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The Best Credit Cards for Active-Duty Military Service Members in 2022

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As a newly minted Airman, I was floored when I first found out about all the credit card perks active duty military members receive. After picking my jaw back up, I started immediately applying to some of the dozens of credit cards that offer benefits for active-duty service members, which include things like waived annual fees, lowered interest rates, and even military-specific credit cards.

Many of these benefits are offered in order to comply with the Servicemembers Credit Relief Act (SCRA) and the Military Lending Act (MLA), which offer financial protections that civilians don’t receive. Even better, many card issuers go above the legal requirements and offer additional benefits to all eligible servicemembers, even when it’s not mandatory.

Find the right card for active military

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Unlimited Cashback Match – Discover will automatically match all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year

Earn 5% cash back on everyday purchases at different places each quarter like Amazon.com, grocery stores, restaurants, gas stations and when you pay using PayPal, up to the quarterly maximum when you activate. Earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases automatically.

Unlimited Bonus: Only Discover gives you an unlimited match of all the Miles you’ve earned at the end of your first year

Earn unlimited 1.5x Miles on all purchase

140,000 bonus points and 1 free night after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening

Earn up to 26 points total per $1 spent when you stay at an IHG hotel. Earn 5 points per $1 spent on purchases on travel, gas stations, and restaurants. Earn 3 points per $1 spent on all other purchases.

50,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening

Earn 3X points on Southwest® purchases. Earn 2 points on Rapid Rewards hotel and car rental partner purchases. Earn 2X points on local transit and commuting, including rideshare. Earn 2X points on internet, cable, phone services, and select streaming. Earn 1 point for every $1 spent on all other purchases.

80,000 bonus miles after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening

Earn 4 miles per $1 spent on United® purchases including tickets, Economy Plus, inflight food, beverages and Wi-Fi, and other United charges. Earn 2 miles per $1 spent on all other travel. Earn 2 miles per $1 spent on dining including eligible delivery services. Earn 1 mile per $1 spent on all other purchases.

60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening

Earn 5x total points on air travel and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3x points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.

Though my days in the service are gone (along with those sweet perks), these offers are still available. With waived annual fees for active-duty servicemembers, some cards can get you hundreds of dollars in benefits and credits each year — not to mention the rewards you’ll earn from charging your everyday purchases.

Here are some of the best credit cards for active-duty military — and some of the valuable perks you can receive.

We’re focused here on the rewards and perks that come with each card. These cards won’t be worth it if you’re paying interest or late fees. When using a credit card, it’s important to pay your balance in full each month, make payments on time, and only spend what you can afford to pay.

Compare the best credit cards for active-duty military

Chase Chase Sapphire Reserve®


Intro offer

60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening


Rewards

Earn 5x total points on air travel and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3x points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.

Chase Chase Sapphire Reserve®


Intro offer

60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening


Rewards

Earn 5x total points on air travel and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3x points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.


Rewards

Earn 5x total points on air travel and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3x points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.


Intro offer

60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening


Recommended Credit

Good to Excellent

Recommended credit score. Note that credit card lenders may use many different variations of credit score models when considering your application.

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Regular APR

19.24% – 26.24% Variable

Editor’s Rating

4.65/5

Our editor’s ratings analyze fees, bonuses, rewards, and benefits to highlight the simplest and most valuable credit cards available.

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Chase United Club℠ Infinite Card

United Club℠ Infinite Card


Intro offer

80,000 bonus miles after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening


Rewards

Earn 4 miles per $1 spent on United® purchases including tickets, Economy Plus, inflight food, beverages and Wi-Fi, and other United charges. Earn 2 miles per $1 spent on all other travel. Earn 2 miles per $1 spent on dining including eligible delivery services. Earn 1 mile per $1 spent on all other purchases.

Chase United Club℠ Infinite Card

United Club℠ Infinite Card


Intro offer

80,000 bonus miles after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening


Rewards

Earn 4 miles per $1 spent on United® purchases including tickets, Economy Plus, inflight food, beverages and Wi-Fi, and other United charges. Earn 2 miles per $1 spent on all other travel. Earn 2 miles per $1 spent on dining including eligible delivery services. Earn 1 mile per $1 spent on all other purchases.


