Edited by: Michael Y. Park
& Stella Shon
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As a service member, you face challenges balancing duty, home life, and the associated financial challenges — and we appreciate that.
These financial challenges have also been recognized and addressed with the passing of the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act of 2003 (SCRA), and the Military Lending Act of 2006 (MLA). The acts apply to credit that is granted to service members, both prior to and during active duty.
While the laws govern financial transactions in general, today we’re going to talk about the credit card benefits these laws extend to active-duty military members. Specifically, we’ll focus on popular credit card issuer Chase and its Southwest Airlines-branded credit cards.
If you’re an active-duty military member and fly Southwest Airlines, you’ll find value in our discussion today.
Here’s how the laws apply to the credit cards we’ve chosen for our article and how these Chase-issued Southwest credit cards can add value for you and your family.
The SCRA and MLA apply to a multitude of financial transactions, including mortgages, installment loans, and banking. Additionally, these acts provide relief for credit cardholders who have secured cards prior to, or during, active-duty service.
Here’s how each of the laws applies to credit granted to service members via credit cards.
Chase has capped interest rates for cards acquired prior to active-duty military service at 4%, versus the 6% required by the SCRA.
Additionally, Chase waives all associated card fees, except late payment fees, for active-duty military members for cards acquired after September 20, 2017.
While it may seem subjective to add a specific value to each of the key benefits offered on Chase Southwest credit cards, the process can help determine whether you’ll actually benefit from having a particular card. It’s a practice we recommend for any credit card you’re considering.
Here’s our estimated potential value for each benefit on Chase Southwest-branded cards. The actual value you receive, of course, will depend on how you use the card.
Chase Southwest-branded credit cards all come with an annual fee. As an active-duty military member, Chase will waive that fee, resulting in savings for you and qualifying dependents who are approved for the card.
Here are the current annual fees for personal Southwest-branded Chase credit cards:
|Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card||
|Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card||
|Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card||
Chase issues 3 Southwest-branded personal consumer credit cards that come with welcome offers that may differ by card and vary over time. You can typically expect to receive hundreds of dollars worth of Southwest Rapid Rewards points and other potentially valuable bonuses for meeting minimum spending requirements within a specific period after card approval.
Check out the latest welcome offers before applying:
This card focuses on the Southwest traveler with anniversary points, travel credit, upgrades, and money back on inflight purchases.
The Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card is the most premium personal Southwest card offering from Chase. When you peel back the curtain, it is easy to see why.
Not only does the card offer multiple bonus categories to help you earn more Southwest Rapid Rewards points, but it is also loaded with benefits that are sure to offer quite a bit of value to Southwest flyers.
Here is a full overview of the card to help you decide if it is a good fit for your wallet.
Earn Southwest points on every purchase, plus anniversary points, Tier Qualifying Points, and points toward the Companion Pass!
Another week, another flight. Flying weekly can get tiring, but you know that every flight gets you closer to taking some great vacations with your significant other or your favorite travel buddy.
To save money on the flights, you like to use Southwest Airlines.
So why not get the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card to help you earn extra Rapid Rewards points?
This card makes it easy to earn unlimited points and qualify for the Southwest Companion Pass.
If you spend a lot of time in the air, it’s important to get a great deal on your plane tickets.
Southwest Airlines can help you get those deals.
One way to save is by using the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card. This card helps you earn points for all your spending, and earning more reward points is always a good thing for a busy traveler!
Since Chase waives the annual fee for eligible spouses/domestic partners, you may want to refer them and earn a referral bonus of 20,000 bonus points for each approved applicant. You can earn up to 100,000 bonus points each year.
Since we value Rapid Rewards points at 1.3 cents each, just 2 referrals could result in $520 in value.
Spending on your Southwest credit card can be a great source of earning Rapid Rewards points. To illustrate the value of card spending we’ll focus on the Southwest Priority card and how it earns rewards.
This is the best card for earning on Southwest purchases, along with the Southwest Premier card. Plus, the card has additional elevated benefits we’ll talk about shortly. With the annual fee waived for active-duty military, the Southwest Priority card offers the best potential overall value.
