Compare The Best Rewards Credit Cards 2020

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American Express Platinum Card – The Greatest Opportunity Ever or Time for a Pause?

For years, the Amex Platinum card has been one of the most premium travel rewards credit cards accessible without an invitation.    The Platinum card has offered access, exclusivity, privileges and protections to those customers willing to pay its $550 annual fee.   This annual fee could be almost entirely offset by a $200 air travel incidental credit, $200 in annual Uber credits ($15 monthly, plus an additional $20 in December) and a $100 Saks credit ($50 semi-annually).   

As a result of COVID-19 and the disruption in travel which impairs some of the travel benefits, American Express has added a $20 a month U.S. wireless service credit and a $20 a month U.S. streaming service credit through December 31, 2020.  These $40 monthly credits now make it possible for penny pinchers to justify owning a premium credit card with the certainty of the card effectively paying for itself in benefits (plus they can get a 60,000 point Welcome Bonus after spending $5,000 within 3 months).

On the other hand, loyal cardholders and who travel extensively are being forced by COVID-19 to question the card’s continuing value.

Prior to COVID-19 the value was unquestionable.   Even though other premium cards like the Chase Sapphire Reserve offer Global Entry and better Priority Pass access, the Platinum card still has valuable perks.    It offers 5x the Membership Rewards points for air travel booked directly though the airlines and through Amex travel.   I have benefitted from the Fine Hotels and Resorts program and from knowing that Amex has great travel insurance coverage should I find myself in a bind in a foreign country.   And, the lounge access is unparalleled.   Last year, my Platinum card paid for itself when I spent the day at the Centurion Lounge in the Hong Kong Airport when student protests prevented my daughter and me from traveling downtown during a stopover from Osaka to Hanoi.   

But, while I have always been the target customer of the Amex Platinum for its travel benefits, I have never been a fan of subscription services that tries to cross-sell products that I may need in order to cover the cost of the subscription.   Even where the value is apparent (as it is here), I just waste too much time trying to find value and hence these things become a burden.  

I will definitely want the Platinum card again when I can use its great travel benefits.   But, it might be a while before we are traveling again.   With my membership up for renewal and with the value today being transformed into credits here and there, I have decided to give it a break.

Compare all travel rewards credit cards here.

Editorial Disclosure: Opinions expressed here are author's alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.

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COVID-19 / Coronavirus Additional Cardholder Benefits for Travel Rewards Credit Cards

Chase, Amex and Citibank have announced the supplemental benefits for holders of their travel rewards cards.   They are as follows:

Chase

Chase Sapphire Reserve and Chase Sapphire Preferred

The Chase Sapphire Reserve card will earn 5 points per dollar and the Chase Sapphire Preferred card will earn 3 points per dollar on grocery store spend in May and June to a maximum spend of $1,500 each month.  This promotion includes groceries delivered through services like Instacart, but does not include grocery purchases from Costco and other big box retailers.

Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card

Chase’s Marriott card will earn 6x Marriott point per dollar on grocery store spend in May and June to a maximum spend of $5,000 each month.  This promotion includes groceries delivered through services like Instacart, but does not include grocery purchases from Costco and other big box retailers.

United Club Infinite Card and United Explorer Card

Chase’s new United Infinite card will earn 5x United MileagePlus miles per dollar on grocery store spend in May and June to a maximum spend of $1,500 each month.  This United Explorer card will earn 3x United Mileage Plus miles.  This promotion includes groceries delivered through services like Instacart, but does not include grocery purchases from Costco and other big box retailers.

British Airways Visa Signature Card

Chase’s British Airways card will earn 3x Avios miles per dollar on grocery store spend in May and June to a maximum spend of $1,500 each month. 

World of Hyatt Card

Chase’s World of Hyatt card and all legacy Hyatt cards will earn 3x Hyatt miles per dollar on grocery store spend in May and June to a maximum spend of $1,500 each month. 

American Express

The Platinum Card

Amex Platinum Card holders now receive up to $20 back in statement credits each month when they use their Card for select U.S. streaming subscriptions through 12/31/20, and up to $20 back in statement credits each month when they use their Card for wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. carriers through 12/31/20.

American Express will be giving personal Platinum card members a statement credit up to $200 for spend with American Express Travel, valid August 2020 through December 2021 for card members whose cards are up for renewal after March 31, 2020.   This benefit is designed to offset the loss of use of the $200 incidental travel benefit that the card ordinarily carries.   Some cardholders who call Amex have reported being offered the following benefits for payment of their $550 annual as an alternative to this $200 Amex Travel credit: a $300 credit after spending $2,000 or 30,000 membership rewards.

