Category: Cash Back

Best credit cards for Airbnb

by Phillip Warren

Many of us are avoiding travel during the pandemic.

But if you have to shelter in place under quarantine once you get to your destination, wouldn’t you rather do it in an environment that at least seems more within your control?

If the choice is between a hotel where you must trust your experience to a faceless corporation or a local host you can talk to through homestay sites like Airbnb and Vrbo, the latter may be the better option for these times (provided you don’t violate their party guidelines).

Whatever option you choose, credit card issuers now reward homestays with points and cash back in the same way they’ve long doled out rewards for hotels and other travel expenses.

These are the best cards on the market for homestays like Airbnb.

See related: Strategies for planning 2021 travel

Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card: Best no-annual-fee, high rewards option
  • Chase Sapphire Reserve: Best introductory bonus
  • Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card: Best for bonus rewards
  • Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card: Best flat-rate miles card
  • Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature card: Best for online shopping
  • Discover it® Miles: Best no-fee option
  • Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card: Best no-annual-fee, high rewards option

    The Wells Fargo Propel American Express card includes arguably one of the highest rates of return on points for some of the most popular redemption categories out there, including homestays like Airbnb and Vrbo.

    The greatest advantages of this card – besides earning 3 points per dollar spent on some popular spending categories – are that there’s no point limit or expiration, no annual fee and no rotating categories that you constantly have to remind yourself to activate. You get three times the points in the relevant categories all the time without restriction, with travel – including all homestays – and transit being one of those prominent categories.

    The card also charges no foreign currency conversion fee, so buying things abroad is less expensive. If that weren’t enough, here’s what you also get:

    • 3 points per dollar spent on travel and transit purchases
    • 3 points per dollar spent on eating out and ordering in
    • 3 points per dollar spent on gas and rideshares
    • 3 points per dollar spent on select streaming services such as Hulu, Netflix, Sirius XM and Spotify Premium
    • 1 point per dollar spent everywhere else
    • No annual fee
    • No points limit or expiration
    • Premium access to presale tickets, offers and protections from American Express
    • 20,000 points when you spend $1,000 in the first three months
    ProudMoney.

    Chase Sapphire Reserve: Best introductory bonus

    Before the Wells Fargo Propel card debuted, Chase Sapphire Reserve was the go-to credit card option for Airbnb fans. It offers a 50,000-point introductory bonus when you spend $4,000 in your first three months of membership. Those points are worth up to $750 when you book travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards.

    Though equipped with fewer spending categories offering 3X points and carrying a large annual fee of $550, the benefits of the Chase Sapphire Reserve card are more specifically geared toward frequent travelers.

    At the same time, that large annual fee is offset by a $300 annual credit that will reimburse any travel expense – including Airbnb. And from June 1, 2020, to June 30, 2021, gas station and grocery store purchases count toward the travel credit.

    Add to that a $100 credit covering the application to Global Entry/TSA Precheck every four years and the annual fee is almost completely offset in the first year.

    Meanwhile, there are even more travel benefits:

    • 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 in the first three months (worth up to $750 in travel)
    • 3 points per dollar spent on travel (excluding purchases covered by the $300 travel credit)
    • 3 points per dollar spent on dining (including delivery and takeout) and travel; $1,000 in grocery purchases, including eligible pick-up and delivery services, from Nov. 1, 2020 to April 30, 2021
    • Complimentary airport lounge access through Priority Pass Select Membership
    • Trip cancellation/interruption insurance
    • Primary car rental insurance
    • Lost luggage reimbursement

    Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card: Best for bonus rewards

    While the points per dollar offered by Bank of America Premium Rewards credit card on travel and Airbnb are fewer than the credit cards above, the sign-up bonus and up to $200 in annual statement credits make it a decent option, even with less flexibility on what qualifies as a credit than the credit cards above.

    This card should absolutely move to the top of your list if you are already a Bank of America Preferred Rewards client. That designation automatically increases your return even higher than what the other credit cards above offer on travel and dining – you can get a rewards bonus of up to 75%.

    Combine that with a generous sign-up bonus and the Bank of America Premium Rewards is one of the most potent rewards cards for Preferred Rewards clients.

    The card includes:

    • Introductory bonus: 50,000 points when you spend $3,000 in the first 90 days (worth up to $500 in free travel)
    • 2 points per dollar spent on dining and travel purchases, including Airbnb and Vrbo
    • 1.5 points per dollar spent on everything else
    • Get up to $200 in travel statement credit rewards, including $100 for incidental spending per year and $100 toward a TSA Precheck/Global Entry application every four years
    • No foreign transaction fees
    • Bank of America Preferred Rewards clients earn up to 3.5 points per dollar on travel and dining purchases and up to 2.62 points per dollar on all other purchases
    • $95 annual fee
    Travel loyalty programs offer extended perks in pandemic

    Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card: Best flat-rate miles option

    The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card is remarkably similar to Bank of America’s Premium Rewards card, right down to the $95 annual fee, but without the additional benefits afforded to Bank of America Preferred Rewards clients.

    However, Capital One Venture Rewards offers 2 points per dollar spent on every purchase, not just travel and dining.

    • Earn 60,000 travel miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases in the first three months – equaling $600 in travel credit
    • Earn 2 miles per dollar spent on every purchase, every day
    • Points can be redeemed for statement credit on travel purchases, including Airbnb
    • $95 annual fee
    • No foreign transaction fees

    Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature card: Best for online shopping

    You may be wondering why the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature card is on a list highlighting the best credit cards for AirBnb, Vrbo and other homestays.

    Shouldn’t this card be limited to the “best credit cards for online shopping” list? Not when Amazon offers Airbnb gift cards and the Amazon Prime Rewards card gives you 5% cash back on Amazon.com purchases as long as you have a Prime membership, which essentially acts as the annual fee ($119).

    Just purchase an AirBnb gift card from Amazon with the card, and it’s as if you are getting 5% cash back for your AirBnb stay when you apply the gift card towards it. It’s the highest rate on this list, Amazon or not.

    You’ll receive the following additional benefits:

    • 5% cash back on Whole Foods and Amazon purchases (with Prime membership)
    • 2% cash back on purchases at drugstores, gas stations and restaurants
    • 1% cash back on all other purchases
    • A $100 Amazon gift card upon credit card application approval
    • No foreign transaction fees
    • $500,000 travel accident insurance
    • $3,000 per passenger lost luggage reimbursement
    • Baggage delay insurance of up to $100 a day for three days
    • Extended warranty coverage for an additional year

    See related: How to pay off Amazon purchases over time

    Discover it® Miles: Best no-fee option

    Though the points per dollar on this card are lower than any other credit card on the list, Discover it Miles gives you much more freedom in how you can manage your points and account.

