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Middle Age Miles

Summary of Consumer-Friendly Changes to Card Benefits and Loyalty Programs

summary compilation changes enhancements credit card benefits loyalty programs elite benefits coronavirus covid-19
We’ve seen a lot of consumer-friendly changes to card benefits & loyalty programs
over the past few weeks – it’s hard to keep them all straight!

Introduction

While we’ve been on our housemoving-induced hiatus for the past few weeks and continuing even through today, we’ve seen credit card companies and loyalty programs introduce many consumer-friendly changes. There have been so many that it’s hard to keep up with everything!

Inspired by and with a giant hat tip to Reddit churning member tom0963, we wanted to present a summary of the consumer-friendly changes that have occurred recently. We’ve started with tom0963’s list and updated it with additional information we’re aware of, including changes that have occurred today.

If you have corrections or additions to our list, please let us know in the Comments.

Summary of Consumer-Friendly Changes

American Express

  • All new Amex cards:
    • Eligible card accounts approved from 12/1/2019 through 5/31/2020 will receive a 3-month extension to meet card spending requirements for sign-up bonuses
  • Platinum (personal):
    • $20 per month credit for streaming services, May-Dec 2020
    • $20 per month credit for wireless mobile services, May-Dec 2020
    • (Rumored) $200 statement credit for Amex Travel purchases, valid for 18 months beginning Aug 1, 2020
  • Business Platinum:
    • $100 additional statement credit for purchases from Dell for May-June 2020 (total credits $200 for Jan-June 2020)
    • $100 additional statement credit for purchases from Dell for July-Dec 2020 (total credits $200 for July-Dec 2020)
    • $200 “Appreciation Credit” statement credit (appears to be targeted to cardholders whose renewal annual fee will post in May through Dec 2020; must pay next year’s annual fee to receive credit)
  • Green (personal):
    • $10 per month credit for streaming services, May-Dec 2020
  • All Amex Hilton co-branded cards:
    • All points earned through spend on these cards that post to the cardholder’s account from 5/1 through 12/31/2020 are considered base points and count toward Elite tier qualification and Lifetime Diamond status
    • See other items below, under Hilton, regarding free weekend night certificates
  • Hilton Aspire:
    • $250 annual “Hilton resort” statement credit can be applied to US restaurant purchases, 6/1 through 8/31/2020
    • 12x HH points-earning at US supermarkets, 5/1 through 7/31/2020 (uncapped)
  • Hilton Surpass:
    • 12x HH points-earning at US supermarkets, 5/1 through 7/31/2020 (uncapped)
  • Hilton Business:
    • $50 “Appreciation Credit” statement credit (appears to be targeted to cardholders whose renewal annual fee will post in May through Dec 2020; must pay next year’s annual fee to receive credit)
  • Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant:
    • $300 annual Marriott Bonvoy statement credit can be applied to US restaurant purchases, 6/1 through 8/31/2020
    • 6x Marriott points-earning at US supermarkets, 5/1 through 7/31/2020 (capped at $7,500)
  • Marriott Bonvoy (personal):
    • 6x Marriott points-earning at US supermarkets, 5/1 through 7/31/2020 (capped at $7,500)
  • Marriott Bonvoy Business:
    • $50 “Appreciation Credit” statement credit (appears to be targeted to cardholders whose renewal annual fee will post in May through Dec 2020; must pay next year’s annual fee to receive credit)
  • Delta Reserve/Platinum/Gold/Blue (personal):
    • 4x Delta SkyMiles at US supermarkets, 5/1 through 7/31/2020 (uncapped)
  • Delta Reserve Business:
    • $125 “Appreciation Credit” statement credit (appears to be targeted to cardholders whose renewal annual fee will post in May through Dec 2020; must pay next year’s annual fee to receive credit)
  • Delta Platinum Business:
    • $75 “Appreciation Credit” statement credit (appears to be targeted to cardholders whose renewal annual fee will post in May through Dec 2020; must pay next year’s annual fee to receive credit)

