How Credit Card Issuers Are Responding to COVID-19

General assistance is available with a phone call or online chat, but some issuers are taking specific steps for individual cards.
Kenley YoungAug 31, 2021

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Amid the , most major credit card issuers have alerted cardholders that help is available. Initial guidance was mostly general: Conduct transactions online; be aware of updated customer service hours; contact us and we may be able to help.

But many issuers have been releasing more details about the terms and conditions of assistance, with certain aid even targeted to individual credit card products. Here’s what you can expect from your issuer.

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From August 2020 through December 2021, select holders of  will get up to $200 in statement credits when they use the card for qualifying airline purchases. Terms apply. This card offered in 2020.

Additionally, Until Dec. 31, 2020, cardholders had access to lower fares on qualifying domestic flights booked through American Express Travel. (The lower fares are available for travel through March 31, 2021.) Terms apply.

As of Nov. 12, 2020, new cardholders will get the following bonus offer:  Previously, new account openers could earn 60,000 Membership Rewards points after you use your new card to make $5,000 in purchases in your first 3 months.

Starting Nov. 12, 2020, new cardholders will , on up to $15,000 in combined purchases, during their first six months of card membership. Terms apply. Such spending typically only earns 1 point.

From Jan. 1 through June 30, 2021, cardholders could get (up to $180 in credits over six months). Terms apply.

From Aug. 3, 2020 through Jan. 31, 2021, cardholders could get . Terms apply.

From Oct. 9, 2020, to June 30, 2021, eligible cardholders could get $25 back every month in statement credit toward a . Terms apply.

also featuring . Terms apply.

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Through Dec. 31, 2020, cardholders had access to lower fares on qualifying domestic flights booked through American Express Travel. (The lower fares are available for travel through March 31, 2021.) Terms apply. This promotion is also available to holders of the Centurion card.

This card also previously offered a complimentary night or a statement credit at select properties for eligible AmEx Travel Fine Hotels + Resorts stays booked through American Express Travel by Dec. 18, 2020 (for stays through Dec. 20, 2020).

Through June 30, 2021, eligible cardholders can earn including U.S. shipping, advertising, gas purchases, wireless expenses and office supplies (up to 80,000 points per category). Terms apply. Such spending typically only earns 1 point.

Several AmEx business cards are featuring similar , also through June 30, 2021. Terms apply.

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As of Oct. 26, 2020, cardholders can get. This is a monthly subscription that typically costs $119 a year ($9.99 per month) and offers deals on takeout. Enrollment by Dec. 31, 2021 is required; auto-billing will start 12 months from initial enrollment at the then-ongoing monthly rate. Terms Apply.

From May through December 2020, this card also offered  toward wireless telephone services from U.S. service providers.

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As of Oct. 26, 2020, cardholders can get. This is a monthly subscription that typically costs $119 a year ($9.99 per month) and offers deals on takeout. Enrollment by Dec. 31, 2021 is required; auto-billing will start 12 months from initial enrollment at the then-ongoing monthly rate. Terms Apply.

Starting early 2021, cardholders will also get $10 a month in Uber Cash (up to $120 a year), usable toward U.S. Uber Eats orders or for traditional Uber rides, when they add their card to the Uber app. Unused credit cannot be rolled over to the next month. Terms Apply.

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From Aug. 6 through Nov. 4, 2020, these cards offered new cardholders  toward qualifying purchases with Dell Technologies, DocuSign and FedEx within the first three months of account opening. This offer is now expired.

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From Oct. 9, 2020, to June 30, 2021, eligible cardholders can get $10 back every month in statement credit toward a membership with at-home fitness program Variis by Equinox. Terms apply.

For a limited time, select Delta SkyMiles Platinum and Reserve products can . This benefit is being offered by the following cards:

For a limited time, qualifying Delta SkyMiles Platinum and Reserve products offered eligible existing cardholders (up from 3 miles per $1 spent). This offer is now expired. Terms apply.

For a limited time, select Delta SkyMiles Gold products can . This benefit is being offered by the following cards:

Through Dec. 31, 2021, eligible Delta personal and business cards can also earn 5X miles per $1 spent on eligible Delta purchases.

For a limited time, qualifying Delta SkyMiles Gold products offered eligible existing cardholders 5 miles per $1 spent on Delta purchases, , including takeout and delivery (up from 2 miles per $1 spent in those categories). This offer is now expired.

Delta, too, is extending certain benefits for eligible cardholders because of the impact from the pandemic, the airline said in a statement. (NOTE: American Express is Delta's credit card partner, but these extensions come from the airline, not the issuer.)

