Why am I writing an article about the best credit cards for military millionaires?
Because I postponed applying for the American Express Platinum (scroll down to learn about this card) for way too long. This credit card has some amazing benefits, and the annual fee (its only downside) is waived for military members!
Aren’t Credit Cards for Military Bad?
Credit cards have become a taboo subject in a lot of personal finance circles. The reasons for this are obvious, high-interest rates, high credit limits, horror stories involving mountains of credit card debt.
Credit cards themselves are not inherently evil. The issue is generally more of a self-control issue than anything. A card can be useful for improving your credit score, safeguarding against overdraft fee’s, earning awards points, and many other things.
The issue comes when you swipe the card without a plan of paying it off. I have been guilty of this many times, and have racked up more than $10,000 in credit card balances on more than one occasion. I have gotten much smarter about using my credit card over the years, and try to pay it off at the end of every month!
How Can Credit Cards be an Asset?
One of my favorite mindset phrases comes from the infamous book Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki. The author says that instead of saying “I can’t afford that” we should instead think “How can I afford that?”
This mindset spills over into a lot of aspects of my life, with the idea being to focus on the solution, not the problem.
Utilizing this mentality enables us to find several ways to use credit cards as an asset. Here are just a few ideas:
- Using a credit card for regular purchases (and paying off immediately) in order to build rewards points.
- Purchasing an income-producing asset with a credit card. Essentially anything that has a higher return than the interest being paid to own it.
- Paying for the renovations on a fix/flip with a credit card (not ideal, but doable).
- Bonus hack, utilizing a credit card for these methods while in the initial 0% interest period offered by many cards!
American Express Platinum (My Favorite)
There is (almost) no reason NOT to have the American Express Platinum for military members. This card has amazing discounts, benefits, and rewards. It is often toted as one of (if not the) best credit cards for travel.
The one drawback to this card is the $550 annual fee. Luckily, the fee is waived for active duty service members. Yes, you heard that correctly. The one drawback to this card doesn’t apply to you.
American Express Platinum Military Application
Here are some of the awesome benefits that come with this card!
- American Express Platinum annual fee of $550 waived for US military
- 60,000 point welcome bonus (after spending $5,000 in the first three months)
- $200 annual Uber Credit – I recently discovered this can be used on Uber eats too…food delivered for free is my kind of perk!
- $200 annual airline fee credit
- 5 points per $1 of plane tickets purchased directly from the carrier or on AmexTravel.com
- 5 points per $1 on hotel stays purchased on AmexTravel.com
- 1 point per $1 on all other purchases
- Complimentary access to the Centurion Lounge, International American Express, Delta SkyClub, Escape and Airspace Lounges, and Priority Pass lounge networks
- Car rental insurance: either free secondary insurance or $20 per entire rental period primary car rental insurance (must sign up for this benefit in advance)
- Baggage insurance
- TONS of other benefits, including $50 store credit at Saks Fifth Avenue every six months!
- Hilton, Honors Gold Status
- Marriott, Bonvoy Gold Elite Status
- Avis, Preferred
- National Car Rental, Emerald Club Executive
- Herz, Gold Plus Rewards and CPD code (at discounted rates)
- Uber, VIP status
- American Express Concierge Service
- Access to American Express Fine Hotels and Resorts (includes various benefits)
I have found that a staggering amount of Marines (and other service members) use the AMEX Platinum. One of the officers in my command and I were talking about this and he said: “There is no reason that every service member shouldn’t carry the AMEX Platinum, THEY WAIVE THE ANNUAL FEE FOR US!”
Pictures of my first time traveling with AMEX Platinum
This was my first lounge experience! I had oatmeal, Loco-Moco, a pancake, one Mimosa, one Bloody Mary, and some prickly pear/jalapeno lemonade…all complimentary!
Welcome to the Centurion Lounge complimentary wifi and a classy welcome aboard business card!
The centurion lounge was very well designed, I loved the old suitcases and antique paraphernalia.
Not many bartenders know how to make a Sazerac, but these ones did…one of the best ones I’ve ever had, as well!
If you like wine, they have a pretty solid selection to choose from!
Playing Spades in a calm environment in the middle of a busy airport was a welcome experience! They even had a soundproof room for kids to ensure they wouldn’t disturb the peace haha.
Even better than looking as cool as I did (debatable) in this lounge, I got to eat some amazing Chicken, Green Beans, Potatoes, and more (all homestyle cooking). We also got to enjoy some more adult beverages free of charge!
All-in-all I spent two hours in the Reno airport, and five hours in the San Francisco airport (seven hours total) and didn’t spend a penny on food or drinks…but I ate TWO meals and had SEVEN drinks for free! Talk about living the high life in the airport!
I love the American Express platinum military benefits!
This is my favorite of the credit cards for military millionaires, but obviously, you need to look at them all objectively!
