How TPG readers’ credit card strategies have shifted during the pandemic

Nov 11, 2020

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Since May, we’ve seen numerous changes from credit card issuers to retain existing customers in light of the ongoing pandemic. From new category bonuses to reduced annual fees to new credits, it’s easy to lose track of the developments. Thankfully, we’ve created a continuously updated guide to the latest card benefit changes

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To that end, we’ve also been keeping tabs with readers in the TPG Lounge and TPG Women Facebook groups about how their credit card strategies have shifted during the pandemic — and which limited-time benefits and bonuses have been the most helpful. 

In fact, in the spring, many readers accurately predicted some of the latest announcements. Without further ado, here are how some of our readers’ card strategies have changed during the sometimes-turbulent year that has been 2020. 

Related: How TPG staff’s credit card strategies have changed during the pandemic

In This Post

Perks are driving how people are using cards differently

(Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Daniel K.:  I’ve been using my free year of DashPass with the Chase Sapphire Reserve — I had never really done food delivery, but the timing was perfect with COVID-19.

Peggy S.: After every quarter, I’ve been reevaluating to see which cards offer the best limited-time perks. It’s been a bit of a challenge to keep up with each card’s benefits but it’s worth it in the long run to earn the most number of points.

Related: Make the most of your food delivery orders with these 7 credit cards

Limited-time Amex credits take priority

Throughout the last several months, Amex has announced a wide variety of limited-time promotions as part of changes to keep cardholders engaged during the coronavirus pandemic. Those have included various wireless and streaming credits on travel cards and additional Dell credits.

For instance, The Platinum Card® from American Express will give cardholders up to $20 per month each on streaming and wireless services through the end of the year.

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

Here’s what TPG readers are saying how they use these credits instead of other cards:

Streaming, wireless and Dell credit

Angie S.: I’m using the streaming credit and wireless credit on my American Express cards. Previously, my streaming services like Netflix were on my Citi® Double Cash Card.

Chris D.: I’m actually using The Platinum Card® from American Express a lot more than I expected with the limited-time credits. Typically, I’d throw the streaming purchases on a card like the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express which earns 6% cash back* on those [on select U.S. streaming services] services 

Ken B.: I definitely think the streaming and wireless credit on The Platinum Card® from American Express is the most beneficial limited-time benefit. It hasn’t increased my Amex Platinum’s use though since I’m still primarily using the American Express® Gold Card for food and groceries [at U.S. supermarkets].

*Cash back is received in the form of Reward Dollars that can be redeemed for statement credits.

Relevant articles:

Using a different card to earn elite status from home

With the ongoing pandemic keeping many travelers grounded (and closer to home), select airlines and hotels have made it easier to earn elite status right from the comfort of home.

Delta One Suites (Photo by Ethan Steinberg/The Points Guy)
A Delta One Suite. (Photo by Ethan Steinberg/The Points Guy)

Michael D.: Since I have plenty of airline miles and Amex Membership Rewards points, I have been taking advantage of the Hilton bonus points counting toward lifetime Diamond status while trying to build up points for a second trip to the Maldives. I still use my Membership Rewards-earning cards for Grubhub takeout for the bonus points but most of my spending has moved from the Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card from American Express to Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card.

Meg G.: I’m about 140,000 American AAdvantage miles away from getting Platinum status for life. So I’m really into using the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard®. Anything I charge before Dec. 31, 2020, will count as 1 mile toward Million Miler status. I’m banking AA miles for a big family trip to Australia and New Zealand via Asia. Normally, I wouldn’t be putting my spending on this card. 

Gayl H.: I’m using my Delta Amex card to charge large purchases and get 500 Medallion Qualifying Miles (MQMs) each time. 

The information for the Amex Everyday Preferred and Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select 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.

Relevant articles:

Bottom line

With so many changes in a constantly shifting environment, card issuers will struggle to satisfy every one of their cardholders. However, we’ve seen a chorus of support for some perks — and how that has shaped how people are using their cards differently. 

As the months roll on, all companies, including card issuers, will have to continue to adapt to consumer behavior changes. That likely means more unique perks and bonuses that cater to the times that we live in, right here and right now. 

Featured photo by The Points Guy staff.

The Platinum Card® from American Express

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CARD HIGHLIGHTS: Delta Sky Club and Centurion lounge access, up to $200 annual airline fee credit and up to $200 in Uber Cash annually (only for use in the U.S.)  (Enrollment required for select benefits)

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

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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.

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