Bank of America

  • All BofA-issued personal cards (unknown if this also extends to business cards):
    • New card accounts approved from 1/1/2020 through 3/31/2020 will receive a 90-day extension to meet card spending requirements for sign-up bonuses

Chase

  • All Chase-issued business and personal cards:
    • New card accounts approved from 1/1/2020 through 3/31/2020 will receive a 3-month extension to meet card spending requirements for sign-up bonuses
  • Chase Sapphire Reserve:
    • 5x Ultimate Rewards (UR) points at grocery stores, 5/1/2020 through 6/30/2020 (capped at $1,500/month)
      • Note that on all Chase cards, Walmart and Target superstores (that include groceries) qualify for bonus earnings in the grocery category
  • Chase Sapphire Preferred:
    • 3x UR points at grocery stores, 5/1/2020 through 6/30/2020 (capped at $1,500/month)
  • Marriott Boundless/Bold/Premier & Ritz-Carlton Visa:
    • 6x Marriott points at grocery stores, 5/1/2020 through 7/31/2020 (capped at $5,000 total)
  • Chase United Club/Infinite & Presidential Plus:
    • 5x United miles at grocery stores, 5/1/2020 through 6/30/2020 (capped at $1,500/month)
  • Chase United Explorer & MileagePlus:
    • 3x United miles at grocery stores, 5/1/2020 through 6/30/2020 (capped at $1,500/month)
  • Chase World of Hyatt:
    • 3x Hyatt points at grocery stores, 5/1/2020 through 6/30/2020 (capped at $1,500/month)
    • 3 elite nights for each $5,000 in spend, 4/15 through 6/30/2020
  • Chase Hyatt (legacy card):
    • 3x Hyatt points at grocery stores, 5/1/2020 through 6/30/2020 (capped at $1,500/month)
    • 2 elite nights for each $5,000 in spend, 4/15 through 6/30/2020
  • Chase Southwest Priority/Premium/Plus:
    • 3x Rapid Rewards points at grocery stores, 5/1/2020 through 6/30/2020 (capped at $1,500/month)
  • Chase British Air/Iberia/Aer Lingus:
    • 3x Avios at grocery stores, 5/1/2020 through 6/30/2020 (capped at $1,500/month)
  • Chase Disney:
    • 3% cash back at grocery stores, 5/1/2020 through 6/30/2020 (capped at $1,500/month)
  • Chase IHG Premier/Club Select:
    • 3x IHG points at grocery stores, 5/1/2020 through 6/30/2020 (capped at $1,500/month)

Citi

  • All new Citi cards:
    • 6 months to meet minimum spend requirements for new sign-up bonuses, for all applications made from 12/1/2019 through 5/31/2020
  • Citi Prestige:
    • $250 travel purchase statement credit may be used for dining and/or grocery purchases from 6/1 through 12/31/2020

American Airlines

  • 2020 AAdvantage status extended until 1/31/2022
  • Reduced elite status qualification requirements for 2020
  • Admirals Club memberships purchased from AA extended by 6 months
  • Up to $400 credit for elite members to use toward an AA Vacations package
  • All spend on AA co-branded cards from 4/13/2020 through 12/31/2020 count for one mile toward Million Miler status
  • Award reinstatement fees waived for travel through 9/30/2020
  • Change fee waivers:
    • For tickets booked on or before 5/31/2020 for travel from 3/1 through 9/30/2020, you can rebook without change fees
    • For tickets purchased from 3/1 through 5/31/2020 for any future travel date, you can change at a later date without change fees
    • If you have a ticket that expires between 3/1 and 9/30/2020, the value of your unused ticket can be used for travel through 12/31/2021
  • Link to AA press release regarding elite status extensions & changes
  • Link to AA Travel Alerts page, including change fee waiver policies

