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This is an exciting year to have a credit card. Banks are offering more rewards and larger signup bonuses. We’re even seeing several new credit cards launch this year. Here’s a look at what banks are doing to help credit cardholders get more rewards and the increased credit card offers since the pandemic.

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Many of the credit card offers since the pandemic started have been helpful when making everyday purchases and planning things like road trips. Credit: RVshare

Terms apply to American Express benefits and offers. Visit americanexpress.com to learn more.

Editor’s Note: Some of the offers below may have expired or are no longer available on our site. 

Increased Credit Card Offers Since the Pandemic Started: Bonuses

Several credit cards are offering larger signup bonuses this year with Chase offering some of the most exciting increases. Some increases appear to be permanent, but others are only for a limited time.

Related: Best limited-time credit card offers

Changing Spending Perks

Many credit cards are also switching up their purchase rewards by adding new bonus categories compatible with a social-distanced lifestyle. More travel credit cards are letting you earn extra rewards on purchases as you stay close to home or take a road trip instead of flying.

Some of the most common bonus category introductions include:

Some of these changes are for a limited time and might expire after several months. It appears the banks tend to offer limited-time spending perks that are relevant to the current times.

A Glimpse at Some Credit Card Changes

There is a bounty of changes to look at for both travel and cash rewards credit cards. Below are some of the most notable changes that you may enjoy as well.

Chase Sapphire Reserve

Having a premium travel credit card is a little challenging if you’re flying less than usual. The Chase Sapphire Reserve® is indeed making some of the most aggressive moves to reward its cardholders.

Plus, earn 5x total points on air travel and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3x points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.

Points are worth 50% more when redeemed for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories with the Chase Pay Yourself Back feature

New Chase Sapphire Reserve® cardholders can earn 60,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That’s $900 toward travel when redeemed through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.

Chase Freedom Flex

Many are finding more value in cash rewards cards for having the best rewards for daily purchases. As a result, Chase is adding more permanent bonus categories. The bank is also revamping its Freedom card lineup by replacing the tiered rewards Chase Freedom with the Chase Freedom Flex℠ which sports the Mastercard label.

The Chase Freedom Flex earns:

  • 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate (then 1% back)
  • 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • 3% cash back on dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery services
  • 3% cash back on drugstore purchases
  • 1% on all other purchases

New Freedom Flex cardholders can earn a $200 bonus after spending $500 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.

Freedom Unlimited

Visa continues to issue the Chase Freedom Unlimited®. It earns:

  • 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • 3% cash back on dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery services
  • 3% cash back on drugstore purchases
  • 1.5% cash back on all other purchases

New Chase Freedom Unlimited® cardholders can earn an additional 1.5% cash back on everything they buy (on up to $20,000 spent in the first year) – worth up to $300 cash back! That means new cardholders can enjoy:

  • 6.5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards® (Chase’s premier rewards program that lets you redeem rewards for cash back, travel, gift cards, and more)
  • 4.5% cash back on drugstore purchases
  • 4.5% on dining at restaurants (including takeout and eligible delivery service)
  • 3% on all other purchases

New cardholders earn this extra 1.5% cash back on up to $20,000 spent in the first year.

The Platinum Card from American Express

The Platinum Card® from American Express continues to offer two $50 Saks Fifth Avenue credits for in-store and online purchases. The first credit is valid from January through June and the second credit from July to December. Enrollment is required.

Cardholders earn 5x Membership Rewards® Points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel, up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year, and earn 5x Membership Rewards® Points on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel.

Cardholders can get $200 back in statement credits each year on prepaid Fine Hotels + Resorts® or The Hotel Collection bookings, which requires a minimum two-night stay, with American Express Travel when paying with their Platinum Card®.

Also, get up to $200 in statement credits per calendar year in baggage fees and more at one select qualifying airline.

Plus, American Express has expanded The Centurion® Network to include 40+ Centurion Lounge and Studio locations worldwide. Now there are even more places your Platinum Card® can get you complimentary entry and exclusive perks.

Other Platinum Card from American Express Benefits

There’s also a new digital entertainment credit. Cardholders can get up to $20 in statement credits each month when you pay for eligible purchases with The Platinum Card® from American Express at your choice of one or more of the following providers: Peacock, Audible, SiriusXM, and The New York Times. Enrollment required.

In addition to enjoying TSA PreCheck or Global Entry access, cardholders can also enjoy CLEAR perks. Cardholders can use their Card and get up to $189 back per year on their CLEAR® membership. Terms apply.

Another exciting new benefit is the ability for cardholders to enjoy up to $25 back each month on select Equinox memberships when you pay with your Platinum Card®. This amounts to up to $300 annually. Enrollment required. 

There is also a $155 Walmart+ credit to enjoy. This covers the cost of a $12.95 monthly Walmart+ membership with a statement credit after you pay for Walmart+ each month with your Platinum Card. Cost includes $12.95 plus applicable local sales tax.

Get the full details and learn more in our in-depth The Platinum Card from American Express review.

