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Elite Credits Cards Add New Perks and Adjust Credits to Deal with Coronavirus Pandemic

New perks help offset the loss of key travel benefits

Some elite credit cards are adding spending bonuses at grocery stores during the pandemic
Some elite credit cards are adding spending bonuses at grocery stores during the pandemic
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The many benefits and rewards associated with elite credit cards help us offset—and often justify—the hefty annual fees of these cards. But given that the majority of these top-tier benefits and rewards are travel-related, they have become far less relevant in today’s COVID-19 world. To retain customers who are doubting their cards’ worth, a number of elite credit cards have added new perks or credits to get cardholders through the pandemic. To be sure, the travel benefits and rewards aren’t disappearing; there’s just no telling when cardholders will be able to use them again.

In this vain, here’s what some of our core cards are doing to soften the blow of the coronavirus pandemic while cardholders are unable to enjoy key travel benefits.

Citi Prestige® Card

The Citi Prestige card provides an annual travel credit of $250 per calendar year valid toward any purchase categorized as “Travel” by Citi and its merchants. All “Travel” charges, including airfare, baggage fees, flight upgrades, lounge access, hotels, ride shares, and car rental services count towards statement credits, with no enrollment necessary. For those who haven’t used their 2020 travel credit already, there’s great news. This “Travel” credit now also applies to any charges marked as “Supermarkets” or “Restaurants” (including take-out) from May 1 to December 31, 2020. Statement credits will be automatically applied, one to two billing cycles after the qualifying supermarket or restaurant purchases are charged, maxing out at $250 per calendar year.

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

For cardholders getting hit with Chase Sapphire Reserve’s $550 annual fee between April 1 and July 1, the credit card company is offering a $100 statement credit to help lower this fee. In addition, the card is adding a short-term tiered bonus for money spent at grocery stores from May 1 to June 30, 2020. Instead of the usual 1x points per $1 spent at grocery stores, cardholders will earn 5x points per $1 spent.

For those with the Chase Sapphire Preferred, don’t expect any statement credits. However, do expect a similar short-termed tiered bonus for money spent at grocery stores. Preferred cardholders will get 3x points per $1 spent versus the Reserve’s 5x points.

The Platinum Card® from American Express

American Express is offering its Platinum cardholders up to $320 in combined monthly credits for select U.S. streaming subscription services and U.S. wireless telephone services. For each service, monthly credits can be earned once per month from May 1, 2020 through December 31, 2020, maxing out at $20 in statement credits for streaming subscriptions as well as $20 in statement credits for eligible wireless telephone service charges. That’s $40 per month for 8 months, for a total of $320.

For those who hold The American Express® Gold Card and not the Platinum, note that, at press time, the Gold Card is not planning on adding any additional credits or benefits.

Moreover, at press time, extra perks and/or credit adjustments have not been announced for Mastercard® Black Card™, Mastercard® Gold Card™, Mastercard® Titanium Card™, or U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve Visa Infinite® Card.

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Award-winning travel writer and economist Paul Rubio is a credit card enthusiast, whose sophisticated use of points and rewards has helped him travel to 132 countries for free. Paul is a Harvard graduate with a master’s degree in public administration and a master’s degree in economics. He also holds a bachelor’s degree from Boston University with a double major in economics and environmental policy and a minor in conservation biology. He attended both undergraduate and graduate schools on full scholarships. Paul worked in the field of wildlife conservation before embracing his writing talents full-time in 2008. Since then, he has won more than two dozen national awards for his exemplary work in travel journalism. The prolific writer contributes to a number of top-tier international, national, and regional publications including Condé Nast Traveler, Florida Design, Fodors.com, Palm Beach Illustrated, and Robb Report.