Amex offers limited time benefits on Amex cards in response to coronavirus

Amex offers limited time benefits on Amex cards in response to coronavirus

American Express is offering new benefits to its cards in response to the coronavirus outbreak.

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It may not have been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer. This site may be compensated through a credit card issuer partnership.

customer paying for take out with credit card

In the wake of the coronavirus outbreak, consumers have found themselves in a bind when it comes to their travel rewards credit cards. Cardholders are paying hundreds of dollars a year in annual fees for benefits they can't use, such as airline fee credits and resort credits. Adjusting to the circumstances, issuers like American Express are quickly adding more useful benefits to their cards during the pandemic.

Amex has recently announced limited time benefits — including new spending categories and statement credits — to several of its top travel cards. Read on to see if your card has new benefits. Terms apply to American Express credit card offers. See americanexpress.com for more information.

New Amex card benefits and spending categories

American Express has added the following benefits to encourage cardholders to continue utilizing their cards and paying the annual fee:

The Platinum Card® from American Express

The Platinum Card® from American Express

$550

See Pay Over Time APR

Good/Excellent

  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases in your first 3 months.
  • Enjoy VIP status and up to $200 in Uber savings on rides or eats orders in the US annually. Uber Cash and Uber VIP status available to Basic Card Member only.
  • Earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel. Starting January 1, 2021, earn 5X points on up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year.
  • 5X Membership Rewards® Points on prepaid hotels booked on amextravel.com.
  • Enjoy access to the Global Lounge Collection, the only credit card airport lounge access program that includes proprietary lounge locations around the world.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit, up to $200 in statement credits per calendar year in baggage fees and more when you select one qualifying airline.
  • Get up to $100 in statement credits annually for purchases at Saks Fifth Avenue on your Platinum Card®. That’s up to $50 in statement credits semi-annually. Enrollment required.
  • $550 annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.
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New benefit:

  • Up to $320 in statement credits on select streaming and wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers (up to $20 per month) from May through December 2020.

New benefit is meant to offset:

  • $200 airline fee credit
  • $200 annual Uber credit

Thoughts on this benefit:

The new statement credit is valuable because nearly anyone can use it. However, you will earn a modest 1 point per dollar on these purchases. Also, you might prefer to use a credit card with cellphone insurance like the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card.

The Business Platinum Card® from American Express

New benefits:

  • Up to $320 in statement credits on wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers and U.S. purchases for shipping (up to $20 per month on each) from May through December 2020.
  • Up to $200 in additional statement credits for U.S. purchases with Dell: $100 in additional statement credits from May 1 through June 30, 2020, and up to $100 in additional statement credits between July 1 and Dec. 31, 2020.

New benefits are meant to offset:

  • $200 airline fee credit

Thoughts on these benefits:

These credits are useful for continuing business expenses. If you are in the market for a new computer, the Dell credits could be especially handy. However, you would earn more rewards on these purchases from a business credit card like the Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card.

American Express® Green Card

New benefit:

  • Up to $80 in statement credits on wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers (up to $10 per month) from May through December 2020.

New benefit is meant to offset:

Thoughts on this benefit:

If you maximize the $80 statement credits, you will recover more than half the annual fee of the card. However, you will only earn 1 point per dollar on those purchases.

Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card and Delta SkyMiles® Platinum Card

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum Card

$250

15.74%-24.74% Variable

Good/Excellent

  • Earn 60,000 bonus miles and 5,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months, Offer Expires 10/28/2020.
  • NEW! Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
  • Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card.*Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
  • NEW! With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 MQMs after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
  • NEW! Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
  • Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta Flights.
  • NEW! Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
  • Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
  • Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • $250 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
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New benefit:

  • Earn 4x miles at U.S. supermarkets from May through July 2020.

New benefit is meant to offset:

  • 3x Delta SkyMiles per $1 on Delta purchases

Thoughts on this benefit:

The bonus on U.S. supermarket purchases is lucrative, though short-lived. In addition, the fate of domestic airlines and the miles that you earn with them is up in the air as airlines are flocking to the U.S. government for assistance.

If you want the ability to earn credit card points on groceries to be used on Delta Air Lines, consider the American Express® Gold Card.

Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card and Delta SkyMiles® Blue American Express Card

Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card

$0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $99.

15.74%-24.74% Variable

Good/Excellent

  • Earn 50,000 bonus miles after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months, Offer Expires 10/28/2020.
  • Earn 2X Miles on Delta purchases, at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
  • NEW! Earn now. Travel when you're ready. After you spend $10,000 in purchases in a calendar year, you will receive a $100 Delta Flight Credit to inspire your next travel.
  • Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta Flights.
  • Earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases.
  • Enjoy a $0 introductory Annual Fee for the first year, then $99.
  • Terms Apply.
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Delta SkyMiles® Blue American Express Card

$0

15.74%-24.74% Variable

Good/Excellent

  • Earn 10,000 bonus miles after you spend $500 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months.
  • No Annual Fee.
  • NEW! Earn 2X Miles per dollar at restaurants, now worldwide.
  • Earn 2X Miles per dollar spent on Delta purchases.
  • Earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases.
  • NEW! No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Receive a 20% savings in the form of a statement credit after you use your Card on eligible Delta in-flight purchases of food, beverages, and audio headsets.
  • Terms Apply.
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New benefit:

  • Earn 4x miles at U.S. supermarkets from May through July 2020.

