Your Ultimate Checklist for Calendar-Year Credit Card Perks [2021]

Not sure which credit card calendar year perks apply to you? This checklist is all you need to get the most out of your cardholder benefits.
Last updated Oct 15, 2020 | By Matt Miczulski
Calendar-Year Credit Card Perks

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Aside from sign-up bonuses, the ability to earn rewards, and insurance coverage, many credit cards offer annual perks that enable you to get even more value out of your card. These annual perks are further divided into two categories: calendar-year perks and cardholder anniversary-year perks. Although similar in name, they vary by when they reset each year. And, if you’re strategic, you might even get some calendar-year perks twice within the same 12-month period.

To avoid missing out on any of your card’s calendar-year perks, it’s important to be on top of your card’s specific benefits as early in the year as possible. That way, you aren’t rushing to use your perks right before they expire. This checklist is intended to help you in this process. We’ll look at all the credit cards that offer calendar-year perks and what exactly you can get.

But let’s first talk about what exactly a calendar-year perk is all about, and then we’ll dive into the cards, issuer by issuer.

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What is a calendar-year perk?

A calendar-year perk is a card benefit you get every calendar year, which means the benefit resets January 1 and is available through December 31. This is different from perks that reset on your card year or cardholder anniversary. For instance, if you open a card on June 10, then your cardholder anniversary is every June 10.

Because calendar-year perks reset every calendar year, it’s possible to get a perk twice in one twelve-month period of having a card. For instance, say you open a credit card on March 1 that offers a $100 airline fee credit each calendar year. You will likely have until December 31 of that year to use it, and on January 1 of the following year, the perk resets. As a result, you will get the perk twice in one year of holding that credit card.

Some credit cards offer several valuable calendar-year perks. Depending on how many credit cards you have, you may feel as though there’s just too many to keep track of. The last thing we want is for your credit card perks to fall by the wayside, so we’ve compiled all the calendar-year perks for you.

American Express

American Express Gold Card

The American Express Gold Card comes with a $100 airline fee credit that resets every calendar year, which means you have until December 31 to put incidental airline charges on your card and have them count toward the current year. Qualifying incidentals include airline fee charges, checked bag fees, and in-flight amenities. Incidentals that do not qualify include airline tickets, award tickets, and gift cards.

Because you get reimbursed for incidental fees on just one designated airline, make sure you select your airline before charging the fees to your card. You can do this at any time of the year if you haven’t done so already. If you’ve already selected an airline, you can change your choice one time each year in January.

American Express Green Card

The American Express Green Card comes with two annual credits: a $100 CLEAR credit and a $100 LoungeBuddy credit. CLEAR is technology that provides expedited airport security to enrolled members. LoungeBuddy is a service that allows you to purchase access to a network of airport lounges without the need for a specific lounge membership.

Both of these benefits reset every calendar year, so you should be able to use the credit anytime until December 31, and then again on January 1.

The Platinum Card from American Express

There are three calendar-based credits that come with The Platinum Card from American Express, so you want to make sure to use them all before December 31. These Amex Platinum benefits include an airline fee credit, Saks Fifth Avenue credit (which is biannual), and Uber credit (which is monthly).

The $200 airline fee credit that comes with the Amex Platinum has the same qualifying criteria as the credit that comes with the Amex Gold. You must designate an airline before placing the charge on your card for it to count, and the credit won’t be applied toward things such as airline tickets, gift cards, and award tickets, to name a few.

This card also comes with an annual $100 Saks Fifth Avenue credit. You’ll get a $50 credit from January through June and another $50 credit from July through December. Don’t shop at Saks Fifth Avenue for yourself? Use this credit card perk to buy holiday gifts instead. Whether it’s for a holiday, birthday, or anniversary, this $100 credit can come in handy.

Lastly, the $200 Uber credit is divided up monthly, so you get $15 in Uber Cash each month of the calendar year plus a bonus $20 in December. Your Uber cash credits can be used for rides and UberEATS orders. If you don’t use Uber often for rides, then be sure to set a reminder to order from UberEATS once a month to get the most benefit from this credit. These credits expire at the end of each month and can’t be carried over.

Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card

The Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card comes with a $250 airline fee credit that can be applied toward incidental charges on a single airline that you designate. Covered incidental charges include checked baggage fees, in-flight refreshments, and flight change fees.

The Business Platinum Card from American Express

There are two calendar-year perks that come with the Business Platinum Card from American Express. One is a $200 airline fee credit for incidentals such as baggage fees on one qualifying airline. The other is a $200 total annual Dell credit.

