American Express, Chase, Citi

Use or Lose These Annual Credit Card Perks (Plus a List of Cardmember Year Credits)

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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, you’ll need to use “annual / calendar” year credits by whatever day your December statement closes. So, if your monthly close date is Dec 20th, aim to have any credit posted by the 18th at the latest to be safe.

Here are all of the most common cards with “annual” credits that you must use or lose by the time your December statement closes:

The Platinum Card from American Express ($550 annual fee – More Info)

$200 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, and the like. As well, it’s currently reported that you can use them for airline gift cards as follows: American Airlines (buy $100 gift cards), Delta (Buy $50 gift cards), Southwest (buy $100 gift cards). Always buy gift cards using a “desktop” website. Never from a phone.

Also, don’t forget to activate your month Uber credits and your Saks credit. The Amex cards have a ton of great benefits, but they require activation or you lose them.

American Express Gold Card ($250 annual fee – More Info)

$100 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, and the like. As well, it’s currently reported that you can use them for airline gift cards as follows: American Airlines (buy $100 gift cards), Delta (Buy $50 gift cards), Southwest (buy $100 gift cards). Always buy gift cards using a “desktop” website. Never from a phone.

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

The Business Platinum Card from American Express ($450 annual fee – More Info)

$200 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, and the like. As well, it’s currently reported that you can use them for airline gift cards as follows: American Airlines (buy $100 gift cards), Delta (Buy $50 gift cards), Southwest (buy $100 gift cards). Always buy gift cards using a “desktop” website. Never from a phone.

Hilton Honors Aspire ($450 annual fee – More Info)

$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, and the like. As well, it’s currently reported that you can use them for airline gift cards as follows: American Airlines (buy $100 gift cards), Delta (Buy $50 gift cards), Southwest (buy $100 gift cards). Always buy gift cards using a “desktop” website. Never from a phone.

$250 annual resort credit

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

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.

Here are all of the most common cards with “cardmember year” credits that you must use or lose by your cardmember anniversary date:

Chase Sapphire Reserve ($450 anual fee)

$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.

Citi Prestige ($450 annual fee – rising to $495 in January)

$250 annual travel credit must be used each cardmember year. Valid on airline tickets purchased directly from an airline. Any airline counts and you do not need to select one in advance.

SPG Luxury card ($450 annual fee)

$300 in statement credits each cardmember year for eligible purchases at Marriott / SPG hotels.

Eligible purchases inculdes room rates.

Don’t forget the card also comes with an annual free night worth up to 40,000 Marriott points.

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

sw priorty$75 Southwest travel credit each year

4 upgraded boardings each year (when available).

 

 

Alaska Airlines MileagePlan ($75 annual fee – Link to Airline Credit Cards)

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.

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 cards like the Marriott Rewards Premier Plus Credit Card 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.

And as always, if you want more of these types of posts or have a request for anything else, let me know…..  You can @ me here in the comments, on Twitter, or in the private MilesTalk Facebook group.

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