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2021

The Best Military Credit Cards: Low APRs, Waived Annual Fees, and More

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Are you on active duty, or will you be soon? If so, you may be able to use the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) to get valuable credit card rewards and benefits at very low cost (in many cases for free).

Our Selection Criteria Is a Military Card Right for You?

Credit Card Insider receives compensation from advertisers whose products may be mentioned on this page. Advertiser relationships do not affect card evaluations. Advertising partners do not edit or endorse our editorial content. Content is accurate to the best of our knowledge when it's published. Learn more in our Editorial Guidelines.

The information related to Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card and American Express® Green Card have been collected by Credit Card Insider and have not been reviewed or provided by the issuer or provider of these products.

Our Selection Criteria

  • SCRA benefits: Every credit card issuer, by law, is required to adhere to certain standards under the SCRA. But certain issuers will provide lower interest rates or waive more fees than others, creating more compelling offers all around.
  • High rewards rates: If you’re eligible for SCRA benefits, you may have access to some of the best rewards cards available without their usual associated fees. This means you could potentially earn points, miles, or cash back at industry-leading rates without worrying over whether you’ll get enough value to make the card worth your while.
  • Reward categories with universal appeal: Many of our favorite military cards allow you to earn rewards on purchases often considered essential, including gas, groceries, restaurants, and travel.
  • Versatile benefits: A good rewards program can go far, but benefits are the real draw when it comes to most upper-tier credit cards. Perks like travel insurance, statement credits for certain purchases, and airport lounge access offer major value, and they’re all the more appealing if you don’t have to pony up a pile of cash every year to enjoy them.
  • Offers for every credit level: You don’t need great credit to find a credit card that meets your needs. We’ve listed a healthy mix of good cards available to those with fair or average credit, and several designed for repairing bad credit or building credit from scratch — plus some premium options for those with better credit.

Is a Military Card Right for You?

Though we’ve compiled the credit cards on this page with servicepeople in mind, most (but not all) of the picks you’ll find here are everyday consumer credit cards available to cardholders far and wide.

As an SCRA-eligible military servicemember, however, you may be able to get them with improved terms and waived fees, often giving you a lot more bang for your buck.

That’s why it’s important to confirm whether you’re eligible for SCRA benefits. We’ve outlined SCRA eligibility requirements at the bottom of the page, so take a look before applying for anything new.

If you qualify, examine your options carefully to find a card that will help you earn rewards without changing up your spending habits. Think about where and how you shop, and find cards that will reward you for the things you (or your family) already purchase on a regular basis.

Dig into the benefits each card offers, too. Many credit cards provide features beyond their rewards programs that can amplify their value considerably. And these perks become even more appealing if you qualify for SCRA benefits and can get them all for free.

Premium credit cards, which usually have annual fees around $500 (give or take), naturally come with the best perks on the market, like airport lounge access, airline statement credits, and elite hotel statuses. These can deliver hundreds upon hundreds of dollars in value. Other benefits, like travel insurance, are just icing on the cake.

This list touches on several types of cards — from flat-rate cash back to premium hotel rewards and beyond — and you’ll likely find an appealing offer whether you’re working on repairing poor credit or reveling in your excellent scores.

Best Pick For...

Flat-Rate Cash Back

Citi® Double Cash Card - 18 month BT offer

Our rating:
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  • Min. credit levelExcellent
  • Annual Fee$0
  • Regular APR13.99% – 23.99% (Variable)
Rewards

If you want a way to earn decent cash back on every purchase, without worrying about bonus reward categories, the Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer (Review) should be on your radar.

Spending Rewards
  • 2% cash back for every purchase you make (must pay at least the minimum due on time):
    • 1% back when you make a purchase
    • 1% back when you pay for that purchase

It’s a good option to pair with a card that does have some bonus reward categories, like some of the others on this list. You’ll be able to earn more rewards in the bonus categories, while using the Double Cash to get a flat rate on everything else.

Key Features
  • Citi Concierge: Call for non-emergency help whenever you need it, like assistance making travel reservations.
  • ShopRunner membership: Use ShopRunner to get free two-day shipping and returns at participating retailers.
  • Free credit score: Check your FICO Bankcard Score 8 for free, based on your Equifax credit report.
  • Balance Transfer APR: 0% for 18 months on Balance Transfers, then 13.99% – 23.99% (Variable) (for transfers made during the first four months)
  • Annual fee: $0
  • Fee waivers: There are no fees of any kind for SCRA-eligible cardholders.
Runners Up5

PenFed Power Cash Rewards Visa Signature® Card

  • 1.5% cash back on all purchases made with your card
    • 2% cash back on all purchases for PenFed Honors Advantage Members
  • $100 statement credit after spending $1,500 in the first 90 days
  • Balance Transfer APR: 0% for 12 months, then 11.74% to 17.99% Variable
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • Annual fee: $0
  • Eligibility: To get any PenFed products, you must become a member of the credit union. PenFed is federally insured by NCUA.
View card details

Chase Freedom Unlimited®

  • 5% cash back on:
    • Travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards
    • Lyft rides (through March 2022)
  • 3% cash back at:
    • Restaurants
    • Drugstores
  • 1.5% cash back on all other purchases
  • $200 bonus for spending $500 in the first 3 months
  • Perks: DoorDash membership; Shop through Chase/Chase Offers; ShopRunner membership; Lyft credits; Boxed rewards
  • Purchase APR: 0% for 15 months, then 14.99% - 23.74% Variable
  • Annual fee: $0
  • Fee waivers: There are no fees of any kind for SCRA-eligible cardholders.
View card details

Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card

  • 1.5% cash back on all purchases
  • $200 for spending $500 in the first 3 months after account opening
  • Perks: World Elite Concierge; Shopping and travel protections
  • Purchase APR: 0% for 15 months, then 15.49% - 25.49% (Variable)
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • Annual fee: $0
  • Fee waivers: There are no fees of any kind for SCRA-eligible cardholders.
View card details

American Express Cash Magnet® Card

  • 1.5% cash back for every purchase
  • $150 cash back for spending $1,000 in the first 3 months
  • Perks: Amex Offers; Shopping and travel protections
  • Purchase APR: 0% for 15 months, then 13.99% - 23.99% Variable
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • Annual fee: $0
  • Fee waivers: Certain fees are waived for SCRA-eligible cardholders, like late and returned payment fees.
View card details

Military STAR Card

  • 2X points per dollar spent on all purchases
  • 10% discount for purchases within 24 hours of receiving your card
  • Restricted to spending at select military-related locations, including the on-base exchanges for all branches of services
  • Only available to military members, veterans with exchange access, and family dependents
  • Perks: 10% food court discount, interest-free military clothing, five-cent discount on each gallon of gas purchased at military installation gas stations
  • Annual fee: $0
View card details
  • Earn 2% on every purchase with unlimited 1% cash back when you buy, plus an additional 1% as you pay for those purchases.
  • To earn cash back, pay at least the minimum due on time.
  • Balance Transfer Offer: 0% intro APR on Balance Transfers for 18 months. After that, the variable APR will be 13.99% – 23.99%, based on your creditworthiness.
  • Balance Transfers do not earn cash back.
  • If you transfer a balance, interest will be charged on your purchases unless you pay your entire balance (including balance transfers) by the due date each month.
  • There is a balance transfer fee of either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
  • The standard variable APR for Citi Flex Plan is 13.99% – 23.99% based on your creditworthiness. Citi Flex Plan offers are made available at Citi’s discretion.

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Premium Travel

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

Our rating:
  • Min. credit levelExcellent
  • Annual Fee$550
  • Regular APR16.99%-23.99% Variable
Rewards

The Chase Sapphire Reserve® (Review) is a high-end travel credit card, normally meant only for frequent travelers. But Chase will waive the annual fee of any card eligible for SCRA benefits — in this case a $550 fee! So the Reserve could be quite valuable even if you don’t travel very much, especially when you consider its vast selection of benefits.

Spending Rewards
  • 10X Ultimate Rewards points per dollar on Lyft rides (through 3/31/22)
  • 3X Ultimate Rewards points per dollar on:
    • Travel (after the full travel credit is used)
    • Dining
    • Groceries (up to $1,000 spent per month; through 4/30/21)
  • 1X Ultimate Rewards point per dollar on all other purchases
Introductory Bonus
  • 50,000 bonus points for spending $4,000 in the first 3 months after account opening

This card is all about travel spending. And you’ll need to redeem your points for travel expenses too, if you want to get the best value for them.