Rewards

Earn 4 miles per $1 spent on United® purchases including tickets, Economy Plus, inflight food, beverages and Wi-Fi, and other United charges. Earn 2 miles per $1 spent on all other travel. Earn 2 miles per $1 spent on dining including eligible delivery services. Earn 1 mile per $1 spent on all other purchases.


Intro offer

80,000 bonus miles after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening


Recommended Credit

Excellent


Regular APR

18.74% – 25.74% Variable

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Chase Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card


Intro offer

50,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening


Rewards

Earn 3X points on Southwest® purchases. Earn 2 points on Rapid Rewards hotel and car rental partner purchases. Earn 2X points on local transit and commuting, including rideshare. Earn 2X points on internet, cable, phone services, and select streaming. Earn 1 point for every $1 spent on all other purchases.

Chase Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card


Intro offer

50,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening


Rewards

Earn 3X points on Southwest® purchases. Earn 2 points on Rapid Rewards hotel and car rental partner purchases. Earn 2X points on local transit and commuting, including rideshare. Earn 2X points on internet, cable, phone services, and select streaming. Earn 1 point for every $1 spent on all other purchases.


Rewards

Earn 3X points on Southwest® purchases. Earn 2 points on Rapid Rewards hotel and car rental partner purchases. Earn 2X points on local transit and commuting, including rideshare. Earn 2X points on internet, cable, phone services, and select streaming. Earn 1 point for every $1 spent on all other purchases.


Intro offer

50,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening


Recommended Credit

Good to Excellent


Regular APR

18.24% – 25.24% Variable

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Chase The World Of Hyatt Credit Card

The World Of Hyatt Credit Card


Intro offer

30,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening, and up to 30,000 more bonus points by earning with 2 points per dollar spent on purchases that normally earn 1 point, up to $15,000 in the first six months of account opening


Rewards

Earn up to 9 points total for Hyatt stays (4 Bonus Points per $1 spent at Hyatt hotels and 5 Base Points per $1 from Hyatt as a World of Hyatt member). Earn 2 points per $1 spent at restaurants, on airline tickets purchased directly from the airlines, on local transit and commuting and on fitness club and gym memberships. Earn 1 point per $1 spent on other purchases.

Chase The World Of Hyatt Credit Card

The World Of Hyatt Credit Card


Intro offer

30,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening, and up to 30,000 more bonus points by earning with 2 points per dollar spent on purchases that normally earn 1 point, up to $15,000 in the first six months of account opening


Rewards

Earn up to 9 points total for Hyatt stays (4 Bonus Points per $1 spent at Hyatt hotels and 5 Base Points per $1 from Hyatt as a World of Hyatt member). Earn 2 points per $1 spent at restaurants, on airline tickets purchased directly from the airlines, on local transit and commuting and on fitness club and gym memberships. Earn 1 point per $1 spent on other purchases.


Rewards

Earn up to 9 points total for Hyatt stays (4 Bonus Points per $1 spent at Hyatt hotels and 5 Base Points per $1 from Hyatt as a World of Hyatt member). Earn 2 points per $1 spent at restaurants, on airline tickets purchased directly from the airlines, on local transit and commuting and on fitness club and gym memberships. Earn 1 point per $1 spent on other purchases.


Intro offer

30,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening, and up to 30,000 more bonus points by earning with 2 points per dollar spent on purchases that normally earn 1 point, up to $15,000 in the first six months of account opening


Recommended Credit

Good to Excellent


Regular APR

18.24% – 25.24% Variable

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Chase IHG® Rewards Premier Credit Card

IHG® Rewards Premier Credit Card


Intro offer

140,000 bonus points and 1 free night after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening


Rewards

Earn up to 26 points total per $1 spent when you stay at an IHG hotel. Earn 5 points per $1 spent on purchases on travel, gas stations, and restaurants. Earn 3 points per $1 spent on all other purchases.

Chase IHG® Rewards Premier Credit Card

IHG® Rewards Premier Credit Card


Intro offer

140,000 bonus points and 1 free night after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening


Rewards

Earn up to 26 points total per $1 spent when you stay at an IHG hotel. Earn 5 points per $1 spent on purchases on travel, gas stations, and restaurants. Earn 3 points per $1 spent on all other purchases.


