September roundup: The latest credit card benefit changes you need to know about

Sep 2, 2020

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The credit card landscape is constantly changing, and this has accelerated even faster with the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Credit card issuers are adjusting to a new normal in a less robust economic environment. And while travel is ever-so-slowly rebounding, spending habits are still vastly different than even just several months ago.

If it seems like there is a new card update, bonus category, or annual-fee change every few days, you’re not too far off. That’s why each month, we’ll be compiling a list of some of the major card updates that were announced in the previous months — and what specific card benefits and bonuses will be ending soon.

Whether you missed the news, or want to maximize a bonus that’s set to expire, let’s dive right in to what we’re paying attention to for September 2020, issuer by issuer, for some of the best credit cards on the market today.

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In This Post

American Express

Back in May, Amex kicked it off with an array of card updates to select Amex Membership Rewards, Delta, Marriott, and Hilton cards. These limited-time promotions were all announced as part of changes to keep cardholders engaged during the coronavirus pandemic.

In more recent months, many of those perks have since expired and in some cases, replaced by other improvements.

Top card benefit updates

Here is a card-by-card look at each of the Amex changes. For a more comprehensive analysis, read our guide to all the Amex card coronavirus-related updates.

(Photo by Isabelle Raphael / The Points Guy)
(Photo by Isabelle Raphael / The Points Guy)

Cards Impacted: Select Delta cobranded cards

From now through Dec. 31, 2020, select cobranded Delta cards are offering promotions, including one that makes it easier to earn elite status while on the ground.

Cards impacted: Select Amex Marriott cards

From now through Oct. 31, 2020, select Amex Marriott cardholders will receive increased earnings on restaurant and gas purchases. Here’s what that looks like:

(Photo by The Points Guy)
(Photo by The Points Guy)

Card impacted: The Platinum Card® from American Express

  • Up to $320 in statement credits on select U.S. streaming and wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers (up to $20 per month) through December 2020
  • Select Amex Platinum cardholders will receive an up to $100 Dell statement credit (to be used by Jan. 31, 2021)
  • $550 annual fee (see rates and fees)

Card impacted: The Business Platinum Card® from American Express

  • Up to $320 in statement credits on wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers and U.S. purchases for shipping (up to $20 per month on each) from May through December 2020
  • Up to $200 in additional statement credits for U.S. purchases with Dell: $200 in additional statement credits from May 1 through June 30, 2020, and up to $200 in additional statement credits between July 1 and Dec. 31, 2020.
  • $595 annual fee (see rates and fees)

Card impacted: American Express® Green Card

  • Up to $80 in statement credits on wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers (up to $10 per month) from May through December 2020
  • $150 annual fee (see rates and fees)
(Photo by Wyatt Smith/The Points Guy)
(Photo by Wyatt Smith/The Points Guy)

Card impacted: Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card

  • Bonus points earned through eligible purchases through 2020 will be considered base points, counting towards elite tier qualification and lifetime Diamond status
  • Weekend night certificates: New ones — plus those issued through Dec. 31, 2020 — can now be used on any night of the week, and those issued between May 1 and Dec. 31, 2020, will be valid for 24 months from the date of issuance (rather than the usual 12 months).
  • Some Hilton Aspire cardholders have an offer to earn 1,000 base points each time you spend $1,000, up to 30,000 points. Those base points count towards elite tier qualification and lifetime Diamond status.
  • $450 annual fee (see rates & fees)
(Photo by Eric Helgas for The Points Guy)
(Photo by Eric Helgas for The Points Guy)

Card impacted: Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card

  • Bonus points earned through eligible purchases through 2020 will be considered base points, counting toward elite tier qualification and lifetime Diamond status
  • Weekend night certificates: New ones — plus those issued through Dec. 31, 2020 — can now be used on any night of the week, and those issued between May 1 and Dec. 31, 2020 will be valid for 24 months from the date of issuance (rather than the usual 12 months).
  • Some Hilton Surpass cardholders have an offer to earn 1,000 base points each time you spend $1,000, up to 30,000 points. Those base points count towards elite tier qualification and lifetime Diamond status.
  • $95 annual fee (see rates & fees)

Card impacted: Hilton Honors American Express Card

In addition to these updates, Amex also announced “appreciation credits” on select cards as a renewal offer. Essentially, this means that if you are targeted and have an upcoming annual fee on your account, you’ll receive a statement credit to help offset the cost. This can be combined with any of the offers that you see above. 

Finally, select personal Amex Platinum cardmembers have also been targeted for yet another credit — up to $200 towards the Amex Travel portal — for those who renew their card between April 1 and Dec. 31, 2020. Check your email if you received any of these targeted offers. 

Top card bonuses and benefits that are ending

Keep in mind that Amex’s monthly card benefits (such as the up to $120 annual dining credit credit with the American Express® Gold Card and the Uber annual credit with the Amex Platinum) expire at the end of each month and do not roll over — this month is no different. 

