COVID Credit Card Enhancements Ultimate Guide

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On Friday May 1st, we were bombarded with positive credit card news.  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 finally started to adjust by offering temporary perks that are accessible from home.  Chase added grocery bonuses to a bunch of cardsCiti made it easier to earn the Prestige card’s $250 travel credit.  And Amex surprised us with a slew of great, but temporary, benefits.

While all of that news was welcome, it’s hard to keep it all straight [understatement of the year contender].  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.  I expect that we’ll have to update this post periodically as things change (and when readers let us know about things we missed or got wrong!).

Many of the temporary card enhancements relate to grocery and dining purchases. So, we’ve organized the 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 grocery earnings as: 5 points per dollar X 1.5 cents per point = 7.5%.

In many cases where we listed bonus earnings, we also listed free nights and other perks that you can get from big credit card spend. The idea is that this may help you decide which card to use (at grocery stores, for example) if you’re working your way towards a free night or other perk.

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).

Authorized users: Spend at grocery stores earns points (and bonus points) on the primary cardholders account.  With Amex Marriott Bonvoy cards I believe that authorized user spend counts towards the same $7.5K cap as the primary card.

Chase Grocery Bonuses

For more details about the above grocery bonuses, please see: Chase adds groceries on most $95 and up consumer cards.

Authorized users: Spend at grocery stores earns points (and bonus points) on the primary cardholders account.  Authorized users do not get their own spend caps.  Authorized user spend counts towards the same limits as the primary card.

Citi Grocery Bonuses

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

Authorized users: Only the Citi Prestige primary cardholder gets up to $250 in travel rebates each year.  Authorized user spend does get rebated, but it counts towards the same $250 credit.

Restaurants, Take-Out, and Delivery

Amex Dining Bonuses

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

Authorized users: Only the Amex primary cardholder gets up to $250 or $300 in hotel rebates each year.  Authorized user spend does get rebated, but it counts towards the same $250 or $300 credit.

This shows the Amex Gold Card’s standard dining credit benefit. The Gold card has not been enhanced for COVID-19. It continues to earn 4X at US Supermarkets (up to $25K in purchases, then 1x) and 4X at restaurants worldwide. For comparison, 4X Membership Rewards points is like a 6.2% rebate given the Reasonable Redemption Value of 1.55.

Authorized users: Only the Amex primary cardholder gets up to $10 per month in dining credits.  Authorized user spend does get rebated, but it counts towards the same $10 per month credit.

Chase Dining Bonuses

Shown here are Chase’s standard DoorDash food delivery benefits for Sapphire Reserve, Sapphire Preferred, Freedom, and Slate cardholders.

Authorized users: Only the Chase primary cardholder gets DoorDash benefits. Sapphire Reserve authorized user spend at DoorDash does get rebated, but it counts towards the same $60 per year rebate.

Citi Dining Bonuses

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

Authorized users: Only the Citi Prestige primary cardholder gets up to $250 in travel rebates each year.  Authorized user spend does get rebated, but it counts towards the same $250 credit.

Discover Dining Bonuses

Authorized users: Spend at restaurants and Paypal earns 5% cash back on the primary cardholders account.  Authorized users do not get their own spend caps.  Authorized user spend counts towards the same limits as the primary card.

Other Goodies

Hilton Free Anytime Nights

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 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.  Also, we know from the past that Google Fi most likely does not qualify.

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: 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.

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

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EZE
Guest
EZE

Why is the RRV for the Amex and Chase Marriott cards different if the earnings amount is same? Also chase is offering 5x on DoorDash thru May.

David
Guest
David

I had the same question. Something seems wrong here as Marriott point values should be the same

Mike D
Guest
Mike D

Amex Green is getting $10 credit for streaming and internet also.

jeph36
Guest
jeph36

Greg, great resource overall, I am guessing I will come back to this summary a few times over the next couple months.

One correction: The free Hilton nights for certs prior to May 1 says expiration on Aug 30, 2020. I believe it should be Aug 31, 2021. The text from my email from Hilton on Mar 14 says: “For all unexpired Weekend Night Rewards as of March 11, 2020, and all new ones issued until August 30, 2020, we are extending the expiration date through the end of next summer (August 31, 2021).”

Hadley V. Baxendale
Guest
Hadley V. Baxendale

Agreed, Super job, Gregg!!

Brutus
Guest
Brutus

“Ultimate Guide” is the second-worst cliche in the points blogosphere, right behind “no-brainer.”

Audrey
Guest
Audrey

I still haven’t read anything official on the Citi Prestige changes. Have not received an email from them. Do we know for sure that this is official?