Rewards

Earn up to 26 points total per $1 spent when you stay at an IHG hotel. Earn 5 points per $1 spent on purchases on travel, gas stations, and restaurants. Earn 3 points per $1 spent on all other purchases.


Intro offer

140,000 bonus points and 1 free night after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening


Recommended Credit

Good to Excellent


Regular APR

18.24% – 25.24% Variable

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Discover Discover it® Cash Back


Intro offer

Unlimited Cashback Match – Discover will automatically match all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year


Rewards

Earn 5% cash back on everyday purchases at different places each quarter like Amazon.com, grocery stores, restaurants, gas stations and when you pay using PayPal, up to the quarterly maximum when you activate. Earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases automatically.

Discover Discover it® Cash Back


Intro offer

Unlimited Cashback Match – Discover will automatically match all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year


Rewards

Earn 5% cash back on everyday purchases at different places each quarter like Amazon.com, grocery stores, restaurants, gas stations and when you pay using PayPal, up to the quarterly maximum when you activate. Earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases automatically.


Rewards

Earn 5% cash back on everyday purchases at different places each quarter like Amazon.com, grocery stores, restaurants, gas stations and when you pay using PayPal, up to the quarterly maximum when you activate. Earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases automatically.


Intro offer

Unlimited Cashback Match – Discover will automatically match all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year


Recommended Credit

Good to Excellent

Recommended credit score. Note that credit card lenders may use many different variations of credit score models when considering your application.

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Regular APR

14.24% – 25.24% Variable


Intro APR

0% intro APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers

Editor’s Rating

4.42/5

Our editor’s ratings analyze fees, bonuses, rewards, and benefits to highlight the simplest and most valuable credit cards available.

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Discover Discover it® Miles


Intro offer

Unlimited Bonus: Only Discover gives you an unlimited match of all the Miles you’ve earned at the end of your first year


Rewards

Earn unlimited 1.5x Miles on all purchase

Discover Discover it® Miles


Intro offer

Unlimited Bonus: Only Discover gives you an unlimited match of all the Miles you’ve earned at the end of your first year


Rewards

Earn unlimited 1.5x Miles on all purchase


Rewards

Earn unlimited 1.5x Miles on all purchase


Intro offer

Unlimited Bonus: Only Discover gives you an unlimited match of all the Miles you’ve earned at the end of your first year


Recommended Credit

Good to Excellent

Recommended credit score. Note that credit card lenders may use many different variations of credit score models when considering your application.

Show more


Regular APR

14.24% – 25.24% Variable


Intro APR

0% intro APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers

Editor’s Rating

4.1/5

Our editor’s ratings analyze fees, bonuses, rewards, and benefits to highlight the simplest and most valuable credit cards available.

Show more

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Navy Federal Credit Union® Navy Federal Credit Union® Visa Signature® Flagship Rewards Credit Card

Navy Federal Credit Union® Visa Signature® Flagship Rewards Credit Card


Intro offer

35,000 bonus points when you spend $4,000 within 90 days of account opening plus free year of Amazon Prime® (expires on 10/31/22)


Rewards

Earn 3x points on travel and 2x points on everything else

Navy Federal Credit Union® Navy Federal Credit Union® Visa Signature® Flagship Rewards Credit Card

Navy Federal Credit Union® Visa Signature® Flagship Rewards Credit Card


Intro offer

35,000 bonus points when you spend $4,000 within 90 days of account opening plus free year of Amazon Prime® (expires on 10/31/22)


Rewards

Earn 3x points on travel and 2x points on everything else

On Navy Federal Credit Union®’s website


Rewards

Earn 3x points on travel and 2x points on everything else


Intro offer

35,000 bonus points when you spend $4,000 within 90 days of account opening plus free year of Amazon Prime® (expires on 10/31/22)


Recommended Credit

Good to Excellent


Regular APR

12.24% – 18.00% Variable

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Best American Express credit cards for active-duty military

American Express offers some of the most generous policies for active servicemembers. Unlike other banks, Amex will waive annual fees for all of its credit cards, whether they’re business or personal.

