchases

Cons

  • $0 intro annual fee for the first year, then $95 annual fee (rates and fees)
  • Earn a $250 statement credit after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 6 months.
  • $0 intro annual fee for the first year, then $95.
  • Buy Now, Pay Later: Enjoy $0 intro plan fees when you use Plan It® to split up large purchases into monthly installments. Pay $0 intro plan fees on plans created during the first 12 months from the date of account opening. Plans created after that will have a monthly plan fee up to 1.33% of each eligible purchase amount moved into a plan based on the plan duration, the APR that would otherwise apply to the purchase, and other factors.
  • Low Intro APR: 0% on purchases and balance transfers for 12 months from the date of account opening. After that, your APR will be a variable APR of 19.24% - 29.99%. Variable APRs will not exceed 29.99%.
  • 6% Cash Back at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1%).
  • 6% Cash Back on select U.S. streaming subscriptions.
  • 3% Cash Back at U.S. gas stations.
  • 3% Cash Back on transit (including taxis/rideshare, parking, tolls, trains, buses and more).
  • 1% Cash Back on other purchases.
  • Cash Back is received in the form of Reward Dollars that can be redeemed as a statement credit or at Amazon.com checkout.
  • Get up to $120 in statement credits annually when you pay for an auto-renewing subscription to Equinox+ at equinoxplus.com with your Blue Cash Preferred® Card. That’s $10 in statement credits each month. Enrollment required.
  • Thinking about getting the Disney Bundle which can include Disney+, Hulu, and ESPN+? Your decision made easy with $7/month back in the form of a statement credit after you spend $9.99 or more each month on an eligible subscription (subject to auto renewal) with your Blue Cash Preferred® Card. Enrollment required.
  • Terms Apply.

Financial Snapshot

  • APR: 19.24%-29.99% Variable,0% on purchases for 12 months
  • Foreign Transaction Fees: 2.7% of each transaction after conversion to US dollars.

Card Categories

Rewards Center

Redeem cash-back through your American Express account

  • 6% cash-back at U.S. supermarkets (up to $6,000 in purchases per year)
  • 6% cash-back on streaming services
  • 3% cash-back on transit and at gas stations
  • Travel benefits such as secondary car rental coverage with the option to purchase premium protection for 1 low fee that covers the entire rental period
  • Shopping benefits such as 0% APR on purchases for 12 months (rates & fees), purchase protection, extended warranty
  • Terms apply

Amex also offers an excellent no-annual-fee card equally appropriate for some of the same everyday purchases. The Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express is another Amex choice worth considering.

Find out more about the Amex Blue Cash Preferred® military benefits in our guide.

Chase Freedom Flex℠

Having a banking relationship with Chase can deliver added value to the veteran. Chase waives card fees for active military and also extends monthly fee waivers on checking, free safety deposit boxes, the waiver of a limited number of non-Chase ATM transactions, special home loans, and more for veterans.

Chase also offers several everyday spending cards, including the Freedom Flex card.

Chase Freedom Flex℠

Chase Freedom Flex℠

U.P. Rating
The rating for this card has been determined by our own industry experts who know the in's and out's of credit card products. Bonuses, rewards as well as rates and fees are all taken into account. Compensation from the issuer does not affect our rating. We only recommend products we either use ourselves or endorse.

The Freedom Flex card is an excellent no-annual-fee card that still earns big with 5% cash-back on travel and other bonus categories.

Chase Freedom Flex℠

The Freedom Flex card is an excellent no-annual-fee card that still earns big with 5% cash-back on travel and other bonus categories.
Earn a $200 bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.
$200
$0
Upgraded Points credit ranges are a variation of FICO®Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit cardapplication.
Good to Excellent (670-850)

The Chase Freedom Flex℠ sure does pack quite a punch — especially for a no-annual-fee card.

