Best Credit Cards For Military

Millennial Money has partnered with CardRatings and creditcards.com for our coverage of credit card products. Millennial Money, CardRatings and creditcards.com may receive a commission from card issuers. This site does not include all financial companies or financial offers.

As an active-duty member of the military, you could get a lot of special benefits and credit card perks.best credit cards for military

The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA), enacted in 2003, was designed to give active-duty U.S. military members financial relief and protections.

SCRA benefits are available to active-duty members of the seven uniformed services branches. Reservists and the National Guard can also get relief when serving on active orders.

What does SCRA have to do with credit cards? It requires lenders to cap interest rate charges at 6% for loans existing before active duty. This includes:

Any existing interest charges over the 6% limit must be forgiven. It also waives various fees and service charges.

Many credit cards offer other benefits specifically for members of the military, often beyond the SCRA requirements.

Visit the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act website for more details on benefits and qualifications.

Here are the best credit cards available for military members right now.

9 Best Credit Cards for Military

Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express: Best Cash Back Card

Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express
  • earn $250 statement credit after spending $1,000 in the first 3 months
  • Sign-up Bonus: $250 cash back after spending $1,000 in the first three months
  • Earning Potential: 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 in purchases per year and 1% after that, 6% cash back on streaming services, 3% cash back at U.S. gas stations and transit purchases, 1% cash back on other purchases
  • Annual Fee: $95

Qualifying active-duty service members can enjoy the rewards and perks from the Blue Cash Preferred Card without paying the annual fee. The annual fee is waived for those approved for SCRA benefits.

This Amex card has excellent cash back rates in popular spending categories. Plus, you can earn a $250 cash back bonus after spending $1,000 in the first three months.

Don’t plan on using this credit card when traveling out of the country, though. It carries a 2.7% foreign transaction fee.

Pro Tip: Check out all of our Best Cash Back Credit Cards for 2020.

 

The Platinum Card® from American Express: Best Travel Card

the platinum card from american express
  • 5X the points on eligible hotel and flight purchases
  • Sign-up Bonus: 60,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $5,000 within the first three months from account opening
  • Earning Potential: 5X points on eligible hotels and flight purchases, 1X on other purchases
  • Annual Fee: $550

The Platinum Card offers premium travel perks. It has one of the highest credit card annual fees at $550, but this fee is waived for SCRA-approved military members!

Besides earning 5X Membership Rewards points on select travel purchases, you also receive:

  • $200 airline credit for baggage fees and other expenses
  • Monthly Uber credits
  • $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre-check application fees
  • No foreign transaction fees

Please note that the Platinum Card is a charge card, not a credit card. This means you’ll need to pay your entire balance in full every month.

Pro Tip: Check out all of our Best Travel Rewards Credit Cards for 2020.

 

Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card: Best Sign-Up Bonus

Capital One Venture Rewards credit card
  • Sign-up Bonus: 50,000 bonus miles when you spend $3,000 in the first three months from account opening
  • Earning Potential: Unlimited 2X miles on all purchases
  • Annual Fee: $95, waived the first year

The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card delivers on value with a massive 50,000-mile sign-up bonus, worth $500 in travel. It also has unlimited 2X earning power on all purchases.

Under SCRA, you’ll never pay the $95 annual fee, and Venture Rewards also carries no foreign transaction fees.

Military members who love to travel and earn big rewards will love this Capital One credit card.

Learn More: Check out our complete Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card Review.

 

navy federal credit union credit card

  • Sign-up Bonus: None
  • Earning Potential: None
  • Annual Fee: $0, but requires membership to Navy Federal Credit Union

The Navy Federal Credit Union Platinum Credit Card lacks the rewards found with other credit cards on this list. That’s because it serves another purpose. This credit card is designed to help military members gain control of their finances. It is the best balance transfer card you will find.

It has no annual fees, balance transfer fees, foreign transaction fees, or cash advance fees. If you have existing credit card debt, move it over to this card and enjoy introductory 0% APR on balance transfer for 12 months. Transfer requests must occur within the first 30 days from card opening to qualify.

Pro Tip: Check out all of our Best Balance Transfer Cards for 2020.

 

USAA Cashback Rewards Plus American Express® Card: Best Base & Gas Card

cashback rewards plus usaa amex

  • Sign-up Bonus: None
  • Earning Potential: 5% cash back on your first $3,000 in combined gas and qualifying military base purchase and 1% cash back after that, 2% cash back on your first $3,000 of supermarket purchases and 1% after that, Unlimited 1% cash back on other purchases
  • Annual Fee: $0, but must be a USAA member to apply

USAA’s cash back credit card is great for military members because it offers the best earning rates for military base purchases. You can also earn rewards for gas purchases and groceries.

USAA Cashback Rewards Plus American Express Card has no annual fee and no foreign transaction fees.

Another valuable perk is that USAA goes above and beyond for active military. This card has a special SCRA rate of 4% APR on your existing balance during qualifying periods of active duty.

Pro Tip: Check out all of our Best Gas Credit Cards for 2020.