When redeeming through Chase Ultimate Rewards you’ll get a 50% bonus, so your points will be worth 1.5 cents each.

You’ll also be able to transfer your points to several airline and hotel travel partners. You could find a better deal through one of them, and we’ve seen transfers that could provide 2 cents per point or more, for the equivalent of at least 6% cash back when spending in the 3X categories.

Key Features
  • Point transfer: Transfer your points at a 1:1 rate to a variety of airline and hotel loyalty programs, like United, JetBlue, and Marriott Bonvoy
  • $300 annual travel credit: A $300 travel credit every year that will be automatically applied toward a broad range of travel-related expenses charged to the card
  • Priority Pass Select membership: Enjoy access to over 1,000 airport lounges worldwide plus a selection of restaurants. The cardholder and two guests can enter for free; additional guests cost $27 each.
  • Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee credit: Get a statement credit to offset the cost of applying for Global Entry ($100) or TSA PreCheck ($85), once every four years.
  • Visa Infinite Concierge: Call for non-emergency help of all kinds, like making dinner reservations or finding good tickets to a show.
  • Special car rental privileges: Rental upgrades, discounts, and promotional offers at Avis, Silvercar, and National Car Rental
  • Lyft Pink membership: One free year of Lyft Pink, which includes 15% off rides, relaxed cancellations, surprise offers, and priority airport pickup
  • DoorDash membership: A free membership (DashPass) for a year, which provides free delivery and reduced service fees on orders over $12
  • $60 annual DoorDash credit: Get $60 in DoorDash credits in 2020, and $60 in credits in 2021.
  • $120 Peloton credit: Enroll to get up to $120 back for an eligible Peloton Digital or All-Access Membership (through 2021). No fitness equipment is required.
  • Shopping and travel protections: Purchase Protection, a Primary Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Trip Delay Reimbursement, and more
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • Annual fee: $550 (waived for SCRA-eligible members)
  • Fee waivers: Chase will waive all fees as part of its SCRA benefits, including foreign transaction fees, late fees, etc
Runners Up5

Citi Prestige® Card

  • 5X ThankYou points per dollar spent on:
    • Air travel
    • Restaurants
  • 3X ThankYou points per dollar spent on:
    • Hotels
    • Cruise lines
  • 1X ThankYou point per dollar spent on everything else
  • 50,000 ThankYou points for spending $4,000 within 3 months of account opening
  • Perks: Annual $250 travel credit; Fourth night free when booking via thankyou.com; Priority Pass Select membership; Global Entry/TSA PreCheck credit
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • Annual fee: $495 (waived for SCRA-eligible cardholders)
  • Fee waivers: Citi will waive all fees as part of its SCRA benefits, including foreign transaction fees, late fees, etc.
View card details

U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve Visa Infinite® Card

  • 5X points per dollar spent on:
    • Prepaid hotels booked in the Altitude Rewards Center
    • Car rentals booked in the Altitude Rewards Center
  • 3X points per dollar spent on:
    • Travel
    • Mobile Wallet purchases
    • Restaurants (until 7/1/21)
  • 1X point per dollar spent on all other purchases
  • 50,000 bonus points for spending $4,500 in the first 90 days of membership
  • Perks: Annual $325 travel credit; Limited Priority Pass Select membership; Global Entry/TSA PreCheck credit; Airline WiFi credits
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • Annual fee: $400
View card details

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

  • 5X Ultimate Rewards points per dollar on Lyft rides (through March 2022)
  • 2X Ultimate Rewards points per dollar for:
    • Travel
    • Restaurants
    • Groceries (up to $1,000 spent per month; through 4/30/21)
  • 1X Ultimate Rewards point per dollar on all other purchases
  • 60,000 bonus points for spending $4,000 in the first 3 months, plus up to $50 in statement credits toward grocery purchases
  • Perks: Annual $250 travel credit; Fourth night free when booking via thankyou.com; Priority Pass Select membership; Global Entry/TSA PreCheck credit
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • Annual fee: $95 (waived for SCRA-eligible members)
  • Fee waivers: Chase will waive all fees as part of its SCRA benefits, including foreign transaction fees, late fees, etc
View card details

American Express® Gold Card

  • 4X Membership Rewards points per dollar at:
    • Restaurants worldwide
    • Uber Eats
    • U.S. Supermarkets (up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X)
  • 3X Membership Rewards points per dollar on:
    • Flights booked directly with airlines
    • Flights booked through amextravel.com
  • 1X Membership Rewards point per dollar for every other purchase
  • 60,000 bonus points for spending $4,000 in the first 6 months
  • Perks: $120 annual dining credit; The Hotel Collection; ShopRunner membership
  • Shopping and travel protections: Extended Warranty; Purchase Protection; Baggage Insurance Plan; Car Rental Loss and Damage Insurance
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • Annual fee: $250 (waived for SCRA-eligible cardholders)
  • Fee waivers: Certain other fees are waived for SCRA-eligible cardholders as well, like late and returned payment fees.

American Express® Gold Card (Rates & Fees)

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American Express® Green Card

  • 3X points per dollar for:
    • Travel
    • Restaurants
  • 1X point per dollar for all other purchases
  • 30,000 bonus points for spending $2,000 in the first 3 months
  • Perks: $100 annual CLEAR credit; $100 annual LoungeBuddy credit; Point transfer; Amex Offers
  • Shopping and travel protections: Extended Warranty; Purchase Protection; Baggage Insurance Plan; Car Rental Loss and Damage Insurance
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • Annual fee: $150 (waived for SCRA-eligible cardholders)
  • Fee waivers: Certain other fees are waived for SCRA-eligible cardholders as well, like late and returned payment fees.

American Express® Green Card (Rates & Fees)

View card details
  • Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That’s $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year. From 6/1/20 through 6/30/21, gas station & grocery store purchases will also count towards earning your Travel Credit
  • 3X points on travel immediately after earning your $300 travel credit. 3X points on dining at restaurants including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $750 toward travel
  • With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 50% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Access to 1,000+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select and up to $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✔®
  • Earn 3x total points on up to $1,000 in grocery store purchases per month from November 1, 2020 to April 30, 2021. Includes eligible pick-up and delivery services
Premium Travel & Airport Lounge Access

The Platinum Card® from American Express

Our rating:
  • Min. credit levelGood
  • Annual Fee$550
  • Regular APRSee Pay Over Time APR

Rates & Fees

Rewards

The Platinum Card® from American Express (Review) is another high-end travel card to consider. It has a hefty annual fee, but you won’t need to worry about that because American Express will usually waive annual fees as part of its SCRA benefits. (Rates & Fees)

Spending Rewards
  • 5X Membership Rewards points per dollar (starting 1/1/21, on up to $500,000 spent per calendar year) on:
    • Flights booked directly through airlines or through American Express Travel
    • Prepaid hotels booked through American Express Travel
  • 2X Membership Rewards points per dollar on other eligible travel expenses booked through American Express Travel
  • 1X Membership Rewards point per dollar on all other purchases
Introductory Bonus
  • 75,000 bonus points for spending $5,000 in the first 6 months; 10X points on eligible purchases at U.S. Gas Stations and U.S. Supermarkets, on up to $15,000 in combined purchases, in the first 6 months

This card is focused mainly around spending through the American Express Travel service, although flights booked directly through airlines are included too.

That makes it a bit more restricted than the Chase Sapphire Reserve® (Review), which isn’t limited to a single travel service.

