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Amex Gold Card Benefits for Active-duty U.S. Military Members

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Christine Krzyszton

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Serving on active duty in the U.S. military comes with a lot of sacrifices, including potential financial challenges. But there are ways to save money and create value for your military household with benefits such as those offered to military members by the American Express® Gold Card.

The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) established in 2003, and the Military Lending Act (MLA) established in 2006, have helped make financial transactions less costly for service members. These relief acts help reduce financial burdens and provide consumer credit protection for qualifying military members who have secured credit prior to, or during, military service.

Some credit card issuers not only adhere to the requirements of these acts but expand the benefits to include eliminating fees on select credit cards.

Because American Express is one of those card issuers, we’re looking at military benefits for the popular Amex Gold card today. We’ll share how the card earns rewards, some of your options at redemption time, and benefits that could be helpful for active-duty military members.

How Do the SCRA and MLA Acts Work?

The SCRA applies to credit established prior to active duty and provides a cap of a 6% interest rate, including fees, on many financial obligations incurred prior to military service.

The MLA applies to credit established during military service and limits interest to 36% Military Annual Percentage Rate (MAPR) on certain loans and credit products. While 36% may seem high, the MLA applies to a variety of loans including payday loans, which are known to have high interest rates. The 36% includes all fees, credit insurance premiums, and finance charges.

Credit card issuer American Express, while adhering closely to the requirements of these acts, goes beyond the mandatory fundamentals as eligible active military members won’t be charged the annual fee, and other fees, on select credit card products.

The absence of annual fees can offer significant savings for a military member while providing a long list of valuable benefits.

Let’s look at a snapshot of the Amex Gold card and the benefits you’ll realize as an active-military cardholder. No doubt, the Amex Gold is one of the best credit cards for military members.

Amex Gold Card Overview

BEST FOR DINING
American Express® Gold Card
American Express® 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.

This is the best card for food lovers who dine out at restaurants (worldwide), order take-out and want big rewards at U.S. supermarkets!

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.

American Express® Gold Card
This is the best card for food lovers who dine out at restaurants (worldwide), order take-out and want big rewards at U.S. supermarkets!
Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $6,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months.
60,000 points
$1,320
$250
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)

The American Express® Gold Card is a game-changer.

With this card, you can earn 4x Membership Rewards points at restaurants and you’ll also earn 4x Membership Rewards points at U.S. supermarkets on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1x.

There isn’t another card on the market that offers a 1-2 punch like this. Of course, there are several other benefits of the Gold Card as well, including extra monthly dining rewards and more.

Pros
  • 4x points per dollar at restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.
  • 4x points per dollar at U.S. supermarkets, up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases; and 1x thereafter
  • 3x points per dollar on flights purchased directly from airlines or at AmexTravel.com
Cons
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $6,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., and earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • $120 Uber Cash on Gold: Add your Gold Card to your Uber account and each month automatically get $10 in Uber Cash for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S., totaling up to $120 per year.
  • $120 Dining Credit: Satisfy your cravings and earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the American Express® Gold Card at Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar and select Shake Shack locations. Enrollment required.
  • Get a $100 experience credit with a minimum two-night stay when you book The Hotel Collection through American Express Travel. Experience credit varies by property.
  • Choose the color that suits your style. Gold or Rose Gold.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Annual Fee is $250.
  • Terms Apply.
Financial Snapshot
  • APR: See Pay Over Time APR
  • Foreign Transaction Fees: None
Rewards Center

American Express Membership Rewards

Why We Like This Card For Active-duty Military

With a generous welcome bonus that jumpstarts your earnings and ongoing bonus earnings for everyday purchases, the Amex Gold card makes it easy to earn a lot of rewards quickly. You’ll also receive statement credits for qualifying dining purchases and Uber Cash each month.

The card doesn’t charge any foreign transaction fees, making it a great card to have in your wallet when traveling outside of the U.S. (rates & fees).

