Best For Airlines: United Explorer Card
Earn 60,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open. Plus, an additional 10,000 bonus miles after you spend $6,000 in the first 6 months.
|$0 for the first year, then $95|
|Rewards Earning Rate||Earn 2 miles per $1 spent on dining, eligible delivery services, on hotel stays, and on United purchases. Enjoy priority boarding privileges and visit the United ClubSM with 2 one-time passes each year for your anniversary.|
|Balance Transfer Fee||Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.|
|Foreign transaction fee|
- Pros & Cons
The United Explorer Card offers the highest value per mile earned of any airline credit card, and miles can be redeemed in multiple ways, including for flights with participating member airlines in its Star Alliance, one of the largest global airline partnerships. The compelling introductory bonus really adds to the value of the card because of the high value placed on redeeming those points with United. The $95 annual fee is waived the first year and the card does not charge foreign transaction fees, making it great for international travel.
Special benefits every time you fly United
Several travel benefits and protections
Fewer free checked bags than with some competing airline cards
Best Hotel Rewards Card
The best Hotel Rewards card for active-duty military is without a doubt the Hilton Aspire Card® from American Express. This card rewards your spending with Hotel Rewards instead of Miles, general Points, or Cash-back. The biggest difference between the Aspire Card and the Platinum Card is the Hilton Aspire Card earns Rewards Points that are specifically used for free stays at Hilton properties. These properties include Hampton Inn, Hilton Garden Inn, Doubletree by Hilton, Homewood Suites, Home2Suites, Embassy Suites, Curio by Hilton, Conrad, and Waldorf Astoria.
Hilton is the official partner of American Express. If you arent a Hilton guy, then I suggest you become one, because while there are plenty other Hotel Rewards cards out there for other hotel chains, they likely dont waive the annual fee like American Express or have as many benefits as this card.
Speaking of fees, this card has a $450 annual fee, but as always, this fee is waived for Active Duty Military. Again, this a credit card, not a charge card, so dont carry a balance.
Chase Military Lending Act
Chase updated their military policy on September 20, 2017 to comply with the Military Lending Act. Any account opened AFTER Sep 20, 2017 is eligible for the Chase military fee waiver.
I recently opened a Chase IHG Premier card and received my MLA fee waiver letter from Chase before I even received the card. When my wife opened up her Sapphire Reserve card, she also received the Chase MLA letter the same day she got her cards.
Here’s a scan copied the MLA letter I received. You can click on the image to see a PDF copy:
The text of the letter says:
Update: We Applied MLA benefits to your account
Your account is eligible for benefits under the Military Lending Act and Chase policy .
We applied these benefits to your account:
- Your Military Annual Percentage Rate won’t be more than 36%
- If you have a promotional or introductory rate, you’ll keep it for the existing balances until it expires
- Your contract rate won’t be impacted and will remain as outlined in your Cardmember Agreement
- We won’t charge you fees, other than late fees an non-sufficient fund fees, if applicable
If you have any questions, please call our Military Specialists anytime at 1-800-235-9978. If you’re overseas, call us collect at 1-318-340-3308.
Thank you for your business and your service to our country,
Chase Military Specialists are available to discuss MLA benefits on the Chase Military Hotline at 1-800-235-9978 or from overseas 1-318-340-3308.
- Learn more in the Chase Sapphire Reserve review
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Best Credit Cards For Veterans Who Have Small Businesses
Business owners know that keeping personal and business transactions separate is imperative to running a smooth operation. Youll also want to make sure you earn rewards on all of those business transactions.
Here are 2 suggested cards that will help you do just that:
|Must Reads: For more info on the Ink Business Preferred, see our guides on its benefits, 7 things to do as a new cardholder, and our full review. This is our favorite Chase business credit card.|
There are, however, even more benefits of having the card.
- Free employee cards
- Transfer Ultimate Rewards points to travel partners for greater potential value
- Use the Pay Yourself Back option to redeem points on select purchases or travel via the Chase Travel portal for 25% more value
- Primary car rental insurance, trip interruption/cancellation
- Purchase protection and extended warranty protection
Selecting the right business credit card for your situation can require a lot of research. Save time by reviewing our article featuring several of the best business credit card options to consider.