Key Features
  • Point transfer: Transfer your Membership Rewards points to a variety of airline and hotel partners, such as British Airways, Delta, Hilton, and Marriott.
  • Global Lounge Collection: Complimentary access to Priority Pass, Centurion, American Express International, Delta Sky Club, Escape, Airspace, Lufthansa, and Plaza Premium Lounges
  • $200 annual Uber credits: $15 in statement credits for Uber rides each month, except for December which gets $3
  • $100 annual Saks credit: Up to $100 in statement credits each year for Saks Fifth Avenue: $50 from January through June, and $50 from July through December
  • One-year Eats Pass: Enroll to get a complimentary Uber Eats membership for one year, which provides free delivery and 5% off restaurant orders over $15, and free delivery on grocery orders over $30 (through 2021).
  • Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee credit: A statement credit for the application fee of either Global Entry ($100 every four years) or TSA PreCheck ($85 once every four and a half years)
  • The Hotel Collection: A $100 hotel credit and room upgrades when available for every eligible two-night stay. Eligibility for this offer is limited. Enrollment is required in the Amex Offers section of your account before redeeming.
  • Complimentary elite hotel statuses: Hilton Honors Gold status and Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite status
  • Annual fee: $550 (waived for SCRA-eligible cardholders)
  • Fee waivers: Certain other fees are waived for SCRA-eligible cardholders as well, like late and returned payment fees.

The Platinum Card® from American Express (Rates & Fees)

  • Earn 75,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $5,000 on purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 10x points on eligible purchases on your new Card at U.S. Gas Stations and U.S. Supermarkets, on up to $15,000 in combined purchases, during your first 6 months of Card Membership. That’s an additional 9 points on top of the 1 point you earn for these purchases.
  • Enjoy Uber VIP status and up to $200 in Uber savings on rides or eats orders in the US annually. Uber Cash and Uber VIP status is available to Basic Card Member and Additional Centurion Cards only.
  • Earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel. Starting January 1, 2021, earn 5X points on up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year.
  • 5X Membership Rewards® Points on prepaid hotels booked on amextravel.com.
  • Enjoy complimentary access to the Global Lounge Collection, the only credit card airport lounge access program that includes proprietary lounge locations around the world.
  • Receive complimentary benefits through American Express Travel with an average total value of $550 with Fine Hotels & Resorts® program at over 1,100 properties . Learn More.
  • Get up to $100 in statement credits annually for purchases at Saks Fifth Avenue on your Platinum Card®. That’s up to $50 in statement credits semi-annually. Enrollment required.
  • $550 annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.

American Express is a Credit Card Insider advertiser.

  • Min. credit levelExcellent
  • Annual Fee$0 intro annual fee, then $525
  • Regular APR16.49% - 23.49% Variable
Why We Picked It

Some cards are co-branded with certain airlines, and most of these cards are issued by American Express, Chase, and Citi.

Luckily for you, all three of these issuers will waive the annual fees of cards that are eligible for SCRA benefits. So a large swath of airline cards will have their annual fees waived, along with certain other fees depending on the issuer.

The right card for you will depend on which airline you spend the most time and money with. Check out our picks for the best airline credit card offers and you’ll probably find a match.

Let’s take a closer look at one airline card. The United Club℠ Infinite Card (Review) from Chase has a hefty annual fee, but if you’re a frequent United traveler you might want to go big. It’s just one of several travel rewards cards designed for United Airlines enthusiasts.

Rewards
Spending Rewards
  • 4X miles per dollar spent on United purchases
  • 2X miles per dollar spent for:
    • Restaurants
    • Travel
  • 1X mile per dollar spent on all other purchases

A typical good redemption value would probably be around 1.5 cents per mile for United. That means you’ll be earning the equivalent of about 13.5% cash back when spending with United, which is pretty good.

Key Features
  • United Club membership: Complimentary membership to the United Club airport lounge, with free access for you and two guests
  • Premier Access Airport Travel Services: Includes priority check-in and security screening, and boarding/baggage handling privileges
  • Complimentary Premier Upgrades on United award flights: MileagePlus Premier members can get award ticket upgrades when available.
  • Free first and second checked bags: For you and one traveling companion
  • Global Entry or TSA PreCheck fee credit: Get a $100 credit for the application fee of Global Entry, or $85 for TSA PreCheck, once every four years.
  • World of Hyatt Discoverist status: A 10% point bonus, room upgrades, and other benefits at Hyatt properties.
  • Luxury Hotel & Resort Collection: Hotel perks like daily breakfast for two, complimentary WiFi, and room upgrades when available.
  • Hertz Gold Plus Rewards President’s Circle Elite Status: Get a 25% point bonus, upgrades, and exclusive offers at Hertz.
  • Annual fee: $0 intro annual fee, then $525 (waived for SCRA-eligible members)
  • Fee waivers: Chase will waive all fees as part of its SCRA benefits, including foreign transaction fees, late fees, etc.
Runners Up7

Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card

  • 3X SkyMiles per eligible dollar spent for purchases made directly with Delta Air Lines
  • 1X SkyMile per eligible dollar spent on all other purchases
  • 40,000 bonus miles and 10,000 MQMs for spending $3,000 in the first 3 months
  • Perks: Delta Sky Club membership; Centurion Lounge access; Annual Companion Certificate; Global Entry/TSA PreCheck credit; First checked bag free; Priority Boarding; 20% in-flight discount
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • Annual fee: $550 (waived for SCRA-eligible members)
  • Fee waivers: Certain other fees are waived for SCRA-eligible cardholders as well, like late and returned payment fees.

Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card (Rates & Fees)

View card details

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

  • 3X SkyMiles per dollar for:
    • Purchases made directly with Delta
    • Hotels
  • 2X SkyMiles per dollar at:
    • Restaurants
    • U.S. Supermarkets
  • 1X SkyMile per dollar for all other purchases
  • 40,000 bonus miles and 5,000 MQMs for spending $2,000 in the first 3 months; $100 statement credit for making a Delta purchase in the first 3 months
  • Perks: First checked bag free; Priority Boarding; Annual companion certificate; Global Entry or TSA PreCheck fee credit; 20% back on in-flight purchases
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • Annual fee: $250 (waived for SCRA-eligible members)
  • Fee waivers: Certain other fees are waived for SCRA-eligible cardholders as well, like late and returned payment fees.

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card (Rates & Fees)

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Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard®

  • 2X AAdvantage miles per dollar spent on eligible American Airlines purchases
  • 1X AAdvantage mile per dollar spent on all other purchases
  • 50,000 AAdvantage bonus miles for spending $5,000 in the first 3 months of account opening
  • Perks: Admirals Club membership; Global Entry/TSA PreCheck credit; Reduced Mileage Awards; Enhanced Airport Experience; First checked bag free; 25% in-flight discount
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • Annual fee: $450 (waived for SCRA-eligible members)
  • Fee waivers: Citi will waive all fees as part of its SCRA benefits, including foreign transaction fees, late fees, etc.
View card details

Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard®

  • 2X AAdvantage miles per dollar at:
    • American Airlines
    • Gas stations
    • Restaurants
  • 1X AAdvantage mile per dollar on all other purchases
  • 50,000 AAdvantage bonus miles for spending $2,500 in the first 3 months
  • Perks: First checked bag free; Preferred Boarding; 25% discount on eligible in-flight purchases
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • Annual fee: $99, waived for first 12 months (waived for SCRA-eligible members)
  • Fee waivers: Citi will waive all fees as part of its SCRA benefits, including foreign transaction fees, late fees, etc.
View card details

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card

  • 2X points per dollar spent on eligible purchases from:
    • Southwest Airlines
    • Rapid Rewards Hotel and Car Rental Partners
  • 1X point per dollar spent on all other purchases
  • Earn a Companion Pass through 2/28/2022 plus 30,000 points for spending $5,000 in the first 3 months
  • Perks: 7,500 annual bonus points; $75 annual Southwest credit; Four Upgraded Boardings per year; 20% in-flight discount
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • Annual fee: $149  (waived for SCRA-eligible members)
  • Fee waivers: Chase will waive all fees as part of its SCRA benefits, including foreign transaction fees, late fees, etc
View card details

Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® Credit Card

  • 3X miles per dollar spent on Alaska Airlines & Virgin America purchases
  • 1X mile per dollar spent on all other purchases
  • 40,000 bonus miles and a Companion Fare for spending $2,000 in the first 90 days
  • Perks: Annual Companion Fare credit; First checked bag free; 20% in-flight discount; Shopping portal; 50% discount on Alaska Lounge day passes
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • Annual fee: $75 (waived for SCRA-eligible members)
View card details

