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®||
|Citi Prestige® Card||
|The Platinum Card® from American Express||
|American Express® Gold Card||
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.
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.
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.