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Amex Platinum Card: Benefits for National Guard Members & Reservists [2024]

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Are you in the National Guard or Reserve and interested in points and miles? Perhaps you’ve heard whispers of card issuers waiving annual fees for those on active duty or capped interest rates on certain credit cards. Although these rules don’t generally apply if you’re not activated, the situation changes when those orders come down.

Let’s talk about The Platinum Card® from American Express and other card options to consider, as well as when you’re entitled to take advantage of the benefits offered by the MLA and SCRA.

Are Military Members Charged Credit Card Fees?

This is probably your biggest question — and for a good reason. If you’ve been in the military for a while, you’ve probably heard a thing or two about the Military Lending Act (MLA) and the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA). These 2 laws dictate how card issuers manage military member accounts, including what types of interest rates they can charge and the fees they can assess.

American Express is one of the more generous card issuers regarding how it applies these laws. This means that it will do quite a lot for you, including not charging annual fees, late payment fees, over-limit fees, and returned payment fees.

Amex will also cap the interest rate of your card at different levels depending on when you acquired it:

  • 6% cap if the card is acquired before becoming active duty
  • 36% cap if the card is acquired after becoming active duty

So, what happens if you’re in the National Guard or a member of the Reserve and want to take advantage of these benefits? The bad news is that you won’t be able to do so without becoming active duty.

However, if your unit gets activated or you otherwise acquire orders to become active duty, you qualify for the Military Lending Act (MLA) advantages.

You’ll be an active-duty service member when you get orders to deploy or complete annual training. Note that for Amex to apply this, you must have orders lasting at least 30 days.

Our Favorite Benefits of the Amex Platinum Card

The Amex Platinum card has various benefits for its cardholders upon enrollment, including statement credits, airport lounge access, hotel elite status, and more. As a top-tier travel card, the Amex Platinum card usually charges a $695 annual fee (see rates & fees). That’s steep for anyone, especially if you can’t take advantage of the benefits.

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.

The Platinum Card® from American Express

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

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

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

Pros

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

Cons

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

Financial Snapshot

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

Card Categories

Rewards Center

American Express Membership Rewards

However, eligible active duty military members won’t be charged the annual fee. And if you’re active in the Reserve or the National Guard, that includes you.

So, what do you get with such a large annual fee?

Card Earnings

  • 5x points on flights purchased directly with the airline or with AmexTravel.com (up to $500,000 per year)
  • 5x points on prepaid hotels booked with AmexTravel.com
  • 1x points on all other purchases

Statement Credits

  • Up to $200 airline incidental credit (good towards items like baggage fees, seat selection fees, etc., upon enrollment)
  • Up to $200 Uber Cash credit ($15 per month and $20 bonus in December)
  • Up to $240 digital entertainment credit ($20 per month)
  • Up to $200 prepaid hotel credit on prepaid Fine Hotels + Resorts or The Hotel Collection bookings through AmexTravel.com, which requires a minimum 2-night stay
  • Up to $155 Walmart+ credit (offers same-day delivery and complimentary shipping on orders)
  • Up to $300 Equinox credit annually
  • Up to $100 Saks Fifth Avenue credit ($50 from January to June and $50 from July to December)
  • Up to $189 CLEAR Plus credit
  • Either up to $100 Global Entry credit or up to $85 TSA PreCheck credit

Travel Benefits

Bottom Line:

As you can see, there are plenty of good reasons to get an Amex Platinum card, especially if you can maximize its benefits. As it stands, the credits you’ll receive each year outweigh the annual fee. That said, if you’re a member of the Reserve or the National Guard, there are times when it’ll be better to open a card than others.

When To Get an Amex Platinum Card

Are you already in the Reserve or National Guard but have orders to go active?

Since Amex won’t charge the annual fee if you’re on active duty, it may make sense to open the card once you’ve been activated. This is especially true if your orders are for a longer period of time, as the rule applies as long as you’re actively serving. However, when you return to the Reserve or standard National Guard duty, you’ll no longer be entitled to these benefits.

Getting Your Annual Fee Removed

First, you’ll need to contact Amex to not charge the fee.

There are 2 ways this can be done. The first is if you’re opening a new card while on active orders. During the application, you can select your employment from a drop-down box. Choose Military and Amex will auto-apply it if it can match your information to the DoD database.

Amex Application Military
Image Credit: American Express

If you already have an Amex Platinum card and have received orders to activate, you’ll request your benefits from within your American Express account. This can be done after you’ve logged in and under the Account Services tab.

Amex SCRA Request
Image Credit: American Express

Who Else Doesn’t Get Annual Fees Charged?

