[Repost] Year-End Credit Card Checklist for 2022: Travel Credits, Spend Reset, Application Strategy & More

Update 1/1/23: Reposting this as a reminder to get started on the 2023 credits and limits

As we near the end of year, it’s a good time to take stock of our credit cards and review which ones have benefits, requirements, or limits that reset at year-end. We’ll also examine which cards give you a quick double-dip credit when applying at year-end, and take a look at which cards to apply for now.

I’ve been doing this write-up with updates each year for the past number of years (2021, 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015). This year again there were many changes. I tried updating what came to mind, and there’s probably more that needs updating. Please drop a comment below if you notice anything missing or any other changes and we’ll update accordingly.

Calendar Year Spend Limits

  • Also, remember that the annual limits on points earned for credit card referrals by Chase (50,000-100,000 points, depending on the card) and AmEx (55,000 points/$550) will reset on January 1st. If you’re someone who does a lot of referrals, be sure to max out what you can before December 31 and then start referring again on January 1st.
  • Q4 Categories: Chase Freedom, Discover, Citi Dividend, and U.S. Bank Cash+ and a few other cards have quarterly categories. The current categories for Q4 will end on December 31. More details here. Likewise, the quarterly $2,500 limit on the Bank of America Cash Rewards card will renew on January 1. There are also some spend offers from Chase, notably the 10x Gas offer, which ends on December 31st.
  • You have until December 31st to max out your I Bonds purchases which are limited to $10,000 each calendar year.
  • List of all deals ending on December 31st can be found on our Deals Calendar.

Calendar Year Spend Requirements

  • Amex Hilton Surpass gets a free weekend night with $15,000 in spend within the calendar year, and gets Diamond status with $40,000 in spend within the calendar year.
  • Amex Hilton Honors business card gets a free weekend night with $15,000 in spend within the calendar year, it gets a second weekend night with a total of $60,000 in spend within the calendar year. It also gets Diamond status with $40,000 in spend within the calendar year.
  • Amex Hilton Honors gets Gold status with $20,000 in spend within the calendar year.
  • Amex Hilton Aspire gets a second free weekend night with $60,000 in spend within the calendar year. (First weekend night comes as a card benefit, and is based on card anniversary, not calendar year.
  • Amex Delta Reserve – both personal and business versions – earn 15,000 MQMs (18,750 MGMs for 2021 due to temporary bonus) and 15,000 bonus miles $30,000 in spend within the calendar year, and an additional 15,000 MQMs and 15,000 bonus miles if you spend a total of $60,000 within the calendar year.
  • Amex Delta Platinum – both personal and business versions- earn 10,000 MQMs and 10,000 bonus miles when you spent $25,000 in a calendar year, and an additional 10,000 MQMs and 10,000 bonus miles if you spend a total of $50,000 within the calendar year.
  • Barclay Jetblue Plus card earns Mosaic status with $50,000 in spend per calendar year.
  • Chase British Airways card gets the Travel Together Ticket benefit when spending $30,000 in a calendar year.
  • Citi American Airlines AAdvantage Platinum Select card gets $125 flight discount certificate after spending $20,000 or more – this goes with the cardmember year (based on 12 billing statements), not based on calendar year.

American Express Cards 

Airline Credit

Amex Platinum personal, Platinum business, and Hilton Aspire cards have an airline incidental credit each year: $250 for the Hilton Aspire and $200 for the Platinum cards (see what counts here). Unfortunately, gift cards no longer trigger the airline incidental credits.

With these cards, the airline credit is based on the calendar year, not on the statement closing. You can put the airline incidental charges anytime until December 31 and have it count toward the current year. It might have to actually post before year’s end, though; give a few days for that to happen.

The Amex airline credit is different than the others in this list in that you only get reimbursed for incidental spend on your designated airline. Be sure to designate that before putting the charge on the card.

If you’re looking to apply, there is still time to do so and get the airline credit for the current year. The annual fee usually hits around a month after card approval – useful to keep in mind for maximizing the travel credits without annual fees and for triple-dipping. (For those applying in the final few days of the year, see this tip.)

