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Stuck at home: Credit cards we’ve applied for during the pandemic

April 14, 2020
6 min read
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Even though we're grounded because of coronavirus concerns, that hasn't stopped the TPG credit cards team from applying for new credit cards. For many frequent travelers, now is a good time to rack up miles for an amazing redemption for late 2020 or 2021.

Our current travel hiatus has given us the opportunity to apply for some cards with excellent sign-up bonuses to build points that can be used for future travel. TPG staffers are also figuring out ways to maximize points on their credit card purchases in bonus categories like groceries, restaurant takeout and online shopping,

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Here are a few of the cards TPG writers have applied for since staying home:

Katie Genter, credit cards reporter - CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® Mastercard®

The CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® Mastercard® is currently offering 65,000 miles after spending $4,000 in purchases within the first four months of account opening. I applied when the sign-up bonus was slightly lower. The current terms on this card allow you to earn the sign-up bonus as long as you haven't received a new account bonus for a CitiBusiness/AAdvantage Platinum Select account in the past 48 months, so I decided to apply once I was eligible to earn the bonus again.

Granted, many travelers are focusing on earning transferable points during the coronavirus crisis since doing so guards against program devaluation or termination. But, since I prioritize earning American Airlines Executive Platinum elite status each year -- which allows me to redeposit miles on canceled award tickets without any fees -- and tend to travel on a lot of one-way award flights, AAdvantage miles provide solid value to me and are a valuable currency for me to continue to collect even while I'm grounded due to the coronavirus crisis.

The information for the CitiBusiness AAdvantage Platinum card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Related reading: Choosing the best credit card for American Airlines flyers

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Madison Blancaflor, credit cards writer - Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card

(Photo by Wyatt Smith/The Points Guy)
(Photo by Wyatt Smith/The Points Guy)

The Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card currently offers 35,000 bonus miles after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Even though it will be a hot minute before I'm back in the air, I took the opportunity to apply for the card before the recent limited-time offer expired on April 1.

The chance to earn up to 70,000 miles after meeting minimum spend requirements was just too compelling to pass up — especially since Amex is now giving cardholders who apply between Dec. 1, 2019, and May 31, 2020, a three-month extension on hitting welcome bonus spending thresholds. I now have six months to hit that rather than three.

Later this year, I'm (hopefully) moving to New York City, where I'll have access to a Delta hub (right now I live in Charlotte, an American Airlines hub). With Delta frequently offering last-minute flight deals, this bonus will be a great jumping off point for late 2020 and early 2021 flying. And since the card recently added 2x miles at U.S. supermarkets and restaurants, I can earn bonus rewards on weekly grocery bills and takeout while hitting the welcome bonus in the coming months.

It's an entry-level card with an introductory annual fee of $0 for the first year, then $99 (see rates and fees), so it was a no-brainer to add it to my wallet.

Related reading: Choosing the best credit card for Delta flyers

Chris Dong, credit cards writer - Citi Premier® Card

While we're all on a travel hiatus, I figured now would be a good time to diversify my points-earning portfolio and open my first ThankYou® Rewards program card. Although American Membership Rewards and Chase Ultimate Rewards often get top billing, Citi ThankYou Rewards (along with Capital One Rewards) are no slouches either. That's because all of these points currencies have a selection of airline or hotel partners eligible for transfer.

I was drawn to the Citi Premier for three main reasons: A generous 80,000-point welcome bonus (after spending $4,000 within the first three months of account opening), strong category bonuses and a decent array of ThankYou partners. I paid the most attention to Citi's partnerships with Air France/KLM Flying Blue, Avianca LifeMiles, and Virgin Atlantic Flying Club -- programs where you really can get outsized value.

Also, based on TPG's latest valuations, 80,000 ThankYou points are worth approximately $1,360 when transferred to one of Citi's 15 airline partners. Unfortunately, as of Apr. 10, 2021, the Citi ThankYou Travel Center will devalue redemptions going from a fixed 1.25 cents per point to a flat 1 cent per point. However, with 3x points per dollar on airfare, hotels, gas stations, restaurants and supermarkets, and 1x point on all other purchases, I will still find value in everyday spending.

Related reading: Should you be applying for credit cards right now?

Bottom line

Are you dreaming of traveling when this is all over? Check out the best limited-time offers for April to stock up on points. If you're more interested in saving money on expenses while travel is paused, look at some of the best cash-back credit cards. Or, if you need help temporarily financing new purchases during the crisis, a 0% APR credit card could help you in the short term.

Now is definitely not the time to be traveling, but you can use this time at home to save up for a great vacation once pandemic concerns wane and travel is once again safe.

For rates and fees of the Delta SkyMiles Gold, please click here.

Featured image by (Photo by Orli Friedman / The Points Guy)
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.