Under the Military Lending Act (MLA), additional cardholders of eligible military members won’t be charged the annual fees. According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), those that are eligible for rights under the MLA include:

  • The active-duty service member
  • Their spouse
  • Their dependents

This means that if you’re married, your significant other is also apply to apply for relief with the MLA. All late, returned payment, and over-limit fees will be removed, as will their annual fee. And since the Amex Platinum card rings in at an astounding $695 per year, doubling that can result in huge benefits for you and your family.

Enrolling in Amex Platinum Card Benefits

Once you’ve been approved for the Amex Platinum card, you’ll want to jump right on its benefits. Some of these, such as the statement credits, will apply automatically when you make a purchase. Others require you to enroll before you’ll be able to take advantage. To do so, you’ll first want to log in to your American Express account. At the top of your account, you’ll see the Rewards and Benefits tab for your card.

Amex Plat benefit dashboard
Image Credit: American Express

Click Rewards and Benefits, then click Benefits at the far right of the page, which will take you to the dashboard for all your cards’ benefits. Here you’ll be able to see all the things the card provides. You’ll also see where you can enroll in each benefit.

Amex Plat Equinox benefit
Image Credit: American Express

You must do this before making any purchases. If you don’t, you won’t receive the benefits you’re entitled to. For example, here’s what it looks like when enrolling in the Equinox credit offered by the Amex Platinum card:

Amex card Equinox credit
Image Credit: Equinox

In addition to many of the previously mentioned statement credits and travel benefits, many of the Amex Platinum card’s perks are offered upon enrollment, including ShopRunner membership, Wheels Up Connect and Core membership discounts, and the American Express MyCredit Guide.

Other Cards To Consider

We’ve thoroughly covered the Amex Platinum card and how it works for those in the Reserve and National Guard, but what about other cards? After all, American Express has a huge lineup of credit cards for its members, including co-branded credit cards from top hotels and airlines. And American Express isn’t the only card issuer that won’t charge the annual fee for military members: Both Chase and Citi do as well.

With that in mind, here are some top options for active National Guard or active Reserve members to consider acquiring.

Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card

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.

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 180,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points with the Hilton Aspire card from American Express after you use your new card to make $6,000 in eligible purchases within the first 6 months of card membership.
180,000 points
$900
$550
20.74% - 29.74% 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
  • Complimentary Hilton Diamond status
  • Up to $400 in annual statement credits on purchases with participating Hilton Resorts (up to $200 in statement credits semi-annually)
  • Up to $200 back annually on eligible flight purchases (up to $50 in statement credits each quarter)
  • 1 Free Weekend Night Award each cardmember anniversary
  • $100 credit at Waldorf Astoria and Conrad properties

Cons

  • High annual fee of $550
  • Earn 180,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points with the Hilton Aspire card from American Express after you use your new card to make $6,000 in eligible purchases within the first 6 months of card membership. Plus, enjoy a free Weekend Night Reward within your first year and every year after renewal.
  • 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 all other eligible 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: 20.74% - 29.74% Variable
  • Foreign Transaction Fees: None

Card Categories

How often do you stay in hotels? If the answer is “at least once per year,” the Hilton Aspire card is worth grabbing, especially while the annual fee isn’t charged. Normally charging $550 per year, the card comes with a host of premium benefits for its cardholders, including:

If you’re unfamiliar with hotel elite status, it can provide high-end benefits such as complimentary breakfast, room upgrades, early check-in, late checkout, and more. This is true at Hilton, where Diamond elite status grants you rooms up to 1-bedroom suites. The card can easily get you thousands of dollars in value each year.

For example, the Free Night Award you’ll receive each year is valid at almost all Hilton properties, even the most expensive. This includes ultra-luxurious options such as the Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi, where a standard room sprawls out over 3,000 square feet and costs more than $2,000 per night:

Waldorf Astoria Maldives room reward
Image Credit: Hilton

The Hilton resort statement credit is also highly valuable since it can be used for room rates at qualifying resorts. Combine this with a stay using your Free Night Award, and you’ll have a great weekend on your hands!

Citi®/AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard®

Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard®

Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard®

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.

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.

Learn More(at our partner's secure site)

Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard®

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.
Earn 70,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after spending $7,000 within the first 3 months of account opening.
70,000 miles
$980
$595
21.24% - 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 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.