RelatedOpening a Schwab Brokerage, Checking, and Amex Platinum Credit Card before Year’s End

Platinum Hotel Credit

The Platinum personal card comes with a $200 annual hotel credit on  select prepaid bookings with American Express Travel. Be sure to book before December 31st. You don’t need to complete your travel by that date.

Platinum Uber Credit

The Platinum personal card also comes with a monthly $15 credit, remember that it gets increased to $35 during the month of December.

Platinum Saks Credit

The Platinum personal card also comes with a $50 Saks Fifth Avenue credit twice per year: one from January to June and one from July to December. Be sure to use that up before the end of December. They only charge you after the item ships, so give some leeway here.

Platinum Business Dell Credit

The business Platinum card comes with a $200 Dell credit twice per year: one from January to June and one from July to December. Be sure to use that up before the end of December (along with the Amex Offer at Dell which expires then). Give some leeway for the charge to post by December 31.

Hilton Aspire

The Hilton Aspire card also comes with a $250 Hilton Resort Credit and a free weekend night. Those are based on the cardmember year, not calendar year.

Amex Green

The Green personal card comes with an annual $189 CLEAR credit and annual $100 LoungeBuddy credit. These reset each calendar year, so you should be able to use the credit for this year anytime until December 31.

Other Credits

Bank of America

Premium Rewards

The Bank of America Premium Rewards card comes with $100 airline incidental credit (see what counts here). This resets based on the calendar year. Finish up your statement credit with this one by December 31 (buying AA gift card or United Travel Bank credit is easiest), and start using your new credit on January 1. I’ll buy a gift card right away in case they close that loophole. (Note, the airline incidental meter seems to take a few days/weeks until it shows the reset. While it should be internally reset on January 1st, you might want to wait until you see it reset to zero for the avoidance of doubt.)

Premium Rewards Elite

The Bank of America Premium Rewards Elite Visa card comes with an annual $300 airline incidental credit and $150 lifestyle convenience credit (including streaming services, food delivery, fitness subscriptions and rideshare services). These reset with the calendar year.

Be sure to use up your credits from this year now, and begin using next year’s credits after the new year begins. It can also make sense to apply now and try for a triple dip on the card benefits.

Barclay JetBlue

The Barclay JetBlue Plus card gets $100 calendar year credit for JetBlue Vacations bookings.

Capital One Venture X

The Capital One Venture X card offers a $300 credit for bookings made on Capital One Travel. This renews each cardmember year, it’s not based on the calendar year.

Chase Cards

Southwest

Earning 135,000 Southwest points earns you the Southwest Companion Pass. Credit cardholders only need to earn 125,000 miles. The best way to time yourself is to earn the miles at the beginning of the calendar year since Companion Pass continues for the next entire calendar year. For example, if you earn 125,000 Southwest miles during January 203, you’ll have the Companion Pass for the rest of 2023 and the entire 2024.

The easiest strategy to earn the Companion Pass has always been by getting a credit card signup bonus on the Southwest credit card. In our case, you’ll want to apply sometime in the next couple of months, taking care to ensure NOT to meet the spend requirement until after January 1st. (Technically, you can meet the spend requirement during December, so long as the statement won’t close until after the 1st.) The signup bonus points on the two cards will post after you complete the spend in early 2023, and you’ll have a Companion Pass for nearly two years.

Southwest is currently offering a signup bonus of 75,000 points with $3,000 spend. You can also signup for a Chase Southwest business card and get 80,000 points after $5,000 spend. Or you can earn points by referring friends to the Southwest card, doing category spend, shopping portal spend, or an actual flight. Again, be careful with the timing on ALL points earned.

Many of us are not eligible for any of the Southwest cards at all due to the 5/24 rule, or because you’re a current Southwest cardholder of any version or because you got a bonus within the past 24 months.

$75 Southwest Priority Credit

The new Southwest Priority card comes with a $75 annual Southwest travel credit which runs on the cardmember year, not the calendar year. No need to use it up now, specifically.