JetBlue Plus Card

  • 6X points per dollar on JetBlue purchases
  • 2X points per dollar at:
    • Restaurants
    • Grocery stores
  • 1X point per dollar on all other purchases
  • 40,000 bonus points for paying the annual fee and spending $1,000 on purchases in 90 days
  • Perks: 10% point redemption bonus; 5,000 annual bonus points; First checked bag free; 50% in-flight purchase discount; $100 vacation package credit
  • Balance Transfer APR: 0% for 12 months (for balance transfers made within 45 days of account opening), then 18.24%, 22.24%, or 27.24% Variable
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • Annual fee: $99
View card details
  • $0 intro annual fee, then $525
  • 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 at restaurants and eligible delivery services including GrubHub, Caviar, Seamless and DoorDash
  • Earn 1 mile per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Up to $100 Global Entry or TSA PreCheck™ fee credit
  • Free first and second checked bags – a savings of up to $320 per roundtrip. Terms Apply
  • 25% back as a statement credit on purchases of food, beverages and Wi-Fi on board United-operated flights when you pay with your Club Card.
Apply Now

securely on the issuer's website

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  • Min. credit levelExcellent
  • Annual Fee$450
  • Regular APR15.74%-24.74% (Variable)

Rates & Fees

Why We Picked It

Just like with airline cards, many hotel credit cards are issued by American Express, Chase, and Citi. These issuers all waive the annual fees for cards that are eligible for SCRA benefits, making them good picks if you stay at hotels often.

The right hotel card for you will depend on where you like to stay. If you prefer Hilton, there’s a card for that. If you like Marriott, Hyatt, or IHG, there are co-branded cards for them too. See our picks for the best hotel credit cards to find some great cards for major hotel brands.

One option you might like is the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card. Its $450 annual fee will be waived by Amex, so you can use its rewards and benefits for free under the SCRA (as long as you avoid interest charges). (Rates & Fees)

Rewards
Spending Rewards
  • 14X Hilton Honors Bonus points per dollar for eligible purchases charged on your Card directly with a hotel or resort within the Hilton Portfolio
  • 7X Hilton Honors points per dollar spent on:
    • Flights booked directly with airlines or amextravel.com
    • Car rentals booked directly from select car rental companies
    • U.S. restaurants
  • 3X Hilton Honors points per dollar spent on all other purchases
Introductory Bonus
  • 150,000 bonus points for spending $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months after account opening

This card is very rewarding, offering plenty of Hilton Honors points when you spend with Hilton. You’ll get those additional 20X points because this card comes with automatic Hilton Honors Diamond status, which is the highest possible elite membership tier.

That means when you spend with Hilton you’ll be able to earn the equivalent of around 13.6%–34% cash back, depending on how you redeem those points. This is an excellent value, especially considering that you won’t have an annual fee to pay.

That’s a lot of cash back, but you’ll also get benefits and statement credits that can be worth hundreds of dollars every year.

Key Features
  • Complimentary Hilton Honors Diamond status: Includes a 100% bonus on Base points earned, room upgrades to suites when available, executive lounge access, a 48-hour room guarantee, and more
  • Annual Free Weekend Night Award: One free weekend night every year, and earn another free weekend night by spending $60,000 in a calendar year
  • $100 Hilton on-property credit: Good for every eligible stay of two nights or more, valid for incidental fees only
  • Annual $250 Hilton resort statement credit: Get up to $250 in Hilton Resort Credits on your card each anniversary year, when you stay at participating resorts within the Hilton portfolio.
  • Annual $250 airline fee statement credit: For incidental fees only
  • Priority Pass Select Membership: Complimentary access to Priority Pass airport lounges; excludes non-lounge experiences
  • Annual fee: $450 (waived for SCRA-eligible members)
  • Fee waivers: Certain other fees are waived for SCRA-eligible cardholders as well, like late and returned payment fees.

Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card (Rates & Fees)

Runner Up5

Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card

  • 6X Marriott Bonvoy Bonus points per dollar for eligible purchases charged on your Card directly with participating Marriott Bonvoy hotels
  • 3X Marriott Bonvoy points per dollar:
    • At U.S. restaurants
    • On flights booked directly with airlines
  • 2X Marriott Bonvoy points per dollar spent on all other purchases
  • 75,000 bonus points for spending $3,000 in the first 3 months
  • Perks: $300 annual Marriott credit; Free Night Award; Priority Pass Select membership; Global Entry or TSA PreCheck credit; Gold Elite status; 15 Elite Night Credits
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • Annual fee: $450 (waived for SCRA-eligible members)
  • Fee waivers: Certain other fees are waived for SCRA-eligible cardholders as well, like late and returned payment fees.

Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card (Rates & Fees)

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Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card

  • 17X Marriott Rewards points per dollar at Marriott Bonvoy hotels
    • 6X Bonus points per dollar from the card
    • 11X Base points per dollar for Marriott Bonvoy Silver Elite status
  • 2X Bonus points per dollar on all other purchases
  • 75,000 bonus points for spending $3,000 in the first 3 months
  • Perks: Annual Free Night Stay; Marriott Bonvoy Silver Elite status; Premium in-room WiFi; Annual 15 Elite Night Credits
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • Annual fee: $95 (waived for SCRA-eligible members)
  • Fee waivers: Certain other fees are waived for SCRA-eligible cardholders as well, like late and returned payment fees.

Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card

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Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card

  • 12X Hilton Honors Bonus points per dollar for eligible purchases charged on your Card directly with a hotel or resort within the Hilton Portfolio
  • 6X Hilton Honors Bonus points per dollar at:
    • U.S. Restaurants
    • U.S. Supermarkets
    • U.S. Gas stations
  • 3X Hilton Honors Bonus points per dollar on all other eligible purchases
  • $150 statement credit after your first purchase, and 150,000 bonus points for spending $2,000, all in the first 3 months
  • Perks: Hilton Honors Gold status; 10 Priority Pass lounge visits; Weekend night reward for spending $15,000
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • Annual fee: $95 (waived for SCRA-eligible members)
  • Fee waivers: Certain other fees are waived for SCRA-eligible cardholders as well, like late and returned payment fees.

Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card (Rates & Fees)

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World of Hyatt Credit Card

  • 9X points per dollar on eligible net purchases at participating Hyatt hotels and resorts:
    • 4X Bonus points from the card
    • 5X Base points from Discoverist member status
  • 2X Bonus points per dollar on:
    • Restaurants
    • Airline tickets purchased directly from the airline
    • Local transit/commuting
    • Fitness clubs and gym memberships
  • 1X Bonus point per dollar on all other purchases
  • 30,000 bonus points for spending $3,000 in the first 3 months; 2 bonus points per $1 on purchases that earn 1 bonus point, up to $15,000 spent in the first 6 months
  • Perks: Annual Free Night Stay; World of Hyatt Discoverist status; Shopping and travel protections
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • Annual fee: $95 (waived for SCRA-eligible members)
  • Fee waivers: Chase will waive all fees as part of its SCRA benefits, including foreign transaction fees, late fees, etc.
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IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card

  • 25X points per dollar at IHG hotels and resorts:
    • 10X points from the IHG credit card
    • 15X points for IHG Platinum Elite status
  • 2X Bonus points per dollar at:
    • Gas stations
    • Restaurants
    • Grocery stores
  • 1X Bonus point per dollar for all other purchases
  • 140,000 bonus points for spending $3,000 in the first 3 months
  • Perks: Annual Free Night Stay; Platinum Elite status; 20% discount when purchasing points; Shopping and travel protections
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • Annual fee: $89 (waived for SCRA-eligible members)
  • Fee waivers: Chase will waive all fees as part of its SCRA benefits, including foreign transaction fees, late fees, etc.
View card details
  • Earn 150,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points with the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card after you use your new Card to make $4,000 in eligible purchases within the first 3 months of Card Membership. Plus, enjoy a free Weekend Night Reward within your first year and every year after renewal.
  • Earn 14X Hilton Bonus Points when you make eligible purchases on your Card at participating hotels or resorts within the Hilton Portfolio.
  • Earn 7X Bonus Points for eligible purchases: on flights booked directly with airlines or amextravel.com, on car rentals booked directly from select car rental companies & at U.S. restaurants.
  • Earn 3X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for all other eligible purchases on your Card.
  • Enjoy up to $250 in Hilton Resort Credits on your Card each anniversary year, when you stay at participating resorts within the Hilton portfolio.
  • Enjoy complimentary Diamond status with your Hilton Honors Aspire Card.
  • $450 annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.