With a huge suite of premium credit cards, like The Platinum Card® from American Express
, military members can receive hundreds (or thousands) of dollars per year in free perks. Depending on the card, these include benefits such as monthly or yearly travel and shopping credits, free hotel stays, top-tier elite status, and airport lounge access — all for absolutely nothing out of pocket. 

Even if you’re not a traveler, you can still take advantage of perks, like up to $400 per calendar year in credit at Dell**, up to $100 per calendar year credit at Saks Fifth Avenue**, and monthly credits for free food delivery. Coupled with the ability to earn a substantial amount of American Express Membership Rewards, airline miles, or hotel points via welcome bonuses and bonus category spending, applying for one of these Amex cards is almost a no-brainer if you’re active duty.

Here are our top picks for American Express’ best cards for the military.

American Express Platinum

Why the Amex Platinum is worth it: The Platinum Card® from American Express is the original “status” card, and has some of the broadest benefits of any card, from any bank. Amex Platinum cardholders receive a slew of valuable credits and perks, including up to $200 per calendar year in Uber credits** (good for Uber rides or UberEats), up to $200 per calendar year in airline incidental fee credits** on your selected airline**, and up to $100 per calendar year in Saks Fifth Avenue credits**. 

The Platinum Card added a ton of new benefits, including up to $300 annually in Equinox credits**, $189 per year in credits for CLEAR® membership**, up to $200 per year in credits toward eligible prepaid hotel bookings, up to $240 in annual credits toward eligible digital subscriptions**, a monthly credit for Walmart+ membership**, and up to $300 back for purchasing a SoulCycle At-Home Bike through Equinox+.

Cardholders also get complimentary Hilton and Marriott gold elite status** and airport lounge access including Centurion Lounges, Delta Sky Clubs when you’re flying Delta, and Priority Pass lounges**. 

The card has a $695 annual fee, but that’s waived for active-duty military.

Welcome bonus: The Platinum Card currently offers an excellent welcome bonus of 100,000 Membership Rewards points after you spend $6,000 in your first 6 months of card membership.

Review: Amex Platinum card review

American Express Business Platinum

Why the Amex Business Platinum is worth it: The Business Platinum Card® from American Express
is the small-business version of its popular card. It offers similar benefits while also targeting small-business owners’ needs, such as up to $400 per calendar year in Dell credit** (this isn’t offered on the personal Platinum card). It also comes with up to $200 per calendar year in airline incidental fee credits** on your selected airline, Hilton and Marriott gold elite status**, and airport lounge access.

Newer Amex Business Platinum benefits include new 1.5x earning categories and statement credits for wireless, Indeed, and Adobe purchases, in addition to a higher statement credit for Dell.

The annual fee is $695 — but again, it’s waived if you’re active-duty military.

Welcome bonus: With the Amex Business Platinum Card card, you’ll earn a bonus of 120,000 Membership Rewards® points after spending $15,000 on eligible purchases with your card within the first 3 months of card membership. 

Review: Amex Business Platinum card review

American Express Hilton Aspire

Why the Amex Hilton Aspire is worth it: The Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card
is the only hotel credit card that comes with automatic top-tier elite status. It’s an excellent choice for travelers who like Hilton hotels, and because the $450 annual fee is waived for active-duty service members, you can get a ton of value from its perks.

These include Hilton Diamond elite status, which gets you extras like upgrades, hotel lounge access, free breakfast, and a free annual night each account anniversary valid for use at nearly any Hilton hotel worldwide.

You’ll also receive up to $250 per cardmember year in Hilton resort credits and up to $250 per calendar year in airline incidental fee credits** on your selected airline.

Welcome bonus: The Hilton Honors Aspire Card offers a welcome bonus of 150,000 points after you spend at least $4,000 in your first 3 months of account opening. You’ll also receive a Hilton free weekend night reward after you open your account, and again after each card anniversary.

Review: Hilton Aspire card review

Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express

Why the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant is worth it: Marriott Bonvoy loyalists can get huge value from the high-end Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card, which offers cardholders hundreds of dollars in credits and benefits each year. You’ll get perks like up to $300 per year credit for purchases at hotels in the Marriott Bonvoy program (valid on room rates, food and beverage, spa treatments, and other incidentals) and an annual free night every card anniversary, valid at hotels that cost up to 50,000 points.

