How to Turn Unused Credit Card Rewards Into Holiday Gifts

You may be able to use rewards or credits to cover food, charitable donations, streaming services, exercise programs and more.
Kimberly PalmerNov 10, 2020

Many or all of the products featured here are from our partners who compensate us. This may influence which products we write about and where and how the product appears on a page. However, this does not influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own. Here is a list of our partners and here's how we make money.

Some of the offers mentioned in this article have expired, so this page is out of date. 

If you’re celebrating the holiday season at home this year because of the , then you probably aren’t using up your travel rewards points. Instead of watching those points languish, consider turning them into holiday gifts — you can stretch your budget while taking advantage of new offers from credit card issuers.

Amid the pandemic, many card issuers are offering more flexibility when it comes to points redemptions, as well as extra statement credits. With 1 in 3 holiday shoppers who accrued credit card debt last holiday season , using credit card rewards to finance gifts can be a great way to celebrate the season while avoiding additional debt.

Here are some examples of limited-time offers you can take advantage of this year.

» MORE:

Through the end of the year, holders of the and the can use their miles to cover . That means instead of using your miles to fly home to see family, you can use them to send them a nice holiday takeout meal. You could even join them for it over Zoom.

Capital One isn’t the only issuer offering points-for-food conversions: Bank of America® is too. Through the end of the year, holders of the and the can for 1 penny per point. And if you have the , you can earn a $50 statement credit to use toward those same categories, also through the end of 2020.

On an ongoing basis, holders of the Chase Freedom cards — the , the and the — can redeem points (for 1.25 cents each) for statement credits to to qualifying charitable organizations. The is offering the same perk, but only through April 30, 2021.

It's also an option for holders of the through April 30, 2021, but at a rate of 1.5 cents per point.

» MORE:

Holders of the received 150 bonus Stars earlier this year as part of Chase’s efforts to help consumers during the pandemic.

That , hot breakfast or parfait — so if you haven’t redeemed them yet, consider putting them toward a (socially distanced) holiday date with a friend.

Eight months into the pandemic, we're still looking for new ways to keep ourselves entertained indoors. For a limited time, with , you earn up to toward certain streaming services, including Netflix, Spotify, Disney+ and more. (UPDATE: This benefit expired at the end of 2020.) Terms apply (see ).

That means you could earn the credit by purchasing one of those streaming services for a loved one.

» MORE: 

In addition, for a limited time, holders of can get $100 back if they make a Dell.com purchase of $100 or more. This offer runs through Jan. 31, 2021. Terms apply.

For a limited time, holders of can purchase a membership to at-home fitness program Variis by Equinox and earn . Holders of the will receive $10 back each month. (For both cards, the offer ends June 30, 2021.) And other eligible AmEx cardholders will receive $10 back each month for the first three months of Variis membership, through April 1, 2021. Terms apply (see on the ).

If Peloton is more your speed, both the  and the are toward eligible memberships. The Preferred card will grant cardholders up to $60 in statement credits on Peloton Digital and All-Access memberships through Dec. 31, 2021. The Reserve will offer up to $120 in statement credits on Peloton Digital and All-Access memberships, also through Dec. 31, 2021.

Through April 30, 2021, Chase is offering a feature that allows some cardholders to redeem points for statement credits against purchases made at grocery stores, restaurants (including takeout and delivery) and home improvement. Holders of the can make those redemptions for 1.25 cents per point. For holders of the , it’s 1.5 cents per point. Usually, cardholders enjoy those higher rates only on travel purchases made through the .

If you’re spending more to get ready for the holidays, this benefit can offset some of your costs.

Some cards also let you redeem travel points for cash back at the same rate.

It’s not always the best redemption option. But at a time when travel may be limited, it can help decrease some of the costs of the holidays and even reduce your chances of accruing credit card debt from all that additional spending, which is a real gift to yourself.

To view rates and fees of , see . To view rates and fees of the , see .

Information related to the has been collected by NerdWallet and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card.

On a similar note...
Dive even deeper in Credit Cards