Edited by: Nick Ellis
& Stella Shon
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You’ll find value in today’s article on Citi military benefits if you’re an active-duty military member holding a Citi credit card or a service member not on active duty who is considering one.
Decades ago, laws were enacted to help alleviate some of the financial burdens our active-duty military members face. The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) in 2003 and the Military Lending Act (MLA) in 2006 set the foundation for how financial transactions involving military members should be handled.
We’ll discuss the acts briefly in a moment, but today’s article will focus specifically on how Citi applies the benefits of the laws to its range of credit cards. Plus, we’ll look at how these benefits can create bottom-line value for active-duty military.
The SCRA and MLA, when initially passed, applied to financial transactions such as mortgages, auto loans, other installment loans, rental agreements, and banking in general. In 2017, the laws were amended to include credit cards.
After this addition, credit card issuers instituted policies to ensure credit granted to military members met the laws’ requirements.
Here’s how the laws apply to credit cards:
Citi applies military benefits to those who are on active duty, for credit cards acquired prior to active-duty service and after September 2017. Citi will waive associated credit card fees, including annual fees, along with interest charges, for active-duty service members.
Let’s look at some of the best credit cards issued by Citi and how each one might provide value for the active-duty military member.
If you are not on active duty but considering a Citi credit card, you’ll find significant value in the welcome offers that come with some of the best Citi credit cards. These offers allow you to earn a large number of rewards when meeting minimum spending requirements in a specified period after card approval.
We’ve included the current welcome offers in the following summary for comparison purposes.
Before we look at each key benefit individually, and its potential value for active-duty members, let’s look at a high-level overview of the best Citi credit cards, welcome offers, annual fees, and general benefits.
|Card||Welcome Offer and Annual Fee||Benefits|
|Citi Premier® Card||
|Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard®||
|Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard®||
|Citi Custom Cash® Card||
|Citi® Double Cash Card||
|Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi||
Now let’s look closer at our featured Citi credit cards and the key benefits you can expect on each card.
Frequent flyers will enjoy 3x ThankYou Points at restaurants, gas stations, supermarkets, air travel, and hotels.
The Citi Premier® Card is an excellent option for anyone looking for an all-around travel rewards credit card. The card helps you earn points fast with great 3x bonus categories such as restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, airfare, and hotels. Plus, it offers access to airline and hotel transfer partners, doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees, and has a reasonable annual fee!
Access to Admirals Clubs, tons of added benefits, and a way to spend towards elite status make this a great option for American Airlines loyalists.
The Citi®/AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard® is a go-to card thanks to its exclusive perks and benefits for people who love to fly American Airlines. With a complimentary Admirals Club membership, free checked bags, inflight discounts, and the ability to earn Loyalty Points for every $1 you spend, there is plenty to love about the card.
Status lovers will enjoy the variety of benefits that come with this card. From free bags to reduced-price inflight beverages, AA still flies in style.
Blue skies and fair winds make for a good day to fly! Choosing your airline can be difficult, since factors like location, time, and destination all go into whether or not you can fly somewhere.
An easy choice for many people is American Airlines, because they’re the largest airline in the world. If you’re an American, you’ve probably flown American Airlines at least once.
Frequent fliers tend to enjoy the treatment they can get, from boarding privileges to free bags to lounge access. There’s many reasons to fly with AA, and if so then getting a Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard® could be for you.
Earn big on purchases in your top eligible spend category, up to the first $500 each billing cycle, with no annual fee!
The Citi Custom Cash® Card is inventive when it comes to cash-back credit cards. Instead of earning a set amount of cash-back on predetermined bonus categories, the Citi Custom Cash card earns 5% cash-back on your highest eligible spend category each billing cycle, without an annual fee.
Thanks to that unique perk, you’ll never need to worry about whether you’re using the right card for the right purchase, as your Citi Custom Cash card will always pay you 5% back on whichever category you end up spending the most on each month.
Great card for the average spender with no specific focus category; worry-free cash-back earning on everything!
The Citi® Double Cash Card has long been one of the top cash-back credit cards on the market, and the card now has the ability to earn Citi ThankYou Points!
This means that cardholders of the Double Cash card will now earn 2% on every purchase with unlimited 1% cash back when you buy, plus an additional 1% as you pay for those purchases. Cash back is earned in the form of ThankYou Points. This means each billing cycle, you will earn 1 ThankYou point per $1 spent on purchases and an additional ThankYou point for every $1 paid on your purchase balance as long as there is a corresponding balance in your Purchase Tracker.
Citi has turned the Double Cash card into a top choice for those who are looking for an everyday, no-fuss credit card.
The Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi is a great Citi’s cash-back rewards card designed specifically for Costco Members.
Active-duty military members, including veterans, retired military, spouses, and dependents, may receive a digital Costco gift card when signing up for a Costco membership.
