In February, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) reported the largest outbreak of the coronavirus outside of China on the Diamond Princess cruise ship. Soon, reports of Americans contracting the virus after traveling both domestically and internationally emerged. This resulted in travel restrictions by the CDC and the Department of Homeland Security. With officials warning against jet-setting for the time being, companies are sprucing up their travel benefits. Here’s what you can do with your credit card travel miles now.
Redeem Points For Statement Credit
Credit card companies and banks are offering eligible cardholders a chance to redeem points and earn a statement credit towards purchases outside of traveling.
- Chase introduced a new ‘Pay Yourself Back’ feature that allows Chase Sapphire Reserved and Preferred holders to apply points towards existing purchases in select categories. Points will be worth 25% or 50% more when they are redeemed for grocery, home improvement, and dining services.
- American Express also issued new statement credit benefits for eligible cardholders who purchase certain entertainment and telephone services. The statement credit earned depends on the type of AMEX card you have. For instance, both the Platinum and Business AMEX cards allow for up to $20 back until the end of the year.
Earn More Miles and Bonus Points With Groceries
Now you can earn more miles picking up milk from your local market.
- American Express Delta Skymiles holders can earn four miles per dollar spent at supermarkets from now until the end of July. Additionally, Marriott Bonvoy and Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant AMEX holders earn six points per dollar spent. Hilton Honors Surpass and Aspire earn 12 points per dollar.
- All Chase cardholders can earn bonus points on supermarket purchases. Reserved holders can earn five points per dollar spent, while Preferred earns three points per dollar spent. Not to mention that the $300 travel credit that comes on Reserve cards can also be used towards grocery and gas station purchases.
- For Citi Prestige cardholders, the annual $250 travel credit can be spent on groceries and restaurant services, including takeout.
Bonus Miles on Any Purchase
American Airlines is offering AAdvantage cardholders one mile towards Million Miller status for every dollar spent. This incentive started back in May and ends on December 31, 2020. Reaching Million Miller status means that travelers can earn an additional 35,000 bonus miles after gaining a million miles.
Once cardholders reach two million miles, they are eligible for four one-way systemwide upgrades American Airlines has to offer. These upgrades include using one-way travel for up to three segments on American and American Eagle operated flights along with many other benefits.
Share The Wealth
If you are not planning on traveling anytime soon, someone else out there may be ready to take that risk. By donating your unused points and miles, not only are you spreading goodwill, but your account typically updates. If you are unsure of where to donate your rewards, hotels such as the Marriott Bonvoy has numerous charities you can donate to. You can also purchase gift cards with your points or miles and donate them. You can donate the gift cards to a local food bank using Charity Choice.
Cancel Expensive Cards
Exercise cancel culture by canceling your expensive, unused credit cards. With the travel restrictions imposed, you might not be traveling anytime soon. In that case, rather than continuing to pay off a credit card you are not using, cancel them or downgrade to maintain your credit history.
If you cancel your card within 30 to 60 days of when your fee is billed, most banks usually will refund your annual fee. However, even if you cancel after the alotted time, many banks still will issue a prorated refund of the fee.
Take Advantage of Hotel Rewards Programs
If you are a member of any hotel loyalty program, you’re in luck. Some hotels are extending their expiration dates on rewards and offering other incentives in light of the virus.
- The Hilton Honors rewards program is offering elite members a year extension on their status. For instance, if your 2019 status was set to expire on February 3, 2020, it was automatically extended to February 3, 2021.
- Hyatt is also extending their status and benefits. Elite members will receive automatic extensions through February 28, 2022. Since redeeming points may not be an option right now, you can convert them into miles with one of Hyatt’s travel partners. You can also earn miles by making purchases with a World of Hyatt Credit Card.
While your trip to Turks and Caicos this summer may be on hold, there are many options you can take to make sure your miles don’t go to waste. Whether you are ready to risk it all by dining at an indoor restaurant or you’re feeling charitable, you can make your miles benefit you without stepping foot outside of the U.S.