Cardholders also enjoy Priority Pass Select membership for airport lounge access, and a $100 property credit when booking eligible paid stays of two nights or more at Ritz-Carlton and St. Regis hotels.

There’s a $450 annual fee, but it’s also waived for active-duty service members.

Welcome bonus: The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Card offers a substantial welcome bonus: 75,000 Marriott Bonvoy bonus points after using your new card to make $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening.

Review: Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant card review

Delta Reserve American Express

Why the Amex Delta Reserve is worth it: Even if you only fly Delta occasionally, the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card offers perks that make it well worth keeping in your wallet. The card’s benefits include an annual Delta companion ticket (good on domestic flights and including first class), free Delta Sky Club lounge membership, a free checked bag on Delta flights, and priority boarding.

There’s a $550 annual fee, waived for active-duty military.

Welcome bonus: The Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card comes with a solid welcome bonus: 50,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new card in your first 3 months.

Review: Amex Delta Reserve card review

Best Chase cards for active-duty service members

While Chase doesn’t waive annual fees for its small-business credit cards, it will waive them for all its personal cards. With a host of co-branded airline and hotel credit cards and Chase Ultimate Rewards cards like the Chase Sapphire Reserve®, military members can take advantage of tons of great perks.

Depending on the card, these include benefits such as travel credits, free hotel stays, food delivery credits, and airport lounge access. And even if you’re not interested in the reward travel game, Chase offers huge potential with its Ultimate Rewards program, which offers tons of redemption options including statement credits, gift cards, and merchandise.

Here are some of the best Chase credit cards for the military:

Chase Sapphire Reserve

Why the Chase Sapphire Reserve is worth it: Considered a premium travel card, the Chase Sapphire Reserve® provides cardholders with hundreds of dollars in benefits each year, including up to $300 per year in travel credits, which you can use toward just about anything travel-related.

You’ll also get Priority Pass Select airport lounge membership, access to Chase Sapphire airport lounges, excellent travel insurance features, and a statement credit reimbursing the application fee for either Global Entry, TSA PreCheck, or NEXUS.

There’s a $550 annual fee but Chase waives it for active-duty military members.

Welcome bonus: The Chase Sapphire Reserve® currently offers a welcome bonus of 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. 

Review: Chase Sapphire Reserve card review

Chase United Club Infinite

Why the Chase United Club Infinite is worth it: Fans of the United MileagePlus loyalty program can potentially save thousands of dollars a year in travel with Chase’s most-expensive United Airlines credit card. The United Club℠ Infinite Card comes with valuable travel benefits that include United Club airport lounge membership, including entry for two companions, and two free checked bags on United flights.

You’ll also get Premier access, which includes priority check-in, security screening, and boarding, and Hertz Gold Plus President’s Circle elite status which can get you rental car upgrades.

The annual fee is $525, but it’s waived entirely for active-duty military.

Welcome bonus: The card currently offers a welcome bonus of 80,000 bonus miles after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.

Review: United Infinite card review

Chase Southwest Priority

Why the Chase Southwest Priority is worth it: If you’re a deal hunter, you probably fly Southwest. Owning the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card will drastically improve your experience while also handing you free credits each year. You’ll also get valuable day-of-travel perks and other benefits like $75 in annual Southwest credit, 7,500 anniversary points each year when you renew the card, four upgraded boardings per year (A1-A15) when available, and 25% off inflight purchases.

That gets you on your way to qualifying for the Southwest Companion Pass, which allows a designated companion to fly with you for nearly free (just pay taxes and fees) on paid and award tickets. There’s a $149 annual fee, also waived for active-duty military.

Welcome bonus: The Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card is currently offering a welcome bonus where you can earn 50,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.

Review: Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority card review

Chase World of Hyatt Card

Why the World of Hyatt Card is worth it: Although it doesn’t have as many features as some higher-end credit cards, The World Of Hyatt Credit Card
offers plenty of perks and still costs you nothing out of pocket if you’re active-duty military (otherwise, the annual fee is $95).

Cardholders receive an annual award night valid at any Hyatt Category 1-4 hotel, which can easily be worth hundreds of dollars. If you spend $15,000 on the card in an account year, you’ll earn another free night (valid at the same categories).