Chase

Chase has made updates to limited-time offers for its Sapphire lineup of cards including the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card and Chase Sapphire Reserve

Top card benefit updates

Cards impacted: Chase Sapphire Preferred and Chase Sapphire Reserve

Limited-time perks on Instacart through Sept. 30:

  • 5x points on Reserve and 3x points on Preferred for Instacart delivery and pickup orders on up to $3,000 across the three-month promotional period
  • Up to $50 in statement credits toward an Instacart Express membership (annual or monthly)

New bonuses categories through Sept 30:

  • 5x points on Reserve and 3x points on Preferred at gas stations — on up to $1,500 across the three-month promotional period
  • 10x points on Reserve and 5x points on Preferred for select streaming services (such as Spotify or Netflix) — on up to $1,500 across the three-month promotional period
(Photo by John Gribben for The Points Guy)
(Photo by John Gribben for The Points Guy)

In May, Chase also added the ability to use the Sapphire Reserve’s $300 annual travel credit on purchases at grocery stores and gas stations through the end of 2020. 

Additionally, cardholders can maximize cash back with Chase’s Pay Yourself Back. This new feature allows you to redeem each point worth 1.5 cents (on the Sapphire Reserve) or 1.25 cents (on the Sapphire Preferred) towards a statement credit used to also offset purchases at grocery stores, home improvement stores and dining establishments from May 31 through Sept. 30.

Finally, Chase Sapphire Reserve renewals will be processed at $450 through 2020. This applies to existing cardholders only — new applicants are still subject to the higher $550 annual fee.

Cards impacted: Select Chase Marriott cards

Select Marriott Bonvoy cardmembers will be able to earn 10x points on purchases at restaurants and gas stations. Chase notes that it is “one of the richest non-travel rewards ever offered to Marriott Bonvoy cardmembers.”

(Photo by John Gribben for The Points Guy)
(Photo by John Gribben for The Points Guy)

This will be valid through Sept. 15 for up to $3,500 in spending during the promotional period. You can register for the offer here as long as you have one of the cards below:

*Card not available for new applicants

Card impacted: Select cobranded Chase cards (Southwest, United, IHG and more)

Some Chase cardholders who have a cobranded travel credit card have been targeted for a limited-time offer. Many cards are receiving up to 7x (with some receiving 5x) on groceries and gas, up to $1,500 in combined purchases per month. Select cards also include dining as a temporary elevated bonus category.

The promotion runs through Sept. 30, 2020, and requires activation. If you have any of these cards below, check to see if you have been targeted (other cards besides the ones below may qualify):

*Note that these airline cards may also include a bonus on dining in addition to gas and groceries. Check the status of your offer here.

(Photo courtesy of Denver International Airport)
(Photo courtesy of Denver International Airport)

Cards impacted: Select Chase business cards

From now through Oct. 31, 2020, select Chase business cards will be automatically eligible (no registration required) to earn 5 total points or miles on each dollar spent on shipping and advertising purchases made on social media and search engines on up to $10,000 spent in combined purchases.

Ink cards

Southwest business cards

United business cards

*No longer open to new applicants 

Cards impacted: Chase Freedom and Chase Freedom Unlimited

For new Chase Freedom Unlimited and Chase Freedom (No longer open to new applicants) cardmembers, you’ll now be able to receive a $200 sign-up bonus after spending $500 on purchases in the first three months, along with 5% cash back (5x) on grocery store purchases (excluding Walmart and Target) on up to $12,000 spent in the first year.

That 5% cash back (or 5x points when combined with an Ultimate Rewards-earning card) on grocery store purchases is a new offer. 5 Ultimate Rewards points are worth 10 cents (according to TPG valuations) so that tops our list for the best grocery card — at least for the first year of card ownership.

(Photo by John Gribben for The Points Guy)
(Photo by John Gribben for The Points Guy)

The information for the Chase Freedom and Chase Freedom Unlimited has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Citi

Like Chase and Amex, Citi also announced updates on some of its top travel cards back in May. Here’s what you may have missed.

Top card benefit updates

Card impacted: Citi Prestige® Card

In early May, Citi announced Citi Prestige changes that temporarily expanded the criteria for its $250 travel credit. If you haven’t already used your travel credit this year, you’ll now be able to use it on supermarkets and restaurants through the end of 2020.

Card impacted: Citi Premier℠ Card

Starting in June, Citi Premier cardholders now earn additional ThankYou points in select categories. Earning rates will become 3 ThankYou Points per $1 spent on supermarket purchases (instead of 1 point per $1 spent) and 3 ThankYou Points per $1 spent on restaurant purchases, including takeout and curbside pickup (instead of 2 points per $1 spent).

