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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

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:

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. Cardholders can use their Chase Ultimate Rewards points to pay for their existing purchases across a few categories and receive a statement credit through the Chase Pay Yourself Back feature. Categories include grocery stores, home improvement stores, and dining (including restaurants, takeout, and eligible delivery services), and contributions to select charities. This is available through April 30, 2021.

You can also 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.

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 and enhanced signup bonus. You can earn $200 bonus cash by spending $500 in the first 3 months. Your first $12,000 in grocery purchases (excluding Walmart and Target purchases) for the first 12 months earn 5% back.

Platinum Card from American Express

The Platinum Card® from American Express is offering these statement credit perks through the end of 2020:

  • Up to $20 per month for select U.S. streaming services
  • Up to $20 per month on wireless phone charges made directly with U.S. wireless service providers
  • Can redeem the monthly $15 Uber credit for rides or Uber Eats purchases
  • $100 back on a minimum $100 Dell.com purchases (must activate an Amex Offer by 1/31/2021)

Additionally, the Amex Platinum 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:

  • 5x Venture Miles on Uber Eats purchases (until 01/31/2021)
  • 100,000-point signup bonus by spending $20,000 in the first 12 months (or 50,000 bonus miles by spending $3,000 in the first 3 months)

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:

  • 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.

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.

Related: Southwest Airlines Business Credit Cards: 100k Bonus, Closer To A Companion Pass

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 transfers to airlines and hotels
  • Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card: Earn 2x miles on all purchases (plus 5x points on Uber Eats through 1/31/21), 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.

Josh Patoka
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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 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide, eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
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