The Freedom Flex card is an incredible option for those looking for a well-rounded cash-back card, or a powerful point-earner when paired with a premium card in the Ultimate Rewards family.

Pros

  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 20.49%-29.24%.
  • Powerful cash-back earner: 5% back on quarterly categories and travel purchases through Chase Ultimate Rewards, 3% back on dining and drugstore purchases, and 1% back on all other purchases
  • No annual fee
  • Excellent cell phone insurance
  • Ability to pool points
  • Mastercard World Elite benefits

Cons

  • 3% foreign transaction fees in U.S. dollars
  • Earn a $200 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.
  • 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate. Enjoy new 5% categories each quarter!
  • 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, our premier rewards program that lets you redeem rewards for cash back, travel, gift cards and more
  • 3% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery service, and unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases.
  • No minimum to redeem for cash back. You can choose to receive a statement credit or direct deposit into most U.S. checking and savings accounts. Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open!
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 20.49%-29.24%.
  • No annual fee - You won't have to pay an annual fee for all the great features that come with your Freedom Flex℠ card
  • Keep tabs on your credit health - Chase Credit Journey helps you monitor your credit with free access to your latest score, real-time alerts, and more.
  • Member FDIC

Financial Snapshot

  • Foreign Transaction Fees: None

Card Categories

Rewards Center

Chase Ultimate Rewards

  • 5% back on quarterly bonus categories, up to $1,500 in purchases
  • 5% back on Lyft purchases (through March 2025)
  • 3% back on dining, eligible food delivery services, and take out
  • 3% back at drugstores
  • 1% back on all other purchases
  • Redeem rewards for statement credits, travel, or transfer to Chase premium cards for even greater potential redemption value
  • Travel benefits such as secondary car rental, trip interruption/cancellation
  • Shopping benefits such as extended warranty, purchase protection, and cell phone protection
  • Introductory 0% APR on purchases

Chase offers the no-annual-fee Chase Freedom Unlimited® that also rewards everyday purchases. If you’re not sure which of these cash-back cards is right for you, check out our head-to-head comparison.

Best Credit Cards for Veterans Who Want Travel Benefits

Premium travel rewards cards come with higher annual fees but also with a long list of premium travel benefits. Here are 2 of the best premium travel rewards credit cards you won’t find paralleled at military credit unions.

The Platinum Card® from American Express

BEST LOUNGE ACCESS
The Platinum Card® from American Express

The Platinum Card® from American Express

U.P. Rating
The rating for this card has been determined by our own industry experts who know the in's and out's of credit card products. Bonuses, rewards as well as rates and fees are all taken into account. Compensation from the issuer does not affect our rating. We only recommend products we either use ourselves or endorse.

The Amex Platinum reigns supreme for luxury travel, offering the best airport lounge access plus generous statement credits, and complimentary elite status.

Apply With Confidence

Know if you're approved with no credit score impact

If you're approved and accept this Card, your credit score may be impacted.

The Platinum Card® from American Express

The Amex Platinum reigns supreme for luxury travel, offering the best airport lounge access plus generous statement credits, and complimentary elite status.
Earn 80,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $8,000 on purchases on the Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership.
80,000 points
$1,760
$695
See Pay Over Time APR
Upgraded Points credit ranges are a variation of FICO®Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit cardapplication.
Good to Excellent (670-850)

When it comes to cards that offer top-notch benefits, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better card than The Platinum Card® from American Express.

Make no mistake — the Amex Platinum card is a premium card with a premium price tag. With amazing benefits including best-in-class airport lounge access, hotel elite status, and tremendous value in annual statement credits, it can easily prove to be one of the most lucrative cards in your wallet year after year.

