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Travel rewards credit cards add more everyday perks like Uber Eats

Justin Ho Oct 27, 2020
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Some cards with high annual fees are starting to switch from rewards on travel and hotels to discounts on things like takeout and groceries. Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images
COVID-19

Travel rewards credit cards add more everyday perks like Uber Eats

Justin Ho Oct 27, 2020
Heard on:
Some cards with high annual fees are starting to switch from rewards on travel and hotels to discounts on things like takeout and groceries. Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images
HTML EMBED:
COPY

American Express announced that its premium travel cards will now come with a new benefit: discounts for the meal delivery service Uber Eats. During the pandemic, many cards with high annual fees that once lured in customers with their travel perks are starting to focus on spending that’s closer to home.

American Express’s Platinum Card used to mostly offer generous rewards for flights and hotel bookings. The annual fee for that card is $550.

Robin Saks Frankel at Forbes Advisor said that AmEx and other card issuers are worried that people can’t justify that fee when they’re stuck at home. “You know, everything has just come grinding to a halt for most people,” she said.

So credit companies are making some changes. The Prestige Card from Citi, which costs $495 a year, now lets users spend their travel credit on takeout and groceries. And Chase increased the redemption value of rewards spent on food, home improvement and more.

“Credit card issuers are trying to make their cards more enticing by offering benefits that are more closely aligned to how consumers are spending today,” Frankel said.

And those consumers are spending less on travel and more on everyday needs, said Matt Schulz with Lending Tree.

“With delivery and takeout taking priority over dine-in these days, issuers have had to adjust to where things are now,” Schulz said.

And, Schulz said, the risk for credit card companies if they don’t is that customers could end up canceling their cards.

COVID-19 Economy FAQs

So what’s up with “Zoom fatigue”?

It’s a real thing. The science backs it up — there’s new research from Stanford University. So why is it that the technology can be so draining? Jeremy Bailenson with Stanford’s Virtual Human Interaction Lab puts it this way: “It’s like being in an elevator where everyone in the elevator stopped and looked right at us for the entire elevator ride at close-up.” Bailenson said turning off self-view and shrinking down the video window can make interactions feel more natural and less emotionally taxing.

How are Americans spending their money these days?

Economists are predicting that pent-up demand for certain goods and services is going to burst out all over as more people get vaccinated. A lot of people had to drastically change their spending in the pandemic because they lost jobs or had their hours cut. But at the same time, most consumers “are still feeling secure or optimistic about their finances,” according to Candace Corlett, president of WSL Strategic Retail, which regularly surveys shoppers. A lot of people enjoy browsing in stores, especially after months of forced online shopping. And another area expecting a post-pandemic boost: travel.

What happened to all of the hazard pay essential workers were getting at the beginning of the pandemic?

Almost a year ago, when the pandemic began, essential workers were hailed as heroes. Back then, many companies gave hazard pay, an extra $2 or so per hour, for coming in to work. That quietly went away for most of them last summer. Without federal action, it’s mostly been up to local governments to create programs and mandates. They’ve helped compensate front-line workers, but they haven’t been perfect. “The solutions are small. They’re piecemeal,” said Molly Kinder at the Brookings Institution’s Metropolitan Policy Program. “You’re seeing these innovative pop-ups because we have failed overall to do something systematically.”

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