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

4d ago

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Editor’s note: This is a recurring post that is updated regularly as issuers announce benefits. 

The year 2020 has seen an incredible amount of change in the credit card landscape, accelerated by the ongoing pandemic. Credit card issuers are adjusting to a new normal where people are traveling less, even during this holiday season.

Most of all, spending habits are vastly different than even earlier this year. 

If it seems like there is a new card update or bonus category every week, you’re not too far off. That’s why each month, we’ll be compiling a list of some of the major card benefit 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 this holiday season, let’s dive right into what benefit updates we’re paying attention to for December 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.

Several of these temporary perks end this month.

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)

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)
  • Get a complimentary Uber Eats Pass Membership for up to 12 months, must enroll by Dec. 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)
(Photo courtesy of Uber)

Card impacted: American Express® Gold Card

  • Get a complimentary Uber Eats Pass Membership for up to 12 months. You must enroll by Dec. 31, 2021.
  • Starting in early 2021, Amex Gold cardholders will receive a brand-new benefit: up to $120 annually ($10 per month) in Uber Cash, which can be used on Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S.
  • $250 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
  • Get a complimentary Uber Eats Pass Membership for up to 12 months. You must enroll by Dec. 31, 2021.
  • $150 annual fee (see rates and fees)

The information for the Amex Green 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.

(Photo by Wyatt Smith/The Points Guy)
(Photo by Wyatt Smith/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.

(Photo by John Gribben for The Points Guy)

Card impacted: Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card

  • Bonus points earned through eligible purchases through Dec. 31, 2021, will be considered base points that count 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).
  • Starting Jan. 1, 2021, all newly issued Free Weekend Night Reward certificates will be valid through Dec. 31, 2022 (and will be valid any night of the week).
  • 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 and fees)

Related: Hilton Honors becomes latest program to extend loyalty benefits again

(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 that count 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).
  • Starting Jan. 1, 2021, all newly-issued Free Weekend Night Reward certificates will be valid through Dec. 31, 2022 (and will be valid any night of the week).
  • Some Hilton Surpass cardholders have an offer to earn 1,000 base points each time they 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 and fees)

Card impacted: Hilton Honors American Express Card

Card impacted: Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card

(Photo by Eden Batki/The Points Guy)
  • Earn 6 bonus Marriott Bonvoy points (for a total of 8 points) on each dollar spent on purchases at Walmart, Target and Amazon, up to $3,500 in total spending through Dec. 27, 2020
  • Enroll through Amex Offers

In addition to these updates, Amex also announcedappreciation 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 2020 and March 2021. 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 and bi-annual card benefits (such as the up to $120 annual dining credit with the American Express® Gold Card, the Uber credit and Saks credit with the Amex Platinum) expire at the end of each month and do not roll over. This month is no different.

Chase

Chase made significant updates earlier this fall for the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, Chase Sapphire Reserve and many other cobranded travel cards. Let’s dig in.

Top card benefit updates

Cards impacted: Chase Sapphire Preferred and Chase Sapphire Reserve

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

New grocery category bonus: Chase Sapphire Reserve cardholders will earn 3x on up to $1,000 in monthly grocery store purchases, while Chase Sapphire Preferred Card members will earn 2x on up to $1,000 in monthly grocery store purchases. This new bonus category started on Nov. 1, 2020, and goes through April 30, 2021.

New Peloton credit: From now through Dec. 31, 2021, Sapphire cardholders will get statement credits that can be used to cover monthly Peloton Digital ($13) and All-Access ($39) memberships.

Travel credit: You can use the Sapphire Reserve’s $300 annual travel credit on purchases at grocery stores and gas stations through June 30, 2021. 

Pay Yourself Back: 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. This has been extended through April 30, 2021. You can now also redeem points at an improved rate for contributions to a dozen eligible charities.

Eligible charities:

  • American Red Cross
  • Equal Justice Initiative
  • Feeding America
  • Habitat for Humanity
  • International Medical Corporation
  • Leadership Education Fund
  • NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund
  • National Urban League
  • Thurgood Marshall College Fund
  • United Negro College Fund
  • United Way
  • World Central Kitchen

Renewal annual fee: 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: Chase Ink Business Preferred Credit Card, Ink Business Cash Credit Card, Ink Business Unlimited Credit Card

The trio of Chase Ink business cards. (Photo by Eric Helgas for The Points Guy)
The trio of Chase Ink business cards. (Photo by Eric Helgas for The Points Guy)

Between Oct. 1 and Dec. 31, 2020, these Chase business cards will also get access to Pay Yourself Back. Points will be worth 25% more when redeemed towards select online advertising and shipping expenses. In addition, contributions to a dozen eligible charities (see above) are also worth 25% more.

Cards impacted: Chase Freedom, Chase Freedom Unlimited, Chase Freedom Flex

Points earned through other eligible cards — including Chase Freedom (which is no longer open for applications), Chase Freedom Unlimited and the new Chase Freedom Flex — will be worth 25% more when redeemed toward donations made to eligible charitable organizations (see above), also through Dec. 31, 2020.

In addition, from Oct. 1, 2020, through Dec. 31, 2020, Chase Freedom and Freedom Flex cardholders can earn 5% cash back on the following rotating quarterly categories: PayPal and Walmart.

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

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

Cards impacted: Most Chase cobranded travel cards

From now through Dec. 31, 2020, most Chase cobranded travel cards will be eligible (registration required here) to earn up to 5 total points or miles on each dollar spent on Amazon and grocery store purchases, up to $1,500 per month in combined purchases. Targeted cardholders should have received an email but you can also check eligibility here.

Cards eligible for 5x on Amazon and groceries:

Cards eligible for 5x on Amazon and 3x groceries:

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

As of mid-August 2020, Citi changed the category bonuses that you’ll earn for new Premier card applicants. The good news is that Citi added two new categories that will help you earn ThankYou points faster.

Additionally, over the summer, cardholders began receiving an annual $100 hotel credit (eligible on $500+ purchases made through ThankYou.com).

However, Citi eliminated the bonus on entertainment purchases (previously 2x) and the broad category of travel (previously 3x).

The information for the 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. The credit was given to make up for the fact that cardholders who aren’t traveling can’t benefit from the Admirals Club airport lounge access that comes with the card. 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 between May 2020 and December 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 grocery, dining, and takeout through Dec. 31, 2020. This even works for previous purchases in these categories. This 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)

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 on the number 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 April 30, 2021.

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

Through April 30, 2021, 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

Wells Fargo expanded its streaming category for the no-annual-fee Wells Fargo Propel. 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 many changes in the past several months, with many limited-time (and longer-term) benefits set to expire at the end of this year. 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 Gold, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Amex Green, please 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.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

WELCOME OFFER: 60,000 Points

TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $1,200

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 60,000 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®
  • 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 travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel.
  • With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories.
  • 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 2x 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.
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.