Additionally, on Aug. 23, 2020, cardholders began receiving an annual $100 hotel credit (eligible on $500+ purchases made through Thankyou.com).

However, if you applied for the card after April 10, 2020, you will no longer receive 2x on entertainment and 3x on the broad category of travel. Instead, your bonus categories will be 3x on air travel, hotels, gas stations, supermarkets and restaurants.

The information for the Citi Premier and Citi Prestige has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.          

The American Airlines Admirals Club at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport. (Photo by Chris Dong/The Points Guy)
The American Airlines Admirals Club at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport. (Photo by Chris Dong/The Points Guy)

Cards impacted: Most Citi AAdvantage cards

Back in May, Citi announced that if you have the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard® (and opened the card before March 31, 2020), you’ll be offered a one-time $225 statement credit upon account renewal. That’s a 50% reduction on the annual fee — although reports indicate that it may take a couple of statement cycles after the fee hits for the credit to post.

Also, if you have either the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard® or CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® Mastercard®, you’ll get an extension on the American Airlines companion certificate (if you reached the spending thresholds to earn it).

Finally, for all Citi AAdvantage and AAdvantage Aviator credit card products, every dollar spent on net purchases that post between May 2020 and Dec. 2020 will count toward Million Miler status.

The information for the Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select card and CitiBusiness Platinum has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.          

Related: How spending on your American Airlines credit card can help you earn Million Miler status

Bank of America

Cards impacted:  Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card and Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card

Travel Rewards cardholders can now also use points toward grocerydining, and takeout through Dec. 31, 2020. This even works for previous purchases in these categories. which means any grocery or dining charges made within the past 12 months can be offset with Travel Rewards points.

For Premium Rewards cardholders, select cardholders received an email about a $50 statement credit to offset dining and grocery purchases through Dec. 31, 2020. This is in addition to the $100 airline incidental statement credit that already comes with this card.

The information for the Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card and Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Capital One

Cards impacted: All Capital One Venture and Savor credit cards

(Photo by John Gribben for The Points Guy)
(Photo by John Gribben for The Points Guy)

Starting July 14, Capital One Savor and Venture cardholders will now earn 5%/5x respectively on Uber Eats purchases. Capital One is running this offer through Jan. 31, 2021. There is no cap to the amount of rewards earned and no registration required.        

(Photo by Prasit photo/Getty Images)
Use Capital One miles to offset the cost of food delivery. (Photo by Prasit photo/Getty Images)

Cards impacted: Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card, Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card, Capital One® Spark® Miles for Business and Capital One® Spark® Miles Select for Business

Capital One announced an extension of a program where cardholders can redeem Capital One miles for food delivery and streaming services through December 2020.

Cards impacted: Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card and Capital One® SavorOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card

Through Dec. 31, Capital One Savor, already one of the best cash back credit cards on the market today, now earns 4% cash back on some of the most popular streaming services including Netflix, Hulu and Disney+. The Capital One SavorOne will now earn 3% cash back on the same streaming services. This is in addition to the existing category bonuses on the card.

The information for the Capital One Spark Miles, Capital One Spark Miles Select, Capital One Savor card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.   

Wells Fargo

(Photo by Phil Barker/Future Publishing/Getty Images)
(Photo by Phil Barker/Future Publishing/Getty Images)

Card impacted: Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card

With much of the U.S. still heavily relying on streaming as a major source of entertainment, Wells Fargo expanded its streaming category for the no-annual-fee Wells Fargo Propel. As of June 1, new services that get 3x points include Amazon Prime, Disney, Apple TV+, ESPN+, Headspace, and HBO Now.

The information for the Wells Fargo Propel has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.   

Bottom line

Credit card issuers came out with a plethora of changes in the past several months, with many limited-time (and longer-term) benefits set to expire this fall. As these individual card program updates and benefits change in the ensuing weeks, we’ll keep tabs on it to make sure you get the most of the rewards credit cards in your wallet.  

However, while this is a comprehensive list of the major card updates recently announced — and benefits set to expire — this does not encompass all of our coronavirus-related card coverage. To stay up-to-date on the absolute latest card news, subscribe to our daily TPG newsletter. 

For rates and fees of the Amex Platinum, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Amex Business Platinum, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Amex Green, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Amex, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Marriott Bonvoy Business Amex card, click here.
For rates and fees of the Hilton Aspire, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Hilton Surpass, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Hilton Amex, please click here.

Featured photo by The Points Guy. 

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

WELCOME OFFER: 80,000 Points

TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $1,600

CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 2X points on all travel and dining, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners

*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide, eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,000 toward travel.
  • Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on orders over $12 for a minimum of one year on qualifying food purchases with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
  • Earn 5X points on Lyft rides through March 2022. That’s 3X points in addition to the 2X points you already earn on travel.
Intro APR on Purchases
N/A
Regular APR
15.99%-22.99% Variable
Annual Fee
$95
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.