Pros

  • The best airport lounge access out of any card (by far) — enjoy access to over 1,400 worldwide lounges, including the luxurious Amex Centurion Lounges, Priority Pass lounges, Plaza Premium Lounges, and many more!
  • 5x points per dollar spent on flights purchased directly with the airline or with American Express Travel (up to $500,000 per year)
  • 5x points per dollar spent on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel
  • Annual and monthly statement credits upon enrollment (airline credit, Uber Cash credit, Saks Fifth Avenue credit, streaming credit, prepaid hotel credit on eligible stays, Walmart+ credit, CLEAR credit, and Equinox credit)
  • TSA PreCheck or Global Entry credit
  • Access to American Express Fine Hotels and Resorts
  • Access to Amex International Airline Program
  • No foreign transaction fees (rates and fees)

Cons

  • $695 annual fee (rates and fees)
  • Airline credit does not cover airfare (only incidentals like checked bags)
  • Earn 80,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $8,000 on purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership. Apply and select your preferred metal Card design: classic Platinum Card®, Platinum x Kehinde Wiley, or Platinum x Julie Mehretu.
  • Earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year and earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel.
  • $200 Hotel Credit: Get up to $200 back in statement credits each year on prepaid Fine Hotels + Resorts® or The Hotel Collection bookings with American Express Travel when you pay with your Platinum Card®. The Hotel Collection requires a minimum two-night stay.
  • $240 Digital Entertainment Credit: Get up to $20 back in statement credits each month on eligible purchases made with your Platinum Card® on one or more of the following: Disney+, a Disney Bundle, ESPN+, Hulu, The New York Times, Peacock, SiriusXM, and The Wall Street Journal. Enrollment required.
  • $155 Walmart+ Credit: Cover the cost of a $12.95 monthly Walmart+ membership (subject to auto-renewal) with a statement credit after you pay for Walmart+ each month with your Platinum Card®. Cost includes $12.95 plus applicable local sales tax. Plus Up Benefits are excluded.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit: Select one qualifying airline and then receive up to $200 in statement credits per calendar year when incidental fees are charged by the airline to your Platinum Card®.
  • $200 Uber Cash: Enjoy Uber VIP status and up to $200 in Uber savings on rides or eats orders in the US annually. Uber Cash and Uber VIP status is available to Basic Card Member only.
  • $300 Equinox Credit: Get up to $300 back in statement credits per calendar year on an Equinox membership, or an Equinox club membership (subject to auto-renewal) when you pay with your Platinum Card®. Enrollment required. Visit https://platinum.equinox.com/ to enroll.
  • $189 CLEAR® Plus Credit: Breeze through security with CLEAR Plus at 100+ airports, stadiums, and entertainment venues nationwide and get up to $189 back per calendar year on your Membership (subject to auto-renewal) when you use your Platinum Card®. Learn more.
  • $100 Global Entry Credit: Receive either a $100 statement credit every 4 years for a Global Entry application fee or a statement credit up to $85 every 4.5 years for a TSA PreCheck® (through a TSA official enrollment provider) application fee, when charged to your Platinum Card®. Card Members approved for Global Entry will also receive access to TSA PreCheck at no additional cost.
  • Shop Saks with Platinum: Get up to $100 in statement credits annually for purchases in Saks Fifth Avenue stores or at saks.com on your Platinum Card®. That's up to $50 in statement credits semi-annually. Enrollment required.
  • $300 SoulCycle At-Home Bike Credit: Get a $300 statement credit for the purchase of a SoulCycle at-home bike with your Platinum Card®. An Equinox+ subscription is required to purchase a SoulCycle at-home bike and access SoulCycle content. Must charge full price of bike in one transaction. Shipping available in the contiguous U.S. only. Enrollment Required.
  • Unlock access to exclusive reservations and special dining experiences with Global Dining Access by Resy when you add your Platinum Card® to your Resy profile.
  • $695 annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.

Financial Snapshot

  • APR: See Pay Over Time APR
  • Foreign Transaction Fees: None

Card Categories

Rewards Center

American Express Membership Rewards

In addition to elevated bonus earnings, worldwide lounge access, and valuable statement credits for specific purchases, the Amex Platinum card offers the following travel and shopping benefits:

If you know someone in the active military, you’ll want to make them aware of the American Express Military benefits afforded on the Amex Platinum card, including removal of annual fees (rates & fees).

