Edited by: Juan Ruiz
& Keri Stooksbury
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If you’re currently serving on active duty in the military or have served, we salute you. Serving in the military brings with it major responsibilities, associated family sacrifices, and even financial challenges.
The financial challenges of military families, specifically, came to the forefront years ago and resulted in the government passing key legislation to help alleviate and restrict some of the more burdening lending practices affecting military members.
The laws, applying to financial transactions such as vehicle leases, payday loans, mortgages, and housing rights, also had a significant impact on how credit card practices, including fees and interest rates, were administered.
The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act of 2003 (SCRA) applies to accounts opened prior to active military service while the subsequent Military Lending Act (MLA) governs the limiting of fees and interest rates on debt acquired by active military members, their spouses, domestic partners, and child dependents (as defined in 38 USC 101(4)).
While credit card issuers must follow the law as written, they are also free to go above and beyond to offer additional concessions.
American Express is one of the credit card issuers that has embraced the purpose of the law and extended benefits beyond what is required by the legislation.
The Platinum Card® from American Express is one of the best examples of a value-added card that offers active military members an opportunity to enjoy hundreds, even thousands, of dollars in complimentary benefits. Be sure to note that terms apply and enrollment may be required, so explore your American Express account to ensure you’re getting the most out of your benefits.
Here’s an overview of the benefits offered to active-duty military members with the American Express Platinum card. If you decide to apply, we advise taking a look at the credit score requirements of the Amex Platinum card before pulling your credit.
This card is undoubtedly the #1 card for luxury travel benefits. From the best lounge access (of any card) to statement credits, to complimentary elite status, you can’t go wrong.
When it comes to cards that offer top-notch benefits, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better card out there 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 like 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.
The Amex Platinum card comes with tons of benefits a military traveler can utilize. Complimentary access to airport lounges worldwide, hotel elite status, and car rental privileges all make travel more comfortable.
A generous American Express welcome offer, a removal of the high annual fee (rates and fees), and statement credits for airline incidentals all result in extraordinary value for the active-duty military member.
There’s no doubt that the Amex Platinum is one of the best credit cards for military members. Here’s a review of the benefits offered by the Amex Platinum card and an estimate of the value, where possible, that you receive by having the card.
Welcome offers vary but you can count on a value of at least 1 cent per Membership Reward point when redeeming those bonus points for travel. This translates to at least $600 in travel if the welcome offer is 60,000 points, $1,000 for 100,000 points, and so forth.
You may receive additional value by transferring your Membership Rewards to Amex airline partners, but you should earn at least 1 center per point in redemptions. For our latest valuation, check out our credit card and miles valuations, which are updated monthly.
The annual fee of $695 is not charged for active military members, spouses, domestic partners, and child dependents (as defined in 38 USC 101(4)) (rates and fees). This is a huge saving that American Express offers to military members as a thank you for your service.
In addition to the annual fee, American Express will also not charge late and returned payment fees, over-limit fees, and statement copy request fees for active-duty military.
One of the most valuable benefits of having the Amex Platinum card is worldwide lounge access to more than 1,400 properties. For travelers, including active military, this translates to having a comfortable place to relax, grab a beverage, and have a bite to eat — all for simply being a cardmember.
The cardholder, plus 2 guests, can enjoy complimentary access to these lounge networks:
If we value a single Centurion Lounge visit at $50 (the cost of bringing a guest), you’d simply need to visit a Centurion Lounge 14 times a year to get that $700 in value. That’s 7 round trips, with visiting the lounge on both legs.
Adding an authorized user to your Amex Platinum card normally costs $195 (rates and fees). This fee is not charged for the active-duty military cardholder.
Authorized users receive full airport lounge access privileges, making it easy to gain access for your entire family.
Read all about the benefits of adding an authorized user to your Amex Platinum card for even more information.
It’s difficult to put a value on hotel elite status because the value you receive will depend on how frequently you stay at the associated hotel-branded property.
The Amex Platinum card comes with Marriott Bonvoy Gold elite status and Hilton Honors Gold status upon enrollment. Having elite status instantly qualifies you for perks such as upgraded rooms, late checkout, free Wi-Fi, and bonus earnings.
Receive complimentary National Emerald Club Executive status, Avis Preferred Plus status, and Hertz President’s Circle status (upon enrollment) just for having the Amex Platinum card. Benefits include vehicle upgrades, discounted rental rates, return time grace periods, no second driver fees, and more.