New benefit is meant to offset:

  • 2x Delta SkyMiles per $1 on Delta purchases

Thoughts on this benefit:

Similar to Delta cards above, the Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card and Delta SkyMiles® Blue American Express Card are offering a great bonus on U.S. supermarket purchases. As mentioned above, you should be wary of the potential for airlines to declare bankruptcy before you invest in earning miles with these cards.

Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card

New benefits:

  • Earn 12x Hilton Honors points at U.S. supermarkets from May through July 2020.
  • Eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants, including takeout and delivery, will now qualify toward the up to $250 Hilton resort credit benefit from June through August 2020.
  • All points earned between May 1 and Dec. 1 will be considered base points and will count towards elite-tier qualification and lifetime Diamond status.
  • Unexpired certificates issued through Dec. 31, 2020 are eligible to be redeemed any day of the week.
  • Certificates issued between May 1 and Dec. 31, 2020 will be valid for 24 months, instead of 12 months.

New benefits are meant to offset:

  • Earn 14x Hilton Honors points at Hilton properties
  • $250 Hilton resort statement credit
  • $250 airline fee credit
  • $100 Hilton on-property credit

Thoughts on these benefits:

These are excellent benefits for the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card. By replacing the hotel spending category with U.S. supermarkets, cardholders have the opportunity to continue earning points at a fast rate. And replacing the resort credit with restaurant credit enables cardholders to use the credit while supporting local restaurants.

Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card

Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card

$95

15.74%-24.74% Variable

Good/Excellent

  • Earn 130,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points with the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card after you use your new Card to make $2,000 in eligible purchases within the first 3 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn a Weekend Night Reward from Hilton Honors after you spend $15,000 on purchases on your Card in a calendar year.
  • Earn 12X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for each dollar of eligible purchases charged on your Card directly with a hotel or resort within the Hilton portfolio.
  • Earn 6X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for each dollar of eligible purchases on your Card at U.S. restaurants, U.S. supermarkets, and U.S. gas stations.
  • Earn 3X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for all other eligible purchases on your Card.
  • Spend $40,000 on eligible purchases on your Card in a calendar year and you can earn Hilton Honors Diamond status through the end of the next calendar year.
  • $95 annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.
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New benefits:

  • Earn 12x Hilton Honors points at U.S. supermarkets from May through July 2020.
  • All points earned using the card between May 1 and Dec. 1 will be considered base points and will count towards elite-tier qualification and lifetime Diamond status.
  • Unexpired weekend certificates issued through Dec. 31, 2020 are eligible to be redeemed any day of the week.
  • Certificates issued between May 1 and Dec. 31, 2020 will be valid for 24 months, instead of 12 months.

New benefits are meant to offset:

  • 12x Hilton Honors points at Hilton properties

Thoughts on these benefits:

This change may be an upgrade for some travelers. Many consumers spend much more at grocery stores than at Hilton properties. However, the change is short-lived as the promotion expires at the end of July.

Annual fee statement credits on select American Express cards

In addition to significant changes to consumer credit cards, American Express is offering statement credits (American Express is calling them “appreciation credits”) to offset the annual fee for several credit card products. You will earn this statement credit at your next annual fee renewal.

If you hold one of the below cards, you will see a message that looks like this in your American Express customer portal:

Annual fee statement credits on select American Express cards

Here are the qualifying credit cards:

American Express credit cardAnnual fee creditAnnual fee
Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card$100$550
Delta SkyMiles® Reserve Business American Express Card$125$550
Delta SkyMiles® Platinum Business American Express Card$75$250
The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card$50$95
Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card Review$50$125

While these credits won't completely cover the annual fees, they're a good incentive for cardholders who are on the fence about keeping their cards around for another year.

How to maximize Amex credit card benefits

These new benefits make travel rewards credit cards more consumer-friendly during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, not all of these adjustments are equally beneficial.

It is important to analyze your points and miles strategy to ensure your spending is going on the right cards. Also, if you are more of a cashback credit card person, be sure to check with your issuers to see if any of your benefits/features have changed.

The information related to American Express® Green Card, The Business Platinum® Card from American Express, Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card and Delta SkyMiles® Reserve Card has been independently collected by ValuePenguin and have not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication. Terms apply to American Express credit card offers. See americanexpress.com for more information.

Brett Holzhauer

Brett Holzhauer is ValuePenguin’s travel rewards expert, focusing on credit card rewards maximization, consumer travel trends, and personal finance news. He has earned and burned over 5 million points and miles throughout his travels, saving him roughly $75,000 in travel expenses.

These responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which ValuePenguin receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). ValuePenguin does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

How We Calculate Rewards: ValuePenguin calculates the value of rewards by estimating the dollar value of any points, miles or bonuses earned using the card less any associated annual fees. These estimates here are ValuePenguin's alone, not those of the card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer.

Example of how we calculate the rewards rates: When redeemed for travel through Ultimate Rewards, Chase Sapphire Preferred points are worth $0.0125 each. The card awards 2 points on travel and dining and 1 point on everything else. Therefore, we say the card has a 2.5% rewards rate on dining and travel (2 x $0.0125) and a 1.25% rewards rate on everything else (1 x $0.0125).