    You can redeem miles in any amount, your miles don’t expire even if you close your account and 1% of your miles can be converted directly into cash for your bank account.

    Discover it Miles offers:

    • 1.5 miles for every dollar spent on every purchase (matched at the end of the first year)
    • Points can be redeemed for statement credit on travel expenses, including Airbnb, gas stations and restaurants.
    • Miles can be converted into cash at rate of 1 cent per mile and transferred directly into your bank account
    • Redeem miles in any amount
    • Miles never expire and you don’t lose them even when you close your account
    • No late payment fee or penalty APR on your first late payment, up to $40 thereafter
    • No foreign transaction fees
    • No annual fee
    • 0% APR on purchases for 14 months (11.99% to 22.99% variable APR after that)
    creditcards.com

    How Does Cash Back Work?

    by Phillip Warren

    How Does Cash Back Work?

    Editorial Note: This content is not provided by the credit card issuer. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the issuer.

    Credit card companies typically offer a plethora of rewards options for their cardholders to take advantage of. But cash back has long been a favorite of many, as it gives you the chance to earn cold, hard money for making everyday purchases. If you’re confused about how cash back works, read on for a full explanation.

    How Cash Back Works

    At its core, cash back refers to a predetermined percentage of a purchase you make being returned to you as cash rewards. Cash back rates typically range between 1% and 5%, though there are some outliers to be mindful of. Credit card issuers will usually clearly label what types of purchases earn what level of cash back. But like anything in the credit card industry, you must read the fine print.

    This is mainly because all purchases and cash back rewards are governed by merchant category codes, or MCCs. Credit card companies ultimately determine these designations, with Mastercard, Visa, American Express and Discover calling the shots. Some common codes are “restaurant,” “department store,” “airline” and “entertainment,” among others. So if you earn 5% bonus cash back at restaurants and you go to Burger King — which has a restaurant MCC — you’ll get that 5% back.

    But what these limiting MCCs sometimes don’t take into account are businesses that could fit into more than one category. Included in this group are hotels, superstores like Walmart, tourist attractions like museums and other multi-faceted establishments. In turn, you could lose out on cash back if you’re confused about which category a purchase you made falls into.

    As an example, let’s say your family orders room service while on vacation in The Bahamas. You pay with your credit card thinking you’ll get the advertised 3% cash back on dining. When your credit card statement comes in the mail, however, you’ve only received the base 1% earnings. This is because the MCC of your hotel is just that, a hotel, which leaves your credit card issuer blind to what you really bought.

    Unfortunately situations like these often offer very little recourse, as your card’s issuer has no ability to change these codes. In fact, only the major credit companies can change their own code selections.

    New cardholders will often receive cash back promotions and bonuses. These offers can either be recurring — monthly, quarterly, yearly, etc. — or simply for just one period of time, usually at the beginning of your account’s life. Hypothetically, a recurring bonus might look like this: “Earn 3% cash back at supermarkets and wholesale clubs, up to $1,500 in purchases each quarter.” On the other hand, a one-time promotion might allow for 5% cash back on airfare purchases made during the first three months you’re a cardholder.

    Depending on your card, cash back may be capped or it could expire after a period of time. While some cards feature both an earnings limit and expiration dates, others may have no restrictions. All cash back cards have their own, unique system surrounding them. So it’s important to refer to your documentation whenever you have a particular question.

    Using Your Cash Back Earnings

    How Does Cash Back Work?

    The vast majority of cash back credit cards offer variations of the same choices for redeeming rewards. Most often, you’ll see statement credits, checks, bank account deposits, gift cards and charitable donations available to you.

    • Statement credit – Instead of receiving your cash back in-hand, you can apply it to your upcoming monthly bill, saving you money in the process.
    • Check – As one of the more direct ways of redeeming cash back, checks allow you to basically do whatever you want with its value.
    • Bank deposits – Eligible accounts usually include checking accounts, savings accounts or investment accounts.
    • Gift cards – With this option, you can convert cash back into retail credit at a store or website at which you want to shop.
    • Donations – Many card issuers have open relations with charities. These partnerships open the door for you to aid your favorite causes with real money.

    It’s by far the easiest to redeem cash back through your card issuer’s website that it provides. Here you’ll not only see your rewards status, you will also know every possible redemption you could make. If you’d rather talk to a real person, most companies still have rewards phone lines you can call, as well.

    Those who’d rather not have to worry about where their rewards currently stand will find that a redemption threshold might be helpful. Not all cards offer this feature. But if yours does, set a threshold at which your cash back is automatically redeemed in any manner you desire. Additionally, some cards require you to attain a certain amount of cash back before redeeming is possible.

    Cash Back With Each Major Credit Card Company

    what is cash back

    There are tons of different cash back cards, depending on your credit score you may be eligible for some but not others. While it’s impossible to give universal specifics for each credit card company, below we’ve provided overviews of some of the most popular cash back cards.

    Citi Double Cash Card (Mastercard)

    Cash Back Rate: 1% at the time of purchase, 1% when you pay them off

    Limit or Expiration: No limit; Expires if no eligible purchases are made for 12 months

    Redemption Options: As a check, statement credit or gift card

    The “double cash” nature of the Citi Double Cash Card means you effectively earn cash back twice: first when you make the initial purchase and again when you pay your credit card bill. The 12-month expiration is fairly standard and the lack of limits on how much cash back you can earn is generous. Statement credits, checks and gift cards are three of the most common redemption choices, so it’s no surprise to see them offered here.

    Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card (Mastercard)

    Cash Back Rate: 3% in the category of your choice, 2% on purchases at grocery stores and wholesale clubs, 1% on other purchases

    Limit or Expiration: Cash back on choice category, grocery stores and wholesale club purchases is limited on up to $2,500 in combined purchases each quarter; No expiration dates

    Redemption Options: Once you have $25 or more, you can redeem as a statement credit, a check or a deposit to an eligible Bank of America® or Merrill Lynch® account

    Take note of the combined $2,500 quarterly limit on 3% and 2% cash back in category of choice and at grocery stores and wholesale clubs, respectively. The Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card also requires cardholders to have a minimum of $25 in earned cash back before they can redeem.

    Blue Cash Everyday American Express Card (American Express)

    Cash Back Rate: 3% on U.S. supermarket purchases, 2% on U.S. gas stations and select U.S. department store purchases, 1% on other purchases

    Limit or Expiration: 3% rate at U.S. supermarkets is limited to $6,000 a year in purchases then drops to 1%; No expiration dates

    Redemption Options: After earning at least $25, redeem as a statement credit in $25 increments; Gift cards and merchandise redemptions from time to time

    Amex offers some of the strongest rewards cards around, and the Blue Cash Everyday American Express Card is no exception. It does come with some limits; namely the 3% cash back rate on U.S. grocery store purchases is capped at $6,000 in purchases a year. At that time, cardholders earn 1% in cash back on groceries.