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

U.P. Rating
The rating for this card has been determined by our own industry experts who know the in's and out's of credit card products. Bonuses, rewards as well as rates and fees are all taken into account. Compensation from the issuer does not affect our rating. We only recommend products we either use ourselves or endorse.

A top player in the high-end premium travel credit card space that earns 3x points on travel and dining while offering top luxury perks.

Learn More(at Chase's secure site)

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

A top player in the high-end premium travel credit card space that earns 3x points on travel and dining while offering top luxury perks.
Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
60,000 points
$1,200
$550
Upgraded Points credit ranges are a variation of FICO®Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit cardapplication.
Excellent (740-850)

If you’re looking for an all-around excellent travel rewards card, the Chase Sapphire Reserve® is one of the best options out there.

The card combines elite travel benefits and perks like airport lounge access, with excellent point earning and redemption options.  Plus it offers top-notch travel insurance protections to keep you covered whether you’re at home or on the road.

Don’t forget the $300 annual travel credit which really helps to reduce the annual fee!

Pros

  • 10x points on car rentals, hotels, and dining booked via the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal
  • 10x points on Lyft purchases March 31, 2025
  • 10x points on Peloton equipment and accessory purchases over $250 through March 31, 2025
  • 5x points on airfare booked via the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal
  • 3x points on all other travel and dining purchases; 1x point on all other purchases
  • $300 annual travel credit
  • Priority Pass airport lounge access
  • TSA PreCheck, Global Entry, or NEXUS credit
  • Access to Chase Luxury Hotel and Resort Collection
  • Rental car elite status with National and Avis

Cons

  • $550 annual fee
  • Does not offer any sort of hotel elite status
  • Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $900 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year.
  • Earn 5x total points on flights and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3x points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 60,000 points are worth $900 toward travel
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Access to 1,300+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select and up to $100 application fee credit every four years for Global Entry, NEXUS, or TSA PreCheck®
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more
  • Member FDIC

Financial Snapshot

  • Foreign Transaction Fees: None

Card Categories

Rewards Center

Chase Ultimate Rewards

While you’ll find tremendous value with easy-to-use travel statement credits and 3x earnings, the Chase Sapphire Reserve card also offers plenty of additional travel and shopping benefits, such as:

Bottom Line: Premium travel rewards cards have higher annual fees than most cards, but if you can utilize enough of the associated benefits, you can realize value beyond the cost of the annual fee. 

Best Credit Cards for Veterans Who Have Small Businesses

Business owners know that keeping personal and business transactions separate is imperative to running a smooth operation. You’ll also want to make sure you earn rewards on all of those business transactions.

Here are 2 suggested cards that will help you do just that:

American Express® Business Gold Card

BEST FOR BONUSES
American Express® Business Gold Card

American Express® Business Gold Card

U.P. Rating
The rating for this card has been determined by our own industry experts who know the in's and out's of credit card products. Bonuses, rewards as well as rates and fees are all taken into account. Compensation from the issuer does not affect our rating. We only recommend products we either use ourselves or endorse.

Get 4x points in 2 select categories where your business spends the most each month (on your first $150,000 spent each year).

American Express® Business Gold Card

Get 4x points in 2 select categories where your business spends the most each month (on your first $150,000 spent each year).
Earn 70,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $10,000 on eligible purchases with the Business Gold Card within the first 3 months of Card Membership
70,000 points
$1,540
$375
19.49% - 27.49% Variable
Upgraded Points credit ranges are a variation of FICO®Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit cardapplication.
Good to Excellent (670-850)

The American Express® Business Gold Card is excellent at racking up rewards for your business spend.