Either way, I believe this is one of the best credit cards for military members.
One last thing!
This card FEELS great! It is weighted, and engraved…it doesn’t feel cheap like my other credit cards! Just look at how awesome it looks when you unbox it!
How to get the AMEX active duty military discount
Applying the American Express Platinum for military discount (waiving the annual fee) is simple.
- Log in to your account, click “Account Services”
- Click “Card Management” on the left
- Click “Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) Benefits”
The website will walk you through a few questions about your active duty status, social security number, your projected end of active duty status (if known), and how long you have been in the military. This is information that every service member should know anyway!
The American Express Platinum is one of my favorite credit cards for military millionaires (or future millionaires)!
Chase Sapphire Reserve
The Chase Sapphire Reserve military is often compared to the American Express Platinum for military, discussed above. They are both great travel credit cards, and both have awesome benefits/rewards.
Chase will email you a letter saying they’ve waived your annual fee due to active duty service a week or two after you’re approved. They get this information via your social security number in a defense database. If you don’t receive this letter after two weeks, simply send them a message and they will take care of you.
Below are some of the benefits you will receive with this card.
- Chase Sapphire Reserve annual fee of $450 waived for US military
- 50,000 point welcome bonus (after spending $4,000 in the first three months)
- $300 flexible travel credit
- 3 points per $1 on all travel and dining purchases
- 1 point per $1 on all other purchases
- Complimentary access to the Priority Pass lounge network
Military Star Card
The first credit card I ever owned was the Military Star Card!
I suppose this is the credit card that a lot of people think of when they think of military credit cards.
This is also the first credit card I ever racked up too much debt on. As such, I promptly closed it out once it was paid off.
I should have held onto this card in order to maintain a longer credit history, but I didn’t know that at the time…I thought “credit cards were bad.” Ultimately, this card isn’t anything amazing, but it is a good all-around card with some useful discounts for service members.
You may only use this card on military installations, but it is still a useful card to have!
My friend over at Saving-Sherpa was able to hack the Military Star Card so well they basically cut him off after a few months (hopefully he will write a great article about this someday)!
Saving-Sherpa wields several of the best credit cards for military millionaires…and he is one of us too!
Here are some of the benefits of this card.
- No annual, late or over-limit fees
- Earn rewards on purchases; $1 spent on-base = 2 points; 2,000 points = $20 Exchange gift cards (applies to both cards)
- While you are deployed, you may still make purchases, but you are not required to make monthly payments and your interest rate is temporarily reduced to six percent (6%)
- Exclusive Exchange offers promotions for purchases made with the Star Card such as sweepstakes, discounts, 0% interest and more
- Five cents per gallon fuel discount (military installation gas stations)
- New accounts receive a 10% discount for purchases on the first day.
- 10% food court discount
- One low APR for all cardholders, regardless of credit score
- Promotional 0% interest offers
- Interest-free military clothing plan
- Money saved from merchant fees is re-invested into military installation programs and services
- Free standard shipping at AAFES and Navy online exchanges
The military star card is a great first card for service members and a good way to build credit. The biggest drawback to the military star card is that you can’t use it off base, or after you transition back into the civilian world.
Summary of Credit Cards for Military Millionaires (and future millionaires)!
Credit cards can be an asset or a liability.
They can be good debt, or they can be bad debt. Click here to learn the difference!
They can build credit, or they can ruin credit.
The most important variable with credit cards is you. Credit cards are nothing more than a tool, learn to use them wisely and they can be a great asset for you. I have known people to travel across the nation for conferences and pay virtually nothing for the trip using these cards. The power is in your hands, use it wisely!
Apply for the American Express Platinum card
Apply for the Chase Sapphire Reserve card
You can apply for the Military Star Card at any military exchange. Or, click Here
*Disclaimer* The AMEX Platinum link is a referral code. This doesn’t change anything for you, but if you apply through here I will earn some extra bonus points. Thank you very much! The Chase Sapphire Reserve is not currently a referral link, and the Military Star Card does not offer a referral link.
*Update* Since posting this article I have been informed that the annual fees for these cards can be waived for military spouses as well. If you’re the spouse of an active duty service member, the two of you can join forces to take advantage of even more credit card rewards points!
Credit cards for the military can be a powerful tool!
Just make sure you choose one of the best credit cards for military members.
Also, do you have another recommendation? What do you believe are the best credit cards for military members. Please comment down below!
Why do you not extend the annual fee waiver to us retired military members? After all we gave the best 20+ years of our lives to our country.
Good afternoon Rich, I am still active duty, and not affiliated with these credit cards. I’m not sure why they chose not to extend the fee waiver, but they aren’t required to waive the fee’s at all, so I’m just happy they have chosen to do so for at least some of us 🙂
Does the Spouse of an active duty person with the card get the waived fee also if they apply for the card?