One of the most valuable Citi military benefits for active-duty military members is the waiver of the card’s annual fee. Although not all Citi credit cards charge an annual fee, the best Citi cards, with the most earning potential and benefits, typically do.
Here are examples of the potential savings for Citi credit cards (that charge an annual fee) when the annual fee is waived for active-duty military members:
|Citi Premier Card||$95|
|AAdvantage Executive World Elite Card||$595|
|AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite Card||$99, waived for first 12 months|
Another significant military benefit provided by Citi for active-duty service members is the waiver of interest charges on card balances.
There are 2 ways to take advantage of the lack of interest charges and fees.
If you have Citi credit cards with balances accrued prior to active duty, you’ll want to take advantage of Citi’s 0% APR during your active-duty status to pay down those balances during your service.
If you have credit cards from other financial institutions with high-interest balances, Citi will waive the balance transfer fees during active-duty service. Since balance transfer fees can be 3% to 5% of the total transfer amount, this option can provide significant savings. You can leverage this benefit even further by utilizing Citi credit cards with an introductory 0% APR period for balance transfers.
If your primary goal is to pay off card balances, these Citi credit cards offering an introductory 0% APR rate for balance transfers could be appropriate choices:
Citi credit cards will earn flexible rewards such as ThankYou Points, cash-back, or frequent flyer miles.
While both ThankYou Points and cash-back may be redeemed for gift cards, travel, merchandise, statement credits, or charitable donations, the best value is to transfer ThankYou Points to airline or hotel partners.
ThankYou Points earned on the Citi Premier card allow the most flexible redemption options, including transferring to airline and hotel partners to redeem for award flights or free hotel nights.Hot Tip:
Take a look at our full guide covering some of the best ways to redeem Citi ThankYou Points.
Co-branded Citi credit cards will earn the affiliated rewards currency. For example, American Airlines’ cards earn AAdvantage miles that can be redeemed with the airline, and Costco-branded cards will earn cash-back that can be redeemed via Costco stores.
While benefits and protections differ by card, here are some you may find on Citi credit cards:
Citi military benefits for active-duty servicemembers can result in serious savings. Let’s look at the qualifications and how to apply for benefits.
You’ll want to check the Citi SCRA website for complete information, but here’s an outline of who qualifies for Citi military benefits:
You’ll want to verify that your status is current on the Department of Defense website as this is the source financial institutions will use to verify your status. Visit the MLA website to access your records.
If you acquired your Citi credit card(s) prior to active duty, you’ll want to skip the next step and jump right to applying for benefits.
If you are not on active duty and considering a Citi credit card, here are some tips for applying for a card.
While applying for a Citi card during active duty will not qualify you for military benefits, you can still do so. Plus, if you’re not on active duty, but will be in the future, here are some tips for making the process go smoothly:
If you acquired a Citi credit card prior to active-duty service, you’ll want to apply for Citi military benefits. The waiver of credit card fees and interest charges could save you money and help you pay off any debt.
The easiest way to ask questions and apply for benefits is to contact Citi’s Military Response Unit at 877-804-1082.
Additionally, you can fax your request with a cover page that includes your name, Social Security number, branch of service, your active-duty date, plus supporting documentation to 866-533-0503.
Finally, you could mail your request, including the above information, to this address: City Military Response Correspondence Unit, Attention: SCRA Request, P.O. Box 790398, St. Louis, MO, 63179.
Once your request is approved, it can take up to 3 statement periods for the benefits to be applied.
According to Military Money Matters, a popular military finance blog, data points suggest that in the statement period when your annual fee hits, you should have a balance on your card to trigger the fee reimbursement. Evidently, this is due to the balance causing the maximum 36% interest rate (MLA requirement) to kick in.
For active-duty military members who acquired Citi credit cards prior to active duty, you should definitely apply for Citi military benefits. In addition to having your annual fee waived, you could also benefit from a 0% interest rate on previously incurred card debt. The waiver of transfer fees, should you use the balance transfer option on a card with an introductory 0% APR balance transfer offer, could also be a money-saver.
For those military members not on active duty but anticipating it, you may find value in card welcome offers, everyday earning potential, flexible redemption options, and a few shopping benefits.
If travel protections and benefits are a priority to you, as an active-duty military member, you may do better with Chase or American Express-issued travel rewards cards. Our companion articles on the best Chase credit cards for military members and the best American Express credit cards for military members would be worth reading.
The information regarding the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard® was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.
The information regarding the Citi Simplicity® Card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.
Yes, Citi will waive fees, including annual fees, for credit cards acquired prior to active duty and after September 2017.
For credit cards acquired prior to active duty, Citi will waive interest charges during the period of active duty. Citi will also waive balance transfer fees during active duty.
Yes, Citi military benefits are worth it if you hold Citi credit cards that were acquired prior to active duty. Citi waives fees and interest rates which can result in significant savings.
The best way to learn about Citi’s military benefits and apply is to call Citi’s Military Response Unit at 877-804-1082.
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