American Express Business Platinum Card

American Express is extended to Business Platinum cardholders the same credits for U.S. streaming subscriptions and U.S. wireless telephone services as are offered for personal Platinum cardholders above.   To those card holders whose accounts are up for renewal after March 31, 2000, it is offering $200 in additional Dell statement credits: $100 in additional statement credits from May 1 – June 30, 2020 and $100 in additional statement credits from July 1 – December 31, 2020.  Does Dell still make anything anyone would otherwise want to buy?

American Express Centurion (Black Card)

American Express will be giving Centurion cardmembers a statement credit up to $2,000 for spend with American Express Travel, valid August 2020 through December 2021 for cardmembers whose cards are up for renewal after March 31, 2020.  

American Express Green Card

Amex Green Card holders now receive up to $10 back in statement credits each month when they use their Card for wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. carriers through 12/31/20.

American Express Delta Cards

All American Express Delta cards are giving 4x miles per dollar spent at all U.S. supermarkets until July 31, 2020.

Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Card

The $300 Marriott statement credit can now be used for purchases at US restaurants (including takeout and delivery) between June 1 and August 31, 2020.   This card is also offering 6x Marriott points on U.S. supermarket spend (up to $7,500) until December 31, 2020.

Hilton Aspire Card

The $250 Hilton resort credit can be used for purchases at US restaurants (including takeout and delivery) between June 1 and August 31, 2020.   The card is also offering 12x Hilton points per dollar at U.S. supermarkets at U.S. supermarkets until July 31, 2020.

Citibank

Citi ThankYou® Premier CardCiti Prestige® CardCiti American Airlines® Advantage Platinum Select World Mastercard®, CitiBusiness® AAdvantage® Platinum Select® Credit Card

New cardholders who applied for a Citibank credit card between Dec. 1, 2019, and May 31, 2020, will get an additional three months to meet the sign-on bonus spending requirement. You'll get a total of six months to meet the bonus if you applied (or will apply) between those dates.

Citi American Airlines® Advantage Executive Card

Cardholders whose cards are up for renewal after March 31, 2020 are being offered a $225 one-time statement credit.   The statement credit accounts for half of the annual fee, and is designed to offset the loss of access to American Airlines Admirals Club lounges.

Find and compare travel and rewards credit cards here.

 

Editorial Disclosure: Opinions expressed here are author's alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.

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I have Changed My Tune on Singapore KrisFlyer

Those who have followed my credit card rewards writing for some time know that I have been a fan of Singapore Airlines’ KrisFlyer program since way back when.

Transferrable points can be transferred to Singapore Airlines from Amex, Chase and Citibank on a 1-to-1 basis, and from Capital One on a 2-to-1 basis, and for years there had been great availability on United to Hawaii, and on other Star Alliance carriers elsewhere.   Often, it required far fewer Singapore miles to fly on United to Hawaii so long as saver seats were available.

And, after airlines like United and Lufthansa started awarding fewer miles for actually flying, if you credited your flights to Singapore Krisflyer you continued to get the full miles flown.

A few years ago, it became next to impossible to redeem Singapore KrisFlyer miles on anything other than Singapore’s own metal.   That means for Americans transferring miles from one of the three major issuers, you really need to have plans to fly to Singapore, to Japan, from Houston to Manchester, UK or Moscow, or from JFK to Frankfurt some time in the next three years.

To boot, Saver level awards are extremely difficult to find at all through the Krisflyer website.  

All of this and Singapore’s strict 3-year point expiration policy where points expire based on the date of accumulation can create some very difficult circumstances.

I, for example, spent days on their website in early 2019 trying to find Saver level seats in Business class from anywhere in Southeast Asia back through Singapore to Newark.  While I did finally find seats in July from Da Nang, Vietnam, and the flight was great, I was torn about ever transferring large sums of points from Citibank, Chase or Amex to Singapore again.

When the Coronavirus shutdown came, I thought it would be a perfect opportunity for Singapore Airlines to get rid of this strict 3-year point expiration policy and perhaps to announce other enhancements to make the program more appealing for US customers.   The fact that they haven’t makes Singapore Airlines a much less attractive place to transfer your transferrable points.   And, that in particular, also impacts my view of Citibank’s Thank You program where Singapore was always the only super valuable transfer partner (AirFrance KLM and JetBlue are also OK).

Editorial Disclosure: Opinions expressed here are author's alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.

Advertising Disclosure: This site may be compensated for hosting offers.