Here’s an example of earning rewards on the card:
Even with conservative spending, you can accumulate enough points for multiple Wanna Get Away fare tickets. But, there are additional opportunities to earn Rapid Rewards points by having a Southwest card.
Each card anniversary, after your renewal, you’ll earn Rapid Rewards bonus points. For the Southwest Plus card, you’ll receive 3,000 bonus points, the Southwest Premier card 6,000 bonus points, and 7,500 bonus points after the card anniversary of the Southwest Priority card.
Based on our estimates of ~1.3 cents each in value, 7,500 bonus points would be worth ~$97.
Southwest Airlines’ elite status comes with several additional travel perks. You can reach elite status faster by spending on your card. For each $10,000 spent on either the Southwest Priority card or Southwest Premier card, you’ll receive 1,500 tier qualifying points toward A-List status.Hot Tip:
If you need to top off your Southwest Rapid Rewards points account for a specific flight redemption, and you have a Chase credit card that earns Ultimate Rewards points, you can transfer the points at a 1:1 ratio.
You’ll have several options for redeeming your rewards but the best value will be to use your Southwest Rapids Rewards points for award flights.
Additional options at redemption time include car rentals, hotels, flights with other airlines, experiences, gift cards, and merchandise. Redemptions other than flights can result in poor value for your rewards.
Reserve and pay for your rental car with your Chase Southwest card, decline the rental agency’s CDW/LDW coverage, and receive secondary coverage for damage, theft, and reasonable agency charges for loss of use and towing. Secondary coverage means you must first file a claim with any other personal insurance that may apply before card coverage kicks in.
If you do not have personal auto insurance, or if you are renting a vehicle outside of your residence country, the coverage can be primary.
Pay for your common-carrier ticket with your Southwest card and you could receive up to $100 per day, up to 3 days, as reimbursement for eligible incidentals if your bags are delayed more than 6 hours.
If your bags are lost or damaged by the carrier, you could receive up to $3,000 per passenger.
If stranded roadside, you’ll pay just 1 pre-negotiated discounted fee for a service call that can include jump-start service, tire changing of your inflated spare, limited towing, standard winching, lockout service, and emergency fuel delivery.
Using your card for inflight purchases will trigger a rebate and could save you money. You could also receive priority boarding opportunities by holding a Southwest credit card.
If you spent just $100 on inflight purchases, you would receive a $25 statement credit. EarlyBird Check-In or Upgraded Boardings could save you as much as $120 each year.
Select the Southwest Priority card and receive an annual statement credit, up to $75, for Southwest purchases.
While the Southwest Premier card and Southwest Priority card do not charge foreign transaction fees, the Southwest Plus card charges 3% of the total foreign transaction in U.S. dollars.
Fortunately, you won’t be paying foreign transaction fees regardless of the card you select, as Chase will waive these fees for active-duty military. If you spent $1,000 in foreign purchases, you would save $30.
Using your Southwest credit card for eligible purchases can add protection if something should go wrong with the item.
Purchase protection provides coverage for damage and theft for up to 120 days from the purchase date. Maximum coverage is up to $500 per item, and up to $50,000 per account.
For eligible items that have manufacturer’s warranties of 3 years or less, the warranty will be extended for 1 additional year.
Once you’ve logged in to your Southwest credit card online account, you’ll be able to select Chase Offers from select merchants and service providers to earn bonus cash-back as a statement credit. Simply add the offer to your card, make the associated purchase, and receive a statement credit.
Activate your complimentary 1-year DoorDash DashPass subscription by December 31, 2024, and receive complimentary delivery and reduced fees on eligible orders. The current monthly cost for the DoorDash DashPass is $9.99.
You could categorize this as a travel benefit, but since you have to accumulate points to qualify for it, we’ll just include it under the benefits you can achieve by being a Southwest credit cardholder.
The Southwest Companion Pass allows you to bring along a companion at no extra cost, except minimal taxes/fees, when flying Southwest Airlines. The pass is secured by earning 135,000 points in a year when flying revenue flights, spending on your Southwest credit card, and making purchases with partner merchants.
