The COVID-19 outbreak has shifted the way Americans perceive many of the things we usually take for granted. Dining with friends, going to a sports game, even spending a day lounging at the beach; all these everyday events are now restricted due to the pandemic.
The current conditions are also reshaping credit cards. Travel rewards no longer entice applicants the same as before, with more consumers looking for better everyday value instead of priority boarding, upgrades, and other perks. With so much changing in our world, should you consider changing what’s in your wallet? Is it time you get a COVID credit card?
What Is a COVID Credit Card?
The coronavirus pandemic has changed the way credit cards offer rewards – at least for the time being. Credit card issuers are offering more “at home” benefits for cardholders instead of travel perks. Where lounge access was once at a premium, now new applicants are being drawn towards additional cash back on groceries, dining, and online shopping.
American Express has been at the forefront of the “at home” perks movement, adding statement credits for streaming services, cell phone plans, and more during the COVID-19 pandemic. Chase, Citibank, Capital One, and other issuers, however, have also gotten in on the act, offering a broader range of benefits on their normally travel-heavy card offerings.
A “COVID credit card”, therefore, is one that offers the flexibility to handle a vast array of situations. These “COVID cards” provide the best options for Americans to make the most financially during the current pandemic.
Examples of Great COVID Cards
A good COVID card provides value during the good times – and the bad. But what are some of the best examples of credit cards that fit into this unique category?
Cash Back Cards for COVID
Cash back rewards are always popular, and there are several excellent examples of these rewards cards on the market today. Cards like the Discover it Cash Back, Chase Freedom and Freedom Unlimited, and U.S. Bank Cash+ are all popular options in this category. These cards allow consumers to earn either accelerated cash back on select, rotating categories, or a basic, enhanced rate of cash back on every purchase.
Cash back is a great way to insulate yourself from outbreaks, pandemics, or other unprecedented financial and health emergencies. Most issuers also offer redemption options other than cash back, including travel bookings, merchandise, or even transfers to other airline or hotel loyalty programs. Those who prefer their rewards as cold, hard cash, however, can usually enjoy statement credits, deposits into associated bank accounts, or other money-related options.
Related Article: The Best Cash Back Credit Cards for 2020
COVID Travel Cards
While travel cards offer little value when it comes to booking a flight in the current climate, these cards provide exceptional, well-rounded perks for cardholders.
The Green Card from American Express, for example, earns 3X Membership Rewards points on rideshares, taxis, and local transit within the “travel” category (and not just flights and hotels). The Green Card also offers 3X points per dollar on worldwide dining, including delivery services like Uber Eats. These benefits are further bolstered by the addition of the same streaming service and mobile phone statement credits that come with other premium Amex cards during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Other exceptional travel cards, like the Chase Sapphire Reserve, also offer limited-time coronavirus perks, such as travel statement credits applying towards grocery and dining purchases.
The better option of the Chase cards, however, is the Sapphire Preferred. The Preferred only provides 2X Ultimate Rewards points on dining and travel, which is less than the 3X the Reserve offers. The Sapphire Preferred also has an annual fee that is $475 lower than the Reserve’s.
Premium Credit Cards During COVID
For those willing to pay a high annual fee, the best option lies with the Mastercard Black Card from Luxury Card. Intended for those with excellent credit scores and a high income, the Black Card offers the height of luxury and everyday value in one unique metal package.
While the $495 annual fee may sound steep, the card offers so much for that price that cardholders quickly redeem that cost. Beyond enhanced value on both travel and cash back redemptions, customers also enjoy:
- Complimentary ShopRunner membership
- $10 Lyft credit each month after five rides
- 10% hotel discount through onefinestay
- The Ultimate Golf program, which allows cardholders access to prestigious golf clubs and tournaments, tee time booking at popular courses, and the ability to create their own unforgettable golfing experience, anywhere worldwide
- The Luxury Dining Collection (for getting those hard-to-come-by socially distanced reservations)
- 15% discount on luggage delivery through Global Luggage Delivery
The best feature of all of Luxury Card’s products, however, is access to the Luxury Card Concierge. Far from just another hotel reservation and ticket purchasing hotline, the Luxury Concierge caters to your every whim. Some of the more impressive uses of the service include arranging for the return of stuffed animals left behind at hotels by customers, finding the best school districts in a new city, and even arranging a marriage proposal on a Jumbotron in Times Square – in just two hours.
Related Article: Why Luxury Card Offers the Best Luxury Credit Cards of 2020
0% Intro APR Cards
Getting a credit card with a lengthy interest-free introductory period is a great choice – especially since Americans’ finances are stretched thin due to the economic shutdown. If you’re looking for a COVID credit card to pay down debt, there are plenty of great options on the market today.
Nearly every bank offers a balance transfer credit card, with the Navy Federal Visa Platinum and the Citi Diamond Preferred Mastercard being notable examples. These cards offer introductory 0% APR periods of 12 months or more. The Citi card, in particular, offers an impressive 18 months without interest charges.
There are also other types of debt consolidation cards available, such as the Upgrade Card. These hybrid cards are like balance transfer cards. However, they require transferring one’s credit line to a bank account, then paying off any debts.
Related Article: Fed Rate Cuts: Should You Refinance Your Credit Card Debt?