Sapphire Reserve

The Chase Sapphire Reserve card comes with a $300 travel credit (see what counts here). This used to be based on the calendar year, but now it’s based on the cardmember year – no specific need to use this now.

And if you’re applying for a new CSR card, there’s no special reason to apply before year’s end. Whenever you apply, you’ll get just one travel credit during the first year (maybe you can squeeze a second credit in right after the year renews).

Those who got the CSR before May 21, 2017, are grandfathered into the old system where the travel credit renewal goes with the calendar year. (It’s based on the December statement closing, not December 31.) Be sure you’ve already used up your credit for this year, and remember that you’ll soon be able to begin using 2020’s credit.

The Chase PYB Dining redemption category ends on December 31, though it might get extended.

Also, remember each quarter to use up your $15 in DoorDash credits.

Sapphire Preferred

The Sapphire Preferred card comes with a $50 annual hotel credit via the Chase travel portal. This resets based on the cardmember year, not the calendar year.

Ritz-Carlton

The Chase Ritz-Carlton card offers up to $300 reimbursements for airline incidental charges (see what counts here). Chase counts the benefit based on the calendar year, not cardmember year. (It goes based on the actual calendar year, not based on your statements.) Use the credits before December 31 and begin using next year’s credit on January 1.

IHG Cards

The Chase IHG card gets a free night each year. This does not reset with the calendar year, it goes with your card anniversary.

IHG cards also have spending thresholds of $10,000, $20,000, or $40,000 to earn Gold/Diamond status for the following year and to earn 10,000 bonus points (and on the Premier $100 credit). These spend requirements go by the calendar year.

The IHG Premier also gets $50 in United TravelBank credit each calendar year, so be sure to do that charge before December 31st.

Hyatt

The Chase Hyatt cards get a free night each year. These do not reset with the calendar year, it goes with your card anniversary.

The World of Hyatt card gets an additional night if you spend $15,000 in the past year. This one has now changed to go based on the calendar year. Finish up your spending now if you’re trying to get the additional night and begin your spending for next year on January 1st.

The Hyatt Business card gets $100 in Hyatt credits each year. This is based on card anniversary.

United Quest

The United Quest card gets up to $125 in statement credits as reimbursement for United purchases. This goes based on the card anniversary year, not calendar year. The card also offers up to 10,000 miles back for award flight bookings. Again, this goes with the cardmember year, not calendar year.

Misc

Most Chase co-brand cards get a free year of DoorDash DashPass. Requires enrollment by 12/31/21.

Citi

Prestige

The Citi Prestige card comes with a $250 travel credit (see what counts here). The year resets on January 1st. Be sure to give a few days leeway for the charges to go from pending to settled.

If you have a Prestige card, use up the credit now, there’s only a few weeks remaining. The Prestige card is not available for new cardmember signups at this time. 

Rewards+

The Citi Rewards+ card comes with a 10% rebate on redemptions, up to 10,000 points bonus per year. This is based on your December statement close. Be sure to max out your 100,000 points redemption before your December statement closes so as to get the full 10k bonus. Redemptions that post on your January statement will count toward next year’s allotment.

Expedia+ Voyager

Those who have the Citi Expedia+ Voyager card get $100 annual credit toward airline incidentals on qualified airlines, Wi-Fi carriers, or for the Global Entry application fee. This credit resets each calendar year; be sure to use it up before your December statement closes as any purchases on your January statement will count toward next year’s benefit.

AAdvantage Platinum Select

The Citi American Airlines AAdvantage Platinum Select card gets $125 American Airlines Flight Discount certificate after spending $20,000 or more during your credit cardmembership year (every 12 months from the billing cycle after your anniversary month through the billing cycle of your next anniversary month).

Citigold

Those with Citigold relationship status with Citibank get an annual credit of either $200 or $400 toward subscriptions for Amazon prime, Spotify, Hulu, TSApre/GE, and Costco membership. This credit renews at the end of the calendar year. Be sure to use up your allotment before December 30th.

US Bank Altitude Reserve

The US Bank Altitude Reserve card comes with a $325 annual travel and dining credit. In this case, the travel credit goes based on the cardmember year, not the calendar year. No specific reason to use this now.