The card earns a whopping 4x points per $1 in the 2 categories (from a list of 6) that your business spends the most money on each month. With no need to opt-in or preselect your categories, so you can focus on what matters most — running your business.

Hot Tip: Check to see if you’re eligible for a huge welcome bonus offer of up to 110,000 points with the Amex Business Gold card! The current public offer is 70,000 points. (This targeted offer was independently researched and may not be available to all applicants.)

Pros

  • 4x points per dollar spent on your 2 highest purchase categories each month up to $150,000 each calendar year in purchases; categories include:
    • NEW! Transit purchases including trains, taxicabs, rideshare services, ferries, tolls, parking, buses, and subways
    • NEW! U.S. purchases made from electronic goods retailers and software & cloud system providers
    • NEW! Monthly wireless telephone service charges made directly from a wireless telephone service provider in the U.S.
    • U.S. purchases at gas stations
    • U.S. purchases at restaurants, including takeout and delivery
    • Purchases at U.S. media providers for advertising in select media (online such as Google Ads, Facebook Ads, plus TV and radio)
  • 3x points per dollar on flights and prepaid hotels booked on amextravel.com using your Business Gold Card
  • Access to Amex’s The Hotel Collection
  • Purchase protection and extended warranty protection
  • Trip delay insurance
  • Car rental insurance
  • Cell phone insurance

Cons

  • $375 annual fee (rates and fees)
  • No elite travel benefits like airport lounge access or elite status
  • Welcome Offer: Earn 70,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $10,000 on eligible purchases with the Business Gold Card within the first 3 months of Card Membership.*
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® points on the 2 categories where your business spends the most each billing cycle from 6 eligible categories. While your top 2 categories may change, you will earn 4X points on the first $150,000 in combined purchases from these categories each calendar year (then 1X thereafter). Only the top 2 categories each billing cycle will count towards the $150,000 cap.
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights and prepaid hotels booked on amextravel.com using your Business Gold Card.
  • Earn up to $20 in statement credits monthly after you use the Business Gold Card for eligible U.S. purchases at FedEx, Grubhub, and Office Supply Stores. This can be an annual savings of up to $240. Enrollment required.
  • Get $12.95 back in statement credits each month when you pay for a monthly Walmart+ membership (subject to auto-renewal) with your Business Gold Card. $12.95 plus applicable taxes.
  • Your Card – Your Choice. Choose from Gold or Rose Gold.
  • *Terms Apply

Financial Snapshot

  • APR: 19.49% - 27.49% Variable
  • Foreign Transaction Fees: None

Card Categories

Rewards Center

American Express Membership Rewards

In addition to a generous welcome bonus, elevated earnings on select common business purchases, and airline point purchase rebates, the Amex Business Gold card offers additional benefits:

  • Free employee cards
  • Business expense management tools
  • The Hotel Collection on-site benefits, including room upgrades, hotel credits, and 2x earnings
  • Extended warranty and purchase protection

Another Amex business credit card to consider is The Business Platinum Card® from American Express.

Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card

With a generous welcome bonus, lower annual fee, 3x earnings on key business purchases, and 25% more value at redemption time, you’re already ahead with the Ink Business Preferred card.

NEW OFFER
Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card

Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card

U.P. Rating
The rating for this card has been determined by our own industry experts who know the in's and out's of credit card products. Bonuses, rewards as well as rates and fees are all taken into account. Compensation from the issuer does not affect our rating. We only recommend products we either use ourselves or endorse.

The Ink Business Preferred card is hard to beat, with a huge welcome bonus offer and 3x points per $1 on the first $150,000 in so many business categories.

Learn More(at Chase's secure site)

Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card

The Ink Business Preferred card is hard to beat, with a huge welcome bonus offer and 3x points per $1 on the first $150,000 in so many business categories.
Earn 100k bonus points after you spend $8,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 cash back or $1,250 toward travel when redeemed through Chase Travel
100,000 points
$2,000
$95
Upgraded Points credit ranges are a variation of FICO®Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit cardapplication.
Good to Excellent (670-850)

The Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card is a powerhouse for earning lots of points from your business purchases, especially for business owners that spend regularly on ads.