According to Delta, the extensions apply for any benefit listed below "that is valid now or has expired since March 1, 2020":

"As coronavirus continues to dramatically impact travel across the globe, you don’t have to worry about your benefits — they’ll be extended so you can enjoy them when you are ready to travel again," said Sandeep Dube, Delta’s senior vice president of customer engagement and loyalty, in a statement.

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For a limited time, select Marriott cards issued by AmEx can . This benefit is being offered by the following cards:

Through Dec. 31, 2021, eligible Marriott personal and business cards are offering cardholders 7,500 bonus points (up to 10 times) when you spend $7,500 on purchases. You can earn up to 75,000 bonus Marriott Bonvoy points. Terms apply.

Marriott cards issued by AmEx previously offered these limited-time benefits in 2020:

From Aug. 3 to Oct. 31, 2020, the select Marriott cards issued by AmEx earned , on up to $7,500 in eligible purchases in each category: This offer is now expired.

In Dec. 2020, holders of the  could also , on up to $3,500 in purchases. Terms apply.

For a limited time, American Express is offering varying amounts of. This benefit is being offered by the following cards:

Holders of the  can also earn  when you use the card to pay your wireless bill. Terms apply (see ).

Additionally, through June 30, 2021, eligible Hilton personal and business cards are offering cardholders 10,000 bonus points (up to 10 times) when you spend $5,000 on purchases. You can earn up to 100,000 bonus Hilton Honors points. Terms apply.

Bank of America®‎ also previously offered these limited-time benefits:

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Payment deferrals: Barclays is allowing eligible cardholders to skip the minimum payment due on their next two payment due dates, noting that interest will continue to accrue during those two months. (The issuer also notes that you'll need to cancel repeat payments on your account yourself.)

Barclays previously offered these limited-time benefits:

Starting in 2020 and offered through Jan. 31, 2021, all three cards in Barclays' portfolio of Arrival products allowed cardholders to . Miles are typically worth about half-a-cent each when redeemed toward non-travel expenses. This limited-time benefit applied to the following cards:

Additionally, holders of the  and the  could redeem a minimum of 5,000 miles, instead of the usual minimum redemption threshold of 10,000, also through Jan. 31.

In early May 2020, Barclays announced changes meant to help customers who hold its co-branded AAdvantage Aviator credit card products:

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In late March 2020, Brex announced the following changes for holders of the :

"The economic and public health ramifications of COVID-19 are devastating to many, and Brex wants to do everything it can to help its customers during this time," said Henrique Dubugras, co-founder and co-CEO of Brex, in a statement.

Capital One previously offered these limited-time benefits:

Capital One previously offered these limited-time benefits in 2020:

Here are more details on these temporary changes:

Through April 30, 2021, the  and  will allow redemption for eligible restaurant takeout and delivery, plus qualifying streaming services. Miles will be worth a penny apiece for these categories.

Through January of 2021, both cards will also earn an unlimited 5 miles per $1 spent on orders via Uber Eats.

Through April 30, 2021, the and the  will also allow redemption toward qualifying takeout and delivery, but instead of streaming services the offer includes eligible phone services. Miles will be worth a penny apiece for these categories.

“We understand that our customers’ day-to-day lives have changed, so we’re continually looking at providing value in new and different ways,” a Capital One representative tells NerdWallet.

Through the end of 2020 — and later extended through June 30, 2021 — the following Spark cards are offering eligible customers

The  will earn 4% back on eligible streaming services. The card will also continue to earn 4% back on dining and entertainment; 2% back at grocery stores; and 1% back on all other purchases.

The will earn 3% back on eligible streaming services. The card will also continue to earn 3% cash back on dining and entertainment; 2% back at grocery stores; 1% back on all other purchases.

Through Jan. 31, 2021, both cards will also earn an unlimited 5% cash back per $1 spent on Uber Eats orders.

As of Oct. 21, 2020, the  is offering a : After the first on-time payment, new account openers will receive a $5 statement credit each month for one year, after purchases made on qualifying music and video streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, Disney+ and Spotify. The statement credits can only be earned within the first 18 months of opening the account.

The card will continue to earn 1% cash back on all purchases and a 0.25% bonus every month you pay on time.

The Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One® will also feature a design change, from red to blue, in addition to a for cardholders. New account openers will receive the updated card upon approval, while existing cardholders will receive the new version near their current card's expiration date.

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Chase offered cardholders these limited-time benefits in 2020:

Chase is also offering targeted help for specific cardholders, as follows:

As of July 24, 2020, both the and the  were offering new cardholders a cash sign-up bonus on top of a massive 5% back on grocery store purchases in the first year of card ownership, on up to $12,000 in spending. That 5% promotion expired in January 2021, then returned in July 2021.

See our stories on  and the .

As of Oct. 1, 2020, holders of any of the three Freedom products can redeem points for statement credit against donations to qualifying charitable organizations .