Mike
Guest
Mike

Corrected information is very useful.

Anthony
Guest
Anthony

I would have liked to see more offers from Citi especially for the AA Executive World Elite card which has a $450 annual fee and all the Admirals clubs are closed. Do you think we will see anything more from them?

Razz C
Guest
Razz C

Do these new benefits apply to new Amex cards or only existing cards?

TravelBloggerBuzz
Guest
TravelBloggerBuzz

Best thing about these enhancements is…the CALM app!

Said nooneever 🙂

Ron
Guest
Ron

Greg, great resource. What about a few other temporary changes, such as triple elite nights at Hyatt per 5k spend, AA spend counting towards lifetime elite status, or Delta rolling over all MQM’s to next year? For those of us contemplating paying big bills (taxes are coming up soon) these are important factors. My tentative strategy this year is to get Hyatt Globalist (for the first time) and hope this leads to an offer of AA Executive Platinum for next year (have never been higher than Platinum Pro) as happened for Stephen.

RICHARD R.
Guest
RICHARD R.

Great resource. Thanks for all of the work! Has anyone seen/heard anything on the Chase Ritz Card? The $300 annual travel credit is going to be tough to use at this point.

Nick Reyes
Editor

I kind of doubt they’ll do anything about that. The card hasn’t been available for new applicants for a couple of years at this point. If they aren’t offering it anymore, I can’t imagine that enhancing it is a marketing priority. Hopefully you’ll be able to book 2021 travel at some point before the end of this year and make use of the credits. Alternatively, purchases that don’t strictly meet the terms have sometimes been reimbursed pretty easily.

For the record, I’d love to be wrong and see Chase announce some easier way to use the credit, I just wouldn’t hold my breath waiting for it.

RICHARD R.
Guest
RICHARD R.

Thanks Nick. I might PM Chase and see what they might be willing to do. Both my wife and I have the card and our renewal is coming up in a couple of months. I’ll post if I they offer anything as a data point.

Larry
Guest
Larry

Wow, this is really indispensable.

ssss
Guest
ssss

Any updates on what Amex is doing to compensate Green card holders for losing lounge buddy and Clear? Clear is only freezing membership for now for three months. What about Gold’s travel credit?

ssss
Guest
ssss

I failed to mention, Greg, fantastic post. You always do a comprehensive analysis.

toomanybooks
Guest
toomanybooks

Looks like some of the WN CCs are giving bonus TQPs through December statement. Unlimited if I read right in my cursory scan.

https://www.southwest.com/TQPCM20/

Aloha808
Guest
Aloha808

Made the comment elsewhere, but Amex is giving biz plat cardholders $200 statement credit if they renew their cards between now and December 31.

Jeff in GA
Guest
Jeff in GA

I don’t MS but curious about buying VC/MC gift cards at grocery stores then using them for other bill payment. I believe that would work fine for Chase cards but not for AMEX cards, correct?

toomanybooks
Guest
toomanybooks

No problem with Amex. Keep in mind that Amex does not like you achieving minimum spend for signup bonus buying gift cards. After that, IME, go wild. I have bought tons of $500 V/MC GCs at Kroger primarily to get fuel points. Of course, who knows how this new policy might change things?

Mark
Guest
Mark

Can anyone report on how meal delivery services are coding for AMEX and Chase? Are they potentially coming in as grocery to qualify for the bonuses?

Services such as Blue Apron, Hello Fresh, Home Chef, Sunbasket, etc…

Tma
Guest
Tma

Thank you! This is very helpful.

David
Guest
David

Nothing being done on Aspire for Up to $250 annual airline-fee credit?

rich
Guest
rich

Thanks for doing this. I will still cancel some more cards (Hyatt was the first, probably the Hilton surpass is next) since I can’t see getting value of them in the next year or two and other cards provide benefits.

I’ll keep Amex Plat due to the changes they’ve made for this year. And the Aspire I was definitely going to cancel but if I can get $250 from restaurant purchases over the summer that makes it worth keeping for a year. And then maybe cancel it since the Amex Plat gives me gold status and diamond doesn’t get me anything extra, at least not in my travels in the US.

Thanks for the work (still not fond of the new website).

Cafesandalleyways
Guest
Cafesandalleyways

Great article. Here’s a link to an Amex page that shows the Covid related benefits for each card. https://www.americanexpress.com/us/campaigns/new-offers/product-overview/

quasimodo
Guest
quasimodo

nice compilation! grazie

mrredskin
Guest
mrredskin

thanks for compiling this. very helpful!