    Discover it® Card (Discover)

    Cash Back Rate: 5% in rotating categories like gas station, supermarket, restaurant, Amazon.com and wholesale club purchases, 1% on other purchases; Full cash back match at the end of your first year

    Limit or Expiration: $1,500 cap on purchases that earn the 5% rate each quarter; No expiration dates

    Redemption Options: Statement credits, deposits to a bank account, gift cards and eCertificates, pay with cash back at select merchants and charitable donations

    Discover cards offer great first-year cash back matches and distinctive cash back categories. These traits are on full display with the Discover it® Card. This includes 5% cash back on purchases ranging from dining to Amazon.com. However, there are limits for this rate and you have to opt in to categories each quarter to qualify. This card also offers five redemption options — the most on this list.

    Tips to Maximize Cash Back Potential and Minimize Credit Risk
    • Cash back is one of the most prolific perks that the modern credit card market has to offer. But it’s important that you don’t overspend outside of your means just for the sake of rewards. Because many cash back cards come with higher annual percentage rates (APRs), this could force you into large, unsustainable interest payments.
    • Whenever possible, swipe your card for purchases in bonus categories. Not all cards have these to offer, but most do. So make sure you know which cards in your wallet offer bonuses at places like gas stations and supermarkets.
    • Know what types of redemptions — statement credits, bank account deposits, gift cards etc. — work best for you. This will drastically narrow down your card options, making the decision process much simpler.

    Photo Credit: ©iStock.com/4×6, Â©iStock.com/Pgiam, Â©iStock.com/Ridofranz

    Editorial Note: This content is not provided by the credit card issuer. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the issuer.

    Advertiser Disclosure: The card offers that appear on this site are from companies from which SmartAsset.com receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). SmartAsset.com does not include all card companies or all card offers available in the marketplace.

    The post How Does Cash Back Work? appeared first on SmartAsset Blog.


    Source: smartasset.com

    Activate Chase Freedom cash back categories for Q1 2021 now

    by Phillip Warren

    Chase has announced the 5% cash back categories on the Chase Freedom Flex℠ and the retired Freedom card for the first quarter of 2021.

    From Jan. 1 through March. 31, 2021, Freedom and Freedom Flex cardholders can earn 5% cash back on select streaming services, internet, cable and phone services and wholesale club purchases (up to $1,500 in combined purchases) after activation.

    Besides that, the new Flex card offers 5% cash back on travel booked through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal, 3% on dining and drugstore purchases and 1% on everything else. All other purchases earn 1% cash back.

    See related: Chase to launch new Freedom Flex card, add new categories to Freedom Unlimited

    Activation for first-quarter categories on both the Freedom and Freedom Flex launched on Dec. 15, 2020, and will be open until March 14, 2021.

    Here’s what you need to know at a glance:

    • Activation of first-quarter bonus categories begins on Dec. 15 for both the Chase Freedom and Chase Freedom Flex.
    • Cardholders must activate by March 14 to earn the bonus rate.
    • From Jan. 1 to March 31, Freedom and Freedom Flex cardholders can earn 5% cash back on eligible streaming services, internet, cable and phone services and wholesale club purchases.
    • The 5% cash back bonus is capped at $1,500 in combined purchases per quarter.
    • As of Jan. 12, 2020, Chase Freedom cardholders earn 5% cash back on Lyft rides through March 2022.

    Chase 5% cash back calendar 2021

    Winter Spring Summer Holiday
    January – March

    (Activation closes on March 14)

    April – June

    (Activation closed)

    July – September

    (Activation closed)

    October – December

    (Activation closed)

    • Select streaming services
    • Phone, cable and internet services
    • Wholesale clubs

    TBA

    TBA

    TBA

    Chase only releases its quarterly bonus categories one quarter at a time, so we can’t yet predict what will be offered in the rest of the quarters in 2021. Here’s a quick look at some of the categories Chase has offered in the last year.

    Chase 5% cash back calendar 2020

    Winter Spring Summer Holiday
    January – March April – June July – September October – December
    • Select streaming services
    • Gas stations
    • Phone, cable and internet services
    • Gym memberships
    • Fitness clubs
    • Grocery stores
    • Select streaming services
    • Amazon
    • Whole Foods Market
    • Walmart
    • PayPal

    What is included and excluded in the ‘Select streaming services’ category?

    In this category, you can earn 5% cash back on select streaming services, including music and video streaming.  The eligible services include Disney+, Hulu, ESPN+, Netflix, Sling, Vudu, Fubo TV, Apple Music, SiriusXM, Pandora, Spotify and YouTube TV.

    What is included and excluded in the ‘Phone, cable and internet services’ category?

    You can earn cash back on your monthly bills, such as your cable, internet and phone services. To earn 5% cash back in the category, make sure to pay these bills with your Freedom or Freedom Flex card.

    Equipment purchases don’t qualify in this category. You may also not receive the bonus cash back if you pay for your phone, cable or internet service at a merchant’s store that’s not classified in the applicable services category.

    What is included and excluded in the ‘Wholesale clubs’ category?

    In this category, you can get 5% back when you’re shopping at wholesale clubs, including Sam’s and BJ’s. You can also use your Chase Freedom (no longer available for new applications) to earn bonus cash back at Costco. Since Costco only accepts Visa cards, the new Freedom Flex, which is a Mastercard, won’t be accepted. Mastercards are, however, accepted on Costco.com.

    See related: Best credit cards for Costco purchases

    earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined spending in rotating categories each quarter, upon enrollment, then 1%.

    Chase vs. Discover cash back categories 2021

    Chase Freedom Flex℠

    Discover it® Cash Back

    January – March Select streaming services, phone, cable and internet services, wholesale clubs Grocery stores, Walgreens and CVS
    April – June TBA Gas stations, Uber, Lyft and wholesale clubs
    July – September TBA Restaurants and PayPal
    October – December TBA Amazon.com, Target.com and Walmart.com

    Which card offers the best deal?

    The best card for you depends on where you plan to spend your money in the first quarter of 2021.

    Discover it® Cash Back offers bonus cash back at grocery stores at the beginning of the year. Since groceries are regular expenses that can get rather high, especially if you’re grocery shopping for a family, this category can be pretty lucrative.

    At the same time, if you have a wholesale club membership, it can be very easy for you to meet the spending cap in this category with your Chase card. This can make up for the other two underwhelming categories.

