American Express Waives Fees for Military

I have heard (and researched to death) that American Express waives annual fees for active duty military folks.  If American Express has a card that is right for you, then this would be a great way to get the benefits without having to pay their often hefty annual fees.

American Express has changed its overall strategy over the last few years, and it now offers a wide range of cards that fit almost every need.  Keep in mind that historically, American Express cards have been charge cards, not credit cards.  A charge card requires the balance to be paid in full each month.  A credit card has a provision for the balance to be rolled over to the next month.  While American Express now offers both charge and credit cards, you must be absolutely sure that the card you choose is the right card for you.

Another issue with American Express is interest rates.  If you choose a charge card, their interest rates are not great.  In fast, some serious card shoppers might say that they are terrible.  So, if you do ever carry a balance, these are not the cards on which to do it.

As I write this, I can see that this “no fee for military” is really only a good value for a certain type of customer:  one who pays their bill in full each month and can get good benefits from a particular card.  This might include certain rewards programs or other benefits.

As of this writing, I have not been able to verify whether this offer is available to National Guard or reservists.  If you have experience with this, please tell us in the comments.

Thanks to Sarah, for pointing out that I failed to tell you HOW to get this benefit. As far as I know, you just call customer service and request it. I’ve even heard that you can get it refunded for prior years. How cool is that?

About the Author

Kate Horrell
Kate Horrell is a military financial coach, mom of four teens, and Navy spouse. She has a background in taxes and mortgage banking, and a trove of experience helping other military families with their money. Follow her on twitter @realKateHorrell.
  • Sarah

    How do I get this? We have a Delta Gold AMEX that I pay off each month but has a $95 fee. (Yes, it’s worth it. Even if we just fly once the card negates the baggage we can check free with the card.)

    • Kate

      Oops, I should have said. Apparently, you just call and request it. I’ve even heard that you can get past years refunded. It doesn’t hurt to ask. Please let me know your results!

      • Sarah

        I just called, they need the service members basic training report date and approximate discharge date. She said they will review and contact me back but that should be it. I wish I knew this 4 years ago!

    • guest

      If you fly pretty much any other airline than delta (US air, AA, frontier, Airtran) they waive baggage fees for active duty anyway. Delta is the only one that doesn’t waive fees for recreational travel for active duty.

      • sarah

        Actually, they do. Its on their website. But I’m not in the military, my husband is. Delta also offers the best military discount on their vacation packages. And if you’re ever stationed at Fort Bragg, Delta is one of two airlines flying out of Fayetteville.

        • guest

          Hubs flew Delta 2 weeks ago, without orders they refused to waive the baggage fees, they did the same thing on our wedding 5 years ago, and when he came back from Iraq with 9 tons of hand carry equipment…even with orders, they wouldn’t waive more than 2 bags, and we lived in GA at the time, their home base in Atlanta he was flying into after landing from his overseas flight in Maine. I’ve had US and AA waive with a dependent ID, though I think it’s largely dependent on the counter agent though.

          Deltas own baggage page says they only waive the fee if you are travelling on orders.

          • guest

            And I do a lot of work down by you, so I fly in there once or twice a month usually, US, AA, and airtran all run flights to the airport.

  • Major (Ret) Mike P

    It is true, we heard about this in South Korea and I called AMEX to confirm. A caveat, if you are a military member and travel a lot (TDY) see if you qualify for the Platinum Card because then you get some programs like Priority Pass and Platinum also gives you free access to Delta Sky Club on it’s own merit. Makes those layovers alot more bearable.

  • Pete Vantell

    AT&T offers Military discounts for Active and Veterans.

  • Victor Chernobieff

    Why can’t former military vets enjoy the benefits of this program? Making me feel like a second class citizen.

    • guest

      Because the fee waiver falls under the SCRA law, which is the only reason they offer it, and SCRA only pertains to active duty members. To get the fee waiver with AMEX they have to put you in as a request for SCRA and confirm duty status with the military.