The Potential Value of Amex Gold Card Benefits [$3,000+ in Value!]

Military woman with man and child
The Amex Gold card benefits can add value to a military household. Image Credit: George Pak via Pexels

Now that you have a snapshot of the key benefits of the Amex Gold card, let’s look closer at the potential value each benefit could provide an active military household. We’ll include an estimated value, when possible, of what the benefit might provide to a military member’s household.

Welcome Offer — Value of $600+

Welcome offers can change, so be sure to check for current offers in the table above prior to applying.

The value of the welcome bonus you receive can vary depending on how you redeem your rewards. However, you can count on a value of 1 cent per Membership Rewards point when redeeming for flights via AmexTravel.com. A 60,000-point welcome bonus, for example, would translate into $600 worth of eligible travel when redeemed via AmexTravel.com. A 90,000-point welcome bonus offers $900 in travel.

You can also transfer Membership Rewards points to Amex transfer partners to redeem for free hotel nights and award flight tickets. Transferring points can result in potentially better value for your rewards points.

Annual Fee — Value of $250

American Express won’t charge the annual fee for eligible active-duty military members, but also for their spouse, children, and qualifying dependents. We’ll talk more about eligibility shortly, but those family members and dependents who may also qualify.

Earnings on Everyday Purchases — Value of $1,000

With the Amex Gold card, you’ll receive 4x Membership Rewards points on everyday purchases such as U.S. supermarkets (up to $25,000 in purchases each calendar year, then 1x), including commissaries coding as grocery stores. In addition, dining purchases worldwide, including take-out and delivery, also receive 4x Membership Rewards points.

If you were to spend $25,000 each year in these bonus categories, you would earn 100,000 Membership Rewards points worth approximately $1,000 when redeemed via AmexTravel.com and even more potential value when transferring to hotel and airline partners.

Earnings on Travel — Value of $90

On flights purchased directly from the airline or via AmexTravel.com, you’ll receive 3x bonus earnings and 2x earnings for other qualifying travel via AmexTravel.com. For example, just $3,000 worth of qualifying flights would earn 9,000 Membership Rewards points.

Access to Hotel and Airline Partner Transfers — Value Varies

While it’s difficult to put a defined value on the ability to transfer Membership Rewards points to travel partners, this redemption option is potentially the most valuable. While redeeming Membership Rewards via AmexTravel.com for 1 cent in value is an option, transferring points to hotel and airline partners for free hotel nights or award flight tickets could yield much greater results.

Uber Cash — Value of $120

Add your Amex Gold card to your Uber account and receive $10 each month in Uber Cash deposited into your account, up to $120 each calendar year. Uber Cash can be used for Uber rides and Uber Eats in the U.S.

Dining Statement Credits — Value of $120

Each month, you could receive statement credits of up to $10, for a maximum of up to $120 in statement credits each year, for qualifying dining purchases. Eligible dining redemptions include Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Wine.com, Goldbelly, Milk Bar, and participating Shake Shack locations.

Access to American Express Hotel Collection Benefits — Value of $100

Book a prepaid stay of 2 nights or more with The Hotel Collection via AmexTravel.com and receive hotel benefits that include daily breakfast for 2, an upgraded room (when available), early check-in/late checkout (when available), and a $100 on-site amenity.

Car Rental Loss and Damage Waiver — Value of $100

Reserve and pay for your entire car rental with your card, decline the agency’s CDW/LDW coverage, and receive secondary coverage for damage and theft. Secondary means that any other applicable insurance must be accessed first. You’ll also have access to purchase Premium Protection which is primary for a low price ($12.95 to $24.95) that covers the entire rental period.

If you were to rent a vehicle for just 1 week each year, decline a CDW/LDW coverage costing $20 per day and purchase Premium Protection instead, you could have primary coverage and save approximately $100 on that rental. Terms and conditions apply.