    For the rest of 2021, we can’t predict which card will be best for you, as while Discover has announced its categories for the next year, Chase only releases bonus categories one quarter at a time.


    Source: creditcards.com

    Airline, hotel loyalty programs extending perks for members through coronavirus

    by Phillip Warren

    While COVID-19 has affected all parts of daily life, the travel industry has certainly been put on hold as people have had to cancel plans and stay at home. Since most travelers plan many months in advance, this also leaves many holding tickets they can no longer use. Frequent flyers and hotel loyalty members are left wondering what recourse they have, if any, when it comes to their member status and points or miles.

    We researched the major players in the hotel and airline industry to find out how these companies plan to accommodate their valued members – by extending points, status levels and more – in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

    Coronavirus relief measures by loyalty or travel program

    • Hilton Honors
    • Marriott Bonvoy
    • IHG Rewards Club
    • World of Hyatt
    • Wyndham Rewards
    • Choice Privileges
    • United MileagePlus
    • Delta SkyMiles
    • American Airlines AAdvantage
    • JetBlue TrueBlue
    • Southwest Rapid Rewards
    • Virgin Atlantic
    • British Airways
    • CLEAR
    • TSA Precheck
    • Global Entry

    Hilton Honors

    In addition to donating up to one million rooms to medical professionals, Hilton has promised to compensate its Hilton Honors loyalty program members in a number of ways.

    Lower status requirements

    Hilton has cut status qualification requirements by half.

    Elite status Previous status requirements New status requirements
    Silver status 4 stays, 10 nights or 25,000 base points 2 stays, 5 nights or 12,500 base points
    Gold status 20 stays, 40 nights or 75,000 base points 10 stays, 30 nights or 37,500 base points
    Diamond status 30 stays, 60 nights or 120,000 base points 15 stays, 30 nights or 60,000 base points

    Status extension

    For any Silver, Gold or Diamond members that were due to downgrade in 2020 or 2021, statuses will be extended through March 31, 2022.

    Cardholder benefits

    Weekend night rewards on eligible Hilton credit cards that were not expired by May 1, 2020, will now be valid through August 31, 2021, and certificates issued from May 1 through Dec. 31, 2020, are valid for 24 months from the date of issuance. All free weekend night certificates issued in 2021 can be used any night of the week and expiration is extended until Dec. 31, 2022.

    Additionally, bonus points will continue to count as base points on eligible purchases through Dec. 31, 2021, and toward elite status tier qualification, including Lifetime Diamond Status.

    Other rewards

    All 2020 elite qualifying nights will be rolled over to the 2021 status year. This applies to all nights members have already completed or will complete this calendar year.

    On top of that, Hilton has lowered the requirements to earn Milestone Bonuses for 2021. Previously, you could earn 10,000 bonus points every 10 nights after completing 40 nights in a calendar year. Starting in January, that requirement has been changed to 20 nights stayed to align with the new Gold qualification level. However, 60 nights will still earn you 30,000 points.

    Diamond members will be able to gift Gold status for staying 30 nights in 2021 instead of 60 nights which was the previous requirement. The requirement to gift Diamond status is lowered to 60 nights instead of 100.

    To ensure member safety, Hilton is providing flexible cancellations and full points refunds for all Hilton Honors experiences booked through May 31, 2021.

    You can follow further updates for Hilton Honors members on the loyalty program website.

    Marriott Bonvoy

    Marriott plans to compensate its Marriott Bonvoy members, although benefits may vary depending on members’ location.

    See related: Marriott data breach involves 5.2 million hotel guests

    Status extension

    Bonvoy members who earned elite status for 2020 can now enjoy their benefits through February 2022.

    Points extension

    Points set to expire by February 2021 will be paused, and no points will expire until after that time period. 

    Other rewards

    Active free night awards (as part of Marriott credit cards or packages) set to expire beginning March 1, 2020, will be extended through Aug. 1, 2021. Additionally, more recent certificates set to expire before July 31, 2021, will be extended through that date as well. Suite night awards set to expire by Dec. 31, 2020, will be extended another year through Dec. 31, 2021.

    Additionally, Marriott will deposit Elite Night Credits into Bonvoy elite members’ accounts in the amount of 50% of the nights required for the status they earned in 2019. This can make it easier for the members to reach the next tier.

    Elite Night Credits deposit breakdown

    Elite status Annual tier requirements Extra elite night credits
    Ambassador Elite 100 Qualifying Nights and $20,000 stay spend 50 Elite Night Credits
    Titanium Elite 75 Qualifying Nights 38 Elite Night Credits
    Platinum Elite 50 Qualifying Nights 25 Elite Night Credits
    Gold Elite 25 Qualifying Nights 13 Elite Night Credits
    Silver Elite 10 Qualifying Nights 5 Elite Night Credits

    Stay up to date on relief measures for Bonvoy members on the company’s COVID-19 page.

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    IHG Rewards Club

    Due to travel constraints and shortened travel periods, IHG has lowered its requirements for elite status membership by 25% or more, as well as extended statuses and points for all members (since elite members’ points never expire). 

    Lower status requirements

    Status Previous qualification requirements New qualification requirements
    Gold
    • 10,000 qualifying points in a calendar year or
    • 10 qualifying nights in a calendar year
    • 7,000 qualifying points in a calendar year or
    • 7 qualifying nights in a calendar year
    Platinum
    • 40,000 qualifying points in a calendar year or
    • 40 qualifying nights in a calendar year
    • 30,000 qualifying points in a calendar year or
    • 30 qualifying nights in a calendar year
    Spire
    • 75,000 qualifying points in a calendar year or
    • 75 qualifying nights in a calendar year
    • 55,000 qualifying points in a calendar year or
    • 55 qualifying nights in a calendar year

    See related: The benefits of IHG Rewards Club elite status

    Status extension

    Program statuses will be extended through January 2022 for all members. Spire elite members will also retain their Choice benefit of 25,000 bonus points or gifting of Platinum Elite status to someone each year.

    Award certificates 

    Anniversary night certificates (U.S. and U.K. only) set to expire before March 1, 2020, will be extended through the end of the year. All 2020 certificates will be redeemable for 18 months, instead of the usual 12. Some members have also reported that free night certificates expiring before Dec. 31, 2020, will be extended until August 2021.

    Follow updates to IHG Rewards Club benefits on the program’s travel advisory page.

    World of Hyatt

    The World of Hyatt loyalty program will extend all statuses and rewards to compensate valued members.

    Status extension

    All active elite statuses, as of March 31, 2020, will be extended through Feb. 28, 2022. 

