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The coronavirus pandemic has had an enormous impact on nearly every aspect of our lives including how we travel, shop and work. Whether you’re under stay-at-home orders, in self-isolation or just doing your part to help society and staying home, we’ve all been affected.
However, even in times of severe disruption, there are still ways to optimize your rewards earnings. Even if you don’t have travel plans for the foreseeable future, you can use these travel credit cards to deliver real value while you social distance.
Chase Freedom Flex℠
The Chase Freedom Flex℠ credit card offers 5% cash back on the first $1,500 you spend on certain bonus categories that rotate each quarter.
As restaurants, bars and food trucks shut down, Americans are spending more money than ever at grocery stores, and the Chase Freedom Flex℠ lets you max out your points earnings when you make your weekly grocery run.
The Chase Freedom Flex℠ is also a $0 annual fee card, which means that you won’t have a pesky annual payment eating into the value of your rewards.
Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express
American Express offers an excellent card for those dealing with social distancing and isolation in the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express. It offers 6% cash back on the first $6,000 you spend at U.S. supermarkets every year plus 6% cash back on select streaming services, such as Netflix and Hulu. And while most Americans have severely cut back on their driving, it also offers 3% cash back for charges made at U.S. gas stations, as well as train tickets, bus fare, ride shares and even parking. Terms apply.
The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express offers another perk that can be particularly valuable as Americans face layoffs and economic uncertainty: 0% intro APR on Purchases for 12 months, and then the ongoing APR of 13.99%-23.99% Variable APR. Terms apply.
This means that you won’t have to make any interest payments on a balance you carry for the first year that you have the card. However, it should be noted that you will still need to make a minimum payment on your balance every month, and you will be responsible for interest payments on any balance you carry after the first year.
The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express does charge a $0 intro for the first year, then $95 annual fee, which you’ll need to factor in when you’re considering the value of the card. Terms apply.
If you’d like a card without an annual fee, you should consider the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express, which has a $0 annual fee, but offers only 3% back at U.S. supermarkets and has no bonus for streaming services. Terms apply.
Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card
If you’re already an Amazon Prime member, then the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card could be a lucrative card to get. While its perks are limited compared to other cards, it does offer two strong benefits for users who are stuck at home.
Whole Foods Cash Back: Not everyone shops at Whole Foods, but if that is your supermarket of choice, then Prime Rewards will give you 5% cash back for shopping there. Unlike other cards, there is no spending threshold that will phase out these earnings. That means no matter how many organic mangos or bottles of wheatgrass juice you buy, you’ll get 5% back on every one of them.
Amazon Cash Back: Many retail stores that don’t sell food are closed, which has driven people to do a hefty amount of their shopping online. If you’re an Amazon Prime member, then the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card will give you 5% cash back on all qualified purchases you make through Amazon — and like Whole Foods, there’s no spending cap.
The bottom line
We always want to see you get the most value back for every dollar you spend, particularly in times of economic uncertainty. So consider one of these cards if you’re looking for ways to make your money go further while you social distance at home for as long as necessary.
How to maximize your rewards
You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2021, including those best for:
Flexibility, point transfers and a large bonus: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
No annual fee: Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card
Flat-rate travel rewards: Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
Bonus travel rewards and high-end perks: Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Luxury perks: The Platinum Card® from American Express
Business travelers: Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card