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The information related to Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card has been collected by Credit Card Insider and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer or provider of this product.

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  • Min. credit levelGood
  • Annual Fee$0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95
  • Regular APR13.99% - 23.99% Variable

Rates & Fees

Rewards

The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express (Review) is currently the best card for buying groceries. It has a generous cash back rewards program, and usually comes with a $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95 annual fee (Rates & Fees). But American Express will waive that fee as part of its SCRA benefits, making this card even better.

Spending Rewards
  • 6% cash back:
    • U.S. supermarkets (up to $6,000 spent annually, then 1%)
    • Select U.S. streaming services
  • 3% cash back:
    • U.S. gas stations
    • Transit
  • 1% cash back on all other purchases
Introductory Bonus
  • $300 statement credit for spending $3,000 in the first 6 months

6% is the best normal rate you’ll find for grocery store purchases, compared to other cards. And with no annual fee to pay thanks to your military benefits from Amex, the cash back you earn will be all profit.

Key Features
  • Amex Offers: Find significant discounts at a changing selection of merchants and websites, like (at the time of publication) TurboTax, SamsClub.com, Etsy, and many more.
  • ShopRunner membership: ShopRunner provides free two-day shipping and returns at participating online retailers.
  • Lowest Hotel Rates Guarantee: If you book an eligible prepaid hotel room through American Express Travel and then find the same room being advertised online for a lower price, you can be refunded for the difference.
  • Shopping protections: Extended Warranty, Purchase Protection, and Return Protection
  • Travel protections: Car Rental Loss and Damage Insurance and Global Assist Hotline
  • Purchase APR: 0% on purchases for 12 months, then 13.99% - 23.99% Variable
  • Annual fee: $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95 (waived for SCRA-eligible members) (Rates & Fees)
  • Fee waivers: Certain other fees are waived for SCRA-eligible members as well, like late and returned payment fees.

Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express (Rates & Fees)

Runner Up6

American Express® Gold Card

  • 4X Membership Rewards points per dollar at:
    • Restaurants worldwide
    • Uber Eats
    • U.S. Supermarkets (up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X)
  • 3X Membership Rewards points per dollar on:
    • Flights booked directly with airlines
    • Flights booked through amextravel.com
  • 1X Membership Rewards point per dollar for every other purchase
  • 60,000 bonus points for spending $4,000 in the first 6 months
  • Perks: $120 annual dining credit; The Hotel Collection; ShopRunner membership
  • Shopping and travel protections: Extended Warranty; Purchase Protection; Baggage Insurance Plan; Car Rental Loss and Damage Insurance
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • Annual fee: $250 (waived for SCRA-eligible cardholders)
  • Fee waivers: Certain other fees are waived for SCRA-eligible cardholders as well, like late and returned payment fees.

American Express® Gold Card (Rates & Fees)

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Chase Freedom Flex℠

  • 5% cash back on:
    • Travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards
    • Lyft rides (through March 2022)
  • 5% cash back in rotating categories, up to $1,500 in spending each quarter, then 1%
  • 3% cash back at:
    • Restaurants
    • Drugstores
  • 1% cash back on all other purchases
  • $200 bonus for spending $500 in the first 3 months
  • Perks: DoorDash membership; Shop through Chase/Chase Offers; ShopRunner membership; Lyft credits; Boxed rewards
  • Shopping and travel protections: Extended Warranty; Purchase Protection; Trip Interruption Insurance; Auto Rental Insurance
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • Annual fee: $0
  • Fee waivers: There are no fees of any kind for SCRA-eligible cardholders.
View card details

Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express

  • 3% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1%)
  • 2% cash back at U.S. gas stations and select U.S. department stores
  • 1% cash back on all other purchases
  • $200 cash back for spending $1,000 in the first 3 months
  • Perks: Amex Offers; ShopRunner membership; Lowest Hotel Rates Guarantee; Shopping and travel protections
  • Purchase APR: 0% on purchases for 15 months, then 13.99% - 23.99% Variable
  • Annual fee: $0
  • Fee waivers: Certain fees are waived for SCRA-eligible cardholders as well, like late and returned payment fees.

Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express (Rates & Fees)

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Hilton Honors American Express Card

  • 7X Hilton Honors Bonus points per dollar for eligible purchases charged on your Card directly with a hotel or resort within the Hilton Portfolio
  • 5X Bonus points per dollar at:
    • U.S. supermarkets
    • U.S. restaurants
    • U.S. gas stations
  • 3X Bonus points per dollar for all other purchases
  • $100 statement credit after your first purchase, and 100,000 bonus points for spending $1,000, all in the first 3 months
  • Perks: Hilton Honors Silver status; ShopRunner membership; Amex Offers; Shopping and travel protections
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • Annual fee: $0
  • Fee waivers: Certain fees are waived for SCRA-eligible cardholders, like late and returned payment fees.

Hilton Honors American Express Card (Rates & Fees)

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Bank of America® Cash Rewards Credit Card

  • 3% cash back in one category of your choice:
    • Gas
    • Online shopping
    • Dining
    • Travel
    • Drugstores
    • Home improvement/furnishings stores
  • 2% cash back at:
    • Grocery stores
    • Wholesale clubs
  • 1% cash back on all other purchases
  • 3% and 2% rewards only up to $2,500 spent per quarter, then 1% cash back
  • $200 cash rewards bonus for spending $1,000 in the first 90 days
  • Perks: Free FICO credit score; Shopping and travel protections
  • Annual fee: $0
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Discover it® Cash Back

  • 5% cash back in rotating categories (up to $1,500 spent per quarter, then 1%; activation required):
    • January – March: Grocery Stores, Walgreens, CVS
    • April – June: Gas Stations, Wholesale Clubs, Select Streaming Services
    • July – September: Restaurants, PayPal
    • October – December: Amazon.com, Target.com, Walmart.com
  • 1% cash back on all other purchases
  • Cashback Match: Get double cash back for the first year, provided at the end of the first year
  • Perks: Free FICO credit score; New account and credit inquiry alerts
  • Annual fee: $0
View card details
  • Earn a $300 statement credit after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 6 months.
  • $0 introductory annual fee for one year, then $95.
  • 6% Cash Back at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1%).
  • 6% Cash Back on select U.S. streaming subscriptions.
  • 3% Cash Back at U.S. gas stations and on transit (including taxis/rideshare, parking, tolls, trains, buses and more).
  • 1% Cash Back on other purchases.
  • Plan It® gives the option to select purchases of $100 or more to split up into monthly payments with a fixed fee.
  • Cash Back is received in the form of Reward Dollars that can be redeemed as a statement credit.
  • Terms Apply.

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  • Min. credit levelGood
  • Annual Fee$250
  • Regular APRSee Pay Over Time APR

Rates & Fees

Rewards

Going out tonight? The American Express® Gold Card (Review) has you covered, with excellent rates for dining (and groceries, too).

If you transfer your points to an Amex airline or hotel partner, they could be worth 2 cents or more; that’d give you an 8% cash back equivalent at restaurants. That won’t cover a good tip at a fancy eatery, but it could cover a delivery fee.

Spending Rewards
  • 4X Membership Rewards points per dollar at:
    • Restaurants worldwide
    • Uber Eats
    • U.S. Supermarkets (up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X)
  • 3X Membership Rewards points per dollar on:
    • Flights booked directly with airlines
    • Flights booked through amextravel.com
  • 1X Membership Rewards point per dollar for every other purchase
Introductory Bonus
  • 60,000 bonus points for spending $4,000 in the first 6 months

Along with solid rewards you’ll also get a $120 annual dining credit, broken up into $10 per month. That’s a pretty nice deal, considering the card’s annual fee can be waived as part of your SCRA benefits.

