Credit Card Companies Shift Benefits and Perks Amid COVID-19

5 mins read

The Bank of America recently announced it would be discontinuing a perk that provided its customers with compensation for the damage sustained by rental vehicles, a benefit included on one of its most popular credit cards.

Credit card companies have begun on this track around two years ago when several firms cut back on this specific benefit and a few other perks that customers infrequently used.

The coronavirus pandemic forced top executives to rework benefits to focus work from home, including discounts on meal deliveries, streaming services, or online subscriptions.

The situation also calls for credit card owners to be aware of their benefits or lack thereof once travel has been resumed, and normal outdoor lives have begun to recover. Experts urge consumers to double-check if they are still eligible for the benefits they previously had or if they are still available.

The Bank of America reached out to its Cash Rewards cardholders last month to tell them that the secondary “Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver” benefit would be unavailable for new applications beginning on February 1, 2021.

Bank spokesman Don Vecchiarello noted that the company’s reason for the discontinuation is that nearly none of its consumers use the perk. The card provides one to three percent cash return on purchases, and the rental car benefit is still available on their Travel Rewards, Premium Rewards, and other cards, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

Industry analyst at CreditCards.com, Ted Rossman, said a lot has changed in the credit card business. He urged people to reevaluate the cards they possess, how they spend their credits, and what benefits they get from their purchases.

Several years ago, credit card companies used attractive and massive sign-up bonuses to get people to partner with them. Recently, however, agencies have shifted to using long-term, on-going rewards to sustain their consumer-base. The COVID-19 pandemic forced firms to innovate and provide more to attract potential new and keep existing customers.

Chris Dong said that before the coronavirus pandemic started, credit card companies made it difficult to earn sign-up bonuses and other perks. He noted that Chase Credit Cards’ 5/24 rule unofficially blocked customers who have, in the last 24 months, opened at least five credit card accounts from being given approval for another Chase card.

Credit card companies have also raised their requirements for being approved for loans for new applicants. Some firms have even removed several of their credit cards from the market. However, a lot of companies aimed to keep their current customers by giving out a host of new benefits that target pandemic-stricken individuals, Time reported.

Despite the challenges credit card companies and owners are facing amid the coronavirus pandemic, there are still several ways to make use of your credits. Some companies are being more flexible with their points system, while others are giving away extra statement credits.

If you have a Capital One travel card, the miles you previously earned can be used to pay for restaurant delivery fees and takeout purchases at a 1:1 ratio. With the increased restrictions with travel after the sudden surge of coronavirus cases in California, traveling to see family members becomes a risk, so sending them a meal instead is still a fine way of celebrating together.

Bank of America has recently started to offer points-for-food conversion on a few of its travel cards. Some of the perks provide customers with up to $50 statement credit. And for a limited time, Chase Credit Cards is allowing its consumers to exchange points for statement credits. The balance can be used to make purchases at grocery stores, restaurants, and home improvement shops, the Waco Tribune-Herald reported.

Danielle Joyce Ong

Danielle is a local journalist with a passion for exploring stories related to crime and politics. When Danielle isn't busy writing or reading, she is usually exploring the great outdoors and all the hiking trails in the Bay.