Now 2x/3x on groceries; stack with travel credit and Pay Yourself Back

New enhancements have been announced today to two of the most popular travel rewards credit cards: Starting on November 1, 2020 and running through April 30, 2021, the Chase Sapphire Preferred and Chase Sapphire Reserve cards will earn a temporary bonus on grocery store purchases. Additionally, the $300 Chase Sapphire Reserve travel credit will be applicable toward gas and grocery store purchases through June 30, 2021. This is all good news for Sapphire cardholders, though I can’t help but feel like this falls short of what I may have expected.

Chase Sapphire Reserve new benefits starting 11/1/20

Link to announcement

Beginning on November 1, 2020, the Chase Sapphire Reserve card will earn 3x on up to $1,000 in grocery store purchases per month through April 30, 2021. That’s six months with a maximum of 3,000 points earned each month.

Additionally, the $300 annual travel credit will be redeemable against gas and grocery purchases through June 30, 20201 (this has been extended as it was previously scheduled through the end of 2020 only).

Since we previously found that you would still earn points on purchases covered with the Pay Yourself Back feature, this means that you will still be able to earn 3x on a purchase and later use points to pay yourself back for that purchase – a double dip of sorts.

Chase Sapphire Preferred new benefits starting 11/1/20

Link to announcement

The Sapphire Preferred also picks up a grocery bonus, albeit 2x points rather than three, with the same $1,000 per month cap from November 1st through April 30, 2021.

As was previously announced, you can still use points to pay yourself back for grocery and home improvement purchases through April 30, 2021.

Quick Thoughts

More points beats fewer points, so from at least that standpoint this is obviously good news for cardholders.

On the other hand, with the Freedom Unlimited and Freedom Flex picking up 3x dining and 3x at drugstores recently, I had higher hopes for Chase’s premium and ultra-premium cards. I am somewhat surprised that they didn’t also offer a better bonus on dining or a more generous grocery bonus — whether valid on more spend or more points per dollar.

On the other hand, I suspect that Chase knows that customers who want to transfer points to travel partners are willing to pay some premium for that capability alone. Apparently, they didn’t think they needed spending bonuses to compete with their Freedom cards but rather wanted to offer a product that complements those cards and this fits the bill for many customers. Of course, those who have recently picked up a Freedom Flex or Freedom Unlimited are getting 5x on grocery store purchases on up to $12K in spend. I think it’s kind of awkward that Chase is offering less return and for a shorter time on the Sapphire cards.

Again, I’ll be happy to get some extra points at the grocery store, so this isn’t bad news at all. It just isn’t quite as much as we hoped to see out of Chase in response to other COVID credit card enhancements and in consideration of the changes they have otherwise made to their lineup.

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