Delta

  • 2020 Medallion status extended through 2021
  • 2020 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) rolled over into 2021
  • Extensions on program travel benefits, including:
    • Amex Delta cardholder Companion Certificates
    • Amex Delta cardholder $100 Delta flight credits
    • SkyMiles member Upgrade Certificates
    • SkyMiles member $200 Travel Vouchers
  • Delta Sky Club members receive an additional 6 months of club membership
  • Change fee waivers:
    • For (a) travel booked as of 4/17/2020, to occur in from 3/1 through 9/30/2020, or (b) travel credits for flights from 3/1 through 9/30/2020: Change fees waived through 9/30/2022
    • For new tickets purchased from 3/1 through 5/31/2020, change fee waiver for up to a year from the date of purchase
  • Link to Delta Coronavirus Update Center

Hilton

  • Existing and new free weekend night certificates earned by 12/31/2020 are now redeemable on any night
  • Existing free weekend night certificates as of 4/30/2020 are extended through 8/31/2021
  • New free weekend night certificates earned from 5/1 through 12/31/2020 are good for 2 years from the date issued
  • All members whose 2019 status was to be downgraded on 3/31/2020 automatically receive an extension through 3/31/2021
  • 2020 elite status extended through 3/31/2022
  • Paused expiration of all points scheduled to expire from 3/25 through 12/31/2020
  • All reservations (including “non-cancellable”) for arrival on or before 6/30/2020 can be changed or cancelled for no charge, up to 24 hours before scheduled arrival
  • All new reservations (including “non-cancellable”) booked from 3/25 through 6/30/2020 for any future arrival date can be changed or cancelled for no charge, up to 24 hours before scheduled arrival
  • Link to Hilton dedicated Coronavirus (COVID-19) page

Hyatt

  • Existing free night certificates expiring 3/1 through 12/31/2020 are extended through 12/31/2021
  • New free night certificates earned during 2020 with an expiration date in 2020 are also extended through 12/31/2021
  • 2020 elite status extended through 2/28/2022
  • Suspended forfeiture of all points through 12/31/2020
  • All reservations booked on or before 4/1/2020 for arrivals through 6/30/2020 can be changed or cancelled at no charge up to 24 hours before scheduled arrival (including Advance Purchase Rate reservations)
  • All reservations booked from 4/2 through 6/30/2020 for any future arrival date can be changed or cancelled at no charge up to 24 hours before scheduled arrival (including Advance Purchase Rate reservations) (subject to a very narrow exception for Destination Residences and Special Events Rates)
  • Link to World of Hyatt COVID-19 FAQs

IHG

  • Free night certificates expiring on 3/1/2020 and after are extended until 12/31/2020
  • Free night certificates issued in 2020 will expire 18 months after their issue date
  • 2020 elite status extended through 1/31/2022
    • For Spire elite members, this includes the Choice benefit of 25,000 bonus points or gifting of Platinum status to someone each year
  • Elite status qualification requirements reduced by 25% or more during 2020
  • Paused points expiration for Club members through 12/31/2020
  • Bookings made through 4/6/2020, for stays up to 6/30/2020, can be changed or cancelled without a fee (subject to potential exclusions for special event restrictions or peak demand weeks)
  • Link to IHG Travel Advisory Policy, including Coronavirus (COVID-19) updates

Marriott

  • Free night awards expiring in 2020 are extended through 1/31/2021
  • Suite night awards expiring in 2020 are extended through 12/31/2021
  • 2020 elite status extended through 2/28/2022
  • Paused points expiration until February 2021 (at that time, point will expire only if account has been inactive for at least 24 months)
  • Existing reservations as of 4/21/2020 for any future arrival date (including pre-paid rates) may be changed or cancelled at no charge up to 24 hours before arrival, as long as the change or cancellation is made by 6/30/2020
  • New reservations (including pre-paid rates) made from 4/22 through 6/30/2020 may be changed or cancelled at no charge up to 24 hours before your scheduled arrival date
  • Link to Marriott Travel Information: COVID-19 Update