Wells Fargo Propel World

The Wells Fargo Propel World card has a $100 airline incidental credit (see what counts here).This credit goes based on the cardmember year, not the calendar year. Check when you applied and be sure to use it up by your anniversary date.

Smaller Banks

CNB Crystal

The CNB Crystal card offers a $350 annual incidental charges (see what counts here). CNB counts this based on the calendar year. Any spend until December 31 will count as part of the current year, and January 1 begins the next year. Be sure to complete your spend before December 31. Give a few days for the charge to settle before year’s end (though it reportedly works on the last day too).

HSBC Premier

The HSBC Premier World Elite comes with $120 annual Lyft credit which is based on the calendar year. Be sure to use these up before December 31.

PenFed Pathfinder

The PenFed Pathfinder comes with $100 annual air travel ancillary credit (see what counts here). The credit is based on the calendar year, be sure to use yours before the year is up.

 

Also check out these useful posts:

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The Man
The Man

Purchased AA GC with Amez Biz. I’ll be the data point if it works or not 🙂

Matt
Matt

Hey Chuck, I might include the monthly $5 DoorDash credits that reset quarterly with the Chase Sapphire Reserve card. Technically a quarterly checklist item rather than an annual one, but it’s one that I often forget.

Wave
Wave

Chuck,

Has there been a post about the best way to cancel a credit card, specifically the Amex Platinum?

I’d imagine a lot of people might cancel in January/February, but was wondering if I should call, chat, or if there is a special number where they might offer a reduced AF or a spending bonus for points.

Thanks!

Matt
Matt

Wave, within the 30-day period after my annual fee posts, I typically I call the number on the back of the card (1-800-525-3355) and ask to speak to someone in the retentions department. They will typically have two retention offers: one that provides a certain number of MR points (e.g. 20,000 w/ $4,000 spend) or a statement credit (e.g. $175 w/ $4,000 spend). The quality of the offer that you get seems to depend on a lot of factors that I don’t understand.

Darin
Darin

Hyatt card spending toward elite nights is not included here, the consumer card (2 nights every $5k) does not reset at all, the business card (5 nights every $10k) resets on the calendar year.

Olympia
Olympia

Does one need to link their IHG account with United to get the travel bank credit before the end of the year? I did it a while back but it might be good to add.

Grant

Yes, you have to link your IHG and UA accounts to get the 2 x $25 travel funds.

DoCFan
DoCFan

With the new change for complimentary Centurion guest, does the $75,000 yearly spend reset on calendar year or anniversary date?

NP - Good DPs
NP - Good DPs

Does Amex consistently clawback the 200 FHR credit? I’m in a position where I booked a $900 stay to get the $200 annual + $200 from the recent FHR offer and I want to cancel the stay but not sure if they would clawback.

AC
AC

NP - Good DPs Yes, Amex did consistently claw back the 200 FHR credit if you cancel. I had to change a booking a couple of times and the 200 FHR credit was clawed back and I had to call to reapply for the credit.

Vanson
Vanson

They clawback.

NP - Good DPs

Darin
Darin

It’s not 100% consistent, but you definitely should expect that it will be clawed back. I cancelled a FHR reservation with $200 credit months ago and still haven’t seen a clawback, but knowing Amex I’m expecting to see it in a year or so when they do an audit and get around to the ones they missed.

harv
harv

An AA gift card did not work for me 6 months ago on the Bank of America Premium Rewards Elite Visa card.

CMsai
CMsai

You would need to buy 3 separate $100 AA gift cards to trigger the credit

beat2def
beat2def

Have purchasing $50 gift cards at resorts worked for the Hyatt biz card’s $100 credit?

Curmudgeon
Curmudgeon

Any ideas on using up the Amex Biz Platinum airline credit? Not going to actually fly until next year and I’d hate to see the credits go to waste.

charlie
charlie

had a buddy do the booking trick on a certain airline a week ago, still works. just picked one up for the double dip and hopefully if still not closed the triple dip on that airline.