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With SARS-CoV-2 infecting people exponentially, there’s hardly a better time to hunker down at home and focus your spending on a strategy that will gain you a ton of points for the future. When we receive the all-clear, you’ll be ready to jump on all of those open award seats. With all of the uncertainties in the world today, keep these tips in mind and arm yourself with the best credit cards for the coronavirus pandemic.
Consider a credit card with flexible points
We don’t know which travel providers will survive COVID-19, so avoid amassing too many points with one provider. Instead, consider a credit card that earns flexible points, like Chase Ultimate Rewards (UR), American Express Membership Rewards (MR), or Citi ThankYou Rewards (TY). With these points, you can transfer to dozens of airline and hotel partners, or even redeem them for cash back if necessary.
The best credit card prepares you for the worst with 0% APR
Spending to earn a bonus can be scary right now with rampant layoffs due to coronavirus. Play it safe, and consider a credit card with an introductory 0% APR. If you already have debt to carry over, you might also consider a credit card with a 0% APR on balance transfers.
Optimize your credit card for coronavirus spending habits
For most of us, our spending over the next few months will mean getting a credit card with bonuses on groceries and other essential spending. While the coronavirus threat has halted travel for the immediate future, it may not be the best time to open a credit card with travel benefits that you can’t use.
Best credit cards for the coronavirus
Take a look at our top recommendations for credit card spending during the coronavirus outbreak.
Points Panda loves the Chase Freedom. While it’s technically billed as a cash back credit card, most savvy users know that combining this card with a Chase Sapphire-branded card allows you to transfer points to travel providers or redeem for travel at a 25-50% bonus. If you know a Chase Sapphire card is in your future, the Chase Freedom is a great way to start building those UR points before committing to an annual fee. With a limited 5x return on revolving categories that regularly include everyday spending like supermarkets and gas, it’s one of the best no annual fee cards available. Chase is currently offering a $150 signup bonus after spending $500 within the first three months, as well as an introductory 0% APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months.
Chase Freedom Unlimited
The Chase Freedom Unlimited is very similar to its cousin, the Chase Freedom. Both cards carry no annual fee and have similar introductory bonus offers.
However, the Freedom Unlimited offers a very competitive cashback rate of 5% on travel purchases made through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal, 3% cashback at restaurants (including delivery and takeout, 3% on drugstore purchases, and 1.5% on all other purchases.
For those of you who don’t know, the Freedom Unlimited earned a flat rate of 1.5% a few months back, but now, it’s one of the top tier cards that can help you earn more points quickly.
Citi Double Cash
Similar to the Chase Freedom offerings, the Citi Double Cash is billed as a cash back credit card, but earns rewards that can be transferred as Citi ThankYou Rewards if you have either a Citi Premier or a Citi Prestige. While Citi’s transfer partner list is still growing, the return rate on the Citi Double Cash is 2% on all purchases, and the card currently offers 0% interest for 18 months on purchases and balance transfers. That makes this credit card a strong contender during the coronavirus outbreak.
American Express Gold Card
If you’re not too worried about your financial forecast, the American Express Gold Card is a fantastic option to maximize points on everyday purchases. The earn rate on this charge card is a staggering 4x in both supermarkets and restaurants. Once the coronavirus scare dies down, this card also makes a great travel companion, with 3x MR points on flights booked through amextravel.com, $100 in statement credits for incidental fees on the airline of your choice, and no foreign transaction fees. American Express is offering a signup bonus of 35,000 MR points when you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases within the first three months, which easily offsetsthe $250 annual fee.
TL;DR: Earn lots of points during the coronavirus outbreak
It’s a great time to start building your bank of points with these best credit cards for the coronavirus pandemic. Focus on building flexible, transferable points now, and consider getting a card with a 0% APR to avoid economic turmoil. Be mindful of your spending categories, and use a credit card that incentivizes the areas you shop most frequently.