With all the added holiday tasks at this time of year, it’s easy to forget about the credit card you opened a year ago that has a calendar year offer!
Annual travel credits are one of the biggest credit card reimbursement offers you need to redeem before the end of the calendar year!
How to Maximize End of Year Travel Credits without Traveling
Many of these cards have calendar year travel credits available, but what if you don’t have any travel plans to use the credits before they expire?
The good news is there’s a way to earn the travel credits and not let the free money expire without traveling… stock up on gift cards!
How to Maximize End of Year Travel Credits
American Express Platinum (and Business Platinum). The American Express Platinum  and American Express Business Platinum  cards have a calendar year $200 airline credit for incidentals. The MileagePlus X app to buy Amazon gift cards from last year is gone, so you’ll need to use the travel credits for airline gift cards this year. Flyertalk  maintains a thread for every airline to see which gift cards will trigger the airline reimbursement. The bonus also applies to other Platinum cards (like the Schwab Platinum  card that we use to multiply our redemptions by 25%).
Citi Prestige. The Citi Prestige  card has a $250 air travel credit. I purchased airline gift certificates to take advantage of the travel credit. Gift certificates typically work for
American, Southwest and United. To make sure your airline gift card will work, you may want to do a small test charge first.
American Express Premier Rewards Gold. The PRG card has an annual $100 airline fee credit. Usually the same redemption rules apply for the Premier Rewards Gold Card  as the Platinum cards.
Chase Sapphire Reserve. There’s a $300 travel credit annually from the Chase Sapphire Reserve  card. You can use this travel credit into the future buying Delta and AA gift cards, Marriott gift cards, preloading your toll pass account or public transit cards and funding a Disney Vacation account (which is a great option if you are planning a free trip to Disney World soon ). Flyertalk maintains a great list  of what is being reimbursed and what isn’t. I have plans to finally pick up this card in the spring when we clear the 5/24 rule !
Chase Ritz Carlton. The Ritz Carlton card was my newest addition this year (since it’s not subject to the 5/24 rule). It has a $300 annual travel credit. You have to call to redeem these credits; however, these just need to be purchased by the end of the year. Even if the charges post next year it’s ok. That means I can wait until the last minute on these.
Citi Expedia+ Voyager. The Citi Expedia+ Voyager  card has a $100 annual travel credit. This card is another new addition this year. I found a data point that listed airline gift cards as qualifying for the reimbursement.
Earn 3 Years of Travel Credits on One Annual Fee
There’s one more opportunity to really stretch your travel credits! One of the best opportunities to redeem these annual travel credits is to pick up a new card right now. You can triple up on the annual travel credit to maximize your bonuses.
If you apply for these cards in December, you could earn the annual credits in December 2016, 2017, and in January 2018 all with one annual fee. I’m currently in year two of the annual travel credits for the Platinum card I picked up last year.
Credit Card Application Links
All of the links for current offers on these cards are listed in our credit card directory .
Don’t Skip Your Annual Benefits
Whatever method you use and whichever cards you have, just make sure you redeem the annual benefits and travel credits for something! Here’s your friendly reminder to get it done this week before you’re completely lost in the holidays!
Redeem Gift Cards for Cash
If you don’t need airline gift cards, you can always sell your gift cards at Cardpool .
More on Credit Cards
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- Your Guide to Free Credit Scores, Reports and Monitoring 
- How Much Do Credit Inquiries Really Matter? 
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