Key Features
  • $120 annual dining credit: Earn up to $10 in statement credits per month for purchases at eligible restaurants and food delivery services, like GrubHub, Seamless, Boxed, The Cheesecake Factory, and participating Shake Shack locations.
  • The Hotel Collection: Provides up to $100 in credits and room upgrades (when available) for every eligible hotel stay of two nights or more. Eligibility for this offer is limited. Enrollment is required in the Amex Offers section of your account before redeeming.
  • Up to $120 in Uber Cash: Add the Gold Card to the Uber App to get up to $10 in Uber Cash per month; U.S. Eats orders and rides only.
  • Uber Eats Pass: Get unlimited $0 delivery fees and 5% off orders at eligible restaurants for 12 months; must enroll by 12/31/21. Taxes and service fees may apply and do not count toward the order minimum. Eats Pass will start auto-billing 12 months from enrollment, at then-current monthly rate. Learn more.
  • Point transfer: To a selection of airline and hotel partners, like JetBlue, Southwest Airlines, Marriott, and Choice Privileges.
  • Amex Offers: Find significant discounts at a changing selection of merchants and websites, like (at the time of publication) Dropbox, Blue Apron, Sling, and many more. Eligibility for this offer is limited. Enrollment is required in the Amex Offers section of your account before redeeming.
  • Complimentary ShopRunner membership: ShopRunner provides free two-day shipping and returns at participating online retailers.
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • Annual fee: $250

American Express® Gold Card (Rates & Fees)

Runners Up5

Citi Prestige® Card

  • 5X ThankYou points per dollar spent on:
    • Air travel
    • Restaurants
  • 3X ThankYou points per dollar spent on:
    • Hotels
    • Cruise lines
  • 1X ThankYou point per dollar spent on everything else
  • 50,000 ThankYou points for spending $4,000 within 3 months of account opening
  • Perks: $250 annual travel credit; Complimentary 4th night stay (twice per year); Priority Pass Select membership; Global Entry/TSA PreCheck credit
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • Annual fee: $495
  • Fee waivers: There are no fees of any kind for SCRA-eligible cardholders.
View card details

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

  • 10X Ultimate Rewards points per dollar on Lyft rides (through 3/31/22)
  • 3X Ultimate Rewards points per dollar on:
    • Travel (after the full travel credit is used)
    • Dining
    • Groceries (up to $1,000 spent per month; through 4/30/21)
  • 1X Ultimate Rewards point per dollar on all other purchases
  • 50,000 bonus points for spending $4,000 in the first 3 months after account opening
  • Perks: $300 annual travel credit; Priority Pass Select membership; 50% point bonus for eligible redemptions; Global Entry/TSA PreCheck credit; $120 Peloton credit; One-year Lyft Pink membership; One-year DoorDash membership
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • Annual fee: $550
  • Fee waivers: There are no fees of any kind for SCRA-eligible cardholders.
View card details

Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card

  • 14X Hilton Honors Bonus points per dollar for eligible purchases charged on your Card directly with a hotel or resort within the Hilton Portfolio
  • 7X Hilton Honors points per dollar spent on:
    • Flights booked directly with airlines or amextravel.com
    • Car rentals booked directly from select car rental companies
    • U.S. restaurants
  • 3X Hilton Honors points per dollar spent on all other purchases
  • 150,000 bonus points for spending $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months after account opening
  • Perks: Hilton Honors Diamond status; Annual free Weekend Night Reward; $100 Hilton on-property credit; $250 incidental airline fee credit; $250 Hilton resort credit; Priority Pass Select membership
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • Annual fee: $450
  • Fee waivers: There are no fees of any kind for SCRA-eligible cardholders.
View card details

Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card

Spending Rewards
  • 8% cash back on tickets at Vivid Seats
  • 4% cash back on:
    • Dining
    • Entertainment
  • 2% cash back at Grocery Stores
  • 1% cash back on all other purchases
Introductory Bonus
  • $300 cash bonus for spending $3,000 in the first 3 months

  • Perks: World Elite Mastercard benefits
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • Annual fee: $95
  • Fee waivers: There are no fees of any kind for SCRA-eligible cardholders.
View card details

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

  • 5X Ultimate Rewards points per dollar on Lyft rides (through March 2022)
  • 2X Ultimate Rewards points per dollar for:
    • Travel
    • Restaurants
    • Groceries (up to $1,000 spent per month; through 4/30/21)
  • 1X Ultimate Rewards point per dollar on all other purchases
  • 60,000 bonus points for spending $4,000 in the first 3 months, plus up to $50 in statement credits toward grocery purchases
  • Perks: Point transfer; 25% point bonus for eligible redemptions; $60 Peloton credit; One-year DoorDash credit; Shop through Chase/Chase Offers
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • Annual fee: $95
  • Fee waivers: There are no fees of any kind for SCRA-eligible cardholders.
View card details
  • Rose Gold is back. You can now choose between Gold or Rose Gold.
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points on Restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery, plus, earn 4X points for Uber Eats purchases too.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
  • $120 Uber Cash: Add your Gold Card to your Uber account and each month automatically get $10 in Uber Cash for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S., totaling up to $120 per year.
  • $120 Dining Credit: Earn up to a total of $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the Gold Card at Grubhub, Seamless, The Cheesecake Factory, Ruth’s Chris Steak House, Boxed, and participating Shake Shack locations. This can be an annual savings of up to $120. Enrollment required.
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Annual Fee is $250.
  • Terms Apply.

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  • Min. credit levelExcellent
  • Annual Fee$0
  • Regular APR13.90%–27.90% Variable
Rewards

The USAA Cashback Rewards Plus American Express® Card (Review) is a rare beast that provides 5% cash back for gas all year round. But, like some other good cards, it has a $3,000 annual spending limit for the gas category.

But this is mainly just a credit card for buying gas, and a few other types of purchases, without much else to recommend it.

Spending Rewards
  • 5% cash back on the first $3,000 spent per year (then 1%) on:
    • Gas
    • Military base purchases
  • 2% cash back on the first $3,000 spent per year on Groceries (then 1%)
  • 1% cash back on all other purchases
Key Features
  • USAA Concierge: Get non-emergency assistance with travel and dining reservations, finding gifts, and more.
  • Free credit score: Cardholders can check their FICO Score 8 credit scores for free, based on their Experian credit reports.
  • Special active duty rate: 4% APR for eligible balances for members who are on active duty, until one year after they have completed active duty.
  • Specially trained customer service: Dedicated, military-specific customer support to provide assistance before, during, and after deployment.
  • Shopping and travel protections: Extended Warranty Protection, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Travel Accident Insurance, Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, and more
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • Annual fee: $0
Runners Up4

Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

  • 6% cash back:
    • U.S. supermarkets (up to $6,000 spent annually, then 1%)
    • Select U.S. streaming services
  • 3% cash back:
    • U.S. gas stations
    • Transit
  • 1% cash back on all other purchases
  • $300 statement credit for spending $3,000 in the first 6 months
  • Perks: Amex Offers; ShopRunner membership; shopping and travel protections
  • Purchase APR: 0% on purchases for 12 months, then 13.99% - 23.99% Variable
  • Annual fee: $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95 (waived for SCRA-eligible members)
  • Fee waivers: Certain fees are waived for SCRA-eligible cardholders, like late and returned payment fees.

Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express (Rates & Fees)

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PenFed Platinum Rewards Visa Signature® Card

  • 5X points per dollar on Gas purchases at the pump
  • 3X points per dollar on Groceries
  • 1X point per dollar on all other purchases
  • $100 statement credit after spending $1,500 in the first 90 days
  • Balance Transfer APR: 0% for 12 months, then 11.74% to 17.99% Variable
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • Annual fee: $0
  • Eligibility: To get any PenFed products, you must become a member of the credit union. PenFed is federally insured by NCUA.
View card details

Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card

  • 3X points per dollar at:
    • Restaurants
    • Gas stations
    • Travel
    • Eligible streaming services
  • 1X point per dollar on all other purchases
  • 20,000 bonus points for spending $1,000 in the first 3 months
  • Shopping and travel protections: Cell Phone Protection; Extended Warranty; Purchase Protection; Travel Inconvenience Insurance; Lost Luggage Reimbursement
  • Purchase APR: 0% Intro APR for 12 months, then 14.49%-24.99% Variable
  • Balance Transfer APR: 0% Intro APR for 12 months on qualifying balance transfers, then 14.49%-24.99% Variable
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • Annual fee: $0
View card details

Hilton Honors American Express Card

  • 7X Hilton Honors Bonus points per dollar for eligible purchases charged on your Card directly with a hotel or resort within the Hilton Portfolio
  • 5X Bonus points per dollar at:
    • U.S. supermarkets
    • U.S. restaurants
    • U.S. gas stations
  • 3X Bonus points per dollar for all other purchases
  • $100 statement credit after your first purchase, and 100,000 bonus points for spending $1,000, all in the first 3 months
  • Perks: Hilton Honors Silver status; ShopRunner membership; Amex Offers; Shopping and travel protections
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • Annual fee: $0
  • Fee waivers: Certain fees are waived for SCRA-eligible cardholders, like late and returned payment fees.

