COVID Credit Card Enhancements Ultimate Guide [Updated w/ Marriott 10X bonuses]

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Many travel rewards cards offer perks that only make sense when traveling.  And, of course, thanks to COVID-19, most of us aren’t traveling.  Major credit card issuers have started to adjust to COVID by offering temporary credit card perks and enhancements that are accessible from home.

While those bonuses are welcome, it’s hard to keep it all straight.  So, here we are to the rescue.  This guide lists all of the COVID inspired credit card enhancements, along with a few related pre-COVID perks so that you can get all of the info in one place.  We have been updating this post regularly as things change.

Many of the temporary card enhancements relate to grocery, gas, and dining purchases. So, we’ve organized details accordingly.  Also, in some places we’ve included a column called “RRV”. This column shows the effective rebate that you’ll get with the bonus earnings.  We based the value of the rebate on our Reasonable Redemption Values (RRVs).  For example, our Reasonable Redemption Value for Chase Ultimate Rewards points is 1.5 cents per point.  Given that RRV, we calculate the Sapphire Reserve card’s 5X gas earnings as: 5 points per dollar X 1.5 cents per point = 7.5%.

Updates

  • Added Gas category
  • Added Chase Bonvoy gas and restaurant bonuses
  • Removed expired grocery bonuses
  • Reorganized post a bit to make it easier to find things

Gas

Registering for the Chase Marriott 10X bonus: You can register anytime until September 15th and it’s retroactive for all spend from July 15th.  Note that at the time of this writing the registration link is not working for most cardmembers.  We will post when this is known to be fixed.

Grocery

Amex Grocery Bonuses

For more about the above enhancements, please see: Amex adds great stay-at-home perks to ultra-premium travel cards (this year only).

Chase Grocery Bonuses

Citi Grocery Bonuses

Citi Prestige

May through December 2020: Purchases at Supermarkets and Restaurants (including takeout) count toward the card’s $250 Travel Credit benefit.

Citi Premier

As of June 2, earn 3X at supermarkets.

See also: Citi’s turn: Use Prestige credit at supermarkets / restaurants, more time to meet spend.

Restaurants, Take-Out, and Delivery

Registering for the Chase Marriott 10X bonus: You can register anytime until September 15th and it’s retroactive for all spend from July 15th.  Note that at the time of this writing the registration link is not working for most cardmembers.  We will post when this is known to be fixed.

COVID Enhancements by Credit Card

Amex Hilton Cards

Hilton’s free nights are usually redeemable only on weekends, but Amex and Hilton have relaxed the rules for free nights issued on or before Dec 31 2020

See also: Hilton free weekend nights become anytime nights valid for 2 years.

Amex Hilton Aspire

Weekend night becomes anytime night

Unexpired and new Free Weekend Night rewards issued through December 31, 2020 can now be used any night of the week.

New free nights valid for 24 months

New weekend free night awards issued from May 1 to December 31 2020 will be valid for 24 months from the date of issuance (previously 12 months).

Dining, takeout, and delivery qualify toward $250 resort credit benefit

Consumer Card Members’ eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants, including takeout and delivery, will now qualify toward the $250 Hilton resort credit benefit (June through August 2020).

12X points at U.S. supermarkets (through July)

Hilton Surpass and Aspire Consumer Card Members will now earn 12X Hilton Honors Bonus Points at U.S. supermarkets (May through July 2020). Bonus Points earned through eligible purchases on all Hilton American Express Cards, that post to the Card Member’s Hilton Honors account between May 1 through December 31, 2020 will be considered Base Points and will count towards Elite tier qualification and Lifetime Diamond Status.

Amex Platinum & Green Cell Service, Streaming, Dell, and Shipping

Shown here are both the new and usual annual statement credits available to Amex Platinum and Green cardholders. Platinum Consumer cards include the regular Platinum card, the Schwab Platinum Card, the Morgan Stanley Platinum Card, and the Ameriprise Platinum Card (no longer available to new applicants). See also: Amex Platinum Complete Guide and Green card refresh: new 3x categories, benefits, and bonus.

For more about these miscellaneous Platinum and Green Card benefits, please see: Amex adds great stay-at-home perks to ultra-premium travel cards (this year only).

Authorized users: Only the primary cardholder gets the rebates listed above.  Authorized user spend does get rebated to the primary cardholders account, but it counts towards the same limits.

Which Cell Phone Services Qualify?

