Credit card companies like Chase Bank offer active-duty service members military discounts and waive all annual fees. Chase has dozens of credit card options for military members to consider.
The Chase Sapphire Preferred card offers cardholders up to five points on the dollar for travel purchases and other special perks.
Chase Sapphire Preferred: Overview
Military personnel interested in applying for a Chase Sapphire Preferred card should know a few basic pieces of information.
- Fees: The Chase Sapphire Preferred card has a $95 annual fee, but Chase waives this fee for active-duty service members under the Servicemembers’ Civil Relief Act (SCRA). Additionally, this card does not have foreign transaction fees.
- Interest: Interest rates on the card land between 15.99%-22.99% variable APR.
- Sign-Up Bonus: Cardholders can earn 60,000 bonus points when they spend $4,000 within the first 90 days of opening an account.
Chase Sapphire Preferred Rewards
The list of rewards for Chase Sapphire Preferred cardholders is long. Qualifying travel purchases will get you between two and five points for every dollar you spend. All other purchases receive one point per dollar.
You’ll receive extra points for making travel arrangements through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal. Different retail-specific rewards change from year to year. Last year, Chase offered increased rewards for DoorDash and Peloton purchases.
On account anniversaries, Chase Sapphire Preferred cardholders receive a $50 credit for hotel stays. You will also receive bonus points in the amount of 10% of your previous year’s purchases (2,500 points if you spent $25,000).
Chase Sapphire Preferred Military Benefits
Chase waives annual fees on all their credit cards for active-duty military service members. If you’re approved for a Chase Sapphire Preferred card, you can send Chase a copy of your orders to receive SCRA benefits.
To submit your documents electronically, visit Chase.com and choose “new message.” Then, select the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) option from the dropdown menu.
Chase can’t process photos of documents taken on mobile devices. If you can’t scan your documents to submit them online, you can mail copies to:
Attn: SCRA Request
PO Box 183240
Columbus, OH 43218-3240
Follow up with customer support after submitting your documentation to make sure your account information gets updated.
Chase Sapphire Preferred Pros and Cons
As with any credit card, the Chase Sapphire Preferred card has pros and cons.
The 60,000 point sign-up bonus ($600 cash value) for your first $4,000 in charges is a serious plus. You can cash points out for a check, statement credit or even an Amazon gift card.
Military members can waive their annual fee too, which is always a perk. After one year of being a Chase Sapphire Preferred cardholder, you can also upgrade to a Chase Sapphire Reserve card, which provides more rewards, like a $300 annual travel spending credit.
The Chase Sapphire Preferred card does have its drawbacks. While it provides plenty of travel rewards, some Chase customers have reported problems filing a trip cancellation or an insurance claim.
You must redeem your points through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal. If the portal or site is down for any reason, you won’t be able to redeem them.
Getting Approved for Chase Sapphire Preferred
Chase requires applicants to have a good to excellent credit rating (680 and above). However, that isn’t the only factor Chase considers when approving new and existing customers for a Chase Sapphire Preferred card.
The Chase 5/24 Rule
Chase has a strict 5/24 rule for approving new credit applications. To be approved for a Chase credit card, you need to have opened fewer than five accounts in the last 24 months. This includes credit cards from all banks, not just Chase.
Similarly, if you’ve opened two or more accounts in the last 30 days, you may not be approved. You can check the status of newly opened accounts by checking your credit report.
If you opened your fifth account on Feb. 5, 2020, you should wait until March 1, 2022, to apply for a Chase card.
This rule helps Chase ensure you don’t have too many open accounts at once.
The Difference Between Chase Sapphire Preferred and Chase Sapphire Reserve
One of the perks of being a Chase Preferred cardholder is the ability to upgrade to a Chase Sapphire Reserve credit card.
Making the switch will increase annual fees from $95 to $550 if you don’t qualify for a yearly fee waiver through the SCRA. The bump in annual fees comes with more opportunities to earn points, like 10 points on the dollar for hotel and car rental purchases made in the Ultimate Rewards portal.
Chase Sapphire Reserve cardholders also get a $300 annual spending credit for travel purchases and access to more than 1,000 airport lounges throughout the United States. Reimbursement for TSA PreCheck fees is another perk.
Right now, new Chase Sapphire Reserve customers also get one year of Lyft Pink for free.
Chase Sapphire Preferred vs. Other Cards
The average annual fee for travel credit cards with a fee sits at $139, ??according to the 2019 U.S. News Consumer Credit Card Fee Study. So, the Chase Sapphire Preferred credit card is about $44 cheaper than the average.
Active-duty military members who submit SCRA documentation don’t have to pay this expense at all.
When you redeem your rewards points through the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal, you’ll receive 50% more value for your points. So, if you have 60,000 rewards points, you could redeem them for $600 in cash or exchange them for a $750 travel credit.
Why Apply for a Chase Sapphire Preferred Card if You Are in the Military?
You can save $95 per year on Chase’s annual fees when you take advantage of your Servicemembers’ Civil Relief Act benefits. SCRA benefits may even allow you to have your interest rate reduced.
Whether or not the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card is right for you depends on your lifestyle. If you travel often, earning five times the points on travel purchases makes the card well worth it.
Just make sure you meet Chase’s stringent approval policies before you spend time applying.