Published on January 29th, 2020 | by William Charles56
American Express Making Changes To Military SCRA/MLA Benefits (Update)
Update 1/29/20: American Express has confirmed that eligible users that have been denied under SCRA due to the account being opened after active duty start date will continue to be eligible for an annual fee waiver under the MLA program. MLA eligibility should be done automatically, but if cardholders don’t have it automatically applied they are encouraged to contact American express. Hat tip to Military Money Manual.
Original post: American Express offers benefits for military cardholders, there are two types of benefits:
The major difference between MLA and SCRA is the SCRA focuses on existing debts when a service member enters into active duty and MLA focuses on credit extended to existing active duty members. American Express offers benefits above and beyond what is required by law. For example American Express has traditionally waived annual fees for all active duty military. According to users on reddit as of January, 2020 American Express is no longer waiving fees for cards that were opened after their active duty start date.
Previously American Express waived the annual fees for cards that were opened after the active duty start date under SCRA, whereas they should have be waiving the fees under MLA (keep in mind waiving annual fees is not a requirement of either SCRA or MLA but that SCRA has to do with credit issued before entering active duty and MLA has to do with credit issued after entering active duty). I suspect what will happen is that American Express will continue to waive fees under MLA, but you’ll need to request them to be waived under MLA rather than SCRA (seems to be backed up by this chat rep, but they are unreliable at the best of times). At this stage some representatives are stating that this is not possible, whereas others are processing the fee waiver without issue. Existing cardholders with the annual fee waived are not being charged an annual fee, regardless of whether the card was opened before or after entering active duty status.
We have reached out to American Express for comment.