What is a statement credit?

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In the world of credit card rewards, a statement credit is one of the most beloved benefits. How fantastic is it to run a charge on your credit card and know that at least a portion of it will be covered by your credit card issuer?

If you’re not familiar with the concept and would like to figure out how credit statements work, read on, and I’ll tell you all you need to know—including which cards offer the best statement credit benefits.

What does it mean to get a statement credit?

A statement credit is money credited back to your credit card account. It’s deducted from your card balance, but it won’t count toward your minimum payment. For example, if you bought something on your credit card and then returned it for a refund, that refund would be issued as a statement credit. Or you can redeem your cash back or rewards for a statement credit to reduce your credit card balance.

The other way you can get a statement credit—and my favorite way—is when it’s a benefit on your credit card. Some awesome credit card products issue statement credits in certain categories of purchases.

For instance, if I had a credit card that offered a $20 monthly credit on bookstore purchases (and if it existed, I’d have had it!), I’d go to a bookstore every month. In fact, I’d probably spend $30 each month, since I doubt I’d be able to keep my spending under $20 at a bookstore. The hypothetical credit card then would “forgive” me $20, and I’d only have to repay $10.

Pretty awesome, isn’t it?

How to use a statement credit

Normally, there are no extra steps needed to use your statement credits when they’re part of your card’s benefits. Sometimes, you might need to enroll in an offer—like with Uber Cash and dining credits for the American Express® Gold Card—but after that, a credit will appear on your account automatically after you make an eligible purchase.

If you’re redeeming your rewards as statement credit, you’ll need to go through your online account to do so. Note, however, that while redeeming cash back for a statement credit is a fair deal, redeeming your points or miles for it is usually not the best idea. When you do that, your travel rewards can lose a lot of value.

For example, if you redeem for Chase Ultimate Rewards points for a statement credit, the value will be 1 cent per point. It’s more than many rewards programs offer for this type of redemption, but you can get much more with other redemption options, like an estimated 1.7 cents per point when you’re transferring your points to World of Hyatt or 1.5 points if you’re a Chase Sapphire Reserve® cardholder and purchasing travel through the Ultimate Rewards portal.

Some credits will post immediately (again, like Uber Cash), others will require some waiting—from a few days to several weeks.

Credit cards that offer annual statement credits

We’ve got to my favorite part. Let’s talk about the cards that come with the most attractive annual statement credits.

Best credit cards with annual statement credits

Card Statement credit and other benefits Rewards Annual fee
Chase Sapphire Reserve®
  • $300 annual travel credit
  • $100 Global Entry/TSA Precheck credit
  •  $60 DoorDash credit
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • Complimentary access to more than 1,000 airport lounges
  • Select Visa Infinite hotel, air and car rental perks
  • Free Lyft Pink membership for one year
  • Free DashPass membership for one year
  • 3X points on eligible travel and restaurant purchases (after earning your $300 travel credit)
  • 3X points on grocery store purchases up to $1,000 per month, then 1X points (from Nov. 1, 2020, to April 30, 2021)
  • 10X total points on Lyft purchases (through March 31, 2022) and on up to $500 of Chase Dining takeout orders and prepaid reservations via Ultimate Rewards (through Jun. 30, 2021)
  • 1X points on all other purchases
$550
Citi Prestige® Card
  • $250 travel credit (applies to most travel purchases)
  • Up to $100 credit for Global Entry/TSA Precheck every 5 years
  • Priority Pass membership
  • 4th night free on any hotel stay (twice per year starting Sept. 1)
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Citi Private Pass Beyond
  • 5X points on air travel and restaurants
  • 3X points on hotels and cruise lines
  • 1X points on other purchases
$495
The Platinum Card® from American Express
  • $200 airline credit
  • $100 Global Entry or $85 TSA Precheck credit every 4 years
  • Up to $200 Uber credit
  • $75-$100 hotel credit
  • Up to $100 Saks Fifth Avenue credit (enrollment required)
  • Up to $180 in statement credits with PayPal (through June 30, 2021)
  • Priority Pass Select membership
  • Hilton Honors gold status
  • Complimentary Eats Pass from Uber
  • Platinum concierge service
  • 5X points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel
  • 5X points on eligible hotels booked with American Express Travel on up to $500,000 on purchases per calendar year
  • 1X points on general purchases
$550
American Express® Gold Card
  • $100 activity credit on vacations over $3,000
  • Up to $120 in Uber Cash
  • $120 dining credit
  • $100 hotel credit
  • Personalized travel service
  • Shop Runner service
  • 4X Membership Rewards points on restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery
  • 4X points for Uber Eats purchases and at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 in purchases per year, then 1X points)
  • 3X points on flights
  • 2X points on rental cars through amextravel.com
  • 1X points on all other purchases
$250

