Maximize Credit and Loyalty Programs
It’s December so you have less than a month to maximize your yearly benefits and finish any elite status requirements. Many programs reset in January so this is your last chance to get your affairs in order to maximize value and make sure you don't leave any points and miles on the table. Don’t forget to make sure you’re also signed up for any 4th quarter promotions, it would be a shame to miss out on free earning opportunities. Here's a quick list of the tasks you should complete ASAP to maximize your credit and loyalty programs.
- Take advantage of Benefits that are disappearing
- Use yearly credits
- Double dip credits
- Big Spend Bonuses
- Finish stay or flight requirements
- Elite Status Match
Take Advantage of Benefits Ending in 2020
There are several credit cards making changes to their benefits and annual fees in the upcoming year and if your card is making any negative changes now is the time to lock in your benefits before they go away. Here are just a few of the changes coming in 2020.
- Amex Extended Warranty and Price ProtectionIf you plan to make a large purchase with an Amex card for example you should do it before the extended warranty benefit changes. Other changes
- The annual travel statement credit for CNB Visa authorized users ($250) is being removed, additionally authorized users will be $95 per year starting in Janurary, so you should add them now
- Capital One venture Unlimited 10x miles on eligible bookings at hotels.com is available through January 31, 2020
Spend Those Calendar Year Credits
Many cards offer credits for things like travel and restaurants that reset each calendar year. If you haven’t already used up all of your credits you should do it ASAP because you want to make sure they post before year end. Also, keep in mind some issuers require that the qualifying charges post to your December billing cycle. It’s better to use your credits now to ensure there aren’t any issues with them not posting in time. Check out this article for strategy if you have a bunch and need a little guidance.
Examples of Cards With Yearly Credits
- American Express Platinum Card- $200 Airline Fee Credit
- Amex Business Platinum Dell Credit- $100 biannually
- Chase Ritz Carlton- $300 Travel Credit
- CNB Visa- $250 Travel Credit
Apply Now To Double Dip Yearly Credits
This is a great time to apply for premium cards with calendar year credits because you can double dip and lower the net cost of the annual fee. By applying NOW (definitely don’t wait because you may run out of time or be delayed in receiving your card) you may be able to double dip the travel credit and get it for 2019 and 2020 but still only pay one annual fee.
Big Spend Bonuses
Many credit cards offer additional benefits to cardholders who meet minimum spending thresholds. Bonuses include points, status or other perks like free companion airfare tickets.
- Spend 30k on a British Airways Card in the calendar year, you’ll get a Travel Together Pass
- Spend 15K on Amex Surpass and get a free weekend night certificate
You should check your accounts to see if there are any spending requirements that you are close to hitting for the year. To check total spending, log in to your online accounts and select activity for 2019 or “Year to Date”. If you’re close, you might as well concentrate your spending for the rest of the year on that card to make sure you don’t miss out.
Elite Status Requirements
It's time to review your elite status situation because there’s still time to make it happen if you’re close to qualifying or getting to the next level. You might need to add a trip or switch your spending to a certain card to earn extra qualifying nights or miles.
Get Free Elite Status With a Match
If you didn't re-qualify for elite status in 2019, you should see if there any status match promotions you can take advantage of by matching before you lose your current status. Statusmatcher.com is a great site to find examples and data points for current status match opportunities. With any luck, you’ll be able to match and receive elite status through 2020.
Examples of Status Match opportunities