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As the coronavirus pandemic continues to wreak havoc with travel, credit card issuers are proactively trying to maintain the value of their travel credit cards by adding new features and expanding existing benefits.
On the heels of adding bonus points for food delivery services on its personal Ultimate Rewards credit cards, Chase has now rolled out a limited-time bonus category for groceries on over 20 of its travel credit cards, allowing card holders to earn 3 to 5 points or miles for every dollar spent on supermarket purchases between now through June 30.
The affected credit cards range from Chase’s top-of-the-line premium cards to its airline and hotel credit cards, and the bonus multipliers vary depending on which card you have.
Chase cards with the highest annual fees are seeing the largest 5x bonuses. These include the Chase Sapphire Reserve and the new United Club Infinite Card, as well as the older United Club and United Presidential Plus cards, which are no longer available to new customers.
Travel credit cards with lower annual fees will earn 3 points or miles for every dollar you spend on groceries. These include the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, as well as the issuer’s United Explorer Card and three personal Southwest credit cards — the Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Credit Card, the Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card and the Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Credit Card.
In addition, the British Airways Visa Signature Card, the Iberia Visa Signature card and the Aer Lingus Visa Signature card will each earn 3 Avios per dollar on groceries, while the Disney Premier Visa earns 3% Disney Rewards dollars at the supermarket, all between now and June 30.
Finally, several Chase hotel credit cards are also included. Between now and June 30, the World of Hyatt Credit Card and the IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card, as well as the no-longer-available Hyatt Credit Card and IHG Rewards Club Select Credit Card, will all earn 3 points per dollar on groceries.
Previously, Chase made it easier for its newest card holders to earn bonus points by lengthening the time period for new customers to complete the minimum spending requirement tied to the issuer’s sign-up bonuses. Card holders who opened a new Chase credit card between Jan. 1 and Mar. 31, 2020, now have an additional three months to earn the sign-up bonus on their cards.
So people who were approved during the first three months of the year for a card like the Chase Sapphire Preferred — which normally has a three-month period to spend $4,000 on purchases after opening the account — will now have a total of six months to complete that spending requirement.
Citibank adds courtesy credits and extends certificate expiration dates
Meanwhile, Citibank is also acknowledging the changes in the travel status quo by offering credits and extensions to its AAdvantage card holders, and an expanded credit on its high-end Citi Prestige® Card.
On Tuesday, the issuer announced that customers who had the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard® as of Mar. 31, 2020, will receive a “one-time courtesy credit” of $225 when they renew the card for another year.
The Citi AAdvantage Executive card has a $450 annual fee and offers complimentary access to American Airlines Admirals Club lounges when you’re flying on American, which is a perk that can’t be used right now, so it’s not surprising to see the issuer offer a credit.
For card holders with the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard® who have Flight Discount certificates that expire between Mar. 31, 2020, and May 31, 2021, Citi is extending those certificates by six months. And businesses who have a companion certificate with an expiration date of Dec. 31, 2020 tied to the CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Mastercard® will also get a six-month extension to June 30, 2021.
Also, the Citi Prestige card now has an enhanced travel credit. The card normally comes with an annual $250 credit that can be used on a wide variety of travel purchases, including not only airlines, hotels and car rentals, but also commuter transportation, subways, taxis, road tolls, parking lots/garages, bus lines and more.
However, with many people staying at home and not using local or long-distance transportation, it may be difficult to use this credit on any sort of travel in the near future. Therefore, Citi has expanded the Citi Prestige credit for the rest of 2020 to include purchases at supermarkets and restaurants — which includes orders for takeout — as well as travel.
Finally, people who were approved for any Citi credit card between Dec. 1, 2019 and May 31, 2020 are getting an extended time period to reach the minimum spending requirement for earning sign-up bonuses. Citi is extending the usual time period by an additional three months.
That means on Citi credit cards such as the Citi AAdvantage Platinum Mastercard, you have the standard time to complete the spending requirement — three months in the case of the Citi AAdvantage Platinum card — plus an additional three months for a total of six months.
Both Chase and Citi note that all of these additions and changes are automatic — customers don’t need to activate them to enjoy the benefits, though you do need to renew the Citi AAdvantage Executive card to see the $225 credit, which will arrive within two billing statements after the annual fee bills to your account.
Expanded travel card perks continue to arrive
Chase and Citi aren’t the only issuers expanding the perks on their travel credit cards right now. Last Friday, American Express announced a wide-ranging list of new limited-time credits and benefits on its own travel, airline and hotel credit cards as well.
If the pandemic continues to affect travel for the long-term, it’s possible that issuers could extend their temporary perks or introduce new ones to maintain the value of credit cards with travel-focused benefits. But in the meantime, if you have one of these cards or are considering getting one, make sure you take advantage of these limited-time perks while they’re available.
Not sure which credit card to use on your food delivery order? Check out our guide on the best credit cards to use for food delivery services.