If you've recently applied for a credit card, or are thinking about applying for a new one soon, we've got some good news: some issuers are extending the period to make purchases to earn a welcome bonus for eligible accounts.

If you're an existing cardholder of an eligible card and have been worrying about how you'd meet your spend threshold given the current state of things, or if you've been holding off on applying for a new credit card knowing that a three-month time frame might not be enough time to earn a bonus, hopefully this news will offer you some relief.

When used responsibly, credit cards can alleviate a lot of stress during times of crisis. New card member bonuses are now potentially more valuable than ever for some cardholders; bonus rewards on certain expenses, such as 6% cash back on U.S. supermarket purchases (up to $6,000 spent annually), could pay off huge; credit card travel insurance could really come in handy; intro 0% APR offers could be financially substantial; etc.

Here are some banks offering extended welcome offer periods:

AMERICAN EXPRESS

American Express released the following statement:

"Due to the impact of COVID-19, for eligible Card accounts approved from December 1, 2019 through May 31, 2020 for which you are eligible for a welcome offer, the period to make eligible purchases to earn your welcome bonus will be extended for an additional 3 months. Eligible Cards are U.S. Consumer and Business Cards issued by American Express National Bank to a Basic Card Member."

So what exactly does this mean? In short, instead of having the standard three-month time frame to meet the spend threshold required to earn a welcome bonus, you'll now have a total of six months. That's three months as part of the original bonus terms and an additional three months that American Express is now offering if you were approved for an eligible card after December 1, 2019, or if you're approved for an eligible card through May 31, 2020. American Express is a CardRatings advertiser.

BANK OF AMERICA

Bank of America announced that it will automatically extend the period to earn a welcome offer or signup bonus by 90 days for both consumer and small business credit card accounts opened between Jan. 1-March 31, 2020. 

CHASE

Chase consumer and small business cardholders who were approved for a new card between Jan. 1, 2020 and March 31, 2020, now have an extra three months to meet the spend requirement for their bonus offer. That means that these accounts now have a total of six months instead of the typical three in order to earn the bonus. 

At this time, accounts approved April 1, 2020 or after are not eligible for the extension, but Chase is monitoring the situation and could update the policy in the future.

If you are considering applying for a new credit card (or applied for one with Chase between Jan. 1 and March 31, 2020), don't miss out on this opportunity.

CITI

Citi is also offering an extension to the time frame for earning a welcome bonus and the pool of applicants who can qualify is quite broad. Eligible cardholders now have an additional three months to meet the minimum spend requirement and earn a welcome bonus; the extension applies to account opened between Dec. 1, 2019 and May 31, 2020. Citi is a CardRatings advertiser.

Some of our favorite credit card offers include: 

Citi Rewards+ Card

Why we like it: This card is the epitome of getting something for nothing. Here's the deal: This card automatically rounds UP the points you earn on each purchase to the nearest 10 points. That means your $4 cup of coffee is worth 10 points. Not bad!

The bonus: Earn 15,000 bonus points after you spend $1,000 in the first three months. And, for accounts opened between Dec. 1, 2019 and May 3, 2020, you have an extra three months to meet that minimum spend and earn you bonus.

The rewards: Cardholders earn two points per $1 on purchases at gas stations and supermarkets up to $6,000 spent annually. Earn one ThankYou® Point per $1 spent on your other purchases. Remember that all your points are automatically rounded to the nearest 10 points for every purchase.

The annual fee: $0

Credit score needed: Excellent

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

(This card is not currently available on CardRatings)

Why we like it: This card is a favorite among travel rewards seekers because of the Ultimate Rewards® program. Even though travel rewards might not be top-of-mind right now, we will travel again. With this card (and its impressive signup bonus), you could be well on your way to a nice trip when that time comes. Plus, right now cardholders can earn bonus points on grocery store purchases in addition to the regular rewards-earning categories (details below).

The bonus: Earn 60,000 bonus points, worth $750 when redeemed for travel through the Ultimate Rewards® portal, when you spend $4,000 in the first three months (if you were approved for the card from Jan. 1, 2020-March 31, 2020, you have six months in order to meet the spending threshold and earn the bonus).

The rewards: Cardholders earn two points per $1 on travel and dining and one point per $1 on other purchases. Additionally, from May 1-June 30, 2020, cardholders earn three points per $1 spent on purchases at grocery stores (up to $1,500 spent each month).

The annual fee: $95

Credit score needed: Excellent, Good

The information related to this credit card has been collected by CardRatings and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card.

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

Why we like it: This is a regular Editor's Choice pick that offers plenty of rewards-earning opportunities as well as luxury perks. And, right now, cardholders earn 5x the Ultimate Rewards® points on your grocery store purchases (up to $1,500 spent monthly) from May 1-June 30, 2020.

The bonus: Earn 50,000 bonus points, worth $750 when redeemed for travel through the Ultimate Rewards® portal, when you spend $4,000 in the first three months (if you were approved for the card from Jan. 1, 2020-March 31, 2020, you have six months in order to meet the spending threshold and earn the bonus).

The rewards: Cardholders earn three points per $1 on travel and dining and one point per $1 on other purchases. Additionally, from May 1-June 30, 2020, cardholders will earn five points per $1 spent on purchases at grocery stores (up to $1,500 spent each month). Points are worth 50% more when redeemed for travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards® portal.

The annual fee: $550

Credit score needed: Excellent

Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

(This card is not currently available on CardRatings)

Why we like it: The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express is hands-down one of the best cards for groceries in terms of the percentage of cash back offered. The 6% cash back on purchases at U.S. supermarkets (up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1%) offer is a hard one to beat, and there's also 0% intro APR on purchases for the first 12 months which could be an incredibly beneficial perk right now. (After the intro period, APR jumps to 12.99% - 23.99% Variable)

The bonus: Earn a $250 statement credit when you spend $1,000 within three months; however, remember that if you're approved by May 31, 2020, you'll have an additional three months to earn that bonus.

The rewards: Cardholders get 6% cash back on the first $6,000 spent at U.S. supermarkets each year and then 1% on purchases after that. You also get 6% cash back on select U.S. streaming subscriptions (who isn't streaming these days?), 3% cash back on transit and gas purchases at U.S. gas stations, and 1% cash back on everything else. See our full Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express review.

The annual fee: $95

Credit score needed: Good/Excellent

Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express

(This card is not currently available on CardRatings)

Why we like it: We can understand if you don't want to pay an annual fee right now, but still want to cash in big on grocery purchases. The Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express offers cardholders a still solid 3% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000 per year, then 1%) as well as a valuable introductory no-interest period on purchases.

The bonus: Earn a $150 statement credit after you spend $1,000 on your new card within three months (and, if you're approved by May 31, 2020, you'll have an extra three months to meet the spend).

0% interest details: The Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express features a 0% introductory APR of 15 months on purchases (then, 12.99% - 23.99% Variable).

The annual fee: $0

The rewards: Cardholders earn 3% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1%), 2% cash back at U.S. gas stations and at select U.S. department stores and 1% back on other purchases. Read our full review of the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express.

Credit score needed: Good/Excellent


To see the rates and fees for the American Express cards mentioned in this post, please visit the following links: Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express: See Rates and Fees; Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express: See Rates and Fees

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