The financial product information on this page is accurate as of the time of posting; some of the offers mentioned may have expired since that time.
Travel fever is running high, and so is the new six-figure Chase Sapphire Preferred bonus offer announced Friday. This week, the credit card industry brought us reassurance that interest rates are stable, news of a cryptocurrency debit card that now works with mobile wallets, and more.
This credit card news roundup contains what you should know about the cards in your wallet. You’ll also learn about notable new product releases, offers, and reports that won’t make your head spin like the AMC Entertainment meme stock ticker does.
What’s the Lowdown?
Here’s what has caught our attention since May 27, 2021.
Chase Unveils Giant New Chase Sapphire Preferred Card Bonus
Temperatures are rising across the U.S., and so are travel rewards-card welcome offers. Chase is the latest bank to boost a card’s bonus value, elevating the Chase Sapphire Preferred card bonus to six figures on Friday.
If you open the $95-per-year card and spend $4,000 within three months of opening your account, you’ll earn 100,000 Ultimate Rewards points. All those rewards are worth $1,250 when used to book travel through Chase or to pay yourself back for grocery, dining, or home improvement store purchases. The bonus could be worth even more if you transfer the points to a travel partner loyalty program (like a United Airlines Mileageplus frequent flyer account), based on our calculations.
This six-figure card offer is one of the best travel card deals available right now, especially for a mid-level card that isn’t tied to a specific airline or hotel brand. If you compare travel redemption values, the Sapphire Preferred offer is worth more than the nearly identical bonus advertised by the Capital One Venture Card right now.
Credit Card Interest Rates Still Chillin’
On a cooler note, the average credit card interest rate didn’t budge in May. It’s holding steady at 20.28%, according to The Balance’s latest APR report. We recorded a few online offer changes last month, and added several new rewards cards to our data pool to keep tabs on offers, but overall, interest rates are quiet these days.
To learn more about the current state of card interest rates including what cards boast the longest promotional rate offers, check out The Balance’s full credit card APR report.
Coinbase Debit Card Can Be Added to Apple, Google Pay to Earn Crypto Rewards
Payment technology worlds are colliding with this bit of news. The cryptocurrency exchange platform Coinbase announced Tuesday that its Visa debit card will be compatible with Apple Pay and Google Pay. The debit card isn’t available to everyone just yet (it’s another one of those “sign up for the waitlist” situations), but Coinbase said it’s starting to give some U.S. customers access to the card this week.
Once you sign up for the card, it can be immediately added to an Apple Pay or Google Pay digital wallet before the physical card arrives. Cardholders can earn up to 4% back (1% back in Bitcoin or 4% back in Stellar Lumens) on purchases made with the Coinbase card via one of those mobile wallets.
The Coinbase debit card is designed to help consumers earn and use cryptocurrency to make purchases, and this week’s announcement adds to some hot payment industry trends: mobile wallet transactions and all things crypto. We’re still waiting on the official debut of two other cryptocurrency rewards credit cards (the Gemini Credit Card and the BlockFi Rewards Visa Signature Card). This Coinbase card will give consumers another way to dive into cryptocurrency.
While the Coinbase debit card gives you the option to pay for purchases with crypto, each of those transactions will incur a 2.49% transaction fee, which covers the sale of the cryptocurrency you used to pay.
What Else Is Happening?
- Chase Biz Cardholders Can Earn Extra Rewards Starting June 8: Starting Tuesday, eligible consumers who have a Chase Ink, Southwest, or United Airlines business rewards credit card can earn up to 5 points (or miles) back per $1 spent on shipping and home improvement store purchases (up to $10,000 across both categories). Cardholders must opt-in to this offer by Aug. 31 to qualify, so watch your email and online account for more information from Chase about this next week.
- Mastercard Wants to Make Cards More Eco-Friendly: Last week, Mastercard said it wants to help save lemurs and elephants. This week, the card network rolled out more planet-friendly initiatives. Banks that issue Mastercards using recycled materials will feature an icon that easily identifies the eco-friendly product. Mastercard has also partnered with the card-making company Giesecke+Devrient to develop a recycling program to help consumers and banks reduce single-use plastic card waste.
- Aloha, New Amex Membership Reward Point Transfer Bonus: If you have American Express Membership rewards points and transfer them to a Hawaiian Airlines miles frequent flyer account before June 30, you’ll get 25% more miles to put toward a tropical vacation. That means you’ll get 1,250 miles for every 1,000 points you transfer, which is a great way to boost the value of your American Express rewards.
- Hilton Extends Free Night Certificate Expiration Dates: FYI, Hilton Honors American Express cardholders, if you have a free night certificate that was going to expire Aug. 31, 2021, it’s now good until Jan. 3, 2022. Any free night certificate you earned in 2020 is good for 24 months, too, which gives you some planning wiggle room when booking your back-to-travel trips.