Do the new coronavirus credit card perks apply to authorized users?

May 13, 2020

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Many credit cards are now offering limited-time perks designed to encourage cardholders to use (and renew) their travel rewards credit cards — even if they’re staying at home due to coronavirus concerns.

Issuers have announced the following limited-time perks:

In many cases, these limited-time perks are enough to justify renewing your card. But, we’ve received a few questions about how these new limited-time perks apply to authorized users. Let’s take a closer look.

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In This Post

Travel credits that can now be used for other purchases

greeYou may be able to use your travel credits on restaurant take-out orders. (Photo by Prostock-Studio/Getty Images)Select premium travel rewards credit cards offer travel credits that will normally reimburse travel purchases up to a set amount. But, with many cardholders staying at home and uncertain about when they’ll travel again, some issuers have begun allowing these travel credits to be used for other purchases. For example:

The information for the Citi Prestige 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.

As with the normal travel credits for these cards, authorized user spending counts toward these travel credits. But authorized users don’t get additional credits on top of the credits provided for the primary cardholder’s account. For example, the information page for the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Amex‘s limited-time perks notes:

Eligible purchases can be made by the basic card member and any additional card members on a single card account.

And, the terms and conditions for the normal up to $300 Marriott Bonvoy statement credit on the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Amex note:

Each card account is eligible for up to a total of $300 per renewal year in statement credits across all cards on the card account.

Related reading: 8 credit card annual credits you can redeem from home

Additional statement credits for select purchases

(Photo by Westend61/Getty Images)
Select cards are now offering new statement credits. (Photo by Westend61/Getty Images)

Select rewards credit cards normally offer statement credits for travel-related purchases charged to the card. For example, the American Express® Green Card offers up to $100 in statement credits towards Clear membership fees while The Platinum Card® from American Express offers bi-annual statement credits for Saks Fifth Avenue purchases (up to $100 per calendar year).

Since cardholders aren’t able to put these benefits to use, American Express is offering new limited-time statement credits for non-travel purchases.

The Platinum Card from American Express

Amex Platinum cardholders get up to $160 in statement credits on select U.S. streaming subscriptions (up to $20 per month) and up to $160 in statement credits on wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers (up to $20 per month), with both offers running from May through Dec. 2020.

Platinum cardholders who renew their card between April and Dec. 2020 will also get up to $200 in statement credits toward Amex Travel purchases that will be valid between Aug. 2020 and Dec. 2021. The card comes with a $550 annual fee (see rates and fees).

The Business Platinum Card® from American Express

From May through Dec. 2020, Amex Business Platinum cardholders get up to $160 in statement credits on wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers (up to $20 per month) and up to $160 in statement credits on U.S. purchases for shipping (up to $20 per month).

American Express Green Card

Cardholders of the American Express Green Card get 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.

Does authorized user spending count?

Authorized users don’t get their own credits, but their spending does count toward the limited-time credits offered to the primary account holder.

Bonus earnings at grocery stores and supermarkets

mother and child paying with credit card at store
(Photo by Hero Images / Getty Images)

Credit cards are expanding their category bonuses to better accommodate cardholders who are stuck at home and spending more on household expenses. Many credits cards are now offering elevated earnings at grocery stores and supermarkets for a limited time. For example:

Purchases made by authorized users also earn elevated bonus points on eligible purchases for a limited time. As is normal on credit cards that offer capped earning for purchases in select categories, the cap is per account, not per cardholder. For example, the terms and conditions for the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Amex note:

You will earn 4 additional points on top of the 2 points you already earn (for a total of 6 points) from American Express for each dollar of eligible purchases charged on your Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card at supermarkets located in the U.S. (superstores and warehouse clubs are not considered supermarkets) starting from May 1, 2020 through July 31, 2020 (“Purchase Period”), on up to a maximum of $7,500 in eligible purchases…Eligible purchases can be made by the Basic Card Member and any Additional Card Members on a single Card account.

Related reading: Bonuses galore: These are the 8 best cards for groceries during coronavirus

Spending toward status

(Photo by Isabelle Raphael / The Points Guy)
Spending by authorized users may be able to boost the primary cardholder toward a particular status level. (Photo by Isabelle Raphael/The Points Guy)

Lots of credit cards that provide elite status provide a boost toward earning status. But, for a limited time, select credit cards will allow you to earn additional credits towards status via credit card spending.

Hilton credit cards

Bonus points earned through eligible purchases on the Hilton Aspire Card, Hilton Surpass Card and Hilton Honors Card from American Express will be considered base points and count towards elite-tier qualification and lifetime Diamond status. Points must post to the cardmember’s Hilton Honors account between May and Dec. 2020.

American Airlines credit cards

Net purchases on American cobranded credit cards that post to your AAdvantage account between May and Dec. 2020 will count toward American lifetime elite status (including category bonuses).

United Airlines credit cards

Eligible United MileagePlus Chase cardholders can earn more PQPs based on their annual credit card spend on select cards in 2020.

As is normally the case, authorized user spending during these limited-time promotions will count toward the primary cardholder’s status and points or mileage balance. So, authorized users will help the primary cardholder reach the primary cardholder’s desired status instead of working toward their own status.

Related reading: Credit cards with the greatest value for authorized users

Bottom line

In short: Spending by authorized users counts the same as spending by the primary cardholder when it comes to these limited-time perks. Specifically, authorized users don’t get their own benefits when it comes to statement credits. Instead, authorized user spending counts toward the same cap as the primary cardholder.

Featured image by Georgijevic/Getty Images.

For rates and fees of the Amex Platinum card, click here.

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