Credit cards from American Express and Chase have long been known for their amazing travel benefits — but many of their best travel cards come with hefty annual fees. While awesome perks and generous rewards justify the cost for jetsetters, COVID-19 has left most people grounded.
With travel at a standstill, those considering downgrading or cancelling their cards may want to think twice as both Chase and American Express have announced special limited-time bonuses on things you're more likely to be spending on right now — such as groceries, streaming services, and food delivery.
Covid-related perks will vary by card so keep reading to see what your limited-time benefits are so you can take advantage of them — or determine if they make your card worth keeping.
Up to 5X on groceries with Chase cards
Chase has chosen to focus its new benefits on groceries as Americans hunker down at home. In particular, a long list of Chase credit cards are now offering up to five times the rewards for grocery store spending.
This includes purchases in stores and through grocery delivery services like Instacart. And you can even earn the bonus on purchases at superstores such as Target and Walmart, which are normally excluded from earning grocery bonuses. These purchases will now entitle you to the rewards boost as long as the superstore you shop at has a grocery section.
The extra miles, Ultimate Rewards points, or other perks will be available through June 30, 2020 with no activation required. However, your bonus earnings are limited to $1,500 in monthly spending.
Which Chase cards are included?
Here are all the cards offering the extra bonus for grocery buys, as well as details on how many extra points you'll get:
- Aer Lingus Visa Signature® Credit Card (3X Avios)
- British Airways Visa Signature® Card (3X Avios)
- Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card (3X Ultimate Rewards points)
- Chase Sapphire Reserve® (5X Ultimate Rewards points)
- Disney® Premier Visa® Card (3% Disney Rewards Dollars)
- Iberia Visa Signature® Card (3X Avios)
- IHG® Rewards Premier Credit Card (3X IHG points)
- Southwest Rapid Rewards Employee Card (3X Rapid Rewards points)
- Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card (3X Rapid Rewards points)
- Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card (3X Rapid Rewards points)
- Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card (3X Rapid Rewards points)
- United Club Card (5X United miles)
- United Club℠ Infinite Card (5X United miles)
- United℠ Explorer Card (3X United miles)
- The World of Hyatt Credit Card (3X Hyatt points)
Legacy cards no longer accepting new applicants are also offering extra points. Here are the bonuses you'll get if you have an old card that's no longer offered:
- Hyatt Credit Card (3X Hyatt points)
- IHG Rewards Club Select (3X IHG points)
- United MileagePlus Awards (3X United miles)
- United MileagePlus (3X United miles)
- United MileagePlus Select (3X United miles)
- United Presidential Plus (5X United miles)
How valuable are these new perks?
The bonus offerings could be quite valuable for those who spend often at grocery stores. If you have a Chase Sapphire Reserve card, for example, you could earn a full 15,000 in Ultimate Rewards points if you spend the full $1,500 on groceries in both May and June. Those 15,000 points are worth $225 when used for travel in the Chase portal. So, this perk could cover a big chunk of the card's $550 annual fee if you're able to max it out.
Limited-time perks with Amex cards
American Express has also added some limited-time benefits for cardmembers. These vary by card but include statement credits for streaming purchases, bonus miles on grocery spending, and more. The table below shows some of the extra cardholder perks your Amex card might offer during the COVID-19 crisis.
Which Amex cards are included?
|American Express® Green Card||
|The Platinum Card® from American Express||
|The Business Platinum Card® from American Express||
|Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card
Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card
Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card
Delta SkyMiles® Blue American Express Card
|Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card||
|Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card||
|Hilton Honors American Express Card||
|Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card||
How valuable are these limited-time perks?
The value of these changes might depend on whether you already have one of the best rewards credit cards for general purchases. These extra perks can make up for missed travel benefits if you don't already have a card offering generous rewards on groceries, wireless phone service, or other extra categories providing the bonus points.
The Platinum Card® from American Express, for example, is providing up to $320 in statement credits for streaming and wireless phone services (May to December 2020), which covers more than half the card's $695 annual fee (terms apply). If you use other benefits, such as the existing $15 in monthly statement credits for Uber and UberEats, you'll have covered the fee almost entirely. Do note enrollment is required for select benefits such as UberEats.
Bottom line: Find out about limited-time perks your cards are offering
Even the best travel credit cards may not seem very useful when you can't go anywhere, but if you have a Chase or Amex card in your wallet, be sure to check into the Covid-related perks these card issuers are offering.
You can take these limited-time features into account when deciding whether to downgrade your card — and you may decide to consider changing which cards you use when you hit the stores or pay for streaming services so you can take full advantage of what your card issuer is offering.