COVID Credit Card Enhancements Ultimate Guide (Added Amazon, Target, and Walmart)

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Travel rewards credit cards don’t have the same appeal during a pandemic.  To keep our business, card issuers have been throwing temporary new perks our way.  We’ve seen a constant barrage of COVID credit card enhancements like category bonuses, purchase rebates, and rewards for everyday needs such as groceries, dining, and gas.

While those bonuses are very 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 COVID Credit Card Enhancements 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 3X earnings as: 3 points per dollar X 1.5 cents per point = 4.5%.

Please don’t try to read this within your email program: Most of the tables won’t appear.  Instead, click through to read online.

COVID Credit Card Enhancements: Recent Updates

  • 11/2/20:
    • Added Discount Department Store Category: Amazon, Target, Walmart
    • Added Amex Marriott 8X Amazon, Target, Walmart
    • Added Chase grocery and Amazon spending offers
  •  10/21/20:
    • Added Chase Sapphire grocery bonuses plus extended time to use travel credits towards gas and grocery purchases
    • Added Sapphire Reserve Lyft membership extension
  • 10/9/20: Added Citi Prestige 5X online bonus + Amex’s Variis by Equinox statement credits

Discount Department Stores: Amazon, Target, Walmart

Registering for the Amex Marriott 8X bonus: Log into your Amex account and look for an offer like below and press “Add to Card”.

Registering for the Chase spending offers: See this post for registration links.

Gas

Restaurants, Take-Out, and Delivery

Grocery

Registering for the Chase spending offers: See this post for registration links.

COVID Credit Card Enhancements (by Credit Card)

All Amex Cards: Variis by Equinox Credits

Variis by Equinox is a fitness app & membership which costs $39.99 per month plus taxes.  Starting October 9, eligible existing Amex card members can enroll and receive statement credits to partially offset the membership cost:

  • Eligible existing Platinum Card Members: $25 back each month in statement credits
  • Eligible existing Blue Cash Preferred Card Members: $10 back each month in statement credits
  • Other eligible Card Members: $10 back each month in statement credits for the first three months (available through 4/1/2021)

Sign Up Details: “Eligible Card Members will be notified over the coming weeks with more information on how they can enroll and receive these credits.” Once notified, you can join here: variis.

Amex Delta Cards

Delta SkyMiles Gold and Delta SkyMiles Gold Business

  • Earn 4x miles at restaurants (includes takeout and delivery) and 5x miles on Delta purchases.  Enroll at Americanexpress.com/deltagoldoffers.  Valid August 17 through December 31, 2020.  Note: You must have had an eligible card on 7/1/20 to be eligible for these offers (no product changing now to get them)

Delta SkyMiles Platinum, Platinum Business, Reserve and Reserve Business

  • Earn 5x miles on Delta purchases and also earn 500 Bonus Miles and 500 MQMs after spending $1,000 in purchases on your enrolled Card (up to 25K Miles and 25K MQMs).  Enroll via Amex Offers in your online account.  Valid through 12/31/20.  Note: You must have had an eligible card on 7/1/20 to be eligible for these offers (no product changing now to get them)

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).

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). However, the Dell consumer rebate applies only to the generic Platinum consumer card.  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. With Google Fi, 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

All consumer Amex cardholders can get a year of Premium membership with CALM for free; and half off the following year.

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.

Register here by December 31st 2020: www.calm.com/americanexpress

Bank of America Premium Rewards

Through December 31, earn a $50 statement credit for grocery store, dining, and takeout purchases through December 31, 2020.  Details here.

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.

Capital One

Venture, Venture One

Savor, Savor One

Spark Miles, Spark Miles Select

  • Cardholders can redeem miles at full value for eligible phone services, restaurant takeout, and food delivery purchases. Valid through April 30, 2021.

Chase Sapphire Reserve & Sapphire Preferred

  • Lower renewal fee through end of year: Through June 2020, Chase had been rebating $100 to help offset the Sapphire Reserve card’s $550 annual fee for those who renew.  Renewals from July 1 to end of December 2020 are automatically charged $450.
  • Pay Yourself Back at full travel value: Through April 30 2021, use points to pay yourself back for grocery, dining, home improvement, and select charity spend.  Details here.
  • Grocery bonus November through April: Nov 1 through April 30 2021, earn 2X (Sapphire Preferred) or 3X (Sapphire Reserve) for grocery spend on up to $1K spend per month.  Details here.
  • Sapphire Reserve $300 Travel Credit via gas and grocery: Travel credit reimburses gas and grocery purchases through June 30, 2021.
  • Sapphire Reserve extended free Lyft membership:  Sapphire Reserve cardholders who sign up by Oct 31 (or have previously signed up) for a free year of Lyft Pink membership will keep their membership for 5 additional months (a total of 17 months). Details here.  This is particularly noteworthy now that Lyft has partnered with Grubhub to offer Pink members free GrubHub+.
  • Peloton credits: Sapphire Reserve cardholders earn up to $120 and Preferred cardmembers up to $60 in statement credits for eligible Digital and All-Access Peloton memberships, through December 31, 2021

Citi Prestige

  • 5X Online & More (through end of year): Citi Prestige cardholders can now earn 5X for online, cable, and streaming purchases (up to 7500 points) through the end of 2020.
  • 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)

US Bank Altitude Reserve

US Bank is offering this temporary pandemic inspired enhancement to the Altitude Reserve card.  This is valid from June 1, 2020 to December 31, 2020:

  • Earn 3X points per $1 on takeout, food delivery and dining purchases.
  • Takeout, food delivery and dining purchases qualify toward the $325 annual travel credit
  • No registration required.

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.

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 March, 2021.
  • 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

  • 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.

Expired COVID Credit Card Enhancements

  • Amex Expired Offers
    • Amex Bonvoy Cards earn 10X at US gas stations, US restaurants, and Marriott hotels: Up to $7,500 spend in each category.  Expired 10/31/2020.  Details here.
    • All Amex Bonvoy Cards earn 6X at supermarkets: May 1 through July 31, 2020, earn 6X at grocery stores, up to $7,500 per card.
    • Bonvoy Brilliant: Dining, takeout, and delivery qualify toward $300 Marriott statement credit benefit (through August). Consumer Card Members’ eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants, including takeout and delivery, will now qualify toward the $300 Marriott statement credit benefit (June through August 2020).
    • Delta SkyMiles Cards earn 4X at supermarkets: Delta SkyMiles Reserve, Platinum, Gold and Blue Consumer Card Members earn 4X miles at U.S. supermarkets (May through July 2020).
    • Hilton Aspire: Dining, takeout, and delivery qualify toward $250 resort credit benefit (through August). 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).
    • Hilton Surpass and Aspire: 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.
  • Chase Expired Offers
  • Other Expired Offers
    • [Expired] Citi Prestige: 5X Online (through August): 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.
    • Alaska Airlines Card:
      • [Expired] Earn 2,500 elite qualifying miles for each $5K spent on purchases from June 1st through September 30th
      • [Expired] 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
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