When the  in mid-March 2020, initially there were only two:

But by the time the quarter officially began April 1, "select streaming services" had been added to the list — or rather held over from the previous quarter’s bonus categories. Eligible services include Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, Sling, YouTube TV, SiriusXM, Spotify and more.

"We wanted to provide our customers opportunity for additional earning given the current environment where we are all looking for creative ways to stay occupied," a Chase spokesperson said.

The earns 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined spending per quarter in categories that rotate (activation required). All other purchases earn 1% back. The card's bonus categories for Q1 2021 are .

Through February 2021, as part of the Chase's “Month of More” promotion, qualifying Freedom credit cardholders can also earn .

The is making accommodations for eligible cardholders, including a temporary rollback of an increase in the annual fee.

In January 2020, to , from $450. That new fee applies to all new cardholders.

But for existing cardholders, the timing of the fee increase depended on your card renewal date. Those with cards that renewed after April 1, 2020, were to be charged the new fee. (Cards renewed before then retained the $450 fee for another year, before incurring the $100 increase.)

The fee increase took effect April 1, but Chase sent a notification to some cardholders that day, noting that it would be issuing a $100 statement credit to offset the increase and acknowledging that "COVID-19 has affected people in many different ways." To be eligible for that credit, your card renewal date had to be from April 1 to July 31, 2020.

Chase then said in May that cardholders whose accounts renewed between Aug. 1 and Dec. 31, 2020, would be charged a renewal fee of only $450 — in other words, no increase and no offsetting credit. Presumably, the fee upon renewals will return to $550 in 2021.

» MORE: See Chase's if you need to change or cancel travel

Through Sept. 30, 2021, points are worth 50% more for  cardholders when they redeem for purchases through Chase Dining (including takeout, prepaid reservations and more).

Chase also previously announced that through June 30, 2021, cardholders will at a restaurant through Chase Dining in the Chase Ultimate Rewards® portal.

From Nov. 1, 2020 to April 30, 2021, the  will earn. Previously, from May 1 to June 30, 2020, the card earned .

Through April 20, 2021 — and later extended through Sept. 30, 2021 — holders of the  can redeem points for statement credit against purchases at grocery stores, restaurants (including takeout and eligible delivery services) and home improvement stores at a value of 1.5 cents per point. (Typically, that rate applies only to travel purchases made via the Chase Ultimate Rewards® portal.) .

From June 1, 2020, through Dec. 31, 2021, . (Normally, only eligible travel expenses count toward that credit.)

Through March 2022, cardholders can , up to 50,000 points.

Additionally, in 2020 Peloton announced that through April 20, 2021, cardholders are eligible for . (The all-access membership typically costs $39 a month and the digital membership, $12.99 a month.)

The card offered these limited-time benefits in 2020:

From , the  will earn:

Cardholders are also eligible to receive up to $50 in statement credits toward an membership during this time.

The is offering a  for new cardholders. This offer is available only for 12 months from the time of account opening. Chase has yet to publicly disclose if the offer is for a limited time only.

Through Sept. 30, 2021, points are worth 25% more for cardholders when they redeem for purchases through Chase Dining (including takeout, prepaid reservations and more).

Additionally, through June 30, 2021, holders of the  will at a restaurant through Chase Dining in the Chase Ultimate Rewards® portal.

From Nov. 1, 2020 to April 30, 2021, the will earn . Previously, from May 1 to June 30, 2020, the card earned .

Through Sept. 30, 2021 — an extension from the offer's initial April 2021 end date — holders of the  can redeem points for statement credit against purchases at grocery stores, restaurants (including takeout and eligible delivery services) and home improvement stores at a value of 1.25 cents per point. (Usually, that rate applies only to travel purchases made via the Chase Ultimate Rewards® portal.)

Through March 2022, cardholders can earn , for a maximum of 25,000 points.

Chase previously announced in 2020 that through April 20, 2021, cardholders are eligible for . (The all-access membership normally costs $39 a month and the digital membership, $12.99 a month.)

The card offered these limited-time benefits in 2020:

From , the  will earn:

The same $50 statement credit for an  membership also applies.

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Through June 30, 2021 — — holders of the  and  can redeem points for statement credit against select shipping purchases, home improvement stores and contributions to qualifying charitable organizations, at a value of 1.25 cents per point.

From Nov. 1, 2020, through March 31, 2021, holders of the  are eligible for in the U.S., which include the Unbound Collection, Destination Hotels and Residences, and Joie de Vivre hotels.

The card offered these limited-time benefits in 2020:

From Nov. 1 through Dec. 31, 2020, cardholders can get 5 points per $1 spent at Amazon.com and 3 points per $1 spent at grocery stores, on up to a combined total of $1,500 in purchases per month. Activation by Dec. 31, 2020 is required.