Transfer Chase Ur Points To Southwest
A great way to boost your Southwest miles is by transferring Chase Ultimate Rewards points into your Southwest account. Note that this will not count towards your 125,000 mile minimum for the Companion Pass.
- Learn how to apply for the Chase Sapphire Preferred
- Earn 60,000 Chase Ultimate after spending $4000 in the first 3 months of card membership
- 60,000 points = $750 minimum when redeemed through Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal
- New benefits include $50 annual Ultimate Rewards Hotel Credit
- 5x points on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards portal
- 3x points on dining
- 2x points on all other travel purchases
- Points can also be redeemed with Pay Yourself Back for 1.25 cents each on eligible purchases
- No foreign transaction fees, great for overseas OCONUS assignments, TDY, and PCS
- Primary rental car insurance coverage & trip cancellation/interruption insurance
- Unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on orders over $12 for one year with DashPass, DoorDash’s subscription service. Must activate by 12/31/21.
- Get up to $60 back on eligible Peloton Digital or All-Access Membership through 12/31/2021
- Upgrade to a Chase Sapphire Reserve after 1 year
- $95 annual fee waived for military and spouses with Chase Military Lending Act
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% Intro Apr On Balance Transfers
One other useful benefit of the Mastercard® Gold Card is that it offers a 0% introductory APR for the first fifteen billing cycles following each balance transfer that posts to your account within 45 days of account opening. After that, your APR will be 14.99%. This APR will vary with the market based on the Prime Rate.
Best Gas Rewards: Us Bank Altitude Go Visa Signature Card
Earn 20,000 bonus points when you spend $1,000 in eligible purchases within the first 90 days of account opening That’s a $200 value redeemable towards merchandise, gift cards, cash back, travel and more.
|Rewards Earning Rate||Earn 4x points on takeout, food delivery and dining, earn 2x points at grocery stores, grocery delivery, streaming services and gas stations. Earn 1 point per dollar on all other purchases.|
|INTRO PURCHASE APR||0% for 12 Billing Cycles|
|INTRO BALANCE TRANSFER APR||0% for 12 Billing Cycles|
|Balance Transfer Fee||Either 3% of the amount of each transfer or $5 minimum, whichever is greater.|
|Foreign transaction fee|
- Pros & Cons
The U.S. Bank Altitude Go Visa Signature Card has a great rewards program for those who want to rack up points. Cardholders earn one point for every dollar they spend with the card, with rewards being doubled for spending on groceries, gas, or streaming services, and quadrupled on spending for dining and takeout. Cardholders also pay no annual fee or foreign transaction fees.
Annual bonus for streaming services
No annual fee
Less value than some annual-fee cards
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Servicemembers Civil Relief Act And Military Lending Act Essentials
According to the Council on Foreign Relations, there are over 1.29 million people currently serving in the military. Military service members face unique challenges, which is why the government passed two bills to help you with your finances: the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act and the Military Lending Act .
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Best For Rewards On Base: Usaa Cashback Rewards Plus American Express Card
From our partner
Heres why: The USAA® Cashback Rewards Plus American Express® Card helps military personnel stationed on a military base maximize their cash back benefits.
The USAA® Cashback Rewards Plus American Express® Card offers 5% cash back on your first $3,000 in combined gas and qualifying military base purchases each calendar year. After spending $3,000, youll earn 1% back. Qualifying purchases at military bases include those at commissaries, exchanges and shoppettes.
Youll also earn 2% cash back on the first $3,000 you spend on supermarket purchases each year . On all other purchases, youll get 1% cash back.
The card has an annual fee of $0 and foreign transaction fees? None. But youll need to join USAA to be able to apply for the card. Both active-duty and retired service members are eligible to join, among other military-affiliated people and their families.
Find out why we think the USAA® Cashback Rewards Plus American Express® Card is one of the best USAA cards.
The Best Military Credit Cards: Low Aprs Waived Annual Fees And More
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Are you on active duty, or will you be soon? If so, you may be able to use the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act to get valuable credit card rewards and benefits at very low cost .
Credit Card Insider receives compensation from advertisers whose products may be mentioned on this page. Advertiser relationships do not affect card evaluations. Advertising partners do not edit or endorse our editorial content. Content is accurate to the best of our knowledge when it’s published. Learn more in our Editorial Guidelines.