Hilton Honors American Express Card (Rates & Fees)

View card details
  • Earn 5% cash back on your first $3,000 in gas and military base purchases annually on these categories combined
  • Earn 2% on your first $3,000 on supermarket purchases per year
  • Unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases
  • USAA membership is available to active and former military and their eligible family members
Balance Transfers

Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card

Our rating:
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  • Min. credit levelExcellent
  • Annual Fee$0
  • Regular APR14.74% – 24.74% (Variable)
Why We Picked It

If you’re carrying a large balance at a high interest rate, you may be able to transfer that balance to a card with a 0% intro APR. That’ give you time to pay it off without accruing extra interest as you go, potentially saving you thousands of dollars.

The Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card (Review) currently has one of the best offers you’ll find, at 0% APR for 18 months for balance transfers (from the date of the first transfer; all transfers must be completed in the first four months). There’s typically a fee for balance transfers, but as part of its SCRA benefits, Citi waives all fees associated with its cards — including that transfer fee.

That gives you quite a long time to pay off a balance at no interest. Purchases will get 18 months at 0% APR.

After the introductory rates expire, you’ll get a regular APR of 14.74% – 24.74% (Variable).

Check out the runners up for some balance transfer cards without balance transfer fees (but their introductory periods are a bit shorter).

Citi provides a 0% APR for existing balances as part of its SCRA benefits. This means you’ll get that 0% rate for as long as you qualify for the SCRA, and that could give you even more time to pay off a balance.

However, remember that the special SCRA 0% rate will only apply to balances and cards that exist before you enter active duty. So if you transfer a balance after entering active duty it will be subject to the regular APR, even though you’ll get the fee waived (assuming the card was opened before active duty began).

Key Features
  • Free credit score: Check your FICO Score 8 whenever you’d like, based on your Equifax credit report.
  • Balance Transfer APR: 0% for 18 months, then 14.74% – 24.74% (Variable)
  • Purchase APR: 0% for 18 months, then 14.74% – 24.74% (Variable)
  • Annual fee: $0
  • Fee waivers: There are no fees of any kind for SCRA-eligible cardholders.
Runners Up5

Citi Simplicity® Card – No Late Fees Ever

  • Balance Transfer APR: 0% for 18 months, then 14.74% - 24.74% (Variable)
  • Purchase APR: 0% for 18 months, then 14.74% - 24.74% (Variable)
  • Balance transfer fee: 3%, $5 minimum
  • Annual fee: $0
  • Fee waivers: There are no fees of any kind for SCRA-eligible cardholders.
View card details

U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Card

  • Balance Transfer APR: 0%* intro on BTs for 20 billing cycles on balance transfers*, then 14.49% - 24.49%* Variable
  • Purchase APR: 0%* for 20 billing cycles on purchases, then 14.49% - 24.49%* Variable
  • Balance transfer fee: Either 3% of the amount of each transfer or $5 minimum, whichever is greater
  • Annual fee: $0*
View card details

Navy Federal Credit Union Platinum Card

  • Purchase and balance transfer APR: 0% for 12 months, 5.99% - 18.00% Variable
  • Balance transfer fee: None
  • Balance transfer limit: $15,000
  • Annual fee: $0
View card details

Wells Fargo Platinum card

  • Balance Transfer APR: 0% Intro APR for 18 months on qualifying balance transfers, then 16.49%-24.49% Variable
  • Purchase APR: 0% Intro APR for 18 months, then 16.49%-24.49% Variable
  • Balance transfer fee: 3% intro for 120 days, then 5%
  • Annual fee: $0
View card details

Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer

Spending Rewards
  • 2% cash back for every purchase you make (must pay at least the minimum due on time):
    • 1% back when you make a purchase
    • 1% back when you pay for that purchase
  • Balance Transfer APR: 0% for 18 months on Balance Transfers, then 13.99% – 23.99% (Variable)
  • Balance transfer fee: Balance transfer fee applies with this offer 3% of each balance transfer; $5 minimum
  • Annual fee: $0
  • Fee waivers: Citi will waive all fees as part of its SCRA benefits, including foreign transaction fees, late fees, etc.
View card details
  • 0% Intro APR for 18 months on purchases from date of account opening and 0% Intro APR for 18 months on balance transfers from date of first transfer. After that the variable APR will be 14.74% – 24.74%, based on your creditworthiness. Balance transfers must be completed within 4 months of account opening.
  • There is a balance transfer fee of either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater
  • Get free access to your FICO® Score online.
  • With Citi Entertainment®, get special access to purchase tickets to thousands of events, including concerts, sporting events, dining experiences and more.
  • Shop with confidence knowing that you have dependable protection benefits, including $0 Liability on Unauthorized Purchases and Citi® Identity Theft Solutions.
  • The standard variable APR for Citi Flex Plan is 14.74% – 24.74%, based on your creditworthiness. Citi Flex Plan offers are made available at Citi’s discretion.

Citi is a Credit Card Insider advertiser.

  • Min. credit levelFair
  • Annual Fee$39
  • Regular APR26.99% (Variable)
Why We Picked It

If you have fair or average credit (a FICO Score 8 of about 580–669), you may not be able to qualify for the most rewarding cards on the market. But you don’t have to go with a secured card either.

Our top pick for people with fair credit is the Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Credit Card (Review). It’s advertised as being designed for average credit, unlike most cards which don’t tell you what credit level they’re made for.

You can build up your credit over time by using this card responsibly. Eventually, as your credit improves, you may get approved for better cards with more rewarding bonus categories.

Rewards
Spending Rewards
  • 1.5% cash back on all purchases

It’s as simple as that. The QuicksilverOne doesn’t have a very strong rewards program, but you should expect this with cards meant for fair or average credit.

Key Features
  • Access a higher credit line: You may be automatically considered for a higher credit line after six months.
  • CreditWise: Use the CreditWise tool to monitor your TransUnion credit report, and your VantageScore 3.0 based on that report.
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • Annual fee: $39 (waived for SCRA-eligible members)
  • Fee waivers: Capital One will waive all fees as part of its SCRA benefits, including foreign transaction fees, late fees, etc.
Runners Up2

Journey Student Rewards from Capital One

  • 1% cash back on all purchases
    • Pay on time and that goes up to 1.25% cash back
  • Perks: $5 streaming credit per month for 12 months; Access a higher credit line; Shopping and travel protections
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • Annual fee: $0
View card details

Discover it® Secured

  • 2% cash back on up to $1,000 in purchases per quarter (then 1%), at:
    • Restaurants
    • Gas Stations
  • 1% cash back on all other purchases
  • Cashback Match: Double all cash back earned in the first year; awarded at the end of the first year
  • Perks: Free credit score; New account and credit inquiry alerts
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • Annual fee: $0
  • Security deposit: $200–$2,500
View card details
  • Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase, every day
  • Earn cash rewards without signing up for rotating categories
  • Be automatically considered for a higher credit line in as little as 6 months
  • Monitor your credit profile with the CreditWise® app, free for everyone
  • $0 fraud liability if your card is ever lost or stolen
  • No limit to how much cash back you can earn, and cash back doesn’t expire for the life of the account
  • Help strengthen your credit for the future with responsible card use
  • Get customized alerts and manage your account with the Capital One mobile app
Bad Credit

Discover it® Secured

Our rating:
  • Min. credit levelBad
  • Annual Fee$0
  • Regular APRSee Terms
Why We Picked It

With bad or limited credit (a FICO Score 8 of less than about 579), you’ll have a hard time being approved for most credit cards. But some cards are designed for bad credit, including secured credit cards. A secured card requires a one-time refundable security deposit when you’re approved, which will fund the credit limit.

If you’re in this situation, we recommend using the Discover it® Secured (Review). While some secured cards seem almost like a punishment for having bad credit, this card stands out for actually having a pretty good rewards program. It’s about on par with (or perhaps better than, given your spending habits) the QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards above, which is meant for average credit.