 

USAA® Rate Advantage Visa Platinum® Card: Best Low-Interest Card

usaa rate advantage visa platinum card

  • Sign-up Bonus: None
  • Earning Potential: None
  • Annual Fee: $0, but must be a USAA member to apply

The USAA Rate Advantage Visa Platinum Card is the best low-interest card for military members. You must be a USAA member to qualify for the card. Purchases, cash advances, and balance transfers all have the same variable low variable rates. Balance transfers and cash advances do carry a 3% fee, though.

This USAA credit card also qualifies for the 4% SCRA rate on existing balances during qualifying periods of active duty.

Pro Tip: Check out all of our Best 0% APR Credit Cards for 2020.

 

Citi Rewards+℠ Card: Best Active Duty Card

citi rewards plus
  • Sign-up Bonus: 15,000 points after $1,000 spending in 3 months
  • Earning Potential: 2X points on groceries and gas for the first $6,000 and 1X points after that, 1X points for everyday spending. Also, points round up to the nearest 10.
  • Annual Fee: $0

The Citi Rewards+ Card rewards qualifying active military members with 0% APR on existing balances, way lower than SCRA requirements. You must have opened your Citi card prior to active duty to qualify.

This Citi card is also good for rewards earning on gas and grocery purchases and has no annual fee. Foreign Transaction fees are 3%, though.

Another reason to love this credit card is that it’s the only card that rounds up points. Points earned on all purchases, big and small,  are rounded up to the nearest ten points. If you spend a dollar at the base, it’s rounded up to ten points. Think about the rewards earning potential just from simple, everyday purchases like coffee, a pack of gum, or running to the store for milk.

Cardholders earn 15,000 ThankYou points after spending $1,000 on purchases in the first three months. Citi Rewards+ also gives you back 10% of your first 100,000 points redeemed annually.

 

Navy Federal Credit Union nRewards® Secured Credit Card: Best Credit Repair Card

navy federal nrewards credit card

  • Sign-up Bonus: None
  • Earning Potential: 1X points on all purchases
  • Annual Fee: $0

The Navy Federal nRewards Secured Credit Card allows military members to earn rewards while building credit. Secured credit cards are designed for people with damaged or no credit. It’s called a secured card because you secure it with a deposit instead of a credit check.

This particular card requires a $200 or more deposit (before applying). These funds become your credit line. Your deposit is placed on hold and earns dividends, similar to a savings account.

As you use the card for purchases and responsibly pay off your bill, Navy Federal reports your payments to the three major credit bureaus. Starting at six months, Navy Federal performs monthly reviews to see if you are ready to upgrade to a cashRewards unsecured credit card. At this time, your hold will be removed.

Navy Federal nRewards Secured Credit Card earns 1X points on all purchases. It’s rare to find secured credit cards that earn rewards.

Pro Tip: Check out all of our Best Secured Credit Cards for 2020.

 

The Military Star® Card: Best Base Discount Card

military star card

  • Sign-up Bonus: 10% off your first day’s purchases upon card approval
  • Earning Potential: 2X points on qualifying purchases at exchange facilities, Armed Forces Recreation Center resort hotels, and online at shopmyexchange.com, myNavyExchange.com, and ShopCGX.com.
  • Annual Fee: $0

The Military Star Card is exclusively for military members and their families. While it’s rewards may not be exciting to the average person, military personnel understands its benefits.

Most of its rewards and perks lie in on-base discounts. When you open a card, you get 10% off your first day’s purchases. Cardholders earn 2X points per dollar spent at shopping exchanges, Armed Forces Recreation Center resort hotels, and select online exchange stores.

Points can be cashed in for exchange gift cards, and the minimum redemption is 2000 points for a $20 gift card. Also, points expire every year in February.

Other perks include five cents off fuel, free shipping at online exchange stores, and 10% off AAFES food court purchases. Cardholders also receive a personal dividend with the Military Stars Rewards Program.

Military Credit Card FAQs

Which credit cards waive the annual fee for Military?

Chase, American Express, Citi, Barclays, and Capital One are known for waiving annual fees for military service members. Some cards require SCRA approval before waiving fees for military members. Other cards are more generous and waive fees for military spouses, too. Because fee waiver requirements differ and are not published, we recommend calling the issuer to inquire about the specific policies for the card you’re interested in.

Does Mastercard waive the annual fee for Military?

Some Mastercard credit cards will waive annual fees for military. Check with your credit card issuer on restrictions before applying for any new credit cards.

Is Amex Platinum free for Military?

The Platinum Card from American Express has a $550 annual fee. This fee is waived for SCRA-approved military members.

Is USAA a good credit card?

USAA credit cards are designed with military members in mind. As a result, the company is quite accustomed to helping customers with the unique situations that arise within military life and during deployments. Although USAA may be the only company that issues credit cards specifically for military members, it’s worth noting that other major issuers offer benefits to military members during deployment.

So, Should You Sign Up For A Military Credit Card?

If you are in the military, take advantage of special rewards and perks that are exclusive to military members.

The ability to have expensive annual fees waived makes them even more valuable. Use our list above to find the right military credit card for you.

What’s your favorite military credit card to use? Let us know in the comments.

 

Additional Disclosures: Millennial Money has partnered with CardRatings and creditcards.com for our coverage of credit card products. Millennial Money, CardRatings and creditcards.com may receive a commission from card issuers. This site does not include all financial companies or financial offers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

In This Article