Purchase Protection and Extended Warranty — Value Varies

Purchase an eligible item with your card and receive purchase protection for up to 120 days of coverage for damage or theft from the date of purchase. An extended warranty is provided for items purchased with your card that have manufacturer warranties of 5 years or less. The warranty will be extended for up to 2 additional years.

Amex Offers — Value of $100+

Amex Offers can save you hundreds of dollars a year. Log in to your online card account and browse through up to 100 offers that can save you money or earn you more points when you make a purchase with the selected retailer or service provider.

American Express Auto Purchasing Program — Value of $500

If you can use this benefit, it is possible to save on your new car purchase. You’ll receive special pricing from participating dealers, up to $2,000 in post-purchase benefits, and the opportunity to pay for $2,000 or more of your car purchase with your card.

No Foreign Transaction Fees — Value of $30

If you make $1,000 in foreign transactions each year, you’ll save the 3% transaction fees, or $30 (rates & fees).

Bottom Line: For the right cardholder, the Amex Gold card can offer potentially hundreds, even thousands, of dollars in benefits. 

Qualification and Requesting Benefits

MLA Website
Amex will verify your active-duty status and eligibility for benefits. Image Credit: USA.gov

The first step to receiving SCRA or MLA benefits with American Express is to review the qualifications. You’ll also need to verify your status and request benefits. Here’s how to get the process started.

Who Qualifies for Amex’s Active-duty Military Benefits?

  • An active-duty member of any military branch of the U.S. Armed Forces
  • Active-duty reserves
  • National Guard active-duty for more than 30 consecutive days
  • A commissioned officer of a PHS or NOAA
  • In war or in military action, a U.S. citizen serving with the U.S. allied forces
  • The spouse of an active-duty military member when there is joint credit extended

You can confirm your active-duty status via the MLA database, and also the status of your spouse or dependents. This is the same source American Express uses to confirm eligibility.

Once you’ve determined you qualify for SCRA or MLA American Express benefits, you can apply for the American Express card of your choice. Once approved for the card, you can request benefits.

How To Request Benefits

After card approval, you’ll have several options for requesting benefits.

Amex SCRA
Request benefits via your online American Express card account. Image Credit: American Express

American Express makes it easy to request SRCA or MLA benefits. Once you’ve been approved for the Amex Gold card, for example, you’ll want to log in to your online account, select Account Services, either Credit Management or Payment & Credit Options, then SCRA Benefits.

You can also utilize these methods to request benefits.

  • CALL 800-253-1720 or outside the U.S. call 336-393-1111 (collect)
  • FAX the documents to 623-444-3000 along with your American Express card numbers
  • MAIL to American Express, Servicemembers Civil Relief Act, P.O. Box 981535, El Paso, TX 79998-1535

Allow several weeks for American Express to verify your eligibility and process your documents.

Bottom Line: Whether you’re looking for relief based on the SCRA or MLA, check the qualifications closely, verify your status, apply for the card you prefer, wait for card approval, then contact the card issuer to request the associated SCRA or MLA benefits. 

Everything Else You Need To Know

You’ll need good to excellent credit to qualify for the Amex Gold card. Generally, this means a score of more than 670 plus good credit history.

Like most card issuers, American Express has limits on the maximum number of cards you can have at 1 time. You can hold up to 4 credit cards and 10 charge cards simultaneously, including both business and personal cards.

American Express, unlike many other card issuers, will forgo fees on business credit cards as well as personal cards for qualifying active-duty military.

In most cases, you will pay the annual fee after card approval and be reimbursed once American Express has verified your eligibility. However, it is possible your status could be verified prior to the annual fee showing up on your statement.

Hilton Military Member Check In
American Express offers a wide selection of cards with valuable benefits. Image Credit: Hilton

American Express issues over 60 cards, many with high annual fees that have the potential to be exempt for active-duty military members. Here is a sampling of the cards we recommend for some of the best value to active-duty military members.