To ensure you’re getting the most of this benefit, dive into our guide on the Amex Platinum card’s car rental benefits.
Use your card to purchase seat upgrades, baggage fees, and other airline incidentals and receive a statement credit, up to a maximum of $200 per year. It can be a little intimidating to know how to utilize your airline credit, but here’s a guide to maximizing your airline credit to ensure you get the most out of this benefit.
You receive up to $15 in Uber Cash monthly, plus up to $20 bonus in December, for a total of up to $200 in Uber Cash per year. You can use this Uber Cash for U.S. Uber rides or U.S. Uber Eats orders for that month. You can even use this Uber Cash for multiple purchases — just remember that it doesn’t roll over month to month.
Travel becomes so much easier when you breeze through immigration and customs. Pay for your Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee with your Amex Platinum card and receive a statement credit reimbursement once every 4 years for Global Entry or every 4.5 years for TSA PreCheck. We suggest applying for Global Entry as it comes with TSA PreCheck.
Even if you don’t normally shop at Saks, it’s fun to splurge once or twice a year and use your shopping credit. Enroll via your online Amex Platinum card account and enjoy up to a $50 credit to be used between January and June and up to another $50 in credit to be used between July and December.
Receive up to $20 per month in the form of statement credits upon enrollment after charging select streaming services to your card.
Get up to $300 back each year on the Equinox+ digital fitness app, or eligible Equinox club memberships when you pay with your card after enrollment.
Get $12.95 per month towards a Walmart+ membership, whose benefits include free shipping and discounted gas prices.
Get up to $200 back in statement credits each year on prepaid Fine Hotels + Resorts or The Hotel Collection bookings, which require a minimum 2-night stay, through American Express Travel when you pay with your card.
Get $300 in statement credits each time you buy a SoulCycle bike.
Splurge a little at The Hotel Collection and receive hotel credit of up to $100 to use for qualifying purchases when staying 2 consecutive nights. You’ll also receive an upgraded room at check-in.
Fine Hotels & Resorts steps it up a notch with even more benefits. A minimum stay is not required so you can enjoy these benefits even during a 1-night stay.
Hot Tip: Learn more about these 2 hotel programs and the benefits provided in our comparison of the Hotel Collection and Fine Hotels & Resorts.
The Amex Platinum card comes with several additional benefits that could save you money.
Car Rental Loss and Damage Insurance — Pay for your rental car with your Amex Platinum card, refuse the car rental agency’s collision damage waiver coverage, and have secondary car rental coverage for damage or theft. This coverage is secondary to other car insurance.
American Express Auto Purchasing Program — The program could save you thousands on your next vehicle purchase.
Extended Warranty — The U.S. manufacturer’s warranty is extended by 2 years for qualifying items with less than a 5-year manufacturer’s warranty.
Purchase Protection — 120 days of protection (90 days for New York residents) is provided for damage, loss, or theft of qualifying items.
Cell Phone Protection — Receive up to $1,600 in cell phone protection (2 claims per year with up to $800 for each claim) against theft and damage. Each claim has a $50 deductible and your monthly phone bill should be paid with your Amex Platinum card to receive coverage.
This is not a complete list of additional card benefits and descriptions have been abbreviated. Full terms and conditions can be found in the Amex Platinum card guide to benefits.
American Express lists the following qualified individuals who are eligible to receive benefits:
Applying for the Amex Platinum card is simple — just click on the link in the card snapshot at the beginning of this article. You’ll need to enter your name as it appears on your military ID, your date of birth, address, telephone number, social security number, and income.
Under Income Source, you’ll want to select Military. American Express will then attempt to match your social security number to the DoD database and then apply the benefits automatically. If for any reason this does not happen automatically, you can request benefits after card approval.
Applying to receive SCRA benefits, which includes the annual fee removal on your Amex Platinum card, is simple. Just log into your Amex Platinum card account online and select Account Services at the top of the page. Then select Credit Management and choose SCRA Benefits.
You can upload any requested information after answering a few questions.
Additionally, you can request benefits via the following methods:
American Express will verify your information and then process the benefit, which can take up to several weeks.
You can also check your eligibility before you apply for the card.