Southwest

  • Travel funds set to expire or funds that are created 3/1 through 9/7/2020 will have an extended expiration date of 9/7/2022
  • These same travel funds can be converted to Rapid Rewards points at “the same rate you would be able to purchase a ticket with points today” (not yet implemented; should be coming soon)
  • For all Rapid Rewards members, 15,000 tier qualifying points and 10 flight credits toward A-List and A-List Preferred status
  • For all Rapid Rewards members, 25,000 Companion Pass qualifying points and 25 flight credits
  • 2020 A-List and A-List Preferred status extended through 12/31/2021
  • 2020 Companion Pass holders extended through 6/30/2021
  • Link to Southwest Coronavirus (COVID-19) Travel Information

United

  • 2020 elite status extended until 1/31/2022
  • Reduced elite status qualification requirements for 2020
  • Doubling PQP for United Explorer cards and quadrupling PQP for United Club cards, for spend from 5/1 through 12/31/2020
  • For 1K and Platinum members, extending PlusPoints expiration dates by 6 months, for all PlusPoints set to expire before 1/31/2021
  • United Club memberships extended by 6 months
  • Other subscriptions for Economy Plus, United Wi-Fi and checked bags extended by 6 months
  • All electronic travel certificates are valid for 24 months from the date they were issued
  • Award redeposit fees waived for travel through 5/31/2020
  • Award redeposit fees waived for award ticket cancellations made more than 30 days before departure, for the remainder of 2020
  • Change fee waivers:
    • For tickets booked on or before 3/2/2020 for travel from 3/3 through 5/31/2020, you can rebook without change fees any time before departure, and travel funds are good for 24 months from the original ticket issue date
    • For tickets booked on or before 3/2/2020 for travel from 6/1 through 12/31/2020, you can rebook without change fees on or before 5/31/2020 only, and travel funds are good for 24 months from the original ticket issue date
    • For tickets booked from 3/3/2020 through 5/31/2020 for any future travel date, you can change for free within 12 months from the original ticket issue date
    • If you have a ticket that expires between 3/1 and 9/30/2020, the value of your unused ticket can be used for travel through 12/31/2021
  • Link to UA press release regarding elite status extensions & changes
  • Link to UA Important Notices page, including Coronavirus (COVID-19) updates

Wrap-Up

We hope you’ve found this summary to be helpful to keep up with the many, many changes that have occurred in the past few weeks. It was certainly informative for us to piece it together. Thanks again to tom0963 for giving us the idea for this post as well as a great head start in compiling the extensive information.

And please understand that it’s a moving target; even if everything is correct at publication on the afternoon of Monday, May 4, it may become obsolete as policies evolve. Always be sure to check the different programs’ specific pages for up-to-date policies.

Finally, remember that you’re entitled to a refund if your flight cancels. Airlines have been “hiding” the ability to get refunds and/or making the process difficult, but be sure to stick to your guns and get a refund in the event your flight is canceled. These “no change fee” policies make things much better than usual, but we’d always rather have the cash than airline credit!

Are there any additions or corrections we should make to this list? Please let us know in the Comments!


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5 thoughts on “Summary of Consumer-Friendly Changes to Card Benefits and Loyalty Programs

  1. Bob

    Craig: Just saw over at FM an AMEX website listing temporary card enhancements. URL is https://www.americanexpress.com/us/campaigns/new-offers/product-overview/

    Absent from the website listing is the Hilton Biz card with the weekend free nite certs. Have you confirmed that the free weekend nite cert enhancements for the Aspire and Surpass also apply to the Hilton Biz card?

    Originally, I read that the enhancement for the Biz card was confirmed via a tweet from Hilton to a FM commenter, but the above website leads me to ask if that’s correct . . .

  2. RabbMD

    I think you missed the $20 per month cell phone credit and the $20 per month shipping credit through December 2020 on the amex business platinum.

    1. Craig at Middle Age Miles Post author

      Thanks, RabbMD – you’re right. I’m planning to go back and update the article later this week, and I’ll be sure to include the Biz Plat credits then. Really appreciate the comment and good point! ~Craig

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