The 5 most notable new or refreshed credit cards of 2021
This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.
2021 was the year when many people began traveling and increasing their spending again.
The major credit card issuers also stayed busy, revamping or launching a variety of credit card products throughout the year. There was a new or refreshed product for everyone, from no-annual-fee, cash-back cards to high-end, premium rewards cards.
Let’s look at some of the significant card launches and permanent refreshes of 2021.
Want more credit card news and advice delivered to your inbox daily? Sign up for our daily newsletter.
The Platinum Card® from American Express
In July, Amex revamped its consumer Amex Platinum Card with a host of new benefits, a new welcome offer, and, yes, an increase of its annual fee. Later in the year, the issuer also added two more benefits to the Platinum Card: one for Walmart+ and another for SoulCycle.
With the revamp in 2021, it’s clear that the Platinum Card is no longer focused exclusively on travel or travel-adjacent perks.
In addition, the annual fee went from an already high $550 (see rates and fees) to an even more expensive $695 (see rates and fees). That may have given current and prospective cardholders pause since the card has been at $550 for only four years, up from $450 in 2017.
Although Amex added a host of new Platinum perks and raised the card’s annual fee, it didn’t eliminate or change the card’s existing benefits. In total, there is the potential for $1,800 in value by maximizing every single credit card perk to its fullest. However, that assumes you’ll know what those perks are, and more importantly, care about each specific benefit and the services it covers.
Even though the overall value for the card can certainly still be there, be sure to keep track of all of those new credits and put them to good use.
Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card
In November, Capital One launched the all-new Venture X rewards credit card. The launch was a critical turning point for Capital One.
With simple rewards and overall solid value the card has mass appeal, especially for those searching for (or switching from) a premium travel rewards card. Its $395 annual fee undercuts the competition and the card’s plentiful perks are easy to understand.
Earlier this fall, Capital One also unveiled its first-ever airport lounge, a 10,000-square-foot space at Dallas-Fort Worth International (DFW). This is the first of a network of Capital One Lounges, with already-announced locations set to come in Denver (DEN) and Washington Dulles (IAD).
Finally, Capital One made significant improvements to its mileage program, including shifting from solely fixed-rate redemptions to adding a host of airline and hotel transfer partners, most of which now convert at a 1:1 ratio.
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
One of the best beginner travel rewards cards got even better earlier this year.
In August, Chase launched new (or increased) category bonuses: 5 points per dollar on travel booked through the Ultimate Rewards Travel portal, 3 points per dollar on dining (up from 2 points per dollar), 3 points per dollar on select streaming services and 3 points per dollar on online groceries (excludes Target, Walmart and wholesale clubs).
In addition, Preferred cardholders now get a $50 annual credit on hotel stays purchased through Ultimate Rewards as well as 10% of your points back each year based on your card spending.
All of these additions arrived without an increase to the card’s very reasonable $95 annual fee.
Citi Custom Cash℠ Card
In June, Citi launched a lucrative cash-back card, the Citi Custom Cash.
The no-annual-fee product earns 5% back on your top eligible spending category each statement period, with a limit of up to $500 per billing cycle for the 5% earning rate. All earnings after $500 earn only 1% cash back. Therefore, the maximum earnings are $25 per billing cycle at the 5% rate.
This card should be especially enticing for existing Citi cardholders. Even though the Custom Cash is branded as a cash-back card, you’ll earn rewards in the form of Citi ThankYou points. If you already carry one of Citi’s travel rewards cards (such as the Citi Prestige® Card or the Citi Premier® Card), you can combine the points earned on that card with the points earned on the Custom Cash.
The information for the Citi Prestige has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The cards details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.
Aeroplan® Credit Card
In December, Chase and Air Canada launched the Aeroplan credit card for the U.S. market.
While this wasn’t the first time an Air Canada credit card became available in the U.S., it did mark a significant new product launch and one that gives U.S.-based customers yet another Star Alliance option for accruing frequent flyer miles.
Notably, you’ll get automatic elite status (Aeroplan 25k), generous earning rates on everyday spending (3 Aeroplan points per dollar spent at grocery stores, dining, and purchases made directly with Air Canada) and the ability to Pay Yourself Back at 1.25 cents per point (coming in 2022). These are unique features for a cobranded card.
For rates and fees of the Amex Platinum Card, click here.
Featured photo by The Points Guy.
Welcome to The Points Guy!
Earn 50,000 bonus miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new card in the first three months of card membership. Plus, earn up to $100 back in statement credits for eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants in the first three months of card membership.
With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.
- Earn 50,000 Bonus Miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months.
- Plus, earn up to $100 back in statement credits for eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants with your card within the first 3 months of membership.
- Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
- Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
- Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
- Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
- Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. *Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
- Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
- Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
- Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
- No Foreign Transaction Fees.
- $250 Annual Fee.
- Terms Apply.
- See Rates & Fees