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 eligible 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 AmexTravel.com (up to $500,000 per year)
  • 5x points per dollar spent on prepaid hotels booked with AmexTravel.com
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 eligible purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership. Apply and select your preferred metal Card design: classic Platinum, 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, and The Wall Street Journal. Enrollment required.
  • The American Express Global Lounge Collection® can provide an escape at the airport. With complimentary access to more than 1,400 airport lounges across 140 countries and counting, you have more airport lounge options than any other credit card issuer on the market. As of 03/2023.
  • $155 Walmart+ Credit: Save on eligible delivery fees, shipping, and more with a Walmart+ membership. Use your Platinum Card® to pay for a monthly Walmart+ membership and get up to $12.95 plus applicable taxes back on one membership (excluding Plus Ups) each month.
  • $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. Terms Apply.
  • $189 CLEAR® Plus Credit: CLEAR® Plus helps to get you to your gate faster at 50+ airports nationwide and get up to $189 back per calendar year on your Membership (subject to auto-renewal) when you use your Card. CLEARLanes are available at 100+ airports, stadiums, and entertainment venues.
  • 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 year period for TSA PreCheck® application fee for a 5-year plan only (through a TSA PreCheck® official enrollment provider), 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.
  • 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
Rewards Center

American Express Membership Rewards

Why We Like This Card for Active Military

These are just some of the benefits offered by the Amex Platinum card. As one of the best cards available for active military members, the Amex Platinum card features a long list of premium benefits. Learn more about the overall value of Amex Platinum card benefits for military in our related article.

The Business Platinum Card® from American Express

150K OFFER
The Business Platinum Card® from American Express
The Business 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.

This card is ideal for business travelers who enjoy luxury travel and are looking for a card loaded with benefits!

The Business Platinum Card® from American Express
This card is ideal for business travelers who enjoy luxury travel and are looking for a card loaded with benefits!
Earn 150,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $20,000 in eligible purchases on the Card within the first 3 months of Card Membership.
150,000 points
$3,300
$695
19.49% - 28.49% 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 Business Platinum Card® from American Express is a premium travel rewards card tailored toward business owners who are frequent travelers with a high number of annual expenses.

When you factor in the large number of perks that the card offers like the best airport lounge access at over 1,400 lounges, along with tons of annual credits, it’s easy to see why this card can is a top option for frequent traveling business owners.

Hot Tip: Check to see if you’re eligible for a huge welcome bonus offer of up to 170,000 points with the Amex Business Platinum. The current public offer is 150,000 points. (This targeted offer was independently researched and may not be available to all applicants.)

Pros
  • 5x Membership Rewards points per $1 on flights and prepaid hotels at Amex Travel
  • Access to over 1,400 worldwide airport lounges as part of the American Express Global Lounge Collection
  • Get 50% more Membership Rewards points (1.5 points per $1) on eligible purchases in key business categories, as well as on purchases of $5,000 or more (cap applies)
Cons
  • High annual fee of $695 (rates & fees)
  • Airline fee credit does not cover airfare, only incidentals like checked bags
  • Welcome Offer: Earn 150,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $20,000 in eligible purchases on the Card within the first 3 months of Card Membership.
  • 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights and prepaid hotels on AmexTravel.com, and 1X points for each dollar you spend on eligible purchases.
  • Earn 1.5X points (that’s an extra half point per dollar) on each eligible purchase at US construction material, hardware suppliers, electronic goods retailers, and software & cloud system providers, and shipping providers, as well as on purchases of $5,000 or more everywhere else, on up to $2 million of these purchases per calendar year.
  • Unlock over $1,000 in statement credits on select purchases, including tech, recruiting and wireless in the first year of membership with the Business Platinum Card®. Enrollment required. See how you can unlock over $1,000 annually in credits on select purchases with the Business Platinum Card®, here.
  • $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 the Card.
  • $189 CLEAR® Plus Credit: Use your card and get up to $189 in statement credits per calendar year on your CLEAR® Plus Membership (subject to auto-renewal) when you use the Business Platinum Card®.
  • The American Express Global Lounge Collection® can provide an escape at the airport. With complimentary access to more than 1,400 airport lounges across 140 countries and counting, you have more airport lounge options than any other credit card issuer on the market as of 03/2023.
  • $695 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
Financial Snapshot
  • APR: 19.49% - 28.49% Variable
  • Foreign Transaction Fees: None
Rewards Center