Pros

  • Earn 70,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after spending $7,000 within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Earn 10 miles per $1 spent on eligible car rentals booked through aa.com/cars
  • Earn 10 miles per $1 spent on eligible hotels booked through aa.com/hotels
  • Earn 4 miles per $1 spent on eligible American Airlines purchases
  • After you spend $150,000 in purchases in a calendar year, earn a total of 5 miles per $1 spent on eligible American Airlines purchases for the remainder of the year
  • Earn 1 per $1 spent on other purchases
  • Admirals Club® membership for you and access for up to two guests or immediate family members traveling with you
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases
  • Earn a 10,000 Loyalty Point bonus after reaching 50,000 Loyalty Points in a status qualification year. Earn another 10,000 Loyalty Point bonus after reaching 90,000 Loyalty Points in the same status qualification year
  • Earn 1 Loyalty Point for every 1 eligible AAdvantage® mile earned from purchases
  • First checked bag is free on domestic American Airlines itineraries for you and up to 8 companions traveling with you on the same reservation

Cons

  • $595 annual fee
  • Doesn’t earn many miles on all other eligible purchases
  • Earn 70,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after spending $7,000 within the first 3 months of account opening.
  • Admirals Club® membership for you and access for up to two guests or immediate family members traveling with you
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases
  • Earn 1 Loyalty Point for every 1 eligible AAdvantage® mile earned from purchases
  • First checked bag is free on domestic American Airlines itineraries for you and up to 8 companions traveling with you on the same reservation

Financial Snapshot

  • APR: 21.24% - 29.99% Variable
  • Foreign Transaction Fees:

Card Categories

Rewards Center

American Airlines AAdvantage Frequent Flyer Program

The Amex Platinum card comes with great lounge access options, especially if you’re flying internationally, but it can fall a little short for domestic travel. This is especially true if you’re not often on a Delta flight (since the Amex Platinum card grants you access to Delta Sky Clubs if you fly on a same-day Delta ticket).

However, you can keep all your bases covered with the AAdvantage Executive World Elite card, which includes complimentary Admirals Club access whenever you fly with American Airlines. You’ll also receive:

  • Priority boarding
  • Complimentary checked bag for you and up to 8 traveling companions
  • Priority check-in and priority airport screening
  • 25% savings on inflight food and beverage purchases
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee credit

Citi does not charge the $595 annual fee for those who are on active duty, so by getting this card, you’ll snag yourself a complimentary lounge membership!

United Club℠ Infinite Card

United Club℠ Infinite Card

United Club℠ Infinite 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.

Perfect for frequent United flyers who want premium perks like United Club access and free baggage benefits.

Learn More(at Chase's secure site)

United Club℠ Infinite Card

Perfect for frequent United flyers who want premium perks like United Club access and free baggage benefits.
Earn 80,000 bonus miles after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
Earn 80,000 bonus miles
$960
$525
21.99% - 28.99% 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.
Excellent (740-850)

The United Club℠ Infinite Card is a premium card designed for the most dedicated of United frequent flyers who are looking for a card that provides the opportunity to earn extra United MileagePlus miles and receive lounge access via a yearly United Club membership.

United frequent flyers will find that the United Club Infinite card provides an enhanced experience on their United flights thanks to the money saved on each flight and the conveniences it provides.

Pros

  • 4x miles per $1 on United purchases
  • 2x miles per $1 on travel and dining purchases
  • Complimentary United Club membership
  • Free first and second checked bag for you and 1 traveling companion
  • United Premier Access
  • 25% back on United inflight purchases
  • Complimentary Premier Upgrades on United-operated award tickets (when available)
  • Expanded award availability
  • Up to 10,000 Premier Qualifying Points
  • $100 Global Entry/TSA PreCheck/NEXUS credit
  • Trip protections like trip delay insurance, lost and delayed luggage insurance, and rental car insurance
  • Shopping protections like return protection, purchase protection, and extended warranty protection
  • IHG One Rewards Platinum Elite status and a $75 annual credit
  • Avis President’s Club elite status
  • 10% discount on United Economy Saver Awards within the continental U.S. and Canada

Cons

  • $525 annual fee
  • Does not earn transferable rewards
  • Earn 80,000 bonus miles after qualifying purchases
  • Earn 4 miles per $1 spent on United® purchases
  • Earn 2 miles per $1 spent on all other travel and dining
  • Earn 1 mile per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Free first and second checked bags - a savings of up to $320 per roundtrip (terms apply) - and Premier Access® travel services
  • 10% United Economy Saver Award discount within the continental U.S. and Canada
  • Earn up to 10,000 Premier qualifying points (25 PQP for every $500 you spend on purchases)
  • Member FDIC

Financial Snapshot

  • APR: 21.99% - 28.99% Variable
  • Foreign Transaction Fees: None

Card Categories

The high-end card for United flyers, the United Club Infinite card functions much like the AAdvantage Executive World Elite card, providing a complimentary United Club lounge membership to cardholders. This can be great for those situated in United hubs such as Newark (EWR) and Chicago (ORD). Other benefits include:

