Credit card rewards can help pay for groceries during coronavirus — here's how

Use your rewards to buy food and other necessities.

Rewards points and perks accumulated from your reward credit card can be used to purchase everyday necessities such as food, restaurant delivery, entertainment or other items during the coronavirus pandemic.

It's important to understand the card details and the specific rewards programs — like cashback rewards — you're signed up for. Utilizing these credit card rewards, including airline points (or travel credits), means more cash is available for other essential purchases or bills such as your auto or student loan.

Credit card companies offer a variety of rewards programs and benefits that you may not be aware of. If you're interested in opening a reward credit card to help cash-in on some of these perks, use Credible's free online tool to compare cards currently available and find the one that meets your criteria.

Still not sure what you're looking for after learning about the card details? Here's a closer look at how a reward credit card can help as you navigate a new normal.

How to use credit card rewards during the coronavirus crisis

Credit card companies provide various reward rates and redemption options, such as credits to your statement, gift cards and paying for purchases with rewards points. You can also use Credible to see what rewards credit cards are offering right now to help you maximize the value every time you swipe.

Instead of trying to increase the number of points on your credit card, consider using these benefits now so you can allocate money towards your mortgage, essential household items or other bills, especially if some of the points are expiring soon.


Consumers who are carrying a balance on their credit card can choose to use credits toward their statements. If you’re cash strapped or concerned you might lose your job, this option might be worthwhile (even if the value decreases).

Many credit cards offer cash back or money for a percentage of your purchases, depending on the category. You can lower your balance and a larger percentage of the amount you pay will go towards the principal amount and not towards your interest payment. Here's everything you need to know about cash back credit cards.

Another option is to use your points or miles credit card to buy gift cards at various retailers, including clothing, electronics and home improvement stores. The gift cards can be used toward your purchase of a new washing machine, refrigerator or other essential items to replace older models.


The points accumulated from travel cards or dining credit cards can also be used to pay for groceries or a meal from a restaurant.

Consumers can compare their current credit cards and the rewards and benefits offered with other ones by using Credible. If you’re looking to apply for a new card with rewards and other bonuses that are more suited to your current lifestyle, you can compare all credit cards on Credible.

How to take advantage of food delivery benefits

Credit cards geared for dining can also help offset the cost of food delivery from popular apps. Use your rewards points towards the purchase of food from various restaurants or use a delivery app if you do not want to do curbside pickup. Check your credit card issuer's current restaurant or delivery offers from their website or app since they can vary from month to month. Some card companies will offer a substantial credit each year, which can mean your next lunch or dinner is free or largely discounted.


How to maximize rewards for non-travel redemptions

If you’re not planning to travel anytime soon, consider cashing in your rewards points for gift cards or other merchandise you were planning to buy such as upgrading your laptop or a household appliance. Redeeming your rewards is one way of keeping your rewards active. The policy at some credit card companies means that your rewards points will expire in 18 to 24 months if there is no activity. If you do not want to purchase anything, you can also donate them to a non-profit organization such as a food bank. A donation will reset your expiration date.

Gift cards can be purchased for a variety of businesses, including adult and children’s clothing, cosmetics, home improvement, furniture, electronic and outdoor recreation stores. You can use gift cards for online shopping, too.