June is usually a month of weddings, pool parties and other celebrations, like Father’s Day and the gear-up to the Fourth of July. But as priorities and budgets continue to evolve in line with the COVID-19 pandemic and protests for social justice, these traditional events are likely to look and feel different.
As you look to engage in these summer activities, you can also find ways to become engaged with your community. And your credit card can help you.
Support your community strategically
Donate your rewards
Money is tight for many right now. But even if you can't afford to give directly out of pocket, you can gift credit card rewards to a charity that aligns with your values.
Donating cash back is pretty straightforward. If, say, you have a card like the Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer, you'll earn 2% cash back on every purchase: 1% when you buy and 1% when you pay it back. Use that card for all of your everyday expenses and your cash back will stack up monthly. As long as you've amassed at least $25 in rewards in a billing cycle, you can cash it out and send it to the organization of your choice every month.
Some cards, like the Charity Charge World Mastercard® Credit Card, make donations even easier by automating the process.
Donating miles or points can be a little more complicated. Many travel cards offer such an option, but point values tend to be lower for those redemptions. Also — unlike with cold hard cash — you generally won't be eligible for a tax deduction for donating credit card points or miles to charity.
Nerdy tip: Keep in mind that if you're charging a donation directly to your credit card, the charity may be assessed a convenience fee or may ask if you'd like to cover that fee by giving more.
As businesses reopen nationwide, you can support local or minority-owned businesses with your patronage to help them recover from COVID-19 closures. And beyond merely earning rewards on dining, some credit cards are incentivizing the "burning" of rewards on takeout or delivery from restaurants.
Through Sept. 30, 2020, Capital One travel credit cardholders can redeem miles to cover things like restaurant delivery and takeout at a value of a penny per point — the same rate as for travel purchases.
Also through Sept. 30, the Chase Sapphire Reserve® and the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card are letting cardholders redeem points at elevated rates for statement credit against purchases at restaurants (including takeout and eligible delivery services), grocery stores and home improvement stores.
Plan for upcoming holidays
Look for opportunities to get more value as you hunt for Dad's gift. Double dip on incentives when possible by exploring your credit card's bonus mall, or shop via Rakuten, a cash-back website featuring a broad range of merchants. Either way, you can earn rewards via both your card and the site.
If you have a Chase or American Express credit card, you can explore one-time offers that provide discounts or cash back when you shop with qualifying merchants.
Fourth of July
A rewards credit card can pack additional incentives if you’re buying a new grill, decorations and food in advance of this Fourth of July. Browse your email inbox for new offers.
Or see if your credit card issuer has temporarily tweaked its offerings during the pandemic in a way that might benefit your spending.
For instance, the Discover it® Cash Back earns 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in quarterly spending in rotating bonus categories (activation required; all other spending earns 1% back). Initially, for Q2 2020, the card's bonus categories were wholesale clubs, gas stations and Uber and Lyft rides. But for June only, Discover has also added The Home Depot to the list of categories that qualify for the 5% rewards rate.
And as noted above, the two Chase Sapphire cards have temporarily incentivized the redemption of points toward purchases at home improvement stores.
As you’re navigating “the new normal” and planning summer events, set aside a few minutes for self-care with guided meditations via the Calm app. American Express credit cards are currently offering a complimentary year of Calm Premium, and half off the subscription price for the next year.
If you don’t have an AmEx credit card, you can still partake in some free meditations on Calm’s website.