As more states ease coronavirus restrictions, you can finally plan that trip you’ve been postponing. Plus, you can celebrate upcoming holidays like Father's Day with less social distancing.
These events will inevitably include purchases, and your credit cards may offer some value in the form of rewards or helpful features. Here's how to make the most of them this month.
Plan for less-isolated events
In the excitement to spend time with friends and loved ones, it can be easy to stray from your budget. To make up for some of the cost, tap your credit cards for discounts or value.
If you’re treating dad to a meal, use a credit card that offers rewards at restaurants. The $0-annual-fee Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card earns 3% back on dining, streaming services, grocery stores and entertainment. All other purchases earn 1% back.
Alternatively, you can use the card to earn rewards at the grocery store by buying a gift card to dad’s favorite restaurant.
For other possible gift ideas, log into your credit card account. Some major credit card issuers like Chase and AmEx provide offers for shopping with select retailers.
This year, in-person Pride events are back. Whether you build up an appetite marching or supporting from the sidelines, a credit card that earns rewards on dining is a smart way to celebrate. You can even pick up the tab for your group and have friends pay you back to reap more rewards.
If you have a flat-rate credit card, it can also get decent value if you’re looking to make a donation or shop with brands that are donating proceeds to nonprofits that support the LGBTQ community. The Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer, for instance, offers 2% cash back: 1% when you make a purchase and 1% when you pay it off. It has a $0 annual fee.
Fourth of July
While you're planning an Independence Day barbecue, consider buying food and beverages with a card that earns rewards at grocery stores. The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express, for instance, gets 6% back at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases and earns rewards in other categories. It has an annual fee: $0 intro for the first year, then $95. Terms apply (see rates and fees).
If you prefer a $0 annual fee that won't go up after the first year, the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express earns 3% back at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 spent annually and it also rewards other categories. Terms apply (see rates and fees).
» MORE: Best credit cards for groceries
Book a long-awaited vacation
If you’ve been putting off travel during the pandemic, you may be ready to plan a much-needed getaway. The good news is that you have plenty of options when it comes to credit cards.
Buy now, pay later vs. 0% APR offers
With an AmEx credit card, you can now book flights on AmExTravel.com and pay later using the Plan It® feature. It allows you to pay off your bill in installments with a fixed monthly fee, so you'll know how much you're paying each month. There are also plenty of buy now, pay later travel offers through airlines and travel websites that don't require an AmEx.
Taking on debt to pay for a vacation isn’t ideal, especially if you can’t afford to pay the balance off right away. But if you're taking this route, you'll save more money on interest by financing a vacation with a card that has a lengthy 0% introductory APR offer. This can allow enough time to pay off the balance.
A card like the $0-annual-fee Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card offers a 0% intro APR for 12 billing cycles on purchases, and then the ongoing APR of 13.99% - 23.99% Variable APR. It also earns an unlimited 1.5 points per dollar spent on all purchases. You can defray some vacation costs with the card's sign-up bonus: 25,000 online bonus points after you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening - that can be a $250 statement credit toward travel purchases.
Introductory offers to jump-start your travel goals
If you’re willing to hold off on planning a vacation, you may be able to take one for a significantly lower cost — or no out-of-pocket cost at all — by getting a welcome offer. In the COVID vaccine era, many credit card issuers are serving up healthy introductory offers.
Here are a few to consider:
Southwest Airlines credit cards: New cardholders with a Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card ($69 annual fee), Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card ($99 annual fee) or Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card ($149 annual fee) can earn Earn 40,000 points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. Plus, earn 3X points on dining, including takeout and eligible delivery services, for the first year.
Hilton Honors American Express Card: Earn 100,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points after you spend $1,000 in purchases on the Card in the first 3 months of Card Membership. Offer expires 8/25/2021. Plus, earn up to $100 in statement credits on eligible purchases made on the Card at any of the Hilton family of hotels in the first 12 months of Card Membership. Offer expires 8/25/2021. Terms Apply. (see rates and fees). It has a $0 annual fee.
U.S. Bank Altitude® Connect Visa Signature® Card: Earn 50,000 bonus points when you spend $3,000 in eligible purchases within the first 120 days of account opening. That's a $500 value redeemable towards merchandise, gift cards, cash back, travel and more. It has an annual fee: $0 intro for the first year, then $95.
IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card: Earn 150,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening. It has an annual fee: $0 intro for the first year, then $89.
To view rates and fees of the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express, see this page.
To view rates and fees of the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express, see this page.
To view rates and fees of the Hilton Honors American Express Card, see this page.