What Should You Do If The COVID-19 Economy Gets In The Way Of Earning A Credit Card Bonus?

Everything has changed. You may have opened a new small business credit card, and your business is temporarily closed under a ‘shelter in place’ order. Or you’re just pending less in light of uncertainty in the economy.

Maybe you’re stuck at home, buying groceries but you had planned for big expenses you’re putting off (like travel!). I’m sure there are many readers wondering how they’re going to meet the minimum spend requirement for those credit card bonuses.

I actually think this is a good question. I’ve heard some complaining about people asking on Twitter, that it’s somehow unimportant, however:

  • Our points are a currency, and it’s a great idea to secure your assets as much as possible.

  • There’s so much out of our control right now, I think it’s reasonable to focus on the things we can control.

On behalf of a reader looking for advice on spend requirements for a new Capital One card he’d opened I asked Capital One what to expect. Here’s what they offered,

We understand the concern and uncertainty people may be experiencing surrounding the coronavirus (COVID-19) and are committed to being responsive to the needs of our customers and associates as the situation evolves. We also understand that there may be instances where customers find themselves facing certain difficulties. Capital One is here to help, and we encourage customers who may be impacted to reach out, so we can discuss and try to find a solution.

It’s the general ‘we’re here for our customers’ response without a lot of specifics on initial card bonuses, but the advice to call is sound – rather than just let things run their course and potentially miss a bonus.

The reader actually did call, and Capital One didn’t really know what to do with the question at first. He relays,

  • He was put on hold, and the agent came back and said there was no policy to address customers spending less at this time and missing an initial bonus.

  • He escalated to a supervisor. The supervisor confirmed “the issue had not been addressed” and that the focus has been on making accommodations for customers with challenges making their payments so far.

  • The supervisor suggested that as the deadline for meeting minimum spend approached he should call again and “request a special exception extension.”

It’s a novel but important question. I reached out to Chase to see what they were planning to do, and prompted for an update, but they haven’t yet responded with their plan. However I’ve seen at least one data point of a customer reporting that they reached out to Chase and were given an extension of time to meet required spend on a new card.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Chase only responds when they sense they will miss out on money. Example: I called to fish for whether there was a retention offer available for the CSR back in January. Nope, nothing.

    I called again two weeks ago and asked the same question. Same answer. Then I said I wanted to cancel it. OMG! Look! A $100 credit appeared!

    Cancelled anyways. They should have tried to care about their customers to begin with.

  2. Use hotels.com &or other OLTAs to book hotels for next winter on pre-paid but refundable rates. That is, IF you have the money in the bank to pay off the card to avoid interest charges. After normalcy has returned & you have spent the money elsewhere, cancel some unneeded reservations to bring your card back to near a zero balance.

  3. Your reader really should start to looks at their priorities in life, and they have got quite a shock coming if they think a credit card bonus is one of them

    There’s a field hospital being built in central park. If this isn’t enough of a sign, then I pity you.

  4. Same situation for me and a Citi card… guess I’ll start by contacting them and see what, if anything, they say.

  5. I was wondering the same thing about Southwest Companion pass and if they will extend the time for lose use due to the virus?

  6. Gary,

    Is this REALLY something people should care about? If job loss/reduction, stock market losses, working/education from home and pretty much anything you want to do is closed don’t impact or matter to you then I guess worrying about qualifying spend on a credit card can keep you up at night!

    Jesus Christ – what a sorry idea at this time. I guess you have to keep shilling for the credit card companies or your blog goes away. A good byproduct of this will be all the overlapping, repetitive or inane blogs that go dark – can’t wait!!

  7. I can pay my property tax installment with my Delta AX card; that alone will take care of matters. Even though there is a convenience fee it may well be worth it for the points bonus. I have to pay the property tax anyway.

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