Southwest cardholders also receive a Companion Pass Boost each calendar year of 10,000 Companion Pass qualifying points. Therefore, Southwest cardholders only need to earn 125,000 points in a year to qualify for the Southwest Companion Pass.
It’s quite apparent that a Southwest-branded credit card could add value and cost-savings benefits if you fly on Southwest Airlines.
Now let’s look at who can qualify for the military benefits, how to apply for a Southwest credit card, and requesting SCRA/MLA benefits.
Chase will waive fees and grant corresponding benefits to the following eligible individuals:
Spouses, domestic partners, and other dependents may also qualify for SCRA/MLA benefits.
Once you’ve determined that you’re qualified for SCRA or MLA benefits, you’re ready for the next steps.
When completing the card application, be sure to list the military as your income source, as this can prompt Chase to automatically apply benefits and send you a confirmation letter. If this doesn’t happen, you can request benefits immediately after approval.Hot Tip:
Once you’re approved for a Southwest credit card, you can request benefits from Chase via secure message.
There is also a dedicated SCRA/MLA center phone number to can call to ask questions or request benefits. Call 877-469-0110 (8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday) or call collect at 318-340-3348 if you are out of the country.
Finally, you can request benefits via mail. Be sure to include supporting documents.
Chase, Attention: SCRA Request
P.O. Box 183240
Columbus, Ohio, 43218-3240
Since annual card fees will be waived by Chase, you may want to consider some of the best travel rewards cards Chase has to offer.
These cards provide the extraordinary value of elevated earning potential, flexible redemption options, and valuable travel and shopping protections and benefits.
The Chase Sapphire Preferred card is a good first choice for active-duty military members because of its generous welcome offer, travel insurance benefits, and the fact that it earns valuable flexible rewards.
A fantastic travel card with a huge welcome offer, good benefits, and perks for a moderate annual fee.
The Chase Sapphire Preferred® card is one of the best travel rewards cards on the market. Its bonus categories include travel, dining, online grocery purchases, and streaming services, which gives you the opportunity to earn lots of bonus points on these purchases.
Additionally, it offers flexible point redemption options, no foreign transaction fees, and excellent travel insurance coverage including primary car rental insurance. With benefits like these, it’s easy to see why this card is an excellent choice for any traveler.
Both the Chase Sapphire Preferred card and Chase Sapphire Reserve card come with trip cancellation and trip interruption insurance. One of the covered reasons for these protections to apply is a change in military orders. This can be valuable coverage for active-duty military members.
With its premium travel benefits, worldwide lounge access, travel statement credits, and elevated potential value at redemption time, the Chase Sapphire Reserve card makes a perfect travel rewards card choice.
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.
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!
If you’re an active-duty military member and you fly on Southwest Airlines, a Chase co-branded card could be a strong consideration, especially with the waived annual fee.
We recommend the Southwest Priority card, as it has the best earning structure and economic benefits of the 3 Southwest-branded personal consumer credit cards.
If Southwest is just one of the airlines you fly, you may want to consider a travel rewards card that earns more flexible rewards and has broader benefits. Cards that have high annual fees also tend to have more premium benefits. Since annual fees are waived for active-duty military, you could realize tremendous associated value with some of the best travel rewards cards.
Yes, Chase waives the annual fee and all associated card fees on Southwest-branded credit cards, except late payment fees, for active-duty military members and their eligible spouse/domestic partner.
The personal consumer Southwest Priority card is the best Southwest-branded card for active-duty military members. In addition to the annual fee being waived, the card comes with elevated bonus earnings, an up to $75 annual statement credit for Southwest purchases, 4 Upgraded Boardings each year, and a 7,500 Rapid Rewards points bonus at each card anniversary.
You can send a secure message to Chase after logging into your Chase online card account, call the SCRA/MLA dedicated service line at 877-469-0110, or send your request via mail to the address mentioned in the article. Be sure to include any supporting documentation including active-duty military orders.
No, credit card fees are waived for active-duty military members and their eligible spouses/domestic partners.
No, Chase does not waive fees for business credit cards. Chase waives credit card fees only on personal consumer credit cards for active-duty military members.
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