Amanda
Guest
Amanda

Great job!!
Would it be possible to add the annual fee next to the card? Thanks!

trackback

[…] Amex is offering incentives to many cardholders to renew.  Overall, it’s a good time to be a Platinum […]

KingRat
Guest
KingRat

Greg – if you have that in excel can you make it available? or send me

YoniPDX
Guest
YoniPDX

Streaming Hacks

For Streaming – you can add some options not listed i.e. add Cinemax for $9.99 as a Hulu add-on. Or Showtime is only $4.99 for three months (To watch the latest season of Billions).
Similar with other streaming apps – Sling

Still trying to figure out how to set-up billing to Default to an Amex for payment (or rather switch to Amex) for things like Audible, Kindle, Amazon Music Unlimited ( Spotify is free for six months with CSR – I use both – I like things and dislike things about both apps). One Could also churn Spotify with other e-mails – by using desktop browser and follow old playlists with new account (My daughter taught me that one – So I could use the advertised 6 Mo free with Note 10+ Purchase (no fine print about new subscription till after you bought).

Disney+ ( for those non-early adopters) One year sub is $69.99 – $20 (credit) $12.50/1,250MR Ratuken credit.

That said streaming credits have less overall value. Especially post Shelter-in-place.

YoniPDX
Guest
YoniPDX

Dosh Streaming Money makers

Dosh has one Month Disney+ $8 CB for $6.99 charge so you would need to spend $13.01 to use rest of $20 credit.

Apple Music
Dosh CB. $4-$14 Not sure how much Apple music subscription.

SiriusXM
Dosh CB $12.

absoluy
Guest
absoluy

Streaming credit also applies for App Store purchases

Geoff
Guest
Geoff

Does anyone know whether using Amex’s cell phone credit would void the built-in insurance provided by Mastercard? My plan would be to manually pay $20 on Amex and let the auto-pay on Mastercard take care of the rest.

Geoff
Guest
Geoff

I hate to self-reply, but I just got off the phone with Mastercard, and they said all monthly charges need to be on the card, so I wouldn’t be able to use the Amex benefits. Bummer!

Nick Reyes
Editor

We addressed this on FM on the Air last week. If Mastercard offered to sell you insurance for 8 months for $160, would you buy that policy? If you don’t use the Amex credit to partial-pay the bill, that’s essentially what you’re doing. Some people are willing to pay that much for insurance. I’m not; I’d have to think breaking my phone were pretty likely to make it worth spending $160 on
8 months of insurance. I’ve smashed one phone in the last 10 years, so that price point is too expensive for me to consider. To each his own, but I think it’s worth considering in that context.

!!!
Guest
!!!

thanks! excellent!

r2e
Guest
r2e

Can the table be created in non-image form so that the card names are searchable?
For example, searching “aspire” on the page brings me to relevant locations?

trackback

[…] this offer with increased supermarket payouts from many credit cards (see our COVID-19 Credit Card Enhancements Ultimate guide post for full details) to make for decent deals on some brands that are rarely […]

Rajat
Guest
Rajat

You guys rock!

One Typo – Chase SR and SP – dashPlus is free, you have it as Fee in the table.

trackback

[…] Albertsons, Safeway and other Just For U stores still have a digital coupon offering $10 off when buying $100 or more of Mastercard gift cards. Having already used this deal, I can confirm that it does work on variable load gift cards, so this is a simple and profitable way to rack up almost $500 of spend at a grocery store, especially considering how many cards are temporarily offering bonused spend. […]

nycguy
Guest
nycguy

@greg, do you have a google sheet containing all the offers? Thanks.

trackback

[…] credit card. Many Chase and Amex cards are temporarily offering bonus points for grocery spend, so check out this post for a list of those. Many of the Chase cards have a $1,500 limit per month for May and June, so it […]

toomanybooks
Guest
toomanybooks

Is this the best, most current updated version of this information? Thanks.

trackback

[…] my post “COVID Credit Card Enhancements Ultimate Guide,” I detailed all of the enhancements credit card issuers have made to their travel cards to […]

trackback

[…] I didn’t actually get this on any of my cards, but I’m not surprised since I don’t live in an area with Food Lion. Hangingwithfred on Reddit posted the screen shot so I imagine those with Food Lion nearby might find this one in their online accounts. As noted at the top, you’ll hopefully receive this offer on one of the Chase cards offering additional points for grocery store spend. […]

trackback

[…] of which, there are a lot of cards that offer bonused spend at grocery stores right now due to Amex, Chase and Citi offering limited-time bonused spend at supermarkets. Many of the Chase cards have a $1,500 limit […]