credits expiring dec 31

As credit card issuers have moved more and more toward premium and ultra-premium cards, we have more and more annual credits to keep track of using.

To make it more confusing, some cards have credits you get on an annual basis and others that you get every “cardmember year.” For the perks you get every cardmember year, you’ll need to pay attention to your annual fee billing date to make sure you’ve used your credits. But when the credit is “annual” (i.e. per calendar year), you have a unique opportunity to get the credits in two consecutive years, even before the second annual fee rolls around.  That means this is also an excellent time to apply for the cards with “annual” credits.

I’m not going to list out every card that has a “once every five years” credit for PreCheck/Global Entry since they are so common and not annual. All other “use or lose” perks should be here.

Also, before I get into the ones that are on your card all the time, I do want to mention that if you have monthly dining or cellular credits that Amex put on the Marriott branded credit cards, the Delta branded credit cards, and the Hilton branded credit cards, you will want to make sure to have post by Dec 31st. (Link with those details if you’ve forgotten).

Credit cards with “annual” credits that you must use or lose by the time your December statement closes:

The Platinum Card from American Express ($695 annual fee)

The Amex cards have a ton of great benefits, but they require activation and use in the defined period or you lose them.

  • $200 annual airline credit

Airline must be chosen once per year, though they will usually let you change it once. So if you used it on one airline pre-pandemic and want to use it for another now, call or chat with them and ask to change the airline.

These credits are intended to be used for incidental airline fees. This means it won’t work for airfare itself or upgrades, but it will work for lounge access, seat selection fees, baggage fees, award redeposit fees and the like. You used to be able to use these for airline gift cards, though for the most part that no longer works. We discuss some creative options in the MilesTalk Facebook group. You can also look on Flyertalk, where you just need to find the thread for your preferred airline.

  • $200 FHR / Hotel Collection credit – must be booked via AmexTravel and only on prepaid FHR or Hotel Collection stays with a two night minimum stay.
  • $189 Clear membership reimbursement.
  • Monthly Uber credits: Don’t forget to activate and use your monthly Uber credits ($35 in December!) and your $50 Saks credit by the end of the year.
  • $50 bi-annual Saks credit: use that July – Dec credit. (Don’t forget your Rakuten cash back.) You can use Shoprunner for faster free shipping as well.
  • Equinox credit: You can use up to $300 a year but only $25 a month. So, that’s $25 in December.
  • $20 monthly entertainment credit: Valid digital subscriptions with Audible, Disney+, The Disney Bundle, ESPN+, Hulu, Peacock, SiriusXM, and The New York Times.
  • Walmart+: Reimburse that monthly $12.95+ fee.

American Express Gold Card ($250 annual fee)

  • Monthly dining credits

Also, don’t forget to activate your $10 monthly dining credit, most usefully used on Seamless/GrubHub or Shake Shack. It’s one $10 credit each calendar month.

And as mentioned above, you also have your last $10 Uber Cash credit (auto loaded to your Uber account).

American Express Green Card ($150 annual fee)

  • $189 annual Clear credit
  • $100 Lounge Buddy credit

The Business Platinum Card from American Express

($695)

  • $200 annual airline credit

Airline must be chosen once per year, though they will usually let you change it once. So if you used it on one airline pre-pandemic and want to use it for another now, call or chat with them and ask to change the airline.

These credits are intended to be used for incidental airline fees. This means it won’t work for airfare itself or upgrades, but it will work for lounge access, seat selection fees, baggage fees, award redeposit fees and the like. You used to be able to use these for airline gift cards, though for the most part that no longer works. We discuss some creative options in the MilesTalk Facebook group. You can also look on Flyertalk, where you just need to find the thread for your preferred airline.

  • Twice annual Dell credit

Your twice-annual $200 Dell credit expires June 30 and Dec 31 annually.

Don’t forget that you likely also have a 10% back Amex Offer, meaning you could spend up to $220 and get it all back. And you can even stack with a shopping portal like Rakuten for even more cash back. (Yes, make a profit off buying $200 worth of Dell products).

  • $90 Indeed.com credit (4th Quarter)
  • $150 annual Adobe credit
  • Cellular credit: $10 a month
  • $189 annual CLEAR credit

Hilton Honors Aspire ($450 annual fee)

$250 annual airline credit

Airline must be chosen once per year. Used for incidental airline fees. This means it won’t work for airfare or upgrades, but it will work for lounge access, baggage fees, seat selection fees, award redeposit fees, and the like.

Note that the resort credit is “cardmember year” so see below for that.

Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant

  • $25 monthly dining credit

Chase Sapphire Reserve / JP Morgan Reserve ($550 annual fee)

  • $15 in monthly Instacart credits + activate12 free months of Instacart Express (the second part does not expire Dec 31).
  • $5 monthly DoorDash credit. They stack up to $15 so if you haven’t used for 3 months you have $15. This does not specifically expire Dec 31st but it;’s a good reminder time.
  • Activate your free DashPass if you haven’t already (does not expire Dec 31)
  • Activate your 2 years of complimentary Lyft Pink All Access (does not expire Dec 31)

Also, if you opened your Sapphire Reserve card before May 21, 2017, your annual $300 travel credit is by calendar year.