    Points extension

    Forfeiting points due to inactivity will be suspended through June 30, 2021. No points will expire until that date.

    Other rewards

    Any earned rewards, such as free nights or upgrades, set to expire between March 1 and Dec. 31, 2020, will be extended through Dec. 31, 2021.

    Check the updates to Hyatt relief measures on the program’s COVID-19 page.

    online.

    Keep an eye on Wyndham’s COVID-19 statement page for updates.

    Choice Privileges

    It took Choice some time to follow suit and join other hotel chains in extending elite statuses and offering other promotions amid the outbreak. On May 21, 2020, the company announced a series of offers to expand the benefits of its Choice Privileges loyalty program.

    “Even during this crisis, our members found a number of ways to engage with us and make a difference,” said Jamie Russo, vice president, loyalty programs and customer engagement, Choice Hotels. “Some of them are essential and frontline workers who chose to stay in our small-business hotels, and others showed their generosity by donating their Choice Privileges points to aid recovery efforts. Our latest loyalty program changes tell our members that we appreciate their continued support and our hotels are here to welcome them whenever they feel safe traveling again.”

    Status extension

    All members’ current elite statuses will be extended through Dec. 31, 2021.

    Lower status requirements

    Choice is also easing requirements to qualify for elite status in 2021.

    Elite status Previous status requirements 2021 status requirements
    Gold status 10 nights 7 nights
    Platinum status 20 nights 15 nights
    Diamond status 40 nights 25 nights

    Additionally, Choice is giving current elite members a limited-time upgrade to the next tier. Gold members will be upgraded to Platinum status and Platinum members will be upgraded to Diamond. Additionally, members who stayed at least five nights by Dec. 31, 2020, will be able to keep their upgraded tier through 2021.

    United MileagePlus

    United has said it would compensate their MileagePlus members by extending all annual memberships, subscriptions and checked bag benefits for six months. United also plans to make status membership requirements easier and will release information later in 2020.

    Status extension

    All MileagePlus Premier members will get to retain their 2020 status through Jan. 31, 2022.

    Lower status requirements

    MileagePlus Premier membership now has easier requirements, reduced 50% for each status level.

    2021 status Premier qualifying flights and PQP … or PQP
    Silver 6 2,000 2,500
    Gold 12 4,000 5,000
    Platinum 18 6,000 7,500
    1K 26 9,000 12,000

    Other rewards

    All valid travel certificates issued on or after April 1, 2020, will be extended to be valid for two years for booking, as well as up to an additional 11 months to travel. All redeposit fees for flights booked through May 31, 2020, will be waived, as well as all fees for members who cancel within at least 30 days of departure.

    Follow more updates to United MileagePlus on the program’s travel notice page.

    Delta SkyMiles

    Delta has stepped up to say they will compensate their Medallion members by extending their Member status.

    Status extension

    2020 Medallion Member status will be extended through Jan. 31, 2022, and this change should be reflected on the member’s SkyMiles account by Feb. 1, 2021. Additionally, all 2020 Medallion Qualification Miles will roll over into 2021.

    Follow updates to the Delta SkyMiles program on the coronavirus travel update page.

    American Airlines AAdvantage

    As AAdvantage members experience reduced travel opportunities due to the coronavirus, American Airlines is offering elite status extension, lowering elite status requirements and allowing eligible cardholders to earn miles toward Million Miler status with credit card spend.

    Status extension

    Members whose elite status expires on Jan. 31, 2021, will automatically get an extension until Jan. 31, 2022.

    Lower status requirements

    Members will be able to qualify for a higher elite status in 2021 with lower requirements, including Elite Qualifying Dollar (EQD), Elite Qualifying Mile (EQM) and Elite Qualifying Segment (EQS).

    Gold oneworld Ruby Platinum oneworld Sapphire Platinum Pro oneworld Sapphire Executive Platinum oneworld Emerald
    • $2,000 EQDs and 20,000 EQMs or
    • $2,000 EQDs and 20 EQSs
    • $4,500 EQDs and 40,000 EQMs or
    • $4,500 EQDs and 45 EQSs
    • $7,000 EQDs and 60,000 EQMs or
    • $7,000 EQDs and 70 EQSs
    • $12,000 EQDs and 80,000 EQMs or
    • $12,000 EQDs and 95 EQSs

    Cardholder benefits

    The CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® Mastercard® cardholders who hold a companion certificate expiring Dec. 31, 2020, will receive a six-month extension as well, bringing the expiration date to June 30, 2021.

    Learn more about AAdvantage program updates on aa.com.

    JetBlue TrueBlue

    JetBlue took a bit longer to join other airlines in taking measures to support loyal customers. On May 14, 2020, JetBlue announced it’s extending Mosaic elite statuses, as well as making it easier to earn one.

    Status extension

    All currently valid Mosaic elite statuses will be extended through Dec. 31, 2021.

    Lower status requirements

    JetBlue is reducing the qualifying thresholds for Mosaic status by 50% for 2021. To earn the status this year, you’ll need to earn 7,500 qualifying TrueBlue base points or 6,000 qualifying TrueBlue base points and 15 flight segments.

    Alternatively, you can get the elite status by spending $50,000 in annual net purchases on the JetBlue Plus card – this spending requirement hasn’t changed for 2020.

    Virgin Atlantic

    Virgin Atlantic has also made it easier for customers to earn and maintain elite status amid the pandemic.

    Status extension

    In March 2020, Virgin Atlantic extended status for Gold and Silver members, allowing them an additional six months to meet the requirements.

    On Aug. 20, 2020, the airline added another six months to the extension, making it one year in total.

    Other rewards

    Starting Sept. 1, 2020, the Flying Club program members will be able to earn tier points on award flights, meaning they’ll be able to earn elite-qualifying points on flights where they used Flying Club miles to redeem for travel.

    On top of that, Virgin Atlantic makes it easier for members to earn and redeem Companion Vouchers, Upgrade Vouchers and Clubhouse Vouchers.

    Members can now use Companion Vouchers with any ticket in any booking class, regardless of status. Gold and Silver members can book their companion into any cabin for zero miles, and Red members can book their companion into Economy and Premium for zero miles or upper class at a 50% discount.

    Upgrade Vouchers can also be used with any ticket in any booking class, excluding Economy Light, for a one-cabin upgrade on a return flight.

    Clubhouse Vouchers can be used for one entry to any clubhouse when booked on a Virgin flight or with Air France, Delta or KLM when flying internationally. Gold members will continue to receive two vouchers.

    Southwest Rapid Rewards

    On April 16, Southwest announced a status extension for A-List and A-List Preferred members and companion passes. The company is also giving a points “boost” to all Rapid Rewards members.