  • Complimentary first and second checked bag for you and 1 traveling companion
  • 25% back on United inflight purchases
  • Complimentary Premier Upgrades on United-operated award tickets (when available)
  • Expanded award availability
  • Up to 3,000 Premier Qualifying Points
  • Up to $100 Global Entry, TSA PreCheck, or NEXUS credit
  • $70 discount on CLEAR membership, plus 10,000 bonus miles
  • IHG One Rewards Platinum Elite status and a $75 annual credit
  • Avis Preferred President’s Club elite status
  • 10% discount on United Economy Saver Awards within the continental U.S. and Canada

As you can see, this card is highly rewarding to its cardholders and even includes complimentary elite status with both IHG (hotels) and Avis (rental cars). Chase waives the $525 annual fee for active duty military — including folks with active orders.

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

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

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

Learn More(at Chase's secure site)

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

A top player in the high-end premium travel credit card space that earns 3x points on travel and dining while offering top luxury perks.
Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $900 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Travel.
60,000 points
$1,200
$550
22.49%-29.49% 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.
Excellent (740-850)

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

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

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

Pros

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

Cons

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

Financial Snapshot

  • APR: 22.49%-29.49% Variable
  • Foreign Transaction Fees: None

Card Categories

Rewards Center

Chase Ultimate Rewards

Our last recommendation on the list is a favorite for most travelers, whether or not they’re in the military. That’s because the Chase Sapphire Reserve card provides an excellent opportunity to earn Chase Ultimate Rewards and an annual travel credit that helps cut down on the $550 annual fee. Here are some of the best Chase Sapphire Reserve card military benefits that you can expect to find:

  • 10x points on car rentals, hotels, and dining booked via the Chase Travel portal
  • 10x points on Lyft purchases through March 31, 2023
  • 10x points on Peloton equipment and accessory purchases over $250 through March 31, 2025
  • 5x points on airfare booked via the Chase Travel portal
  • 3x points on all other travel and dining purchases; 1x point on all other purchases
  • $300 annual travel credit
  • Priority Pass airport lounge access
  • TSA PreCheck, Global Entry, or NEXUS credit
  • Access to Chase Luxury Hotel and Resort Collection
  • Rental car elite status with National and Avis

The annual travel credit applies to a wide variety of purchases, including hotels, airfare, transit, rental cars, cruises, and more.

Hot Tip:

The Priority Pass Select membership provided by the Chase Sapphire Reserve card is one of the best. Unlike Amex, Chase’s cards include access to non-lounge experiences with Priority Pass, such as restaurants (where you’ll get a $28 credit per person) and spas (where you’ll get complimentary massages).

Final Thoughts

Those who serve deserve a few extra benefits, and it’s nice to see card issuers giving back. While it’s only possible to receive annual fee exemptions for those on active orders, National Guard and Reserve members qualify for the same Military Lending Act (MLA) benefits as their peers while actively serving. This is true for all card issuers, including American Express, Chase, and Citi, and can lead to huge savings each year.

If you’re in the National Guard or the Reserve and you’re considering an Amex Platinum card, make sure to consider it carefully when you apply. If you have upcoming orders, it may be worth pausing your application until your unit becomes active. After that, feel free to apply — and enjoy!

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.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which Amex card is complimentary for military?

American Express does not charge all annual fees for its consumer credit and charge cards. This even includes high-end options such as the Amex Platinum card and the Hilton Aspire card.

How do I get my annual fee waived by Chase in the military?

If you qualify for Military Lending Act (MLA) benefits and want Chase to waive your annual credit card fees, you’ll want to contact the card issuer directly. It can then verify your information and waive the annual fees for you.

Is the Amex Platinum card fee waived for military?

Yes! American Express does not charge the Amex Platinum card’s annual fee if you’re active duty military. This is also true if you’re in the National Guard or Reserve as long as you have active orders lasting longer than 30 days.

Can I get my credit card fees waived if I'm in the National Guard or Reserve?

If your unit gets activated or you otherwise acquire orders to become active duty, you qualify for the Military Lending Act (MLA) advantages.  You’ll be an active-duty service member when you get orders to deploy or complete annual training. Note that for Amex to apply the exemption, you must have orders lasting at least 30 days.
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About Carissa Rawson

Carissa served in the U.S. Air Force where she developed her love for travel and new cultures. She started her own blog and eventually joined The Points Guy. Since then, she’s contributed to Business Insider, Forbes, and more.

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