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COVID-19: Food Delivery Options and How Your Credit Card Can Help

July 1, 2020
Credit Cards, Rewards Credit Cards
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The COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically altered much about daily life, including one of our most essential routines — gathering food.

Many restaurants continue to operate, offering to-go service only, and grocery stores are generally considered essential businesses and remain open. But in a public health emergency, accompanied by shelter-in-place orders and social distancing, it’s no longer a simple feat to walk into these establishments at any time of day and buy a meal or the ingredients for one.

Meal and food delivery services abound, however, and many of them have adjusted their policies and procedures to account for the coronavirus outbreak. So even if you can’t get to the food, you can often have the food brought to you. What’s more, you may have a credit card that can help cover the cost of such services, or at least make the transaction easier.

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Restaurant deliveries

DoorDash

In mid-March 2020, DoorDash emailed customers instructions for requesting a no-contact delivery within the DoorDash app, and by March 19 the company had moved to no-contact delivery by default. DoorDash is also advertising waived delivery fees when you order from eligible local restaurants. 

Cards that can help

DoorDash has a partnership with Chase that results in special benefits on certain Chase cards. For starters, if you have the Chase Sapphire Reserve®, you get a $60 DoorDash credit in both 2020 and 2021.

Second, for a limited time, multiple Chase credit cards offer complimentary access to DashPass, DoorDash’s subscription delivery service. It grants you free deliveries and reduced “service fees” on certain orders from eligible restaurants on the DoorDash platform. A DashPass subscription normally runs you $9.99 a month.

The terms and length of the DashPass offer vary depending on which Chase card you have, but the Chase Sapphire Reserve® and the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card are the most generous, both offering complimentary access for at least one year after activation. (You must activate by Dec. 31, 2021.)

» MORE: Eligible Chase cards offer 5X back on DoorDash and Tock (limited time)

Uber Eats

Uber Eats, too, is advertising $0 delivery fees on orders from eligible local restaurants, and it also allows a “leave at door” option for customers who want a no-contact delivery.

Cards that can help

Among its many perks, The Platinum Card® from American Express offers $200 in Uber Cash annually, distributed on a monthly basis (up to $15 per month and up to $35 in December). You can use this benefit toward Uber Eats orders. Keep in mind that these monthly credits don’t carry over — if you don’t use them in the month they’re issued, you’ll lose them. Terms apply.

And of course if you have the Uber Credit Card, you can get rewarded specifically for your Uber and Uber Eats spending. The card earns 5% in Uber Cash on those purchases.

» MORE: Capital One letting you use miles on takeout, delivery, streaming (limited time)

Grubhub, Seamless

These two services operate under the same company umbrella. Both allow contact-free delivery, and both are allowing customers to donate change to a relief fund to help those affected by COVID-19.

Card that can help

The American Express® Gold Card offers up to $120 in annual dining credit. It comes in monthly $10 credits, and you can apply it toward a handful of eligible partners, including Grubhub and Seamless. Terms apply.

Grocery deliveries

From Instacart and Shipt to the apps of individual grocery stores, there’s no shortage of options for refilling your pantry without walking into a store. Finding an available delivery or pickup window, however, might be a different story, as demand for such services has skyrocketed.

If you’re shopping with a specific grocer online, a cash-back card that offers bonus rewards on groceries can help defray your expenses. The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express, for example, pays 6% cash back on up to $6,000 a year at U.S. supermarkets (then 1%); terms apply.

But two of the largest retailers in the world — Walmart and Amazon — also sell groceries and have sophisticated delivery systems for that purpose, not to mention branded credit cards that may make your shopping easier.

Walmart Grocery Pickup and Delivery

Walmart has adjusted its operating hours, in many cases closing earlier than normal to allow for restocking and sanitizing. Like other retailers, it has also started offering “special shopping hours,” before stores open, for older customers who may be more at risk from the coronavirus.

If you want to ensure a no-contact option, Walmart Grocery Pickup and Delivery is your best bet. A $30 minimum purchase typically applies, and you’ll owe a per-order delivery fee, assuming delivery is available in your area. (If you pay to join Walmart’s Delivery Unlimited service — for $12.95 monthly or $98 annually — you can avoid per-order fees.)

Card that can help

The Capital One® Walmart Rewards™ Mastercard® earns 5% back at Walmart.com and on purchases through the Walmart app. This includes purchases via Walmart Grocery Pickup and Delivery.

Amazon and its properties

Amazon says it has been working to increase capacity for delivery and pickup options, and it notes that its Whole Foods Market stores are still open. For now, the company is prioritizing the stocking of pantry and household items, and it’s also imposing a limit on the purchase of high-demand products.

You can buy certain foodstuffs on Amazon.com even without a $119-a-year Prime membership, but several of Amazon’s add-on services specialize in speedy grocery delivery, including Prime Now, Prime Pantry and Amazon Fresh. The availability of those services may depend on where you live, and minimum purchase amounts may apply. Customers who order deliveries from Amazon Prime Now, Amazon Fresh and Whole Foods can choose the “unattended delivery" option during checkout to avoid contact.

Card that can help

The Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card earns 5% back at Amazon.com and Whole Foods Market. (You must be an Amazon Prime member to get the card.)

Information related to the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card has been collected by NerdWallet and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card.

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