We do not yet have official information about which services qualify.  It’s safe to assume that the “big guys” qualify: AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint, Verizon. Reports have been mixed about whether or not Google Fi payments qualify.  Sometimes the payments qualify as cell service and sometimes as streaming.

Which Streaming Services Qualify?

The following streaming services qualify for Platinum and Green Card rebates: Amazon Music Unlimited, Apple Music, Apple TV+, AT&T Now, Audible, CBS All Access, Disney+, ESPN+, Fubo TV, HBO Now, Hulu, iHeartRadio, Kindle Unlimited, Luminary, MLB.TV, NBA League Pass, Netflix, NHL.TV, Pandora, Prime Video, Showtime, Sling TV, SiriusXM Streaming and Satellite, Spotify, Stitcher, YouTube Music Premium, YouTube Premium, and YouTube TV

Amex Consumer Cards: Calm App

Here’s the text from Amex’s announcement regarding the Calm App:

U.S. Consumer Card Members will soon have complimentary access to a one year Premium membership with CALM, the sleep and meditation app, and half off the following year, if they are not currently Premium subscribers.

Authorized users: My best guess is that authorized users will get their own complimentary access to Calm, but we do not yet have firm details.

Bank of America Travel Rewards

Through December 31, 2020, both the consumer and business Travel Rewards cards are allowing points to be redeemed for full value towards grocery store, dining, and take-out purchases.  This is in addition to the usual ability to redeem points towards travel purchases.

Chase Sapphire Reserve & Sapphire Preferred

Lower renewal fee through end of year: Through June, Chase has been rebating $100 to help offset the Sapphire Reserve card’s $550 annual fee for those who renew.  Going forward, renewals from July 1 to end of December 2020 will instead automatically be charged $450.

More details about the above Sapphire Reserve and Sapphire Preferred enhancements can be found here and here.

Citi Prestige

5X Online

Citi Prestige cardholders can now earn 5x on online purchases up to 7500 points (i.e. up to $1500 in purchases) for “online purchases” through August 31, 2020. Examples Citi provides of qualifying online purchases include:

  • Retailer website orders
  • Online grocery orders
  • Online drugstore orders

Earn $250 Travel Credit at Supermarkets & Restaurants

May through December 2020: Purchases at Supermarkets and Restaurants (including takeout) count toward the card’s $250 Travel Credit benefit

Citi Premier 3X grocery & dining

Citi had previously announced new bonus categories on the Citi Premier card set to take effect on August 23, 2020. However, they have pushed that change up on the calendar to  June 2, 2020:

  • 3x ThankYou Points per $1 spent on supermarket purchases (instead of 1 point per $1 spent)
  • 3x ThankYou Points per $1 spent on restaurant purchases, including takeout and curbside pickup (instead of 2 points per $1 spent)

American Airlines Credit Cards

Between May 1st and December 31st, 2020, every dollar spent on an American Airlines credit card counts toward million miler status.

Alaska Airlines Credit Cards

Alaska Airlines is offering the following bonuses for credit card spend:

  • Earn 2,500 elite qualifying miles for each $5K spent on purchases from June 1st through September 30th
  • 2 miles per dollar spent at restaurants and on take-out and delivery from June 1st to July 31, 2020 on up to $1500 in spend

Renewal Offers

Credit card companies are starting to offer credits in exchange for renewing your card membership.  Here’s what we’ve seen so far:

Amex

  • Business Platinum (targeted): $200 statement credit following your account renewal.
  • Consumer Platinum Cards: $200 Amex Travel Rebate for those who renew their card between April 1, 2020 and December 31, 2020.
  • Delta Reserve (personal/consumer): $100 statement credit after renewal
  • Delta SkyMiles Reserve Business: $125 statement credit with renewal
  • Delta Platinum SkyMiles Business: $75 statement credit with renewal
  • Delta Platinum SkyMiles (personal/consumer): $50 statement credit with renewal
  • Marriott Bonvoy Business: $50 statement credit with renewal
  • Hilton Business: $50 statement credit with renewal

Other COVID Credit Card Enhancements

  • Citi AAdvantage Executive Card: $225 credit upon renewal for those who had an open account as of March 31, 2020.
  • Chase Sapphire Reserve: Renewal fee drops from $550 to $450 for renewals from July 1 through end of year.  Earlier renewals at $550 have been credited $100, which results in the same net $450 renewal fee.

Links to more information

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