Plus the card offers flexible redemption options, including access to Chase airline and hotel transfer partners where you can achieve outsized value.

Business owners will also love the protections the card provides like excellent cell phone insurance, rental car insurance, purchase protection, and more.

Pros

  • 3x Ultimate Rewards points per $1 on up to $150,000 in combined purchases on internet, cable and phone services, shipping expenses, travel, and ads purchased with search engines or social media sites
  • Cell phone protection
  • Purchase protection
  • Trip cancellation and interruption insurance
  • Rental car insurance
  • Extended warranty coverage

Cons

  • No elite travel benefits like airport lounge access
  • Earn 100k bonus points after you spend $8,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 cash back or $1,250 toward travel when redeemed through Chase Travel℠
  • Earn 3 points per $1 on the first $150,000 spent on travel and select business categories each account anniversary year. Earn 1 point per $1 on all other purchases
  • Round-the-clock monitoring for unusual credit card purchases
  • With Zero Liability you won't be held responsible for unauthorized charges made with your card or account information.
  • Redeem points for cash back, gift cards, travel and more - your points don't expire as long as your account is open
  • Points are worth 25% more when you redeem for travel through Chase Travel℠
  • Purchase Protection covers your new purchases for 120 days against damage or theft up to $10,000 per claim and $50,000 per account.
  • Member FDIC

There are, however, even more benefits of having the card:

  • Free employee cards
  • Transfer Ultimate Rewards points to travel partners for greater potential value
  • Use the Pay Yourself Back option to redeem points on select purchases or travel via the Chase travel portal for 25% more value
  • Primary car rental insurance, trip interruption/cancellation
  • Purchase protection and extended warranty protection
  • Cell phone protection

Hot Tip: Selecting the right business credit card for your situation can require a lot of research. Save time by reviewing our article featuring several of the best business credit card options to consider.

Best Credit Cards for Veterans Who Have No Credit or Bad Credit

Military service has unique demands and financial challenges. If you’ve faced these challenges and need a path to create a better credit history, there are plenty of options for building or rebuilding your credit.

Secured cards do not require a good credit history, but normally require a security deposit. Check the military financial institutions first for options, then compare with other cards to find a solution that matches your situation.

  • Navy Federal nRewards® Secured Credit Card — no annual fee, $200 minimum security deposit, earns 1 reward point for each dollar spent, cell phone protection
  • Credit Builder Secured Visa® Credit Card — credit limit up to $3,000 with matching security deposit, potential to upgrade to an unsecured card after building good history, $35 annual fee
  • Capital One Platinum Secured Credit Card — a refundable security deposit starting at $49 to get a $200 initial credit line (rates & fees)
  • First Progress Platinum Secured cards — various secured card options that do not require a credit check

For additional secured card options, you’ll find information in our article on secured credit cards offering options for those with no credit or bad credit.

Final Thoughts

Financial institutions that specifically serve military and former military members are always a good place to start for financial education and assistance. These organizations have experience dealing with the unique needs of their members and offer focused solutions.

As a veteran looking for a credit card that fits your situation, you’ll want to first determine your greatest expenses, what purpose you want the rewards you earn to serve, and examine each card’s benefits to discover those you find the most valuable and will actually use.

With the vast selection of cards available, it will be easier to compare and choose a card (or cards) if you’ve determined your priorities and goals in advance.

It’s worth noting that we have abbreviated overall card information and benefit descriptions. Prior to applying for any credit card, you’ll want to review the entire card agreement to determine pricing/fees and the guide to benefits for additional benefit details.