Use this card responsibly. That means paying your bills on time, but we also recommend always paying off your statement balance in full each month. This will be good for your credit utilization and it will also prevent any interest from accruing on purchases, helping you avoid credit card debt.

Every eight months, Discover will review your account and your credit to decide whether to return your deposit and allow you to continue using the card. This is a great feature because it means you don’t have to close this account and open a new card, which isn’t as good for your credit in general.

Rewards
Spending Rewards
  • 2% cash back on up to $1,000 in purchases per quarter (then 1%), at:
    • Restaurants
    • Gas Stations
  • 1% cash back on all other purchases
Introductory Bonus
  • Cashback Match: Double all cash back earned in the first year; awarded at the end of the first year

You’ll normally get 2% back for those common purchases, but Discover’s Cashback Match will double all the rewards you earn in your first year. So you’ll be getting 4% cash back in the reward categories and 2% cash back for all other purchases.

That’s an excellent offer to find because most other secured cards don’t come with any rewards at all. Compared to them the Discover it Secured seems very generous, especially given the Cashback Match.

Key Features
  • Free credit score: Check your FICO Score 8 for free, based on your TransUnion credit report.
  • New account and inquiry alerts: Get notified of any new accounts or credit inquiries on your Experian credit report.
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • Annual fee: $0
  • Security deposit: $200 to $2,500
  • Fee waivers: Discover will waive late and overlimit fees for SCRA-eligible cards
Runner Up2

Petal® 1 No Annual Fee Visa® Card

  • No foreign transaction fee
  • Annual fee: $0
  • Card issued by WebBank, Member FDIC
View card details

Secured Mastercard® from Capital One

  • Free credit score: Check your FICO Score 8 for free, based on your TransUnion credit report.
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • Annual fee: $0
  • Security deposit: $200 to $2,500
  • Fee waivers: Capital One will waive all fees for SCRA-eligible cards
View card details

The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act

SCRA benefits are legally required for eligible servicemembers for every credit card, no matter the issuer. If you’re on or will be going on active duty, you can use these benefits to get an exceptionally good deal on certain cards.

Active-duty servicemembers of several kinds are able to get reduced interest rates on credit cards and other loans. These benefits apply only to active-duty military servicemembers, to avoid punishing you with high interest and fees while serving your country.

The main benefits of the SCRA that relate to credit cards are:

  • A cap of 6% APR for any credit card debts owed before entering active-duty military service (debts incurred after beginning active duty are subject to the regular APR).
  • Credit card issuers are barred from reducing credit limits or dropping customers as a result of entering active-duty service.

And a few more things to know:

  • These terms only apply to cards that were opened (and balances that were accrued) before beginning active duty. If you get a credit card while on active duty, these terms will not apply to it.
  • You’ll need to apply for SCRA benefits, you won’t get them automatically.
  • You can also apply to have SCRA benefits retroactively applied to your account, to cover the period when you were on active duty. If you do so, any eligible fees you paid will be reimbursed.

So, for example, if you had debt with an interest rate of 20% when you began active duty, that previous balance would get a new APR of 6%. But any new purchases you make after beginning active duty would be subject to the regular 20% rate.

Insider tip

You can make even better use of your SCRA benefits by adding authorized users to your card account. Authorized users will share the same SCRA benefits you get, which could mean having annual fees waived, depending on the issuer. That means you can get an extra copy of your Amex Platinum Card for your spouse totally for free, for example (or any other Amex card for that matter).

SCRA Benefits Eligibility

  • Any member of the U.S. Armed Forces on active duty (Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard) or a reserve component called to active duty (Reserve, National Guard, and Air National Guard).
  • National Guard personnel under a call or order to active duty for more than 30 consecutive days (for purposes of responding to a national emergency declared by the president and supported by federal funds).
  • Public Health Service and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Commissioned Officers.
  • U.S. citizens serving with the forces of a nation with which the U.S. is allied in the prosecution of a war or military action.
  • Spouses of active-duty military members listed above where credit is extended to a servicemember and spouse jointly.

Take note that full-time National Guard duty is not considered to be active duty under the SCRA.

SCRA eligibility will begin on the date that active duty begins. It will end when the period of active duty ends, although some card issuers may choose to extend their SCRA benefits longer than that.

There are quite a few other SCRA financial benefits that aren’t related to credit cards. If you’re eligible, consider taking advantage of these if possible. And if you’re a veteran, learn more about the financial opportunities that may be available to you.

Military Benefits by Credit Card Issuer

All credit card issuers must abide by the basic terms of the SCRA. But some credit card companies go above and beyond those requirements to provide even better terms to their eligible cardholders.

The following table shows the SCRA benefits that each issuer will apply to eligible accounts. In some cases you’ll see that the issuer only provides the basic SCRA terms, while others will go further by waiving annual fees or other fees, or providing interest rates even lower than 6%.

Take note: American Express has told us that it’s “very likely” that the annual fees of its cards will be waived, but they can’t guarantee that this will occur (they might just be cagey for legal purposes). We recommend submitting an SCRA request to see if they’ll grant this benefit, as some Amex cards would be very lucrative without the annual fees. If you’re worried that you won’t get a fee waiver, go with a different issuer instead.

Remember that credit card issuers will usually only apply these benefits to accounts opened and balances accrued before active duty begins.

Issuer Interest Rates Fees Waived How to Apply for SCRA Benefits
American Express 6% APR for eligible balances before active duty begins
  • Annual fees
  • Late and returned payment fees
  • ATM fees
  • Statement copy request fees
Bank of America 6% APR for eligible balances before active duty begins
  • None
Barclays 0% APR for eligible balances before active duty begins
  • All transaction fees (e.g., foreign transaction fees)
  • Call customer support and ask to apply for SCRA benefits
  • Call the military benefits line: 1-866-918-5212
Capital One 4% APR for eligible balances before active duty begins
  • All fees
Chase 4% APR for eligible balances before active duty begins
  • All fees
Citi 0% APR for eligible balances before active duty begins
  • All fees
USAA 4% APR for eligible balances before active duty begins
  • None

Looking for other rewarding cards to use with your military benefits? Check out our picks for the Best Reward Credit Cards.

What’s the Best Credit Card for Active Military?

If you’re on active duty in the military, certain credit card issuers may waive annual fees and lower the APRs on their cards. This means you may be able to take advantage of high-end premium credit cards without paying the high costs usually associated with them.

The most lucrative credit card offers tend be travel rewards cards, like:

But, keep in mind that in most cases these benefits only apply to credit card accounts opened before active duty begins.

Which Credit Cards Waive Fees for the Military?

Active-duty military personnel may be eligible for SCRA credit card benefits, which include a cap of 6% on interest rates (the SCRA only applies to accounts opened and balances accrued before entering active duty).

But some card issuers will go even further, like reducing APRs to 0% and waiving some or all card fees (including annual fees!).

American Express cards, for example, will waive annual fees and late fees; Capital One and Chase cards will waive all fees; and Citi cards will waive all fees and reduce APRs to 0% for balances accrued before active duty began.

You can see all the possible military benefits by card issuer right here.

What Are SCRA Credit Card Benefits?

The SCRA (Servicemembers Civil Relief Act) is a legal mandate that requires all credit card issuers to extend certain relief measures to eligible active-duty military personnel.  These measures only apply to credit card accounts that were opened before active duty began (the same goes for credit card balances; they must be there before active duty begins to qualify).

The two main SCRA benefits that apply to credit cards are:

  • A maximum APR of 6% for credit card debts owed before entering active duty
  • Credit card issuers are not allowed to reduce credit limits or cancel credit cards as a result of entering active-duty service

Learn more about SCRA credit card benefits here.

For rates and fees of the American Express® Gold Card, please click here.

For rates and fees of the American Express Cash Magnet® Card, please click here.

For rates and fees of the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card, please click here.

For rates and fees of the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card, please click here.

For rates and fees of the Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card, please click here.

For rates and fees of the Hilton Honors American Express Card, please click here.

For rates and fees of The Platinum Card® from American Express, please click here.

For rates and fees of the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express, please click here.

For rates and fees of the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card, please click here.

For rates and fees of the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express, please click here.

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