Banking and Finance

COVID 19: What to Do With Your Credit Card Rewards?

July 27, 2021

The best reward credit cards of 2020 were ones offering hundreds of dollars in the form of perks, rewards, and travel perks. From cashback deals at your favorite retailers to airline miles you could use to travel the world, most credit card holders are now wondering, “What do I do with my credit card rewards during this crisis?”

With travel at a near standstill and numerous retailers under strict government lockdown orders, it can feel like you’ve got no options other than to hold onto your rewards until the economy and daily life reactivates once again. However, you might have other options, depending on your card issuer.

From redeeming points in the form of gift cards to getting credits to put towards paying off your credit card statement, here’s what to do with your rewards during the coronavirus crisis so they don’t go to waste.

Contact Your Credit Card Company to Extend Rewards

Most credit card companies are extending the expiration date for numerous travel rewards and even allowing certain members to retain their elite status without meeting any other requirements. This applies to hotel and airline-branded credit cards as well as regular credit card benefits programs.

If you have a Hilton Honors card, for example, they’re extending all elite statuses through March 31st, 2021 automatically. And, they’re rolling over points, making them valid until December 31st, 2020. All you have to do is ensure that your credit card is active.

Airline mileage rewards programs are also providing their members with the same kind of extension, both for those who are just part of the rewards program and for those who rack up points by using a travel credit card. If you use your credit card to earn miles for the Alaska Airline Mileage Plan, for example, they’re extending the current status of all Mileage Plan members through December 31st, 2021. And, Delta is ensuring that all of the qualifying Delta miles you earn through travel or credit card purchases will roll over into 2021.

In terms of actual credit card rewards programs, most are making life easier on their users by providing a bit of financial relief in the form of waiving annual fees or giving people more time to meet spending limits in order to earn points and rewards. Therefore, it’s best to contact your credit card company directly to ask about your specific account, card, rewards, and options.

Redeem Rewards Without Traveling

Redeem Rewards Without Traveling

If you have a credit card that’s optimized for travel benefits, such as airline miles or hotel stays, then a simple extension of the deadline by which you have to redeem them might not be enough for you. It’s hard to say when travel will be safe again and what that industry will look like after all of this is over. And, if you’re experiencing unemployment or financial hardships at the moment, redeeming your rewards for cash or credit might be more useful.

So, you’ll first want to make sure your credit card issuer allows you to redeem your points or miles for credit or cash back. If you can, then it’s a great way to pay off your balance or put the money towards other high-interest debt you might have at the moment. Usually, redeeming credit card rewards and points for cash or credit means you might get less value overall. However, it could be worth it if you know you won’t be using the rewards in the next year or so.

If you’d rather redeem your points to use for online shopping, such as purchasing necessities from places like Walmart or Target, you’ll likely be able to do that as well. Most travel credit cards allow you to redeem points for gift cards from major retailers.

Cancel Your Credit Card

If you signed up for a credit card simply to reap the benefits of all the rewards and perks, you might be feeling a little frustrated right now, and that’s understandable, especially if you signed up specifically for a travel credit card.

Sure, you might be able to roll your points over to the next year, but who knows when you’ll be able to do things like gain access to the Centurion Lounge or even use your Southwest Companion Pass to travel with a buddy again. If you’ve just paid a lot of cash for the annual fee, you might still have time to cancel your card.

You’ll want to check your credit score first to ensure that the slight dip in your score from canceling the card won’t hurt your credit too much. Or, you might also want to contact your credit card company to see if you can downgrade your card to one with the same bank that simply doesn’t come with an annual fee.

Use a Debit Card for Perks

You don’t actually have to have a credit card in order to enjoy perks in the form of cashback deals and savings. With the Cheese Debit Card, you’re able to enjoy $0 in fees plus up to 3% in cashback deals whenever you spend. 

Does that sound better than a rewards credit card right now? It’s easy money with no fees, of course it does! Sign up to join and begin saving more money in the most effortless way possible.

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