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By Jason Steele
August 10, 2020
Money; Getty Images

We all hoped that the COVID crisis would be over by now. But it isn't. Six months after the first recorded death in the United States from COVID-19, infections are resurgent and it appears that life won't be returning to normal anytime soon.

Now may be the time to consider if you need to make changes to your credit card strategy to include a card that's more suited to the world we live in today.

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What Is a 'COVID Credit Card,' Exactly?

No credit card issuers are marketing any of their products as "COVID Credit Cards." But the phrase could be used to describe as a card that best meets the financial challenges Americans are facing during this unprecedented time. These challenges includes uncertainties surrounding their health, their income and their desire and ability to travel in the near future.

For example, people working in the industries most affected by the pandemic may be facing fluctuations in their income, and may benefit from having a credit card that offers them 0% APR promotional financing on new purchases, balance transfers or both.

On the other hand, those who have been earning travel rewards from their credit cards may wish to change their points strategy now that their travel has been indefinitely curtailed. Then there are those who may still want or need to travel, and are looking for benefits that will cover the cardholder and their traveling companions if their trip is cancelled or interrupted due to quarantine or sickness.

Best 0% APR Credit Card During COVID: Citi® Diamond Preferred®

This card can be ideal for those who have had their income disrupted and could benefit from one of the most valuable interest free financing offers currently available: Pay no interest until 2022 with this card's 18 months of 0% APR financing on both new purchases and balance transfers.

The Citi Diamond Preferred card does have a a 3% balance transfer fee, but there's no annual fee. Otherwise, this is a very simple credit card that offers no rewards and few cardholder benefits. But if you need to go the next year an a half without paying any interest charges, the drawbacks won't matter much.

Best Credit Card for Cash Back and Miles: Citi® Double Cash

If you're not traveling due to COVID-related concerns and restrictions, then you won't have any need for frequent flyer miles. At the same time, you may be looking forward to when it's safe to travel again, and you might want to retain some flexibility with your credit card rewards.

The Citi Double Cash has long been recognized as one of the best cash back rewards cards. You can earn 1% cash back when you make any purchases with the card, and another 1% cash back when you pay for your purchases, for a total of up to 2% back, with no limits.

But this card has another trick up its sleeve. If you're dreaming of using your rewards to return to the skies in the future, you should know that you can redeem the cash back towards points in Citi's ThankYou® points rewards program.

These points can then be transferred to miles with 16 different frequent flyer programs, including JetBlue, Air France/KLM, Singapore and Virgin Atlantic. You'll receive one airline mile for every cent of cash back redeemed, and your miles can be worth much more than that when redeemed for expensive last-minute tickets or for seats in international business or first class. There's no annual fee for this card, which also comes with 18 months of 0% APR financing on balance transfers, along with a 3% balance transfer fee.

Best Credit Card for Travel Benefits: Chase Sapphire Reserve

If you've already resumed traveling or you're one of the few who never really stopped, then it would be good to have a credit card that can protect you if you or a companion is quarantined or contracts COVID. The Chase Sapphire Reserve offers $10,000 of trip cancellation and trip interruption coverage that covers loss caused by a range of problems, including both illness and any quarantine imposed by a physician for health reasons. It even offers $100,000 of emergency medical evacuation and transportation coverage if you need to return home for treatment. Other travel coverage that can be useful includes trip delay reimbursement, roadside assistance and rental car insurance.

The Sapphire Reserve offers 3x points per dollar spent on all travel and dining, and these Ultimate Rewards points are worth 1.5 cents towards reservations booked through Chase Travel. New applicants earn 50,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 on purchases within the first three months from account opening. There's a $550 annual fee for this card, and no foreign transaction fees.

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Bottom Line

We're living in a different world than the one that existed at the beginning of the year, and it could be the right time to get a new credit card that reflect this new reality. By finding the right COVID credit card for your needs, you can be sure to have the best method of payment for as long as this pandemic persists.

More From Money:

Best Cash Back Credit Cards of 2020

The Best 0% APR Credit Cards Available Right Now

Why I'm Keeping My Chase Sapphire Reserve Card, Even Though It Costs $550 a Year and I Can't Use Travel Rewards Right Now