American Express Membership Rewards

Why We Like This Card for Active Military

  • 5x Membership Rewards points on flights and prepaid hotels booked via AmexTravel.com
  • 1,5x Membership Rewards points on purchases of $5,000 or more, and on select business purchases (up to $2,000,000 in purchases each calendar year)
  • Worldwide lounge access to over 1,400 properties
  • Up to $200 in statement credits for airline incidental purchases
  • Up to $400 in statement credits for Dell Technology purchases; up to $200 January-June and up to $200 July-December
  • Up to $120 in statement credits, $10 each month, for wireless service purchases
  • Up to $78 statement credit for TSA PreCheck application fee or up to $100 statement credit for Global Entry application fee
  • Hotel and car rental loyalty program elite status and car rental benefits
  • 35% rebate when using points to book select flights via AmexTravel.com
  • Annual fee exemption (rates & fees)

If you have a side business and can make use of the benefits provided by the Amex Business Platinum card, you’ll want to know more about all the card’s benefits.

Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card

LIMITED TIME OFFER
Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card
Hilton Honors American Express Aspire 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.

Automatic Hilton Diamond status, an annual free night, and a travel and resort credit make this the perfect card for those who stay in Hilton hotels.

All information about Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card has been collected independently by Upgraded Points.

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.

Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card
Automatic Hilton Diamond status, an annual free night, and a travel and resort credit make this the perfect card for those who stay in Hilton hotels.
Earn 175,000 Bonus Points after you spend $6,000 in purchases on the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card in the first 6 months of Card Membership. Offer ends 7/31/2024.
175,000 points
$875
$550
20.99% - 29.99% 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 information regarding the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.


Paying hundreds of dollars for an annual fee on a co-branded hotel card might seem ridiculous, but you should know that the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card is much more than your run-of-the-mill hotel credit card.

The Hilton Aspire card is not only a phenomenal card for Hilton Honors loyalists, but even those who visit Hilton hotels just a few times a year can still get excellent value out of all the benefits that are packed into this card.

So let’s have a look at what makes the card so valuable to travelers.

Pros
  • 14x points per $1 on Hilton purchases
  • 7x points per $1 on select travel and at U.S. restaurants
  • 3x points per $1 on all other purchases
Cons
    • High annual fee of $550
  • Earn 175,000 Bonus Points after you spend $6,000 in purchases on the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card in the first 6 months of Card Membership. Offer ends 7/31/2024.
  • Earn 14x Hilton Honors Bonus Points when you make eligible purchases on your card at participating hotels or resorts within the Hilton portfolio.
  • Earn 7x Hilton Honors Bonus Points for eligible purchases: on flights booked directly with airlines or amextravel.com, on car rentals booked directly from select car rental companies, and at U.S. restaurants.
  • Earn 3X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for other purchases on your card.
  • Enjoy up to $400 in Hilton Resort Credits (up to $200 in statement credits semi-annually) on your card each anniversary year when you stay at participating resorts within the Hilton portfolio.
  • Enjoy complimentary Diamond status.
  • $550 annual fee.
Financial Snapshot
  • APR: 20.99% - 29.99% Variable
  • Foreign Transaction Fees: None

Why We Like This Card for Active Military

The Hilton Aspire card is one of the best hotel loyalty program cards. Top-level elite status, a free hotel night each year, statement credits, and elevated earnings make the card an excellent choice for military members who stay at Hilton properties.

Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card

Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card
Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express 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.

Delta loyalists will love the fast track to Delta elite status, lounge access, baggage benefits, and upgrade priority with the Delta Reserve card.

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.

Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card
Delta loyalists will love the fast track to Delta elite status, lounge access, baggage benefits, and upgrade priority with the Delta Reserve card.
Earn 60,000 Bonus Miles after you spend $5,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership.
60,000 Bonus Miles
$720
$650
20.99%-29.99% 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 Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card is a stellar option for frequent travelers who always fly with Delta thanks to its lounge access, status boost, annual companion certificate, and many other great benefits.

Here is a full look at everything the Delta Reserve card can offer to you to help you decide whether the card deserves a place in your wallet.

Pros
  • 3x SkyMiles per $1 on Delta purchases
  • 1x SkyMile per $1 on all other eligible purchases
  • Card Members get 15% off when using miles to book Award Travel on Delta flights.
Cons
  • $650 annual fee (rates & fees)
  • No bonus categories other than Delta purchases
  • Earn 60,000 Bonus Miles after you spend $5,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Reserve your piece of history with the new limited edition Boeing 747 Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card design.
  • Enjoy complimentary access to the Delta Sky Club® and bring up to two guests or immediate family members at a rate of $50 per person per visit when flying Delta. Effective 2/1/25, Reserve Card Members will receive 15 Visits per year to the Delta Sky Club; to earn an unlimited number of Visits each year starting on 2/1/25, the total eligible purchases on the Card must equal $75,000 or more between 1/1/24 and 12/31/24, and each calendar year thereafter.
  • Receive four Delta Sky Club® One-Time Guest Passes each year when you fly together on Delta. After that, you may bring up to two guests at a per-visit rate of $50 per person, per location.
  • Enjoy complimentary access to The Centurion® Lounge when you book a Delta flight with your Reserve Card.
  • Receive $2,500 Medallion® Qualification Dollars each Medallion Qualification Year and get closer to Status with MQD Headstart.
  • Earn $1 Medallion® Qualification Dollar for each $10 of purchases made on your Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card in a calendar year and get a boost toward achieving elevated Medallion Status for next Medallion Year.
  • Receive a Companion Certificate on First Class, Delta Comfort+®, or Main Cabin domestic, Caribbean, or Central American roundtrip flights each year after renewal of your Card. The Companion Ticket requires payment of government-imposed taxes and fees of no more than $80 for roundtrip domestic flights and no more than $250 for roundtrip international flights (both for itineraries with up to four flight segments). Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
  • $240 Resy Credit: With the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card Resy Credit, earn up to $20 per month in statement credits on eligible Resy purchases using your enrolled Card.
  • $120 Rideshare Credit: You can earn up to $10 back in statement credits each month on U.S. rideshare purchases with select providers after you pay with your Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card. Enrollment Required.
  • Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card Members get 15% off when using miles to book Award Travel on Delta flights through delta.com and the Fly Delta app. Discount not applicable to partner-operated flights or to taxes and fees.
  • With your Card receive upgrade priority over other Medallion Members within the same Medallion level and fare class.
  • Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card Members with an eligible ticket will be added to the Complimentary Upgrade list, after Delta SkyMiles Medallion Members.
  • Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • $650 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
Financial Snapshot
  • APR: 20.99%-29.99% Variable
  • Foreign Transaction Fees: None
Rewards Center

