Airline Cards Lose Luster as Coronavirus Persists

Kimberley Moore called
JPMorgan Chase
& Co. in October to ask if it would lower the $450 annual fee on her
United Airlines Holdings Inc.
credit card. A United cardholder for roughly 15 years, Ms. Moore traveled often. Then the coronavirus pandemic hit and Ms. Moore, 53 years old, scaled back her spending and canceled travel plans.

Ms. Moore, a senior director at a national health care organization in Washington, D.C., decided to keep the card after JPMorgan offered her a $200 statement credit. But she has barely used the card since, and is instead mostly using debit cards.

Nearly nine months into the pandemic, banks and airlines are scrambling to rescue their airline rewards cards. The companies have deployed the cards for years to win big-spending customers, but the perks they offer—like flight upgrades and airport lounge access—are all but obsolete in a global pandemic.

Typically, card companies don’t

Read More