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These COVID-19 Credit Card Perks Won't Last Long

A woman being handed her takeout order from an employee outside a restaurant.

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It's safe to say that credit card companies have had to make some major adjustments in 2020. Even though many credit cards are packed with features, the coronavirus pandemic has reduced the value of some of those features. Annual travel credits and bonus rewards on hotel or airline purchases are suddenly a lot less valuable when you can't go anywhere.

Cardholders will often stop using cards that don't offer features they can benefit from. Card issuers are getting around this problem by creating limited-time lockdown offers. If you're wondering what the best COVID-19 credit card perks are, check these ones out.

Streaming service benefits

Streaming services were already popular before the pandemic, but at this point, they're practically a necessity. If you're going to be at home all the time, entertainment is a must. And fortunately, several credit cards are offering more benefits for streaming services:

One thing several card issuers have done well is to add new bonus categories that are a better fit for people's current spending habits. Consumers are dining out less, which means they're ordering takeout or delivery or spending more on groceries to cook at home. Airfare bookings are way down, but travel restrictions have also stoked more interest in road trips, which means more gas spending.

Here are the credit cards offering the most bonus rewards in areas where consumers are spending more:

  • The Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card and several other Chase Marriott credit cards earn 10 points per $1 on gas station and restaurant purchases (this includes restaurant purchases using GrubHub, DoorDash, and other eligible delivery services). Activation is required, and the offer applies to up to $3,500 in purchases made between July 15 and Sept. 15.
  • The Chase Sapphire Reserve® earns 5 points per $1 at gas stations and on qualifying Instacart deliveries and pickups. The Chase Sapphire Preferred® credit card earns 3 points per $1 on these purchases. Bonus rates apply on up to $3,000 in Instacart purchases and up to $1,500 in gas spending from July 1 to Sept. 30.
  • The Chase Freedom Unlimited® credit card earns 5% back on grocery store purchases (not including Target or Walmart) on up to $12,000 spent in the first year you have the card. This is a limited-time offer (although Chase hasn't announced a specific end date) available only to new cardholders.

Bigger sign-up bonuses

Several Southwest and United credit cards are currently offering their biggest sign-up bonuses. If you think you'll book flights with either airline in the future, then it could make sense to jump on one of these bonuses and stock up on rewards:

  • Earn 65,000 Rapid Rewards points for spending $2,000 on purchases in three months with any of Chase's personal Southwest cards (the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card, the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card, or the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card). There's no official end date, but this offer is expected to end Sept. 21.
  • Earn 100,000 MileagePlus miles for spending $5,000 on purchases in three months with the United ClubSM Infinite Card. Offer ends Sept. 30.
  • Earn 60,000 MileagePlus miles for spending $3,000 on purchases in three months with the UnitedSM Explorer Card. Offer ends Sept. 30.

New perks offering more value

Those top COVID-19 credit card perks are just highlights -- they are far from the only ones out there. Since so many credit cards are offering special perks, it's worth checking whether your current cards have new benefits you didn't know about. And if you like any of the offers mentioned above, there's still time to take advantage and apply.

Our credit card expert uses this card, and it could earn you $1,148 (seriously)

As long as you pay them off each month, credit cards are a no-brainer for savvy Americans. They protect against fraud far better than debit cards, help raise your credit score, and can put hundreds (or thousands!) of dollars in rewards back in your pocket each year.

But with so many cards out there, you need to choose wisely. This top-rated card offers the ability to pay 0% interest on purchases until late 2021, has some of the most generous cash back rewards we’ve ever seen (up to 5%!), and somehow still sports a $0 annual fee.

That’s why our expert – who has reviewed hundreds of cards – signed up for this one personally. Click here to get free access to our expert’s top pick.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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