For the car rental collision damage coverage benefit of the Blue Cash Preferred® from American Express, eligibility and benefit level varies by card. Terms, conditions and limitations apply. Visit americanexpress.com/benefitsguide for more details. Underwritten by AMEX Assurance Company. Car rental loss or damage coverage is offered through American Express Travel Related Services Company, Inc. For the extended warranty and purchase protection benefit of the Blue Cash Preferred® from American Express, eligibility and benefit level varies by card. Terms, conditions and limitations apply. Visit americanexpress.com/benefitsguide for more details. Underwritten by AMEX Assurance Company. 

For the extended warranty and purchase protection benefit of the American Express® Business Gold Card, eligibility and benefit level varies by card. Terms, conditions and limitations apply. Visit americanexpress.com/benefitsguide for more details. Underwritten by AMEX Assurance Company. 

For the trip cancellation and interruption insurance and trip delay insurance benefits of The Platinum Card® from American Express, eligibility and benefit level varies by card. Terms, conditions and limitations apply. Visit americanexpress.com/benefitsguide for more details. Underwritten by New Hampshire Insurance Company, an AIG Company. For the baggage insurance plan benefit of The Platinum Card® from American Express, eligibility and benefit level varies by card. Terms, conditions and limitations apply. Visit americanexpress.com/benefitsguide for more details. Underwritten by AMEX Assurance Company. For the extended warranty and purchase protection benefit of The Platinum Card® from American Express, eligibility and benefit level varies by card. Terms, conditions and limitations apply. Visit americanexpress.com/benefitsguide for more details. Underwritten by AMEX Assurance Company.
The information regarding the USAA Rewards™ Visa Signature® Card, Navy Federal Credit Union Visa Signature® Flagship Rewards Card, Navy Federal nRewards® Secured Credit Card, and Credit Builder Secured Visa® Credit Card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.

The information regarding the Capital One Platinum Secured Credit Card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.
The information regarding the USAA Rewards™ American Express® Card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.
The information regarding the PenFed Platinum Rewards Visa Signature® Card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.


The information regarding the PenFed Power Cash Rewards Visa Signature® Card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.
The information regarding the Navy Federal More Rewards American Express® Card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.
The information regarding the Chase Freedom Flex℠ was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.

For rates and fees of the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express, click here.
For rates and fees of The Platinum Card® from American Express, click here.
For rates and fees of the American Express® Business Gold Card, click here.
For rates and fees of the Blue Cash Everyday® from American Express, click here.
For rates and fees of The Business Platinum Card® from American Express, click here.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the best credit cards for veterans?

The best credit card for veterans will be one that earns rewards on the categories in which you do most of you spending, has redemption options that match your objectives, and offers useful benefits.

The right card will also depend on whether there is a tolerance for paying an annual fee.

A veteran can start by examining the cards offered by military financial institutions and compare those cards to ones offered to the public to determine the appropriate match for your situation.

Do credit card companies waive fees for veterans?

Under the SCRA act, credit card issuers do adhere to maximum interest caps and as a result, may waive services fees, cap interest charges, and waive annual credit card renewal fees.

The act does not apply to veterans (not on active duty), although some issuers still offer reduced and waived service fees to customers who are veterans.

What is the best credit card for veterans with bad credit?

A secured credit card may be the best option for those who have no credit or bad credit. These cards typically require a security deposit and frequently match the credit limit to the amount of the security deposit.

Some secured cards offer the opportunity to graduate to an unsecured credit card after building a good payment history.

Secured cards may not require a credit inquiry or may require an inquiry with acceptance of a poor score.

Does the SCRA act cover retired military?

No. The SCRA act applies only to those on active duty. The act can extend up to 15 months beyond active duty for specific financial instruments such as mortgages.

You can access the act here to learn more.

Christine Krzyszton's image

About Christine Krzyszton

Christine ran her own business developing and managing insurance and financial services. This stoked a passion for points and miles and she now has over 2 dozen credit cards and creates in-depth, detailed content for UP.

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