Delta SkyMiles Airline Loyalty Program

Why We Like This Card for Active Military

  • Delta Sky Club access when traveling with Delta and 2 1-time passes for guests each year. Effective 2/1/25, Reserve Card Members will receive 15 Visits per year to the Delta Sky Club; to earn an unlimited number of Visits each year starting on 2/1/25, the total eligible purchases on the Card must equal $75,000 or more between 1/1/24 and 12/31/24, and each calendar year thereafter.
  • Flight benefits such as a free checked bag and priority boarding
  • First class or economy companion flight certificate each year for domestic, Caribbean, or Central America travel
  • A 20% statement credit on inflight food and beverage purchases
  • 3x SkyMiles on Delta purchases
  • Faster path to Delta elite status by spending on the card
  • Annual fee exemption (rates & fees)

Active-duty military members will appreciate having a free checked bag and access to the Delta Sky Club when flying on Delta. The welcome bonus and companion certificate can also help secure flights for family members.

Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card

Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card
Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® 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.

A premium card for Marriott fans who want perks like an annual statement credit and Free Night Award, plus a fast track to Marriott 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.

Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card
A premium card for Marriott fans who want perks like an annual statement credit and Free Night Award, plus a fast track to Marriott elite status.
Earn 95,000 Marriott Bonvoy bonus points after you use your new Card to make $6,000 in purchases within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
95,000 bonus points
$665
$650
20.99%-29.99% 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 Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card is a premium card designed with road warriors and Marriott Bonvoy loyalists in mind.

So is the card a worthwhile addition to your wallet?

Pros
  • 6x points per $1 at hotels participating in Marriott Bonvoy program
  • 3x points per $1 on flights booked directly with airlines and restaurants worldwide
  • 2x points per $1 on all other purchases
Cons
  • Earn 95,000 Marriott Bonvoy bonus points after you use your new Card to make $6,000 in purchases within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • $300 Brilliant Dining Credit: Each calendar year, get up to $300 (up to $25 per month) in statement credits for eligible purchases made on the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card at restaurants worldwide.
  • With Marriott Bonvoy Platinum Elite status, you can receive room upgrades, including enhanced views or suites, when available at select properties and booked with a Qualifying Rate.
  • Earn 6X Marriott Bonvoy points for each dollar of eligible purchases at hotels participating in Marriott Bonvoy®. 3X points at restaurants worldwide and on flights booked directly with airlines. 2X points on all other eligible purchases.
  • Free Night Award: Receive 1 Free Night Award every year after your Card renewal month. Award can be used for one night (redemption level at or under 85,000 Marriott Bonvoy points) at hotels participating in Marriott Bonvoy®. Certain hotels have resort fees.
  • Each calendar year after spending $60,000 on eligible purchases on your Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card, you will be eligible to select a Brilliant Earned Choice Award benefit. You can only earn one Earned Choice Award per calendar year. See https://www.choice-benefit.marriott.com/brilliant for Award options.
  • $100 Marriott Bonvoy Property Credit: Enjoy your stay. Receive up to a $100 property credit for qualifying charges at The Ritz-Carlton® or St. Regis® when you book direct using a special rate for a two-night minimum stay using your Card.
  • Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®: Receive either a statement credit every 4 years after you apply for Global Entry ($100) or a statement credit every 4.5 years after you apply for a five-year membership for TSA PreCheck® (up to $85 through a TSA PreCheck official enrollment provider) and pay the application fee with your Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card. If approved for Global Entry, at no additional charge, you will receive access to TSA PreCheck.
  • Each calendar year with your Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card you can receive 25 Elite Night Credits toward the next level of Marriott Bonvoy® Elite status. Limitations apply per Marriott Bonvoy member account. Benefit is not exclusive to Cards offered by American Express. Terms apply.
  • Enroll in Priority Pass™ Select, which offers unlimited airport lounge visits to over 1,200 lounges in over 130 countries, regardless of which carrier or class you are flying. This allows you to relax before or between flights. You can enjoy snacks, drinks, and internet access in a quiet, comfortable location.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on international purchases.
  • With Cell Phone Protection, you can be reimbursed, the lesser of, your repair or replacement costs following damage, such as a cracked screen, or theft for a maximum of $800 per claim when your cell phone line is listed on a wireless bill and the prior month's wireless bill was paid by an Eligible Card Account. A $50 deductible will apply to each approved claim with a limit of 2 approved claims per 12-month period. Additional terms and conditions apply. Coverage is provided by New Hampshire Insurance Company, an AIG Company.
  • $650 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
Financial Snapshot
  • APR: 20.99%-29.99% Variable
  • Foreign Transaction Fees: None
Rewards Center

