TPG readers share their coronavirus shopping credit card wins
Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available. View the current offers here.
As I rolled into my second month of sheltering in place, I noticed a marked shift in my spending, from gas to groceries. I won't lie -- I've also been using my cards to buy things including crafting supplies, quilting fabric, a fancy office chair, another sewing machine, a new iPad, fancy foam slippers, a new computer monitor and a pair of vintage coupe glasses.
I knew I wasn't alone, so I asked members in the TPG Lounge and TPG Women Facebook groups to share some of their more interesting or big-splurge purchases while sheltering at home -- with bonus points for maximizing credit card points and miles. Their answers are below; they have been lightly edited for context.
Bonnie C.: Staying at home has been expensive for us. I ordered grass sod to replace the entire front yard. I also used my Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card to add drip irrigation to keep it from dying in a Texas summer, and then called a contractor to replace and expand an old deck and build a pave stone retaining wall.
Charmaine De G.: Our basement movie theater (is) my husband’s quarantine project. It’s not done yet though, but total spending on it right now is about $15,000 -- but it’s all paid for by the end of the statement period. We put all of our spend on the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card right now since we want to get the Companion Pass! We live in D.C. and we just got the annual pass for Disney World, and we really want to be able to fly down there on random weekends if we’re able to!
Kayla J.: I bought my mom an iPad. I bought myself a bobblehead of Ruth Bader Ginsburg and silk pajamas. The iPad helped with some miles, since I used the Chase Freedom (No longer open to new applicants) for 1.5 points per dollar spent, then double dipped with 6x Apple purchases through an airline shopping portal.
The information for the Chase Freedom 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.
Jon H.: A bottle of Lagavulin Offerman Edition 11-year-old malt whiskey. I don’t drink whiskey. I just wanted it (and) it coded as groceries on my Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card, so I figured why not? It wasn’t crazy expensive but for something to just look at, it was an impulse purchase.
Amy S.: I just repurposed the travel budget for a few trips that are canceled, to buy a hot tub over the phone and put it on my The Platinum Card® from American Express.
Dominic B.: I just signed up for a Chase Sapphire Reserve card and will be putting a new hot tub on it. The old one is getting pretty tired and is being held together by rubber bands and such. It's time.
Related reading: Amex Platinum 100k, Amex Gold 75k offers available via CardMatch
Alex Z.: My big splurge was purchasing Aeroplan miles with this current promotion. I was able to get 114,000 miles for $1,284 for 1.1 cents a mile, which is enough for a round-trip business-class flight anywhere in Europe.
Michele S.: I’ve got a new iPhone 11 and a new iPad, and paid through the American Airlines shipping portal to get 6 miles per dollar spent and used my Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard® to get more American miles and some Dos Hombres Mezcal.
Related reading: Maximizing redemptions with American Airlines AAdvantage
Around the house
Vanessa M.: We got a rescue dog! Her medical and vet bills in the last month have been more than we expected (not to mention toys and a much-needed pink dog rain coat). We had just got the no-annual-fee Chase Ink Business Unlimited Card and used it for her adoption fee and all doctor's appointments, mostly for the 1.5 points per dollar spent and to hit our minimum spend. We'll transfer the points to our Chase Sapphire Reserve for the 1.5 cent travel redemption. She's pretty cute, too!
Alanna M.: I had some trips refunded, so my credit card account is at a negative. I’ve been using the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and working on Christmas shopping for my grandkids. This is an early start even for me, but those looming negative points stare at me when I log into my account!
Michelle S.: I paid my $8,000 tax bill to earn 75,000 bonus points on my Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card and, of course, paid the balance off right away.
Related reading: Ten commandments for travel rewards credit cards
Andrew B.: I finally bought a Roomba off Amazon, where I used the [now expired] Discover card promo to get 20% off. But most of the purchase was paid with an Amazon gift card that was bought with my American Express® Gold Card, netting me 6 Membership Rewards points per dollar spent under the current offer.
Carolyn B.: We got a new roof and put the whole thing on our Capital One Spark Cash for Business. For whatever reason, the credit limit was just $5,000 so we are paying it off in increments back to the roof company. As for Capital One, it didn’t budge on the paltry credit limit, so the minute we realize our sign-up bonus, we are out.
Marguerite B.: I bought a new wine fridge on (my) Amex Platinum card.
Related reading: How to increase your credit limit
We're trapped at home, desperate for any kind of entertainment -- including online shopping. While it can be comforting to make those splurge purchases -- especially when using a credit card -- remember that unless you pay cash, that bill will come due.