 You’ll also get automatic Hyatt Discoverist elite status, which comes with perks like bonus points and early check-in/late checkout when available.

Welcome bonus: The World Of Hyatt Credit Card offers a welcome bonus of 30,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening, and up to 30,000 more bonus points by earning with 2 points per dollar spent on purchases that normally earn 1 point, up to $15,000 in the first six months of account opening.

Review: World of Hyatt credit card review

Chase IHG Rewards Premier

Why the Chase IHG Premier is worth it: The IHG® Rewards Premier Credit Card comes with valuable perks like an anniversary award night each year worth up to 40,000 points and IHG Platinum elite status.

You can also save points with the fourth award night free on all standard award redemptions of four nights or more, which translates to a 25% discount just for being a cardholder. The card also offers up to a $100 statement credit for the Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee.

There’s an $99 annual fee, again waived for active-duty military.

Welcome bonus: One of the more generous hotel credit cards, the IHG® Rewards Premier Credit Card offers a large sign-up bonus of 140,000 bonus points and 1 free night after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.

Review: IHG Rewards Premier credit card review 

Best Discover cards for military members

While Discover cards don’t actually charge any annual fees — it’s one of their hallmarks — they’ve outdone much of the competition by eliminating all over-limit and late fees for active-duty military credit cards. Here are our top picks for Discover’s best credit cards for the military:

Discover it Cash Back

Why the Discover it Cash Back is worth it: With a rotating selection of 5% cash back categories every quarter, it’s easy to maximize your earnings with the Discover it® Cash Back. Discover’s 5% cash back calendar often includes categories and merchants that fit everyday spending habits. You’ll earn 5% back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases (then 1% back) in these categories each quarter when you activate the bonus (from July 1 to September 30, 2022, you can earn 5% cash back at restaurants and PayPal on up to $1,500 in purchases after enrollment, then 1%).  

Welcome bonus: The card doesn’t offer a welcome bonus per se, but Discover will match all cash back earned at the end of your first year as a new cardmember.

Review: Discover it Cash Back card review

Discover it Miles

Why the Discover it Miles is worth it: The Discover it® Miles is good for those who don’t want any fuss at all, offering a flat 1.5x miles on all purchases. Miles can be redeemed for a value of up to 1 cent each.

Welcome bonus: Similar to the Discover it® Cash Back, Discover will match all the rewards you’ve earned at the end of your first year.

Review: Discover it Miles card review

Best Navy Federal card for the military

Navy Federal is a credit union available to those who are tied to the US military. As an active-duty service member, you and your family are eligible to enroll and enjoy membership, which extends beyond good credit cards.

While it doesn’t have a ton of credit card options, there is one Navy Federal card that stands out above the rest:

Navy Federal Visa Signature Flagship

Why the Navy Federal Flagship is worth it: The Navy Federal Credit Union® Visa Signature® Flagship Rewards Credit Card
offers high reward-earning opportunities and a very low interest rate. You’ll also receive up to a $100 statement credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck applications.

You’ll earn 3 points per dollar on travel and 2 points per dollar on everything else. And the current interest rate is 12.24% – 18.00% Variable

Welcome bonus: This card’s welcome offer is currently 35,000 bonus points when you spend $4,000 within 90 days of account opening plus free year of Amazon Prime® (expires on 10/31/22).

Review: Coming soon

Best credit cards for active-duty military frequently asked questions (FAQ)

Military members will have their credit vetted just as anyone who applies for a credit card. Many of the cards we’ve listed above require at least good credit to be approved. If your credit score is below that, it’s wise to avoid applying for rewards credit cards until you reach a score of at least 700 to give yourself the best chance for approval.

The above cards either waive annual fees for active duty military or don’t incur an annual fee to begin with. Therefore, all are free to try without any risk. Considering civilians pay annual fees costing up to $695 for these cards, they are definitely worth opening. You could receive literally thousands of dollars worth of free travel and statement credits.

Not all credit card issuers waive annual fees for military members. However, most personal credit cards (not small business) issued by American Express, Chase, Citi, and U.S. Bank should be free for active-duty military and spouses.

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