Travel Rewards Cards Offer New Perks
Credit card issuers expand benefits to justify the annual fees.
Some of the largest issuers of travel rewards cards are adding new benefits to accommodate cardholders who have put travel plans on hold because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Rewards card providers “have really leaned in to where people are spending these days,” says Ted Rossman, industry analyst at CreditCards.com. The coronavirus crisis has compelled many Americans to use their credit cards for groceries, according to a new survey from Bankrate.com. In April, 46% of grocery shoppers paid with a credit card, versus 27% in December.
In response, credit card issuers are offering more-generous rewards for groceries and restaurant meals, including takeout and delivery. Chase Sapphire Reserve, for example, will allow grocery store and gas station purchases to qualify for the $300 annual travel credit through December 31. Through September 30, Chase Sapphire Reserve cardholders’ rewards points will be worth 50% more on eligible grocery, dining and home improvement purchases; points for Chase Sapphire Preferred cardholders will get a 25% boost.
Subscribe to Kiplinger’s Personal Finance
Be a smarter, better informed investor.
Sign up for Kiplinger’s Free E-Newsletters
Profit and prosper with the best of expert advice on investing, taxes, retirement, personal finance and more - straight to your e-mail.
Profit and prosper with the best of expert advice - straight to your e-mail.
Existing Citi Premier cardholders, meanwhile, will earn three points for each $1 spent—triple the usual reward—for spending at supermarkets and restaurants. Citi Prestige cardholders can use their $250 travel credit toward supermarket and restaurant purchases through December 31.
American Express Green Card members can get up to $80 in credits each year (limited to $10 per month) toward wireless phone services from U.S. providers. Amex Platinum cardholders, who pay an annual fee of $550 a year, can get up to $320 in statement credits ($20 per service type per month) toward streaming and wireless phone services. Through September 30, Capital One Savor cardholders will receive 4% cash back on select streaming services, including Netflix, Hulu and Disney+.
The strategy to appease cardholders who pay an annual fee appears to have worked. More than 80% believe they’re getting at least as much value now as they were before the pandemic, according to a recent survey by CreditCards.com.
If you don’t think you’re getting value for your annual fee, contact your credit card issuer. About 70% of people who requested a lower fee or waiver got some relief, according to CreditCards.com research conducted in 2018. Your chances of getting a break on your fees are even higher now, Rossman says.
Emma Patch joined Kiplinger in 2020. She previously interned for Kiplinger's Retirement Report and before that, for a boutique investment firm in New York City. She served as editor-at-large and features editor for Middlebury College's student newspaper, The Campus. She specializes in travel, student debt and a number of other personal finance topics. Born in London, Emma grew up in Connecticut and now lives in Washington, D.C.
What Is a Stock Split, and Why It Matters to You
A stock split can indicate that a company is healthy — but don't fall for the hype.
By Charles Lewis Sizemore, CFA • Published
Stock Market Today: Stocks Rally on Debt Ceiling News, Manufacturing Data
A slow start turned into a strong finish for stocks thanks to encouraging debt ceiling updates and the latest economic data.
By Karee Venema • Published
Frequent Flyer Tax Could Raise Billions for Climate
Could taxing frequent flyers help combat global pollution? Some climate scientists say yes.
By Kelley R. Taylor • Published
The Best Places to Visit Where the Dollar is Strong
From the Americas and Europe to Africa and Asia, we list the 10 best places to travel to where the U.S. dollar is the strongest.
By Quincy Williamson • Published
Best Cash Back Credit Cards June 2023
Smart Buying Looking for the credit card that pays the most cash back? These lenders may pay hundreds of dollars, with minimum hassle.
By Lisa Gerstner • Last updated
I-Bond Rate Is 4.30% for Next Six Months
Investing for Income Bonds issued May 1 to October 31 will have a rate of 4.30%.
By David Muhlbaum • Last updated
What Are I-Bonds?
savings bonds Inflation has made Series I savings bonds enormously popular with risk-averse investors. So how do they work?
By Lisa Gerstner • Last updated
Your Guide to Open Enrollment 2023
Employee Benefits Health care costs continue to climb, but subsidies will make some plans more affordable.
By Rivan V. Stinson • Published
How to Make The Most of a Travel Insurance Claim
More travelers are buying insurance. If your trip is canceled, take these steps to increase your chances of recovery.
By Susan J. Wells • Last updated
Watch Out for Flood-Damaged Cars from Hurricane Ian
Buying & Leasing a Car In the wake of Hurricane Ian, more flood-damaged cars may hit the market. Car prices may rise further because of increased demand as well.
By Bob Niedt • Last updated