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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.
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, such as the Southwest Airlines credit card offers to get up to 100,000 bonus Rapid Rewards.
The brand-new Chase Freedom Flex℠ gives you $200 bonus cash after spending $500 in the first three months. Previously, the old bonus (on the Chase Freedom®, which the Flex is replacing) was only $150 bonus cash with the same minimum spend.
If you need a business credit card, the Chase Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card offers 100,000 bonus Ultimate Rewards ($1,250 value) by spending $15,000 in the first three months.
While this next signup bonus is ongoing, you might qualify to earn 100,000 bonus American Express Membership Rewards by using the CardMatch™ tool to apply for the Platinum Card® from American Express. If you do qualify, you’ll need to spend $5,000 in the first 3 months of account opening. Otherwise, new cardmembers can earn 75,000 bonus Membership Rewards® Points after spending $5,000 on purchases in the first 6 months of account opening. Cardholders also earn 10x points on eligible purchases at U.S. gas stations and U.S. supermarkets, up to $15,000 in combined purchases, during your first 6 months of card membership.
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:
- Supermarkets and grocery subscription services
- Streaming subscriptions
- Restaurants, including takeout and delivery services
- Gas stations
Some of these changes are for a limited time and might expire after several months. Other benefits extend into 2021 or are ongoing. 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. You can redeem your annual $300 travel credit for gas station and grocery purchases plus the normal travel purchases. This is an option through June 30, 2021.
Additionally, through April 30, 2021, cardholders automatically earn 3x points per $1 spent at grocery stores, up to $1,000 per month. Cardholders can also earn up to $120 in statement credits on Peloton Digital and All-Access Memberships through December 31, 2021.
This is in addition to the complimentary DoorDash DashPass subscription that lets cardholders get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees. They also earn up to $120 in statement credits on DoorDash purchases ($60 in statement credits through 2020 and another $60 in statement credits through 2021).
Sapphire Reserve cardholders earn 10x points on Lyft rides, including bikes and scooters. Complimentary Lyft Pink Membership is also available when activated by March 21, 2022. Points are worth 50% more through April 30, 2021, when redeemed for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories with the Chase Pay Yourself Back feature. Points are also worth 50% more when redeemed through the Chase Dining hub in Ultimate Rewards, now through April 30, 2021.
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.
Visa continues to issue the Chase Freedom Unlimited®.
Whether you chose the Chase Freedom Flex (at least 1% back on all purchases and 5% cash back on rotating categories once activated, up to $1,500) or the Chase Freedom Unlimited (at least 1.5% back on all purchases), you can enjoy these ongoing bonus categories with both cards:
- 5% back on travel you purchase through Chase Ultimate Rewards
- 3% back on dining, takeout, and select delivery services
- 3% back on drugstore purchases
Both cards offer an exciting signup bonus: $200 bonus cash by spending $500 in the first 3 months.
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.
New cardmembers can earn 75,000 bonus Membership Rewards® Points after spending $5,000 on purchases in the first 6 months of account opening. Cardholders also earn 10x points on eligible purchases at U.S. gas stations and U.S. supermarkets, up to $15,000 in combined purchases, during your first 6 months of card membership.
The annual fee is $550 (See Rates & Fees).
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. 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. Below are some of the limited-time perks:
- New cardholders can earn 60,000 miles if they spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of the account opening.
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.
Learn more: Rewards Credit Cards
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:
- Gas stations
- Air travel
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.
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 is offering a signup bonus of 100,000 Rapid Rewards bonus points. You get 70,000 points by spending $5,000 in the first 3 months and an extra 30,000 points by spending a total of $25,000 in the first 6 months.
You also get these card benefits that differ from many airline credit cards:
- Earn 3x points on Southwest Airlines purchases
- Earn 2x points on social media and search engine advertising; internet, cable, and phone services
- 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.
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.
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 transfers to airlines and hotels
- Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card: Earn 2x miles on all 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
- Best Limited-Time Offers Available Now
- Best Chase Business Credit Cards
- Chase Offers Free DoorDash DashPass
For rates and fees of The Platinum Card® from American Express, please click here.
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
- 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®. Plus earn up to $50 in statement credits towards grocery store purchases.
- 2X points on dining at restaurants including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out and travel & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
- Get 25% more value when you redeem for travel 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.
- Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on eligible orders over $12 for a minimum of one year with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
- Earn 2x total points on up to $1,000 in grocery store purchases per month from November 1, 2020 to April 30, 2021. Includes eligible pick-up and delivery services.
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Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.