Chase Sapphire Preferred

  • Instacart $15/quarter in statement credits
  • Don’t forget to activate your free DashPass which gives you $0 delivery fees and lower service fees for a minimum of one year when you activate by December 31, 2024. (Does not expire Dec 31)

United Quest ($250 annual fee)

  • $125 annual United purchase credit. This is a statement credit against UA purchases like airfare as well as things you can buy that are related to a flight, like checked bag fees, upgrades, seats, and Wifi.

Asiana Visa (Link)

  • 2 Asiana Airline lounge invitations
  • 10,000 Bonus Miles Certificate awarded annually (good towards an award or upgrade, not actual miles deposited to your account)
  • Automatic $100 annual rebate on Asiana Airlines ticket purchases

Lufthansa Miles & More Credit Card (Link)

  • Annual companion ticket (Starting with first renewal anniversary)
  • Receive two complimentary Lufthansa Business Lounge Vouchers after each account anniversary

Ritz Carlton Credit Card

This card is no longer available to new applicants, but if you have one already, note that your $300 annual travel credit must be used by Dec 31st. Here are some tips from Doctor of Credit on what triggers the credit.

Citi Prestige ($495 annual fee – no longer available for new applicants)

  • $250 annual travel credit must be used each calendar year. Valid on any travel purchases. In 2022, this was also eligible to be used on dining and groceries.

Travel Purchases are defined as purchases made within the travel category, including purchases from airlines, hotels, car rental agencies, travel agencies/travel aggregators/tour operators, commuter transportation, ferries, commuter railways, subways, taxis/limousines/car services, passenger railways, cruise lines, bridge and road tolls, parking lots/garages, and bus lines.

  • Your two “4th Night Free” stays per year are also calendar based. You can make two per year but the stay can be in the following year.

Citi Premier ($95)

  • $100 off a single hotel stay of $500 or more (excluding taxes and fees) when you book through thankyou.com and use your annual hotel savings benefit. You can receive this benefit once each calendar year. Just note that if you have elite status with the hotel chain you book, these are prepaid rates and therefore do not earn points or status benefits.
Citi Premier
Get 80,000 Citi ThankYou points when you spend $4,000 in 3 months. Using Turkish as a transfer partner, this could be worth 3 round trip domestic flights in Business Class or nearly enough for a roundtrip flight to Europe in Business Class! Get This Offer

Credit cards with “cardmember year” credits that you must use or lose by your cardmember anniversary date:

Capital One Venture X

  • $300 travel credit is cardmember year, not calendar year.

Chase Sapphire Reserve ($550 annual fee)

  • If you opened your Sapphire Reserve card after May 21, 2017, your $300 annual travel credit must be used each cardmember year.

Valid on all purchases that code as “travel” including airline tickets, hotels, cruises, Ubers, taxis, and parking meters.

Chase Sapphire Preferred

  • $50 annual credit to use at hotels in the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal

Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant ($450 annual fee)

Nothing expires by cardmember year anymore now that the $300 Marriott travel credit was removed.

Hilton Honors Aspire ($450 annual fee)

$250 annual resort credit

Get back up to $250 for purchases at participating Hilton resorts. This is good on the room rate itself.  See the participating resorts.

Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Credit Card ($149 annual fee)

sw priorty$75 Southwest travel credit each cardmember year

4 upgraded boardings each cardmember year (when available).

Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier ($99 annual fee)

  • Two $25 Early Bird comps

Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus ($69 annual fee)

  • Two $25 Early Bird comps

Alaska Airlines MileagePlan ($75 annual fee)

Companion Fare: Is issued 6-8 weeks after your annual fee is paid and is good for one year.

Korean Air SKYPASS Select Visa Signature Card (Link)

Automatic statement credit(s) totaling up to $200 will be applied to your Account when a SKYPASS Select Visa card is used for purchases made directly from airlines, hotels, or car rental companies. Credit(s) apply to eligible Net Purchases that post to your Account on a Cardmember-year basis (based on Account opening date).

Also: $100 Off coupon for Korean Air ticket purchase each year, 2 Korean Air In-flight Duty Free $25 coupons each year, and 2 KAL Lounge coupons each year.

CChase Ink Business Cash®
BEST EVER LIMITED TIME OFFER: Get 90,000 Bonus Chase Ultimate Rewards points when you spend $6,000 in your first 3 months. Points are transferrable if you also hold a Sapphire Preferred, Sapphire Reserve, or Ink Business Preferred. Earn 5X at office supply stores including gift card purchases. Read how you may qualify for this credit card even without a traditional business entity. Get This Offer

Summary

If I missed anything, please let me know in the comments. Please note I purposely omitted things like the annual free nights awarded with certain cards simply because they are not “use or lose” on the same defined schedule, although they will tend to expire a year from when you receive them.

Thoughts?

Let me know below in the comments, on Twitter, or in the private MilesTalk Facebook group.

And if this post helped you, please consider sharing it!

You can find credit cards that best match your spending habits and bonus categories at Your Best Credit Cards

New to all of this? My “introduction to miles and points” book, MilesTalk: Live Your Wildest Travel Dreams Using Miles and Points is available on Amazon and at major booksellers.

 

I got "in the game" in 2003 and since then I've collected literally millions and millions of frequent flyer miles and hotel points. I've flown around the world in first class seats that would cost $29,000 using frequent flyer miles and a few bucks in tax. And I've stayed in some of the finest hotels - all for free! A few years ago I realized many of my friends actually thought I was paying for these!! So I started sharing my tips. It's long been a passion, but when I hosted a session on Miles and Points at the South by Southwest festival, my love of the game intensified and this blog was born.

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