The Coronavirus pandemic has cancelled travel plans across the globe, and it is likely to continue disrupting travel for some time. As of now, it’s likely that your vacation plans have been canceled, and you’ll have to stay home instead.
If you own a travel rewards credit card, you might wonder how to maximize your rewards program during the pandemic. Here’s what you should do with your credit card travel rewards until you are able to travel again or restrictions are lifted.
1. Know the Expiration Date of Your Rewards
General travel rewards cards often don’t have expiration dates for their rewards, so you won’t have to worry about them losing value. However, if your card is co-branded with an airline or hotel chain, your rewards might expire.
To find out when your rewards will expire, read the fine print of your credit card’s rewards program. Depending on the severity of the pandemic, you may be able to negotiate an extended expiration date, so you should start checking now.
2. Book a Future Trip
Consider booking a vacation far in the future if you want a vacation you can look forward to. That way, you can redeem your rewards and put something on your calendar. Many travel companies are currently offering great deals to entice customers.
Sadly, this is a risky gamble since there is no way to predict what will happen in the future in terms of the pandemic and travel restrictions. Just in case you need to cancel, any trip you plan should be fully refundable.
3. Save Up Your Points
Being unable to travel has an upside, however, since you can accumulate a large bank of rewards that you can later use on a trip of a lifetime. Here are some strategies for building your rewards bank:
- Focus on special purchase categories: Several travel rewards programs offer bonus rewards for certain categories of purchases. If your card offers bonus rewards on restaurant purchases, make sure you use it when eating out or ordering takeout.
- Shop at preferred vendors: Many credit cards offer online marketplaces where you can earn points with preferred vendors. Make sure you check to see if your credit card provider offers a marketplace where you can earn bonus points when you make a purchase (like a new gadget or some summer clothes).
- Use your card for common purchases: Consider using your plastic instead of cash if you usually pay with cash for certain things. Just be sure to pay off your purchase before the interest kicks in.
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