Editor’s note: This is a recurring post, regularly updated with new information and offers.
With the end of the year in sight, now’s the perfect time to inventory your credit card perks and benefits to ensure you’ve used and maximized as many of them as possible this year.
Some of these benefits are “use it or lose it” at the end of the calendar year, which means you could be leaving free meals, gifts or travel behind since these benefits don’t roll over into next year.
Here’s a list of the key credit card-related tasks to complete before the ball drops at midnight on Dec. 31 and your 2023 calendar-based credits reset for 2024. And for more end-of-year advice, check out our guide to points and miles tasks to complete by the end of the year.
Use your annual statement credits
Among the more valuable credit card benefits available are annual hotel award nights and annual airline incidental/travel credits. The validity of benefits such as free night certificates is typically based on your cardmember year (defined by when you opened the account).
However, some statement credits expire at the end of each calendar year. Here’s a sampling of some of the most popular credits that will expire by the end of the calendar year:
- Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card: Up to $100 statement credits for airline incidental fees charged to your card.
- Bank of America® Premium Rewards® Elite Credit Card: Up to $300 in statement credits for airline incidentals charged to your card each year and up to $150 in statement credits for “lifestyle” purchases, such as ride-hailing apps, streaming services, food delivery and fitness memberships.
- The Business Platinum Card® from American Express: Up to $200 in airline incidentals fee statement credits. While not travel-related, cardmembers also can receive up to $150 in statement credits for qualifying purchases with Adobe and reimbursement for a Clear Plus membership each year. Enrollment is required in advance for select benefits.
- Citi Prestige® Card: Up to $250 in statement credits for travel purchases annually. Note that this card is no longer available to new applicants.
- Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card: Up to $400 Hilton Resort credit with purchases made directly with participating properties, along with up to $200 in flight credits, and a $189 Clear Plus credit. Enrollment is required in advance for select benefits.
- The Platinum Card® from American Express: Up to $200 in airline incidentals fee statement credit and up to $200 in annual prepaid hotel statement credits, as well as reimbursement for a Clear Plus membership. Enrollment in advance is required for select benefits.
- The Ritz-Carlton Rewards Credit Card: Up to $300 in statement credits for travel purchases. Note that this card is no longer available to new applicants.
The information for the Bank of America Premium Rewards Elite, Citi Prestige, Hilton Aspire and Ritz-Carlton cards has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.
Note that other credit cards with annual statement credits aren’t necessarily tied to the calendar year.
For instance, the validity of the $300 in annual travel credits that come with the Chase Sapphire Reserve is based on your cardmember year. The credit applies automatically to all purchases that code as travel, including everything from airfare and Airbnb stays to car rentals and cab rides. Remember that you won’t earn 3 points per dollar on purchases covered by the $300 travel credit; you’ll only start earning bonus points on travel purchases once the travel credit is exhausted.
However, there is an exception to that general rule. If you opened your Sapphire Reserve before May 2017, then your card’s $300 travel credit is still tied to the calendar year — specifically attached to the date on which your December statement closes (which is likely before Dec. 31).
Use your semi-annual credits
American Express has a partnership with Saks Fifth Avenue that provides Platinum cardmembers with up to $100 in credits to spend at the retailer each calendar year — given as one $50 credit available for purchases between January and June and a second $50 credit available between July and December. Enrollment is required in advance for this benefit.
The benefit is fairly straightforward, and there’s no minimum spending requirement. However, you need to enroll your card through the Amex website before using this benefit.
Although Saks is known for its high-end goods with prices to match, it offers items for less than $50 and runs frequent sales. Believe it or not, you may be able to use the credit without paying anything out of pocket. If you need inspiration, check out this list of gifts you could buy using the $50 credit.
Another Amex card offering semi-annual credits is the Business Platinum Card. Cardmembers can receive up to $200 in statement credits for Dell purchases in each half of the year, providing up to $400 in value throughout the year. Enrollment is required in advance to use this benefit, then shop as you normally would with Dell and use your Business Platinum to pay for your purchases. This benefit provides statement credits that are applied automatically after qualifying purchases.
Use your quarterly and monthly credits
Depending on what’s in your wallet, you may have credits available each month or each quarter.
Amex Platinum cardmembers usually get $15 in monthly Uber Cash credit but a supersized $35 credit in December, so be sure to use these credits on rides or Uber Eats orders. If you have the American Express® Gold Card, you can take advantage of $10 in monthly Uber credits and $10 in monthly dining credits. Note that Uber credit is for use in the U.S.
Other credits on the Amex Platinum card include reimbursement for a monthly Walmart+ membership and monthly streaming credits. The card has a $695 annual fee (see rates and fees). Enrollment is required in advance for select benefits.
Meanwhile, those who carry the Business Platinum Card from American Express can receive up to $10 per month in wireless credits and up to $90 per quarter in statement credits for Indeed purchases. These two benefits provide a combined total of up to $480 in annual credits to help offset the card’s $695 annual fee (see rates and fees). Enrollment is required in advance for select benefits.
Additionally, there are credit cards with quarterly bonus categories that you can activate for bonus earnings. These categories will end on Dec. 31 and change to new categories at the start of next year.
Meet annual spending thresholds for bonuses
Numerous credit cards offer bonuses when you reach spending thresholds in a calendar year. For example, the Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card offers 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles when you spend $25,000 on the card and another 10,000 MQMs when you hit $50,000.
On the hotel side, cards like the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card and The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card award free night certificates for spending $15,000 on your card within a calendar year. This same $15,000 annual spending threshold qualifies for a Category 1-4 free night award on the World of Hyatt Credit Card.
With airlines, you can earn companion fares, or companion passes through spending goals on Southwest credit cards or cards like the Alaska Airlines Visa® credit card and the Alaska Airlines Visa® Business card.
Regardless of the bonus, it’s worth hitting these thresholds if you’re close to meeting the spending threshold.
Take advantage of expiring limited-time promotions
A slew of promotions ending Dec. 31 are worth taking advantage of if you can. These include targeted offers for extra points, bonus cash back or statement credits through Amex Offers, Bank AmeriDeals, Capital One Offers, Chase Offers and Citi Merchant Offers.
As these are targeted offers, not everyone will receive them. You’ll also need to add the offers to your card before using them to receive the points or credits.
Apply for cards with elevated welcome bonuses
There are several fantastic credit card offers currently available. Many of these offers won’t stick around long, so you’ll want to act sooner rather than later if you’re interested in taking advantage of one or more of these great sign-up bonuses.
Here are a few of these great offers:
- The Business Platinum Card® from American Express: New applicants earn 120,000 bonus points when they spend $15,000 on eligible purchases within the first three months of card membership.
- Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card: New applicants earn 170,000 Hilton Honors bonus points after spending $3,000 in purchases on the card in the first six months of card membership. Offer ends Jan. 17, 2024.
- Ink Business Preferred Credit Card: New applicants can earn a 100,000 bonus after spending $8,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening.
- Capital One Venture X Business : New applicants earn 150,000 bonus miles after spending $30,000 in the first three months from account opening.
The end of the year is quickly approaching, so take time now to review the above action items to ensure you maximize all of the credit card benefits available to you.
Travel and shopping credits are practically free money that offset your cards’ annual fees and are extremely easy to use. Taking control of these tasks means you shouldn’t be in the spotlight of our next reader mistake story because you missed out on valuable travel credits or other benefits this year.