Members of the United States military have access to special bank privileges and credit card offers.
Chase Bank offers several benefits for active-duty military members and their families. In addition to certain protections and perks – like free checking accounts and no minimum balances – Chase also offers high-end credit cards with a wide variety of cardholder rewards.
Chase Military Credit Cards: Overview
Usually, Chase cardholders must pay hefty annual fees for some of Chase Bank’s highest-end credit cards. However, under the Servicemembers’ Civil Relief Act (SCRA), Chase waives fees for military members, unlocking access to some significant credit card rewards free of charge.
You can choose one with a higher annual fee than you might ordinarily consider if you want to utilize your SCRA annual fee waiver benefit to its fullest extent.
The Servicemembers’ Civil Relief Act aims to ease financial burdens on active duty personnel by providing certain protections, like a 6% interest rate cap on credit cards.
Many Chase credit cards have travel-focused rewards that can be especially helpful when you and your family are deployed or stationed overseas. When you travel, you’ll get extra points and discounts, reimbursements or travel credits.
Here are a few Chase military credit cards with special rewards for the armed forces and what you need to qualify for them.
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
- Fees: The Chase Sapphire Preferred card has no foreign transaction fees and annual fee for active-duty service members under the SCRA. According to Chase’s website, the fee is per year.
- Interest: Cardholders will get between APR, which means your interest rate fluctuates based on index interest rates, such as prime rates located in the Wall Street Journal. You can read up on these details in your cardholder agreement.
- Rewards: Many of this card’s rewards favor exchanging points for travel. You get an annual $50 Ultimate Rewards hotel credit and five points per dollar on travel purchases.
- Sign-Up Bonus:
Chase Sapphire Reserve®
- Fees: This card comes with a hefty annual fee, but Chase waives it for active-duty military members.
- Interest: APR
- Rewards: Cardholders receive a $300 annual travel credit. Points are worth 50% more when you redeem them as travel credits through the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal. So, 50,000 bonus points have a $500 cash value but are worth $750 as travel credits.
- Sign-Up Bonus: .
IHG® Rewards Premier Credit Card
- Fees: The fee is per year, but Chase waives the fee for service members under the SCRA.
- Interest: The Chase IHG Premier card carries a APR.
- Rewards: The IHG Premier card offers specific kings of rewards, like free nights at eligible IHG hotels around the world, including Holiday Inn, Candlewood Suites and The Intercontinental. On the anniversary of your account, you get 10,000 bonus points. You’ll also get a regular reward of up to 25 points for every dollar you spend on the card.
- Sign-Up Bonus: .
Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card
- Fees: Chase waves the usual annual fee for service members.
- Interest: This card has between APR.
- Rewards: This card unlocks a $75 Southwest travel credit every year. Cardmembers can also upgrade four flights throughout the year when the seat is available and receive 25% cashback on in-flight purchases. Transactions made with Southwest will also get you three points on the dollar. On each account anniversary, you will receive 7,500 points.
- Fees: Chase waives the annual fee under the SCRA.
- Interest: This card has a APR.
- Rewards: For any Hyatt stays or experiences, cardmembers get nine points for every dollar spent. Cardholders receive two points on every dollar for other purchases, including transit, money spent at restaurants and gym memberships. All other purchases receive one point for every dollar you spend.
- Bonus Offer:
Eligibility Requirements to Qualify
To qualify for any credit card with Chase, you need good to excellent credit. Ideally, your score should be 720 or higher.
The Chase 5/24 Rule
Chase also has a strict 5/24 rule for approving new credit card applications.
This rule refers to the number of new accounts you have opened. If you have opened five new accounts within the last two years (or 24 months), you won’t be approved.
Instead, you’ll need to wait until 24 months from the day you opened your most recent account. So, if you opened your fifth account on March 24, 2020, you won’t be approved for a Chase credit card until after April 1, 2022.
This rule helps Chase ensure you don’t have too many open credit accounts at once.
What Are Chase Credit Cards’ Military Benefits?
Chase waives all annual fees for active duty service members.