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The Best Credit Cards To Get The Most From Military Benefits
Cards with high annual fees typically also come with the best benefits. Thankfully, the fees on some of the best travel credit cards are waived for active-duty military members, so you can get premium rewards at no cost.
It makes sense for military members and their spouses to sign up for the best rewards credit cards with the most benefits because they wont have to weigh the value of the card against the cost of the annual fee. In other words, aim for the most expensive credit cards that come with the best rewards that fit your needs because theyll be free for you.
Below are our picks for the three best credit cards for military service members. These cards come with a ton of perks. You can get free checked bags, statement credits for TSA PreCheck or Global Entry fees, lounge access, free hotel nights, free meals at Priority Pass restaurants, and a lot more. Depending on the card you choose, you might even get some free rideshares or food delivery.
Contact Your Card Issuer
Even if youre not in the market for a new card, check with your current credit card issuers to see if they offer any special benefits to service members. Some go above and beyond, offering lower rates and even waived annual fees to eligible active-duty service members.
About the author:
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Mastercard Gold Card Review
As a premium credit card, the Mastercard® Gold Card’s lackluster benefits dont justify its exorbitant annual fee.
Advertiser Disclosure: ValuePenguin is an advertising-supported comparison service which receives compensation from some of the financial providers whose offers appear on our site. This compensation from our advertising partners may impact how and where products appear on our site . To provide more complete comparisons, the site features products from our partners as well as institutions which are not advertising partners. While we make an effort to include the best deals available to the general public, we make no warranty that such information represents all available products.
Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the authors opinions and recommendations alone. It may not have been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer. This site may be compensated through a credit card issuer partnership.
Jump to:Read full review
Some things in life aren’t meant to be a good deal they’re done for the panache. Coming with a $995 annual fee, the gold-plated Mastercard® Gold Card is one of those things.
With an average rewards program and no sign-up bonus, the Mastercard® Gold Card won’t earn you much in the way of travel benefits. But it will earn you style points, and that counts for something … right? Read our full review to decide for yourself.
Blue Cash Preferred From American Express
If youre looking for a card that rewards spending at places like supermarkets or gas stations, you may want to consider the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express.
This $95 annual fee card can earn you up to 6% cash back on groceries and streaming services. It also can earn you 3% back on gas purchases and other types of transit expenses.
Its welcome bonus opportunity could net you up to $350 in cash back when you spend at least $3,000 within the first six months of card membership. And it has an intro 0% APR period on new purchases for the first 12 months. Terms apply.
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Here’s How To Request Your American Express Platinum Card Military Benefit:
- Online:Log in into your American Express account. Submit any required documents, like proof of orders for active duty, at the document center. American Express says this is the fastest method.
- Phone: Call the number on the back of your card. Once you get to an American Express representative, tell them you’d like to request your active duty benefit. They’ll ask you for the necessary info.
- Fax: Send your active duty documents, along with your account number, to .
- Mail: Send a copy of your active duty documents, along with your account number, to:
Attn: Servicemembers Civil Relief Act
PO Box 981535
El Paso, TX 79998-1535
Once you send in your request, it’s possible that American Express will ask for more documents. Otherwise, you’ll get an official response, approving or denying your request, within 60 days of Amex receiving it. Thank you for your service!
- Mary Bell CarlsonFinancial Planning Adjunct Faculty, College of Family and Consumer Sciences, University of Georgia Read More
- Assistant Professor of Military Science at Slippery Rock University of PennsylvaniaRead More
The Value Of Military Financial Organizations
Chances are, during your term of service, you joined a financial institution that catered to the specific needs of military members and their families.
Such financial institutions have experience dealing with the unique circumstances of military duty. The organizations specialize in offering services that active military members need, such as online access, locations on base, ability to deal with deployments and reassignments, international access, and more.
Even when you leave active duty, these institutions can still offer services that add value to you as a veteran.
Here are some of the most popular military financial organizations and some of the services offered to veterans:
- USAA personal loans, credit cards, insurance, retirement, and investment options, advice
- Pentagon Federal Credit Union banking accounts, mortgages, credit cards, student loans, home equity, and retirement options
- Navy Federal Credit Union banking accounts, CDs, individual retirement accounts, personal loans, credit cards, mortgages
Bottom Line: Veterans are still welcomed as members of military financial organizations and can benefit from the products and services offered by these institutions.
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