The annual fee is $695 (See Rates & Fees) but can be offset with the perks, which are valued at over $1,400. 

Welcome Bonus Offer

New The Platinum Card® from American Express cardmembers can earn 100,000 Membership Rewards® Points after spending $6,000 on purchases on the Card in the first 6 months of Card Membership. Plus, new cardholders can choose new Platinum Card designs! Select your preferred metal Card design: classic Platinum Card®, Platinum x Kehinde Wiley, or Platinum x Julie Mehretu. Terms apply.

Learn more: Johnny Jet Recommended Credit Cards 

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card is another exciting all-around travel credit card. You earn 2 Venture miles per $1 on all purchases.

However, if you are wanting to earn a few more miles on travel, good news—earn 5x miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel. Plus, Venture cardholders will earn 5x miles when booking through the Turo app or on Turo.com (through May 16, 2023). 

You can redeem your miles for travel statement credits or transfer to airlines and hotels.

Meanwhile, there is a new bonus category and major signup bonus to earn. This card continues to have the built-in perk of a fee credit of up to $100 for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck for one cardholder.

Enjoy a one-time bonus of 75,000 miles once you spend $4,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel, with the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card.

Citi Premier Card

One of the credit card offers that’s changed since the pandemic is for the Citi Premier® Card. It has accelerated its transition to its upcoming benefit changes. Premier cardholders now have more ways to earn 3x bonus ThankYou points:

  • Restaurants
  • Supermarkets
  • Gas stations
  • Air travel
  • Hotels

All remaining purchases earn 1 ThankYou point per $1.

Instead of getting a point redemption bonus for award flights you book through the ThankYou travel center, you now get an annual $100 hotel certificate savings on a $500+ stay (excluding taxes and fees), booked through thankyou.com.

For a limited time, new Citi Premier® Card cardmembers can earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after spending $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening. 

Related: Best Citi Credit Cards

Southwest Rapid Rewards Performance Business Card

There’s a second small business credit card option now available in the Southwest Airlines credit card lineup.

The Southwest® Rapid Rewards® Performance Business Credit Card earns:

  • 4x points on Southwest® purchases
  • 3x points on Rapid Rewards® hotel and car partners
  • 2x points on rideshares
  • 2x points on social media and search engine advertising, internet, cable, and phone services
  • 1x points on all other purchases

Cardholders also get unlimited tier qualifying points (TQPs) that can be earned toward A-List status. There is also a $500 annual fee credit for Rapid Rewards points transfers.

New cardmembers can earn 80,000 bonus points after spending $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of account opening. 

You also get these card benefits that differ from many airline credit cards:

  • 4 Upgraded Bookings per year
  • Up to 365 inflight wifi credits per year
  • Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee credit
  • 9,000 bonus Rapid Rewards each card anniversary

The annual fee is $199. But, if you can maximize the purchase rewards and Southwest travel perks, this card can be worth it as you fly across the country for business travel.

Related: Southwest Airlines Business Credit Cards

Summary

There have been several new credit card offers since the pandemic started. We’re seeing banks offer more rewards options for travel credit cards and cash rewards credit cards. Your existing card may have more redemption options that match your current routine. If you need a new credit card, there are some exciting bonuses that can maximize your spending power.

FAQs

What are credit card perks?

Most credit cards come with different “perks” that gives you an incentive to pay with a credit card instead of using cash or a debit card. Some examples include:

  • Earning rewards points on all purchases
  • Travel discounts (i.e., free checked bags, priority boarding, and hotel night certificates)
  • Accelerated hotel loyalty status
  • Statement credits with select retail stores and restaurants
  • Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee reimbursement
  • Travel insurance for non-refundable travel
  • Rental car insurance
  • Extended warranty on qualifying purchases

Are rewards credit cards worth it?

Yes, rewards credit cards are worth using if the bonus categories and additional benefits match your regular spending habits. You should use a card that lets you quickly earn bonus points on your largest monthly expenses and have easy redemption options.

Of course, you must pay your statement balance in full each month to avoid interest charges that erase your potential gains.

What is the best credit card for perks?

The best credit card for you depends on your daily spending habits and travel routine.

Below are some cards to consider first:

  • Chase Sapphire Reserve: $300 annual travel credit, airport lounge access, 50% point redemption bonus for award travel booking, and 1:1 points transfer to airlines and hotels
  • Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card: Earn 2x miles on purchases, redeem points for travel statement credits, or transfer to participating airlines and hotels
  • Citi® Double Cash Card: Earn up to 2% back on all purchases (1% back when you buy, 1% back when you pay) without an annual fee
  • Chase Freedom Flex: Earn up to 5% back on quarterly bonus categories (up to $1,500 once activated) and select travel bookings, plus 3% back on dining and drugstore purchases

Related Articles:

For rates and fees of The Platinum Card® from American Express, please click here.

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  • Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
  • Enjoy benefits such as a $50 annual Ultimate Rewards Hotel Credit, 5x on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3x on dining and 2x on all other travel purchases, plus more.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel.
  • With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories
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