Marriott Bonvoy

Why We Like This Card for Active Military

  • Free hotel night certificate worth up to 50,000 points each card anniversary
  • Complimentary Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite status
  • 6x Marriott Bonvoy points at Marriott properties
  • 3x Marriott Bonvoy points at U.S. restaurants
  • Priority Pass Select membership with access to over 1,400 properties worldwide
  • Global Entry or TSA PreCheck reimbursement
  • Annual fee exemption (rates & fees)

If Marriott is your brand of choice, the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant card can deliver valuable benefits such as elevated earnings, Marriott Bonvoy elite status, reward hotel nights, airport lounge access, and more.

Bottom Line: The best American Express cards for active-duty military members will be those that have the highest fees and largest collection of associated benefits. For our recommendations of some of the additional best American Express cards for active military, you’ll want to check out our related article. 

Final Thoughts

If you can use the associated benefits any card has to offer without having to pay an annual fee, it makes sense to take advantage of the opportunity. It’s important to manage the card wisely, however, by paying the entire balance each statement period. Not doing so negates any benefits you may receive due to incurring interest charges.

American Express offers an excellent selection of cards that can provide valuable benefits to a military household. The best card for you specifically will be the one that matches your spending mix, has redemption options that make sense for you, and offers benefits that provide value for your situation.

For the purchase protection benefit of the Amex Gold card, this is an embedded benefit of your Card Membership and requires no enrollment. It can help protect Covered Purchases made on your Eligible Card when they’re accidentally damaged, stolen, or lost, for up to 90 days from the Covered Purchase date. The coverage is limited up to $10,000 per occurrence, up to $50,000 per Card Member account per calendar year. Coverage Limits Apply. Eligibility and Benefit level varies by Card. Terms, Conditions and Limitations Apply. Please visit americanexpress.com/benefitsguide for more details. Underwritten by AMEX Assurance Company.

For the extended warranty benefit of the Amex Gold card, when an American Express® Card Member charges a Covered Purchase to an Eligible Card, Extended Warranty§ can provide up to one extra year added to the Original Manufacturer’s Warranty. Applies to warranties of five (5) years or less. Coverage is up to the actual amount charged to your Card for the item up to a maximum of $10,000; not to exceed $50,000 per Card Member account per calendar year. Eligibility and Benefit level varies by Card. Terms, Conditions and Limitations Apply. Please visit americanexpress.com/benefitsguide for more details. Underwritten by AMEX Assurance Company.

The information regarding the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.

For rates and fees of the American Express® Gold Card, click here.
For rates and fees of The Platinum Card® from American Express, click here.
For rates and fees of The Business Platinum Card® from American Express, click here.
For rates and fees of Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card, click here.
For rates and fees of the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® card, click here.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is the American Express Gold Card free for military members?

American Express won’t charge the annual fee for qualifying active-duty military members and their spouses.

Can I have more than 1 American Express card with the annual fee removed for military?

Yes. You can have up to 4 credit cards and 10 charge cards with American Express at the same time, with fees potentially exempt, if you meet all the qualifications. American Express will forgo the annual fee on each card if you’re eligible as an active-duty military member.

Is the American Express Gold Card the best card for military members?

The Amex Gold card is a good card for earning on everyday spending, travel, and for travel redemptions. If premium travel benefits are important to you, the Amex Platinum card might be a better fit.

Will Amex waive the annual card fee if I'm a veteran?

No. There are no extended benefits for those who are not on active duty.

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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