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Military Credit Cards

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For individuals who are members of the military –Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps- there are credit cards out there for you. Some are specifically designed for service members, and others simply provide additional benefits to active duty card holders, like American Express. American Express has a fee waiver option, which limits the interest rate and waives annual fees, over limit fees, late payment fees, and more. Kudos to you, AMEX.

Previously this year we did a review on the USAA Rewards World MasterCard. a rewards card for the armed forces. USAA does have a strong presence in the military insurance and banking space, but they certainly aren’t the only bank to offer credit cards specific to military service members. Chase currently has a line of military credit cards, each come with no annual fee, no foreign transaction fees, cash back rewards, and Blue Star Deployment Benefits. Chase’s Blue Star Deployment Benefits offer a 100% refund on interest and fees incurred during military deployment, no matter how long the deployment lasts, and authorized family members may use the card for purchases while the primary card holder is away.

Let’s take a closer look at similar benefits of the following four credit cards; The Army MWR MasterCard, Navy MWR MasterCard, Air Force Club Membership MasterCard, and the Marine Corps MCSS MasterCard.

Military Credit Card Features by Chase MasterCard :

  • Earn 2% cash back on certain purchases*
  • Earn 1% cash back on all other purchases
  • No limit to the number of rewards you can earn
  • Points never expire
  • 24/7 customer support
  • No annual fee
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Online account access and alerts
  • Blue Star Deployment Benefits

Branch Specific Card Overview:

Each of the credit cards are processed by MasterCard and are specific to each military branch. From what I can tell, there’s no difference in the benefits that are offered, but each card benefits that specific branch by supporting relevant programs and services. Card holders and their authorized users will earn 2% cash back on all purchases on Air Force Services, Army MWR and MCCS locations, Armed Forces Recreation Centers, and the Exchange and Commissary. Card holders will then earn 1% cash back on all other purchases, anytime, with no expiration or cap on your rewards. Rewards can be redeemed for cash back, gift cards, merchandise, and travel. One point is the equivalent of 1 cent, which is the standard in rewards rate. In the fine print, you will see that an additional 1 point is earned per every $1 on airfare and hotel accommodation’s when booked through their travel redemption number. The standard APR on purchases and balance transfers is set at 9.99%.

What Makes Them Different?

The Army and Navy MWR MasterCard and the Marine Corps MCSS MasterCard all allow you to add additional cards at no fee. The Air Force Club Membership MasterCard comes with a free USAF Club Membership. Club dues are waived during deployment and will be automatically billed to your card when you are no longer deployed. Additional club membership benefits include Members First Discounts, Scholarship Program, and Special Events and Promotions.

Bottom Line:

This is a no brainer; these are great credit cards to take advantage of if you’re a member of the military. You aren’t going to find a better deal with other credit cards because they will most likely have rotating categories for reward earnings, a much higher APR, an annual fee, no deployment benefits, and other fees that some credit card issuers are still charging military members.

If you’re looking for an alternative military credit card or frequently shop at AAFES merchants, try the MILITARY STAR Rewards MasterCard. You earn 2% cash back when you use your card at Exchange Milexch.com and you also earn 2% everywhere else on installation. Card members will earn a bonus 2% back on all other purchases for the first 60 days of card membership and then 1% after 60 days.

*Editorial Note. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer.

*The content in this article is accurate at the publishing date, and may be subject to changes per the card issuer.

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