Personal Finance

Chase Steps Up With Enhancements For Cardmembers During COVID Crisis

As we all adjust to the new normal, credit card companies have expanded their offerings to accommodate customers.  Chase is the latest bank to extend their enhancements, with a slate of updates to the selection of benefits they offer.

Spend Ultimate Rewards Where You’re Currently Shopping

Ultimate Rewards, offered with the Chase Sapphire Preferred and Chase Sapphire Reserve personal cards as well as the Ink Preferred Business Card, are valuable partly due to the ability to redeem them for a bonus in the Ultimate Rewards travel portal.  However, when most of us aren’t traveling, the points may lose some of their value.

Chase has taken our homebound habits into account. Until April 30, 2021 the bonuses you can utilize in the travel portal can also be redeemed for statement credit in categories that make sense right now.  During this period Chase Sapphire Preferred customers will receive 1.25 cents per point and Sapphire Reserve customers will receive 1.5 cents per point when used to offset purchases at grocery stores, restaurants and home improvement stores. Even better, delivery services for both groceries and dining are included. 

Use Ultimate Rewards for Charity at a Bonus

Previously, only Ultimate Rewards cards with an annual fee were able to use Pay Yourself Back. Chase has extended the benefit to all Ultimate Rewards cards, even those with no annual fee, if you choose to donate to charity. If you give to one of a dozen charities you can redeem Ultimate Rewards at a 25% bonus through Pay Yourself Back. The charities include:

  •  American Red Cross
  • Equal Justice Initiative
  • Feeding America
  •  Habitat for Humanity
  •  International Medical Corporation
  •  Leadership Education Fund
  •  NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund
  • National Urban League
  • Thurgood Marshall College Fund
  • United Negro College Fund
  • United Way
  •  World Central Kitchen

Business Cards Added to Pay Yourself Back

From October 1, 2020 through the end of the year, additional categories are being added to the Ink Preferred and Plus: Cardmembers’ points will be worth 25% more when applied to select online advertising and shipping purchases, as well as towards contributions made to eligible charitable organizations.

Travel Credit Rebate Extended for Use on Gas and Grocery Purchases

Additionally, from June 1 through December 31, 2020, gas station and grocery store purchases will also count toward earning your $300 Travel Credit while still earning points for the purchases. These offers rival the generous benefits extended by American Express

Sapphire Reserve Annual Fee Rebate Extended to All Cardmembers

In January, Chase announced that the annual fee for Chase Sapphire Reserve would increase from $450 to $550, starting with renewals on April 1, 2020. Customers who have card renewal through July 31, 2020 may see a $550 charge for the annual fee, but will also see a $100 credit.  Renewals from August to December 2020 will automatically bill at $450.  

Bottom Line

In the last year credit cards have tried to raise fees and roll back benefits, but the COVID crisis has brought that process to an abrupt halt. As banks race to keep consumers from cutting up their cards, we can expect to see more consumer-friendly incentives rolled out.

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