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Best Chase Credit Cards for Military Members

Chase Bank provides special perks for military members who use its credit cards including fee waivers under the SCRA. Here are the best Chase credit cards for military members.
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chase military credit cards

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

The Chase Sapphire Preferred Credit Card
Chase Sapphire Preferred Credit Card
  • Interest: Cardholders will get between 15.99% – 22.99% variable 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: Receive $60,000 points – or $600 cash – when you make $4,000 in eligible purchases in the first three months. 

Chase Sapphire Reserve

Image of the Chase Sapphire Reserve Credit Card
Chase Sapphire Reserve Credit Card

Once you’ve had a Chase Sapphire Preferred account for one year, you can qualify for the Chase Sapphire Reserve credit card. 

  • Fees: This card normally comes with a hefty $550 annual fee, but Chase waives it for active-duty military members. 
  • Interest: 16.99% – 23.99% variable rate
  • 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: You will receive 50,000 bonus points when you make $4,000 in qualifying purchases in the first 90 days. But, you’re only eligible for the new member bonus if you have not gotten a Chase new member bonus for any Sapphire card in the last two years. 

Chase IHG Premier

Image of the Chase IHG Rewards Premire Credit Card
Chase IHG Rewards Premire Credit Card

Another good credit card available through Chase is the IHG Premier card

  • Fees: The fee is usually $89 per year, but Chase waives the fee for service members. 
  • Interest:  The Chase IHG Premier card carries a variable APR between 15.99% – 22.99%. 
  • 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: When you spend $3,000 in the first three months, you will receive 125,000 bonus points and a free night at eligible IHG hotels around the globe. 

Chase Southwest Priority

Image of the Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Credit Card
Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Credit Card

If you’re looking for a travel credit card that will pay for your flights, the Chase Southwest Priority card is a good option. 

  • Fees: Chase waves the usual $149 annual fee for service members.
  • Interest: This card has between 15.99% and 22.99% variable 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. 

Chase World of Hyatt

Image of The World Of Hyatt Credit Card
The World Of Hyatt Credit Card

The  World of Hyatt card provides hotel points specifically for stays at Hyatt Hotels. 

  • Fees: Chase waives the annual $95 fee under the SCRA. 
  • Interest: This card’s  variable APR is 15.99% – 22.99%.
  • 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.

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: 

Chase

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. 

Pros

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.

Cons

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. 


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About Tamila McDonald

Tamila McDonald is a U.S. Army veteran with 20 years of service, including five years as a military financial advisor. After retiring from the Army, she spent eight years as an AFCPE-certified personal financial advisor for wounded warriors and their families. Now, MacDonald is a freelance personal finance writer covering everything from bankruptcy to taxes.

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