The welcome bonus on the Amex Platinum card is earned after meeting minimum spending requirements within the first 3 months after card approval. For how to meet the minimum spending requirements, you may want to read our list of ideas — you’ll be surprised by a few.
Many of the benefits that come with the Amex Platinum card, such as Priority Pass Select membership, car rental privileges, and hotel elite status, require registration. You can register online by signing into your Amex Platinum card account and accessing the Benefits section.
Hot Tip: American Express issues over 60 credit/charge cards and does not charge all annual fees for active-duty military members.
While American Express has several cards that do not charge an annual fee, active military members will receive the most value from those that do.
You’ll find greater earning potential, flexible redemption options, luxury travel benefits, shopping and travel protections, and much more on cards that charge higher annual fees.
Here are a few of the additional American Express cards we recommend for active-duty military:
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 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 120,000 points. (This targeted offer was independently researched and may not be available to all applicants.)
If you have a small business, even a side hustle that brings in a modest amount of extra income, the Amex Business Platinum card could add tremendous value. Learn more about how the Amex Business Platinum card compares to the personal Amex Platinum card.
This is the go-to card for food lovers who dine out at restaurants and those who want big rewards at U.S. supermarkets!
The American Express® Gold Card is definitely 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 a number of other benefits of the Gold Card as well, including extra monthly dining rewards and more.
Hot Tip: Check to see if you’re eligible for a welcome bonus offer of up to 90,000 points with the Amex Gold card. The current public offer is 60,000 points. (This targeted offer was independently researched and may not be available to all applicants.)
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.
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.
For even more details about this card, explore the top benefits of the Hilton Aspire card.
Delta loyalists will love the fast track to Delta elite status, lounge access, baggage benefits, and upgrade priority with the Delta Reserve card.
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.
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.
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?
If you are anticipating entering active duty, currently on active duty, or know someone who is, consider sharing this information or taking advantage personally. The benefits offered by American Express for active military can potentially be worth thousands of dollars each year.
There are other credit card issuers who also offer credit card benefits to active-duty military personnel. To learn more about the best credit cards for active-duty military, start with our article that lists our favorites, including cards from other issuers.
For the Car Rental Loss and Damage Insurance benefit of The Platinum Card® from American Express, the benefit can provide coverage up to $75,000 for theft of or damage to most rental vehicles when you use your eligible Card to reserve and pay for the entire eligible vehicle rental and decline the collision damage waiver or similar option offered by the Commercial Car Rental Company. This product provides secondary coverage and does not include liability coverage. Not all vehicle types or rentals are covered. Geographic restrictions 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. Car Rental Loss or Damage Coverage is offered through American Express Travel Related Services Company, Inc.
For the Extended Warranty benefit of The Platinum Card® from American Express, -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.
For the Purchase Protection benefit of The Platinum Card® from American Express, 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 Cell Phone Protection benefit of The Platinum Card® from American Express, coverage for a Stolen or damaged Eligible Cellular Wireless Telephone is subject to the terms, conditions, exclusions and limits of liability of this benefit. The maximum liability is $800, per claim, per Eligible Card Account. Each claim is subject to a $50 deductible. Coverage is limited to two (2) claims per Eligible Card Account per 12 month period. Eligibility and Benefit level varies by Card. Terms, Conditions and Limitations Apply. Please visit americanexpress.com/benefitsguide for more details. Underwritten by New Hampshire Insurance Company, an AIG 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 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 the American Express® Gold Card, 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.
Yes, American Express does not charge credit card fees for active-duty military members.
Fees that are eligible include annual membership fees, over-limit fees, late payment fees, returned payment fees, and statement copy request fees.
Yes, you can have more than 1 American Express card. You can have as many as 5 American Express cards, but keep in mind there are other card issuers you may want to consider, such as Chase.
Chase has a 5/24 rule that you cannot have acquired more than 5 credit cards in the past 24 months and get approved for one of their cards.
Also, if you do apply for more than 1 American Express card, there is a limit of 2 within a 90-day period so space out your applications accordingly.
Yes. American Express does not charge fees for the spouse of an active-duty member of the Armed Forces.
You can call the number on the back of your card, go online to your credit card account, fax in your information, or mail it in.
The easiest way is to call 800-253-1720 to start the process. You can also log in to your Amex Platinum card account online, select Account Services, then Credit Management, then SCRA Benefits.
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