Chase Sapphire Reserve

It’s impossible to talk about credit cards that come with annual credits and not talk about the Chase Sapphire Reserve. Its $300 annual travel credit is the stuff of legends. It’s automatically added to your account each card anniversary and applies to a wide range of purchases.

The qualifying purchases include, quoting Chase, “airlines, hotels, motels, timeshares, car rental agencies, cruise lines, travel agencies, discount travel sites, campgrounds and operators of passenger trains, buses, taxis, limousines, ferries, toll bridges and highways and parking lots and garages.”

As you can see, it’s easy to take advantage of this benefit, which already justifies more than half of the card’s $550 annual fee.

On top of that, you can also earn up to $60 in DoorDash statement credits through Dec. 31, 2021.

Citi Prestige® Card

The Citi Prestige® Card ($495 per year in annual fees) is another good option for frequent travelers. Its $250 annual statement credit offer is lower than that on the Chase Sapphire Reserve, but also covers many purchase categories, including purchases from “airlines, hotels, car rental agencies, travel agencies/travel aggregators/tour operators, commuter transportation, ferries, commuter railways, subways, taxis/limousines/car services, passenger railways, cruise lines, bridge and road tolls, parking lots/garages and bus lines.”

Through December 2021, purchases made at supermarkets and restaurants will also count toward the travel credit.

Additionally, cardholders can get up to $100 back in fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Precheck every five years.

The Platinum Card® from American Express

The Platinum Card® from American Express is another highly popular travel credit card. At $550 per year in annual fees, it offers a range of statement credits.

With this card, you can get credit for either Global Entry or TSA Precheck every four years when you charge the application fee to your Amex, $15 in Uber ride credits each month (plus a $20 bonus credit in December), a $100 hotel credit to use toward qualifying charges when you stay with a brand in The Hotel Collection and up to $100 in statement credits for Saks Fifth Avenue purchases. Finally, the Amex Platinum comes with up to a $200 airline fee credit each year to help you save money when you fly with a specific airline of your choice.

Currently, the card also offers up to $30 in PayPal statement credits per month through June 30, 2021.

All in all, it’s more in statement credits than offered by the Chase Sapphire Reserved or Citi Prestige, but these credits are also less flexible.

With the Chase Sapphire Reserve or Citi Prestige, almost any kind of travel purchase qualifies for the generous credit. That’s not the case with the Amex Platinum which only offers statement credit for very specific types of purchases. Even with the airline credit, you can only choose one airline, and you have to commit to that airline once per year in January. That doesn’t leave much room for choosing the best fares or options for your travels.

American Express® Gold Card

As you can see, rewards credit cards mainly issue statement credits for travel purchases. Still, there are other options—for instance, the American Express Gold Card, a foodie dream come true.

For $250 per year in annual fees, you’ll get up to $120 in Uber Cash ($10 per month) for rides and eats and up to $120 in statement credits ($10 per month) for dining at eligible restaurants or ordering in through Grubhub, Seamless or Boxed. That’s $240 per year to spend on delicious things!

Like the Amex Platinum, the Gold also comes with the $100 credit with the Hotel Collection, as well as a $100 activity credit in vacations over $3,000.

Bottom line

A statement credit on your credit card is always a joy—it means that you’re saving some money or getting rewards. Even though it doesn’t count toward your minimum payment, it lowers your balance. And if you get the right credit card, having statement credit on the list of benefits could be great news for your budget.

Interested in getting this kind of card? Head over to CardMatch and check offers tailored to your credit profile. Meanwhile, I’m signing off to use my monthly Uber Cash from Amex.