There are two laws in play for this game to work: The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) and the Military Lending Act (MLA). For all intents and purposes the SCRA only applies to account you had opened before you became active duty.
Bottom line, DO NOT ever close accounts opened before you joined, they are your anchor cards and we can upgrade them to the highest of the high cards after you complete this guide. DO NOT for example upgrade your Chase Freedom you opened before military service to a Chase Sapphire Reserve CSR), UNTIL you get the bonus on the CSR.
The MLA is the Military Lending Act which has a sweeping provision where a 36% APR is capped on any new debt (After Sept 2017) issued to a service member. This includes fees such as annual fees for credit cards exceeding $100. This guide is to make sure you are aware of this new law and to make full and efficient use of it during your active duty time.
If you feel that it’s morally wrong to take advantage of a federal law passed in 2006, but every faceless multinational banks has dragged their heels on implementing it for over a decade, then this is not the travel club for you.
If you don’t travel, are not organized, or love spending post tax dollars on travel then this entire venture is not for you. Enjoy your TADs and PCS moves as your only form of free travel.
If you are terrible with money and paying things off on time or at all, then do not join this club. Also, if you have a religious objection to debt, then this will never work for you.
If you treat every credit card as a debit card, and live well below your means, then you have come to the right place! You have to understand that reward points are just as valuable as money for travel and this is the guide for you. Unlike you civilian counterparts, you, as active duty, are covered by the MLA (check here before you go on) and if you intend to be with the military for at least two years then you can get on board with joining the MLA Travel Club!
The basis of this club is to have good credit (700+), have less than 5 new cards in the last 24 months, and a long credit history (2 or more years). Log into Credit Karma to see your score and how many cards you have gotten in the past 24 months as of today:
As you can see from the example, this service member has a 801 credit score (excellent), and in the past 24 months (2 years) she has gotten 3 new cards. However in a month her “Syncb/tjx Co Dc” (Her TJ Maxx Store card) will drop off leaving her with only 2 cards in 24 months.
We would call her situation now as being 3/24, but in a month she will be 2/24 as in she has gotten 2 cards in 24 months. In 7 months she will be 1/24. and in 22 months she will be 0/24. We never want to start in a condition that is over 5/24 like this bloke below:
This 5/24 metric is used by Chase Bank as an indicator that the female officer is very profitable since in 2 years she’s gotten only two cards. However the LOL/24 Male officer is of no profitability to Chase and therefore a Persona non grata. All this means is he should skip to Step 3 in the program. Where as the female at 2/24 can get 3 chase cards as outlined in Step 2 of the program.
Little does Chase know is the 2/24 female officer about to partake in joining the MLA Travel club and legally forcing Chase to waive $450 on 3 cards each in annual credit card fees! These Chase Cards will provide at least $300 per card a year in free airfare, taxis, tolls, parking and hotel rooms. All will be outlined in Step 2.
Gut Check Time, make sure you have the following before proceeding:
- Active Duty (https://mla.dmdc.osd.mil/mla)
- Under 5/24 (Creditkarma.com)
- Good Credit (Creditkarma.com)
- Committed to 2 more years of Active Duty Time