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 statement credits 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 cards 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 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.

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 a 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 your 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, like Uber Cash, will post immediately while others will require some waiting—from a few days to several weeks.

Credit cards that offer annual statement credits

We’ve gotten 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
  • Earn 5X total points on air travel and 10X total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3X points on other travel and dining
  • 10X total points on Lyft purchases (through March 31, 2022)
  • 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)
  • 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 fee credit: Get up to $200 in statement credits per calendar year in baggage fees and more at one qualifying airline
  • $100 Global Entry or $85 TSA PreCheck credit every 4 years
  • $200 Uber Cash credit: Enjoy Uber VIP status and up to $200 in Uber savings on rides or eats orders in the US annually. Uber Cash and Uber VIP status available to basic cardmember only.
  • Priority Pass Select membership
  • Hilton Honors Gold status
  • Platinum concierge service
  • 10x points on eligible purchases on the card at restaurants worldwide and when you Shop Small in the U.S., on up to $25,000 in combined purchases, during your first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • 5X points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel
  • 5X points on eligible hotels booked with AmexTravel.com on up to $500,000 on purchases per calendar year
  • 1X points on general purchases
$695
American Express® Gold Card
  • $100 activity credit on vacations over $3,000
  • Up to $120 in Uber Cash
  • Up to $120 dining credit
  • Up to $100 hotel credit
  • Personalized travel service
  • Shop Runner service
  • 4X points on restaurants, 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 booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com
  • 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 legend. It’s automatically added to your account each card anniversary and applies to a wide range of purchases.

The qualifying purchases include: “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 annual fee) is another good option for frequent travelers. Its $250 annual statement credit offer is lower than that of the Chase Sapphire Reserve, but it 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 $695 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 an extra $20 credit in December), a $100 hotel credit to use toward qualifying charges when you stay two or more consecutive nights with a brand in The Hotel Collection and up to $100 in statement credits for Saks Fifth Avenue purchases ($50 for January through June and $50 for July through December). The Amex Platinum also comes with up to a $200 airline fee credit each year to help you save money on incidentals when you fly with a specific airline of your choice.

Plus, you can earn up to $179 in credits for a Clear membership (on top of PreCheck or Global Entry), up to $240 in credits each year for eligible digital entertainment purchases (up to $20 per month, qualifying services include Peacock and the New York Times, among others), up to $300 in Equinox fitness membership credits per year (up to $25 per month) and up to $200 in credits for prepaid hotel bookings with Fine Hotels + Resorts or The Hotel Collection properties via American Express Travel.

All in all, it’s more in statement credits than offered by the Chase Sapphire Reserve 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 a generous credit. That’s not the case with the Amex Platinum, which only offers statement credit for 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 in Uber Cash, expiring at the end of the month) for rides and eats and up to $120 in statement credits ($10 per month, enrollment required) for dining at eligible restaurants or ordering in through Grubhub, Seamless or Boxed. That’s $240 per year to spend on delicious things!

The Gold also comes with an up to $100 credit with the Hotel Collection (when booking two or more consecutive nights through the American Express Travel portal).

The bottom line

A statement credit on your credit card is always a joy—it means 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 credits 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.

The information about the Citi Prestige® Credit Card has been collected independently by Bankrate.com. The card details have not been reviewed or approved by the card issuer.

Written by
Ana Staples
Credit Cards Reporter and Young Credit Analyst
Ana Staples is a reporter for Bankrate and an expert on all things credit basics and personal finance for the younger generation.
Edited by
Editor