    “As we continue to navigate our way through this unprecedented time and deal with extraordinary challenges, we are committed to keeping you informed and updated on the steps we are taking to manage through the COVID-19 pandemic,” Southwest said in a message to Rapid Rewards members.

    Status extension

    Companion Pass Members who received an extension of their earned Companion Pass benefits through June 30, 2021, will have their benefits extended for another six months. Members will be able to keep their status through Dec. 31, 2021.

    Other rewards

    Southwest is giving all Rapid Rewards members with an account opened by Dec. 31, 2020, a “boost” of 25,000 Companion Pass qualifying points and 25 flight credits toward Companion Pass status, as well as 15,000 tier qualifying points and 10 qualifying flight credits toward A-List and A-List Preferred.

    Southwest cardholders can also spend their way all the way to A-List status, with no cap on tier qualifying points (TQPs) earned through card spend. Previously, cardholders could only earn up to 15,000 TQPs per year via card spend.

    Additionally, travel funds created or expiring between March 1, 2020, and Sep. 7, 2020, will now expire on Sep. 7, 2022. Alternatively, Rapid Rewards members can convert those funds into Rapid Rewards points. According to Southwest, the conversion ratio is “the same rate you would be able to purchase a ticket with points today.”

    British Airways

    On June 11, British Airways finally joined other airlines in extending the elite status for its members. Additionally, the carrier is reducing the number of tier points needed to reach a higher membership tier.

    Status extension

    British Airways is extending tier status by 12 months for members who have a tier point collection end date of July 2020, through to June 2021.

    Lower status requirements

    The carrier has also reduced the number of points needed to retain and upgrade a membership status by 25%.

    Here are the new tier qualification thresholds:

    Cardholder benefits

    Members who have earned heir Gold Upgrade Vouchers, Companion Vouchers and Travel Together Tickets with a British Airways credit card will get a 6-month expiration extension to any current vouchers.

    CLEAR

    CLEAR is a program that makes it quicker for travelers to get through airport security lanes by using biometrics for ID verification. Since many people are currently avoiding traveling due to the coronavirus outbreak, a CLEAR membership might not be useful at the moment.

    Originally, CLEAR offered customers to pause their membership for three months. Now CLEAR is allowing members to request a three-month extension to their membership, which can be done by contacting the company directly. With customer service channels such as phone lines overloaded by requests, the fastest way to do so is via CLEAR’s online chat. However, some users have reported experiencing difficulties finding the chat box on the website. Alternatively, you can reach CLEAR by text, email or phone.

    TSA Precheck

    TSA Precheck is a five-year membership that provides expedited security checks at select domestic airports in the U.S. At this time, TSA is planning to keep enrollment centers open while working to determine if any temporary closures are required. Some centers have been closed or changed hours.

    If you’re planning to visit an enrollment center, it’s recommended that you schedule an appointment – as walk-ins may be deferred.

    Visit TSA’s enrollment questions page for more information.

    Global Entry

    Global Entry, a program run by U.S. Customs and Border Protection that allows travelers to get expedited clearance through automatic kiosks when arriving in the U.S, has reopened its enrollment centers on Sept. 8, 2020. After a six-month hiatus, the program will finally allow conditionally approved Global Entry applicants to complete in-person interviews at most Trusted Traveler Programs enrollment centers in the U.S. The interviews must be scheduled in advance online, and their availability will vary by location.

    Since the COVID-19 outbreak has also affected processing times for Global Entry renewals, CPB has increased the renewal grace period to 18 months. This means that if you apply for your Global Entry renewal before its expiration date, you’ll be able to use Global Entry for another 18 months.

    As the coronavirus situation is unprecedented and changing rapidly every day, hotels and airlines continue to make updates to their travel policies, including their loyalty programs. Travelers should continue to check airline and hotel websites as the situation evolves. If they cannot find the information they need online, they should contact their hotel, airline or travel agency’s customer service number.


    Source: creditcards.com

    Can you send money with a credit card?

    by Phillip Warren

    Sending cash to friends and family? Before you reach for that credit card, grab a calculator. It’s time to do a little math.

    With most everything you purchase online or through apps, credit cards have the edge. With plastic, you have chargeback rights. If you’re overcharged or receive the wrong item, broken merchandise or nothing at all, your card issuer will make it right. And if you use a rewards card, you collect points or miles, too. Win-win.

    But it’s different story when you’re sending money through peer-to-peer platforms. Many of them (like Google Pay, Popmoney and Zelle), don’t allow consumers to use a credit card to send cash.

    Others (like Cash App, PayPal and Venmo), allow credit cards but also charge a fee for the privilege – often about 3%.

    See related: How to choose a P2P payment service

    The hidden costs of using credit cards to send money

    Choose a credit card to send money and you might also end up paying additional fees to your card issuer. That’s because the combination of some peer-to-peer apps with certain cards are coded as cash advances, rather than purchases.

    For many cards, that cash advance code triggers a higher interest rate that kicks in the moment you make the transaction, as well as a separate cash advance fee that’s often $10 or 5% of the transaction – whichever is higher. (Currently, the average interest rate for cash advances is 24.8%, while the average APR for purchases is 16.05%.)

    So the combination of peer-to-peer service fees, credit card cash advance fees and that higher interest rate (with no grace period) could make sending a few hundred dollars a bit more costly than you’d planned.

    No chargeback rights with credit cards

    The real kicker: Unlike other venues, you don’t have chargeback rights when you use credit cards to make peer-to-peer money transfers.

    When you present your credit card in an online or brick-and-mortar store, there’s a merchant involved – and the law provides chargeback rights for your protection in case you don’t get what you were promised in the deal. But in a peer-to-peer money transfer, there’s no merchant, so currently the laws don’t give consumers any chargeback rights, says Christina Tetreault, manager of financial policy for Consumer Reports.

    “The chargeback right requires a merchant,” says Tetreault. “One of the hoops a consumer has to jump through is to try and work it out with the merchant.”

    If you use a peer-to-peer service and send the wrong amount or send the money to the wrong person, most platforms advise that the only way to get it back is to contact the recipient and ask them to return it. And that’s often the same whether you use a credit card, debit card, bank account or funded account on the platform.

    “Be doubly sure when you’re sending the money that you’re putting in the correct information,” says John Breyault, vice president of public policy, telecommunications and fraud for the National Consumers League. “It’s still a buyer beware world when it comes to peer-to-peer.”

    The solution

    If you’re sending money and want to use a credit card, it pays to do a little sleuthing first. Check out the peer-to-peer site. Does it allow users to send money with a credit card? If so what, if any, fees does it charge?