So, military members can access Chase’s competitive rewards programs for free. Additionally, Chase Bank mortgages offer SCRA protections against home foreclosure and repossession for military members, including forbearance and repayment plans.
Does Chase Have SCRA Benefits?
Through the Servicemembers’ Civil Relief Act, active-duty service members – including reserve and National Guard members on active orders – can access annual fee waivers, reduced interest rates and help with early vehicle lease termination.
How to Apply for a Chase Credit Card with Military Benefits
To apply for a Chase Credit Card, visit their website, choose the card that fits your needs, provide your information and hit send. Once you’re approved, you can then apply for your SCRA benefits, like the annual fee waiver.
To access SCRA benefits, you’ll need to upload supporting documents like a copy of your military orders or an official letter from your commander to a secure message on Chase bank’s online portal.
Note: Chase’s system has trouble processing images taken with cell phones and other electronic devices. So, you will need to scan your paperwork into a computer to upload it.
If you are unable to do that, you can send the information by mail to:
Attn: SCRA Request
PO Box 183240
Columbus, OH 43218-3240
Chase Military Credit Cards Pros and Cons
As with any decision, choosing a Chase military credit card has pros and cons.
Depending on your specific spending habits and desired rewards, some Chase cards may serve you better than others, though each provides access to travel perks.
There is no shortage of credit card choices, and Chase Bank offers competitive rewards and benefits to its cardholders.
Chase is a great bank to partner with while in the military. Military checking accounts have no minimum balance requirements, no monthly service fee (usually $25), free money orders, cashier’s checks and no Chase ATM fees for the first four out-of-network ATM transactions per quarter.
Chase comes with some drawbacks though. To benefit from the travel rewards, you can only book through Chase, which may or may not provide the best deal.
Additionally, once you are no longer on active duty, you must pay the card’s annual fees, which can go up to $550, according to the company website. If you close the account, your credit may take a hit.
Best for Travel
The Chase Sapphire Preferred card is the best Chase credit card for travel.
If you make $4,000 in eligible purchases in your first three months, you get 60,000 points. This translates into $750 towards travel expenses like flights, hotels, rental cars and more.
The Chase Sapphire Preferred card gives you more freedom to make your travel plans because you don’t have to spend your points on a particular hotel or airline. If travel’s not in your plans, you can redeem your rewards for $600 in cash.
Best for Gas
Chase occasionally runs promotions offering extra rewards for qualifying purchases at gas stations. For more predictable rewards, consider a card that offers extra rewards points for commuting, like the Chase World of Hyatt and Chase Southwest Priority cards.
These cards offer two points per dollar on local transit and commuting expenses for taxi cabs, buses, tolls, ride-share services like Lyft and other mass transit.
Plus, you will get one point on the dollar for every other purchase you make with the card, no matter what it is.
So, whether you’re filling up at the pump or hopping in an Uber, the World of Hyatt and Southwest Priority cards are good options.
Best for Flat-Rate Rewards
The Chase Sapphire Reserve card offers the best flat-rate rewards of the bunch.
Like the others, you will receive one point per dollar for anything you buy with this card.
Its flat-rate rewards go up to 10 points per dollar on hotels and car rentals when you book through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal. You’ll get the same flat rate rewards on Chase Dining purchases via the Ultimate Rewards portal.
Other rewards include five points per dollar on flights and three points per dollar on all other travel and dining purchases.
How to Access Cash Rewards on a Chase Military Credit Card
Accessing cash rewards on a Chase military credit card is easy through the bank’s online portal.
Log into your Chase account to visit the rewards portal. You should see a dashboard where you can see how many rewards you have available and choose where and how you’d like to spend them.
Various options are available on the site, including cashing your points out or exchanging them for travel or other items.
Is the Chase Military Credit Card Worth It?
If you can meet the credit requirements, owning a Chase credit card comes with valuable rewards and benefits to help you travel more while earning more points.
While you are on active duty, they’ll waive their high annual fees, which can potentially save you hundreds of dollars per year. Once you’ve left active duty, it’s up to you whether Chase ultimate rewards and other benefits are worth the price.
If you’re on active duty now, consider taking advantage of the military fee waiver to try the card out for free while you can.