You’ll receive a $100 Dell credit from January through June and another $100 credit from July through December. Whether it’s for a new computer, new software, or a new laptop bag, these credits can be used toward thousands of products. Purchases must be made directly with Dell or on dell.com.

Bank of America

Bank of America Premium Rewards Credit Card

The Bank of America Premium Rewards Credit Card offers a $100 airline incidental credit each calendar year for purchases made on your card for incidentals such as seat upgrades, baggage fees, and airline lounge fees. This credit can be earned across any eligible airline, so you don’t need to designate a specific airline.

Barclays

Barclays JetBlue Plus Card

The JetBlue Plus Card offers one calendar-year card perk in the form of a $100 statement credit. To receive the credit, you must use your JetBlue Plus Card card to purchase a JetBlue vacations package priced at $100 or more.

Chase

Ritz-Carlton Credit Card

The Ritz-Carlton Credit Card is no longer open to new applicants, but current cardholders can still take advantage of the card’s $300 calendar-year travel credit. This credit is applied toward qualifying airline incidental purchases on any airline made with your Ritz-Carlton Credit Card.

Only the following non-ticket purchases qualify for this credit: airline lounge day passes or a yearly lounge membership of your choice; airline seat upgrades; airline baggage fees; in-flight internet or entertainment; and in-flight meals.

Southwest Companion Pass

The Southwest Companion Pass offers qualifying passengers the benefit of choosing one person to fly with them, free of airline charges. To qualify, you need to fly 100 qualifying one-way flights or earn 125,000 qualifying points in a calendar year. When you do this, you’ll earn the Companion Pass for the following full calendar year, plus the remainder of the year in which you earned it. For example, if you receive the pass in January 2021, you’ll have it for the remainder of the year, plus all of 2022.

Timing is essential if you want to get two full years out of the Companion Pass. And one of the best ways to get there the quickest is by earning sign-up bonuses from Southwest credit cards. If you're a Southwest flyer, here are some of the best rewards credit cards they offer:

There are some restrictions that apply to Southwest personal cards that you should be aware of. According to Chase:

  • You can open a new Southwest personal card even if you previously had one
  • You can’t receive a sign-up bonus until 24 months have passed since you last received a sign-up bonus from any Southwest personal card

In others words, you’re eligible to receive a sign-up bonus for a Southwest personal card every 24 months.

The verbiage on the Southwest business credit card terms and conditions is a little different:

  • You can’t receive the sign-up bonus for a Southwest business card if you currently hold that same card
  • You can’t receive the sign-up bonus if you previously held the card and received a sign-up bonus for that card within the past 24 months.

So although you can’t receive the new cardmember bonus for a business card if you currently have the card, previous cardholders can receive the new cardmember bonus as long as 24 months have passed since you last received that card’s bonus.

The best way to take advantage of this perk is to keep track of your accounts and when you opened them, and then you’ll always be sure to get the most from your Southwest credit cards.

Citi

Citi Prestige

The Citi Prestige card comes with a $250 travel credit that resets every calendar year. It’s applied automatically to eligible travel purchases, including purchases from airlines, hotels, car rental agencies, and more.

Citi Rewards+ Card

With the Citi Rewards+ Card, you’ll receive 10% of your points back on the first 100,000 Citi ThankYou Points you redeem each calendar year. In other words, if you redeem 100,000 ThankYou Points in a calendar year, you’ll receive 10,000 ThankYou Points back in your account.

Expedia Rewards Voyager Card from Citi

The Expedia Rewards Voyager Card from Citi offers a $100 annual air travel fee credit that can be used toward airline incidentals on the following eight airlines:

  • Alaska Airlines
  • American Airlines
  • Delta Air Lines
  • Frontier Airlines
  • JetBlue
  • Southwest Airlines
  • Spirit Airlines
  • United Airlines

Eligible airline incidentals include purchases such as checked baggage fees, in-flight entertainment, or in-flight Wi-Fi. The $100 annual credit can also be used toward Boing Wireless and Gogo Inflight Wi-Fi purchases, as well as application fees for either Global Entry or TSA PreCheck.

City National Bank

Crystal Visa Infinite Credit Card

The Crystal Visa Infinite Credit Card comes with a $350 airline incidental credit per calendar year. Incidentals that qualify for this credit include ticket change/cancellation fees, checked baggage fees, and in-flight entertainment, to name a few. The credit can be used on eligible U.S. domestic airline carriers.

Bottom line on calendar year perks

Calendar-year perks differ from anniversary year perks in that they reset every January 1, so it’s important to stay on top of your card’s perks so you can use them before year-end.

Calendar-year perks can deliver tons of value to cardholders each year. Because some of these credit cards have high annual fees, using these perks can really make a difference in how much value you receive from your card.

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