    On some platforms (PayPal is one), you could see similar fees for using a debit card – while sending from a bank account or funded account on the platform is free.

    The good news is that many peer-to-peer platforms clearly disclose it when there’s an extra charge to use a credit card, says Tetreault. With Venmo, for example, you’ll get a pop-up message.

    Harder to decipher: Will credit card transactions on the platform be treated as a cash advance? If your preferred platform doesn’t post this information, you might need to contact customer service. (And how quickly and easily you get an answer can tell you a lot, too.)

    Ask your card issuer the same question: Are peer-to-peer money transfers on the platform you’ve chosen treated as a cash advance? If they are, what’s the interest rate, and what’s the cash advance fee?

    “What I would suggest is to ask that question, via email, of your financial institution,” says Tetreault. “It may be in their FAQs. And you want to save that email. If you have it in writing, if there’s an issue later, you’re better positioned to contest that fee.”

    But “the hard truth is you may not be able to find out ahead of time,” she says.

    Another solution: Opt to use a credit card issued by a credit union.

    “With credit unions, the APR is usually the same” for purchases and cash advances, says John Bratsakis, president and CEO of the Maryland and District of Columbia Credit Union Association.

    Likewise, with American Express cards you pay your regular interest rate and no cash advance fees on peer-to-peer transfers, says Elizabeth Crosta, vice president of public affairs for American Express.

    And credit cards from U.S. Bank register peer-to-peer money transfers as regular purchases – with no cash advance fees or cash advance APRs, says Rick Rothacker, spokesperson for the bank.

    See related: How do credit card APRs work?

    What’s your reason for using a credit card?

    Take a good look at the reason you’re using a credit card, too. If you want chargeback rights, that’s not an option. If you’re doing it for the rewards, will the value of those points or miles be eaten up by extra fees or a higher interest rate you have to pay to use the card?

    And if you’re using a card because you don’t have the cash, that might be a good reason to rethink the idea of sending money in the first place.

    That’s a huge red flag, says Bruce McClary, vice president of public relations at the National Foundation for Credit Counseling.

    “The need to convert credit into cash is what really gets my attention – because that hints at a lack of savings,” he said. “It’s a reality a lot of people are facing, especially now.”

    Cash advances aren’t as expensive or risky as payday loans and car title loans, but they should be among your last resorts. If you’re looking for short-term relief, you could ask your credit card issuer for help, or find out if you qualify for a personal loan. You could also borrow from a family member or trusted friend, but be wary of the potential relationship toll if you can’t pay them back.

    Getting cash from credit cards

    Fifty-two percent of Americans report that the pandemic has damaged their finances, according to a recent survey by the NFCC. More than a fifth of those had to tap savings for everyday expenses, while 16% increased their credit card spending.

    And that’s a sign of financial stress, says McClary. “It means that, in some situations, they have run out of savings.”

    There are ways you can use your card to get cash, though.

    Cashing in rewards

    Some rewards cards from issuers such as Chase, Bank of America and US Bank let you deposit cash-back rewards directly to your bank account.

    And Wells Fargo also will let you deposit its Go Far Rewards directly into another Wells Fargo customer’s account, says Sarah DuBois, spokesperson for the bank.

    Gift cards

    Many credit cards let you convert rewards into retail gift cards. So a pile of points can help a friend or family member buy much-needed groceries or a few holiday presents.

    Or simply “buy a gift card for someone,” says Bratsakis.

    Retailer-specific gift cards and gift cards issued through local and regional retail associations and malls often come with no fees – meaning every dollar you spend goes toward your gift.

    Convenience checks

    While you can get a cash advance or use convenience checks from your card issuer, both those options often come with fees and higher interest rates. Not a smart money move, especially in the current economy.

    While some lenders may offer convenience checks with deferred interest, that’s not the same as “no interest,” says Bratsakis. Also, if you don’t pay the loan in full, will you owe the full interest retroactively?

    “That’s where consumers have to be careful,” he says. With a convenience check or even a cash advance, “that’s usually where consumers can get themselves into trouble if they can’t pay it off and get hit with deferred interest.”

    See related: What is deferred interest?

    Bottom line

    When it comes to peer-to-peer payments, cash really is king. You can then put it into a funded account with the money transfer platform or your bank account. And most peer-to-peer platforms let you do this for free.

    “The safest way to use these services is to send money person-to-person and be diligent about getting all the details correct so it doesn’t go to the wrong person,” says Tetreault.

    Only send to people you trust and know in real life, she says. “And before sending money make sure you understand what, if any, fees you might incur.”


    Source: creditcards.com

    Best credit cards for Lyft

    by Phillip Warren

    Only a decade ago, people called a taxi company when they needed a ride. The same act is now as simple as hitting a few buttons on your smartphone.

    Ride-share companies like Lyft make getting a ride to almost anywhere a breeze, and the service may cost a lot less than you think.

    If you charge your Lyft rides to a credit card that doles out points or miles, that’s even better. In this guide, we’ll go over the absolute best credit cards to use when you ride with Lyft as well as other ways to maximize your ride-share dollars.

    See related: Everything you need to know about maximizing rewards on ride-shares

    Chase Sapphire Reserve®: Best for Lyft discounts
  • Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card: Best for extra value at a lower fee
  • American Express® Green Card: Best for budget-minded travelers
  • Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card: Best no annual fee card for ride shares
  • Best credit cards to earn rewards with Lyft

    There are a handful of credit cards that can help you earn rewards each time you ride with Lyft. Here are your best options:

    See related: Best cards for Uber, UberEATS

    Chase Sapphire Reserve®: Best for Lyft discounts

    In January 2020, the Chase Sapphire Reserve began to offer a one-year complimentary Lyft Pink membership. For a $19.99 monthly fee, Lyft Pink offers passengers 15% off all car rides, in addition to priority airport pickups, special discounts and more flexibility in cancellations, among other benefits. The Reserve is also offering 10 points per dollar on Lyft purchases through March 2022.

    Besides these perks, the card comes with a 3-point-per-dollar rate on restaurants and travel, including Lyft, after the $300 annual travel credit. Speaking of the credit, it applies to most travel purchases, including rides with Lyft.

    The Chase Sapphire Reserve card is one of the best travel credit cards on the market, but it also comes with a rather high price – the card charges an annual fee of $550. If you don’t travel often enough to justify the fee, you might want to look into cards that have a lower annual fee or none at all.

    Here are more details:

    exciting new benefits for its World and World Elite credit card members. This includes a $10 Lyft credit for World Elite cardholders, which will be automatically applied to your next ride after you take five Lyft rides within a calendar month. The most popular World Elite Mastercards include the Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card*, the Citi Prestige® Card and the Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite Mastercard.

    Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card: Best for extra value at a lower annual fee

    Similar to the Chase Sapphire Reserve, the Chase Sapphire Preferred rewards cardholders for eating out (or ordering takeout) and traveling and offers 5 points per dollar on Lyft through March 2022. The base rewards rate is lower at 2 points per dollar on dining and travel and 1 point per dollar on other purchases, but the annual fee is also lower at $95.

    If you’re not ready to shell out $550 per year that the Reserve charges, the Preferred can be a better alternative. Plus, it offers a higher sign-up bonus than the Reserve – you’ll get 60,000 points after you spend $4,000 in the first three months (compare with a 50,000-point sign-up bonus if you spend $4,000 in first three months on the Reserve).

    Take a look at the card details:

    American Express® Green Card: Best for budget-minded travelers

    Another credit card that offers rewards for travel and transit (including ride-shares such as Lyft) is the American Express Green Card. While it doesn’t offer the luxury travel perks other Amex cards are known for, it can be a good choice for budget-minded travelers. With this card, you can get 3 points per dollar on dining, travel and transit, and 1 point per dollar on everything else. The Amex Green also comes with perks such as up to $100 in annual statement credits for LoungeBuddy purchases and up to $100 per year for CLEAR membership.

    complimentary Uber Eats Pass membership for up to 12 months if you enroll by Dec. 31, 2021.

    Here’s what the card offers at a glance:

    Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card: Best no annual fee card for ride shares

    If you’re looking for a credit card that would earn you rewards on Lyft rides and not charge an annual fee, the Wells Fargo Propel American Express is definitely an option worth looking into.

    The card earns 3 points per dollar in numerous categories, including dining out, gas stations, transit, flights, hotels, homestays, car rentals and select streaming services – and ride-shares. All other purchases earn 1 point per dollar. You can choose to redeem your rewards for flights through Go Far Rewards or statement credits.

    Here’s a closer look:

    More ways to maximize rewards (and save money) when you pay for ride-sharing services

    While using the right credit card can help you score more rewards each time you ride with Lyft, there are other ways to make the most of your ride-share spending. Here are some tips that can help you maximize each dollar you spend, save money and even earn airline miles:

    Bottom line

    To find the best cards for Lyft to share with you, we’ve compared all cards that offer benefits and perks related to ride-sharing and Lyft specifically. These cards can help you maximize your potential earnings and savings on Lyft rides, and if you use Lyft frequently, one of these products can be a great addition to your wallet.

    *All information about the Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card has been collected independently by CreditCards.com and has not been reviewed by the issuer. Capital One Savor Credit Card is no longer available through CreditCards.com.


    Source: creditcards.com

    How to dispute an error in your TransUnion credit report

    by Phillip Warren

    The economic uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has left many people concerned about their finances.

    That makes it more important than ever to keep an eye on your credit report, and report any errors you find to the three main credit reporting agencies.

    Complaints about credit reporting agencies filed with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau soared from 2018 to 2019. The majority of complaints were centered on incorrect information on credit reports and problems related to ongoing investigations.

    Last year, more than 154,000 complaints about credit reporting agencies were filed with the CFPB. They made up almost 45% of the total complaints filed with the bureau. In contrast, they comprised less than one-quarter of complaints in 2018.

    Of the three credit reporting agencies – TransUnion, Experian and Equifax – TransUnion racked up the most complaints. Of those complaints about TransUnion, 24,800 were related to incorrect information on a credit report and 8,300 involved problems with the agency’s investigation into an ongoing issue.

    Almost 70% of the complaints about incorrect information involving TransUnion revolved around information belonging to someone else being included in the complainant’s credit report.

    More than three-quarters of the complaints about ongoing investigations involved the agency failing to correct errors on reports.

    Incorrect information on your credit report can reduce your credit score, which could result in you being charged higher interest rates on credit cards and loans. You could also be turned down if you apply for new credit.

    See related: How to apply for a credit card and get approved

    Request your credit report

    If you want to check if your credit report is correct, you can request a copy from TransUnion, as well as from Equifax and Experian.

    Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, TransUnion, Experian and Equifax will provide you with your credit report for free each week until April 20, 2021. You can request your reports through the site AnnualCreditReport.com. The credit reports don’t include your credit score.

    Normally, you’re allowed one free copy of your credit report from each of the credit reporting agencies every year under the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act.

    Requesting a copy of your report will not impact your credit score.

    The CFPB says common errors to look for in your credit report include:

    • The wrong name, address or phone number on your report
    • Accounts belonging to someone else, whose name is similar to yours
    • Accounts opened under your name due to identity theft
    • Accounts that have been closed but are listed as open
    • Accounts incorrectly listed as late
    • The same debt listed more than once
    • Incorrect balances on accounts
    • Incorrect information reappearing on the account after it was already corrected

    How to file a dispute

    If you spot a problem with your credit report from TransUnion, you can file a dispute online, at the company’s website. There is no charge for disputing an item.

    TransUnion credit report dispute center

    You’ll need to set up a free account with TransUnion and provide some basic information about yourself, such as date of birth and home address, so the company can verify your identity

    On the website, you can dispute everything from the name and address that is listed on your credit report to information about your credit cards and mortgages to your bankruptcy records.

    Your credit accounts include information on the date you opened the account, your current balance and payment status, and you can dispute any of the information listed there.

    For disputes over your credit accounts or information found in public records, TransUnion requires you to provide a reason as to why you are disputing the information.

    The credit agency suggests you include corroborating information, such as records from your lender. You can upload those to your dispute.

    You can add a consumer statement to explain any negative items that appear on your credit report.

    If you don’t have easy access to a computer, you can also mail a dispute to:

    TransUnion Consumer Solutions
    P.O. Box 2000
    Chester, PA 19016-2000

    Or, you can call 833-395-6941 between 8 a.m. and 11 p.m. ET, Monday through Friday.

    See related: How to dispute an error in your Experian credit report

    What to expect

    TransUnion says most disputes are investigated within two weeks, but some take up to 30 days.

    The credit reporting agency says it may do everything from updating your credit report based on the information you provided, to asking the lender to review the information to determine if the information on your credit report is correct.

    If a creditor doesn’t respond within 30 days, TransUnion will delete the item from your credit report.

    When the investigation is finished, TransUnion will send you an email and you can log in to its site to see the results.

    If you don’t agree with the results, the company recommends you contact your lender directly with more information about your claim. If the lender agrees that your information is correct, it is required to contact TransUnion and tell it to update or delete the information that is in dispute.

    Bottom line

    It’s important to have errors removed from your credit report, which might help raise your credit score and entitle you to better interest rates.


    Source: creditcards.com