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If you have any credit card at all in your wallet, you need to ensure that you’re taking advantage of all of the perks that come with it before the year’s end. If you don’t, you might just lose them. Select credit card perks are annual, so they reset at the beginning of each calendar year. By not taking advantage of them during one calendar year, or even waiting to just January 1, you’re completely missing out on one year’s worth of perks.
Here are a few of these benefits to look for on your credit cards. Hopefully, you can get the most out of each card in your wallet. Take advantage of these end-of-year credit card perks.
1. Travel Statement Credits
Your travel statement credits might be a little more difficult to use by the end of the year if you haven’t already completed your required spending necessary to earn the credit.
Cards like The Platinum Card® from American Express and the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card offer travel-based credits, like airline incidental credits (airline incidental and fee credits can be used to cover the cost of your checked bags, in-flight purchases, etc.), often a few hundred dollars’ worth. Other cards, like the Ritz-Carlton™ Credit Card, offer plain travel statement credits that can be used toward any travel that you’ve charged to your card over the year.
Don’t plan on doing any extra travel between now and the end of the year, or don’t have any recent past travel that you can use the statement credits for? If you have any travel coming up in the next year, consider purchasing some eligible items for that travel (like a seat assignment on a flight). In some instances, lounge passes are even eligible for credit use.
The main point? If you have statement credits available, use them before Dec. 31. It’s free money!
2. Non-Travel Statement Credits
Similarly, many cards offer you additional statement credits for spending that are not travel-related. Cards come with credits to use on Uber and other ride-share services, food delivery services, streaming subscriptions, and shopping with select retailers like Saks. If any of these are available to you, make sure to use them before the end of the year, or you’ll lose them.
3. Spending Categories
Many cards, including the American Express® Gold Card and the Ink Business suite of cards, have spending categories in which you can earn extra points — sometimes up to quadruple points — but only up until you reach a certain spending amount, from $25,000 and up. If you have several cards in your wallet and you’re not an extreme points and miles-focused shopper, it can become easy to forget about these spending thresholds.
Now’s a good chance to take a look at your spending categories and where you might be able to still earn some points and miles with your end-of-the-year shopping. Do this before those categories reset for your spending on Jan. 1. Checking on these end-of-year credit card perks might help you save some money, too.
4. Spending Bonuses
On a similar note, many cards — rather than taking away your points-earning potential after you reach a certain spend amount — will give you additional perks once you reach a certain amount of card spending. Many hotel credit cards, for example, will give you free elite status or free nights after you spend a certain amount.
Take a look at the available spending bonuses on your card. See if you can’t reach one of those spending goals easily by the end of the year — even if you have to make some purchases in advance. Your spending will reset on Jan. 1. You could be losing out on free loyalty status, hotel nights, and other benefits.
These end-of-year credit card perks are worth looking into, especially if you can book for the next year. If not, perhaps a staycation somewhere nearby might help.
5. Referral Bonuses
Some cards will give you a points or miles bonus if you refer a certain number of people to sign up for the card each year. Do you know anyone who could use a new credit card? Ask them to sign up before the end of the year. You could rack up some easy and quick points or miles.
6. Companion Fares
If you have a credit card that comes with a companion fare or companion pass (like the Southwest cards have with the Southwest Companion Pass®) after a certain amount of spending or travel, look into that as well. See if it makes sense to do some extra spending or travel, to get that valuable companion fare or pass.
Don’t Miss Out on End-of-Year Credit Card Perks
Whatever benefits or perks your travel credit card offers you, make sure you don’t miss out on a single one. It’s easy to get caught up in the end-of-year hustle and bustle and forget about benefits. You could miss out on some of your card’s most valuable perks!