Previously, from May 1 through June 2020, holders of the  could earn 3 points or miles per dollar spent on up to $1,500 in purchases per month.

Starting Nov. 1 through Dec. 31, 2020, cardholders are eligible for a free night at any Category 1-4 Hyatt hotel after spending a total of $4,000 on the card. Registration by Nov. 30, 2020 is required.

Chase announced that on May 21, 2020, holders of the  would be getting 150 bonus Stars (the card's rewards currency) deposited into their accounts automatically. No action is required.

Chase notes that the rewards can be used to buy a beverage, breakfast item or parfait.

"Everyone could use a little surprise and delight right now," a Chase representative said in an email.

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Citi says it ended its formal COVID-19 assistance program on Dec. 31, 2020, but assistance may still be available on a case-by-case basis. (Earlier in 2020, Citi offered options such as late-fees waivers and minimum-payment deferrals.) You can send a secure message to Citi customer service when you sign into your account. Alternately, you can call Citi's payment assistance team at 866-905-2784.

Other general moves Citi announced in 2020 have also expired, but they included:

Citi also rolled out the following tweaks for specific cardholders:

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In early May 2020, Citi announced changes in benefits for the following airline credit cards, to ensure that they "continue to drive value for our customers throughout these unprecedented times."

» MORE: Visit for more information

Possible payment deferrals: Discover hasn't released specifics about COVID-19-related relief, but the issuer confirmed to NerdWallet that help may be available and that it varies by customer. "Qualified customers who are experiencing financial difficulty caused by the spread of the COVID-19 [virus] may receive assistance that can include support related to payment timing, fees and late payments," Discover said via email. To learn more about your possible options, call Discover customer service or message the issuer, either via your account on desktop or via Discover's mobile app.

More flexible redemptions: On July 23, 2020, Discover announced that  cardholders would be able to redeem their miles as a statement credit toward travel purchases that now include restaurants and gas stations. This applied to all eligible transactions posted on or after June 9, 2020.

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Payment deferrals: In March 2020, the , issued by Goldman Sachs, offered customers the option to defer that month's payments by enrolling in a "." That option was also made available for April, May, June and July.

"We understand that the COVID-19 situation poses unique challenges for everyone and some customers may have difficulty making their monthly payments," Apple told cardholders via email. "Should you need assistance, please click here to be connected to Apple Card Support via Messages and enroll in our Customer Assistance Program, which will allow you to skip your June payment without incurring interest charges." Apple says your account will still be reported as current to credit bureaus.

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HSBC offered cardholders these limited-time benefits in 2020:

Payment deferrals, fee waivers: In an email to customers in early April, HSBC noted that help was available. "We can defer or reduce your payments during the hardship, and waive cash advance, insufficient funds, overdraft protection and late fees for 60 days from the time you enroll," the message noted. "We're also protecting your credit by preventing negative credit reporting."

To take advantage of the assistance, HSBC said credit cardholders should log into their personal banking accounts and send a secure message, or call 866-949-2351, from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. ET.

Also, HSBC announced "COVID-related product changes" for the following credit cards, from May 1 through June 30, 2020:

Also, from April 1 to June 30, all of HSBC's consumer cards — except for the HSBC Gold Mastercard® credit card and HSBC Platinum Mastercard® credit card — offered the following reward redemption promotions:

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In July 2020, U.S. Bank announced that holders of the  would earn 3 points back per $1 spent on dining purchases, which are normally not a bonus category for the premium travel card. The offer, which was originally available through the end of 2020, has been extended through June 30, 2021. The rest of the card's rewards structure remained unchanged:

The issuer also announced that .

Wells Fargo offered these limited-time benefits in 2020:

Payment deferrals, fee waivers: Wells Fargo is offering credit card payment deferrals for three billing cycles, although terms and conditions apply. During this time, your balance won't accrue interest, and all fees will be waived — including annual fees in some cases.

"If you have an annual fee, that fee will be waived if your annual fee would have posted to your account between the payment assistance activation date and September 30, 2020," Wells Fargo says on its website.

During a deferral period, the issuer notes you'll still be able to use your credit card as normal within your credit limit, assuming your account is in good standing.

Wells Fargo suggests applying online via your account, which will be faster than by phone given high call volumes.

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All major credit card issuers have coronavirus resource pages, which discuss generally how they may be able to help cardholders experiencing hardships. For more specific assistance, contact your issuer directly.

NerdWallet writers Sara Rathner, Claire Tsosie, Melissa Lambarena and Greg Karp contributed to this report. We will continue to update this page as developments unfold.

Information related to the  and the has been collected by NerdWallet and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of these cards. 

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