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The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted just about every area of our lives, which means the pandemic has definitely impacted the way we spend (or don’t spend) our money. Travel, dining out, and going to bars and clubs are out. Staying in, ordering delivery, and shopping online is in. 

credit cards covid-19
Some of the added benefits to credit cards due to COVID-19 include earning more points on grocery purchases. Photo by Albertsons

Editor’s Note: Some of the offers below may have expired or are no longer available on our site. 

Perks Added To Credit Cards Due To COVID-19

For many credit card providers that rely on traveling cardholders, these shifts in spending habits could spell disaster. If cardholders aren’t traveling, they don’t need points and miles to spend on redeeming hotel stays or flights. Likewise, if all a card provider is offering in terms of rewards or perks is travel benefits, what’s the use? A cardholder is more likely to not use the card at all or, even worse, cancel their card. 

However, major credit card providers have pivoted their offerings and benefits. This credit card perks due to COVID-19 better suit today’s cardholders and their spending habits in the age of the pandemic. Here’s how.

New Ways To Earn

So many credit cards have expanded the ways in which you can now earn bonus points, with many recognizing the increased spending occurring at grocery stores and with food delivery services. Though, as some places begin opening up, we are starting to see more opportunities to earn points on travel. For instance, World of Hyatt’s Bonus Journeys promotion offers the chance to earn triple points on stays.  

American Express Grocery Store Bonuses (Expired)

American Express has especially rolled out new ways to earn at the supermarket through the middle of the summer. These Delta credit cards now earn 4x miles for every $1 spent at U.S. supermarkets through July 2020:

  • Delta SkyMiles® Blue American Express Card
  • Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card
  • Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card
  • Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card

Additionally, the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card and the Marriott Bonvoy American Express Card now both earn six Marriott Bonvoy points for every $1 spent at U.S. supermarkets through July (with a cap — you only get up the bonus points on up to $7,500 of purchases). The Hilton Honors Aspire Card from American Express and the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card likewise earn 12 Hilton Honors points for every $1 spent at U.S. supermarkets. 

The American Express bonus categories can help you maximize your purchases.

American Express credit cards bonus categories
American Express credit cards bonus categories on select cards include streaming plans, groceries, and restaurants. Photo by American Express

New Ways To Redeem 

But credit card providers aren’t just giving cardholders new ways to earn points or miles this summer when travel isn’t as feasible. They’re also giving you new ways to redeem those points or miles, in case you’re not necessarily looking to book a free hotel stay or flight anytime soon. 

One of the newest ways to redeem comes from Chase with its Sapphire benefits. Now, Chase Ultimate Rewards members with either a Chase Sapphire Reserve or Chase Sapphire Preferred credit card can use the Pay Yourself Back feature when redeemed for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories with the Chase Pay Yourself Back feature. This is available through Sept. 30, 2021.

The Chase Pay Yourself Back tool is an easy way to use your points. Photo by Chase

While using your Chase Ultimate Rewards points for statement credits is nothing new, this feature allows members to receive more value from each point they redeem, up to $0.015 for each point versus the typical $0.01 for each point.

New Perks

And, of course, credit card providers are rounding out the new offerings and changes with new perks as well. Credit cards with COVID-19 adjusted perks fit a variety of lifestyles.

The Chase Sapphire Reserve benefits include a $300 travel credit annually. But with most cardholders cutting back on their travel, Chase is now allowing cardholders to use that credit for both gas station and grocery store purchases. Just note — you won’t be able to pick and choose which purchases in these categories are counted toward using up your credit on this premium metal credit card. Through Dec. 31, 2021, any transactions at gas stations and grocery stores will go toward spending from the travel credit until it’s used up. 

Related: Best Travel Credit Cards

Cutting You Some Slack

But it’s not just about how credit card providers can reward you this year. Many are also realizing that, rather than giving you anything extra, they might just need to cut you some slack. 

Many other credit card issuers are offering waived fees, credit line increases or payment deferral and forbearance, or a mix of all three. Barclays is one popular card issuer offering a mix of all three of these. Most of the popular card issuers are offering at least one of these. 

Related: Best Rewards Credit Cards

The Bottom Line?

Credit card providers are, in many cases, doing everything they can to serve their cardholders through the pandemic and into the near future. Credit cards during COVID-19 have been adjusted to help earn more for common purchases. Check out the perks your cards might be offering right now and how you can take advantage of them.

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