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No annual fee and all of the miles earned at the end of your first year are matched
Chase Sapphire Preferred®
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80,000 bonus point offer plus a $50 statement credit on grocery purchases
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$300 welcome offer and save big on groceries at U.S. supermarkets
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How your credit card rewards can help you pay for groceries, food delivery and essentials during coronavirus

Here's how you can use credit card rewards and benefits to offset the cost of essential purchases, such as groceries and food delivery, amid the coronavirus pandemic.

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Credit card issuers are temporarily offering waived late fees or the ability to skip payments for cardholders affected by the coronavirus pandemic. But if you have the ability to keep using your credit card at this time, it may help you afford essential purchases.

If you haven't already, take a look into whether your credit card's rewards or benefits will help you save on groceries, food delivery or household items. Chances are, there are some benefits you may not know about.

For instance, redeeming rewards or using dining statement credits can help lower the cost of a grocery run or take-out from your favorite restaurant. This makes essential expenses more affordable and can help you prioritize bill payments for other necessities, like your mortgage or auto loan.

Below, CNBC Select reviews how you can use your credit card to offset the cost of essential purchases during the coronavirus pandemic.

Redeem rewards to offset purchases

If you have a rewards card, now may be a good time to cash in any cash back, points or miles you've earned. The best way to redeem rewards depends on the card you have and can include statement credits, gift cards or paying with points online at checkout. Keep in mind, you may have to earn a minimum amount of rewards (often $25 worth) before you can redeem them.

Here's how each redemption option can help you, depending on the type of rewards card you have.

Statement credit

Statement credit redemptions are a good choice if you have a cash-back card, such as the Citi® Double Cash Card or the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express. I recently redeemed a combined $110 in cash back from both cards as statement credits to offset grocery delivery orders and other essentials.

If you have a points or miles card, statement credit options are typically worth less than redeeming rewards for gift cards, but can still save you money, which might be important to you right now.

Gift cards

Redeeming rewards for gift cards is a great option for a points or miles card and often provides a 1:1 value, meaning one point is worth a penny. I recently used 2,500 points from my Citi Rewards+® Card to get a $25 Target gift card, which helped offset a $50 purchase. And I also received an instant 5% discount on my order (plus free shipping) by paying for the remainder of my order with the Target RedCard™.

Keep in mind, the amount of points or miles required for a gift card varies based on the card you have and the type of gift card. Another thing to note is that card issuers may change the reward requirements for certain gift cards at any time. For example, I noticed that a Target gift card with my American Express® Gold Card had a lower redemption value compared to other gift card options.

Pay with points

Most major credit card issuers offer "pay with points" options that allow you to use credit card rewards during online checkout at popular retailers, such as Amazon. This feature lets you easily apply your points or miles to your order total and offset purchases.

However, pay with points redemptions often devalue your rewards, particularly if you are redeeming travel miles for cash value at the checkout. Even so, if trimming costs are more important than travel to you right now, this may be a worthwhile option. If not, you can always store up your miles, especially ones that don't expire, and redeem them for travel later on.

Learn more: Most Marriott credit cards now earn bonus rewards on groceries for a limited time

Take advantage of dining credits

Many of the best dining and travel cards offer annual statement credits worth up to $200 that can help offset the cost of food delivery from your favorite local restaurant. Here are three of the most generous offers.

American Express® Gold Card

On the American Express secure site
  • Rewards

    4X Membership Rewards® points on restaurants worldwide (including takeout and delivery, plus, Uber Eats purchases) and at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X), 3X points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com, 1X points on all other purchases

  • Welcome bonus

    60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases within the first 6 months from account opening

  • Annual fee

    $250

  • Intro APR

    Not applicable

  • Regular APR

    See Pay Over Time APR

  • Balance transfer fee

    N/A

  • Foreign transaction fee

    None

  • Credit needed

    Excellent/Good

See rates and fees, terms apply.

 

The offer: Annual $120 dining credit ($10 a month), at Grubhub, Seamless, The Cheesecake Factory, Ruth's Chris Steak House, Boxed and participating Shake Shack locations.

The enrollment requirement: Complete a one-time activation online or by calling the number on the back of your Amex Gold card.

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

On Chase's secure site
  • Rewards

    10X points on Lyft rides through March 2022, 3X points on travel worldwide (immediately after earning your $300 annual travel credit), 3X points on dining at restaurants including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out, 1X point per $1 on all other purchases

  • Welcome bonus

    Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening

  • Annual fee

    $550

  • Intro APR

    None

  • Regular APR

    16.99% to 23.99% variable

  • Balance transfer fee

    5%, minimum $5

  • Foreign transaction fee

    None

  • Credit needed

    Excellent

Terms apply.

 

The offer: DoorDash perks that include a $60 DoorDash credit in 2020 and an additional $60 credit in 2021. Plus, you can receive a complimentary DashPass membership through December 31, 2021. DashPass provides free delivery and lower service fees from hundreds of restaurants on orders of $12 or more.

The enrollment requirement: To activate the DashPass benefit, add your Sapphire Reserve card as the default payment in the DoorDash app or online by December 31, 2021. There's no activation required for the DoorDash credit.

The Platinum Card® from American Express

On the American Express secure site
  • Rewards

    10x Membership Rewards® points on eligible purchases at U.S. gas stations and U.S. supermarkets (on up to $15,000 in combined purchases, during your first 6 months of card membership), 5X points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel (starting January 1, 2021, this applies on up to $500,000 per calendar year), 5X points on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel, 1X points on all other purchases

  • Welcome bonus

    75,000 Membership Rewards® points after spending $5,000 within 6 months of account opening

  • Annual fee

    $550

  • Intro APR

    None

  • Regular APR

    See Pay Over Time APR

  • Balance transfer fee

    N/A

  • Foreign transaction fee

    None

  • Credit Needed

    Excellent/Good

See rates and fees, terms apply.

The offer: Up to $200 annual Uber credit, which breaks down to $15 each month, plus a bonus of $20 in December. You'll receive the credit as Uber Cash each month, which can be used toward Uber rides or UberEats orders.

The enrollment requirement: While you don't need to enroll, you need to add your Amex Platinum Card to your Uber account and it takes up to 24 hours for the Uber Cash credit to be available after your card has been added.

Consider shopping discounts

Many of the top card issuers, such as American Express, Chase and Bank of America, provide exclusive discounts at dining, retail and travel merchants. Now can be a great time to review your available offers and see if any meet your spending habits.

These offers typically give you either a percentage or set dollar amount of cash back, credited to your account within a few weeks from purchase. You can usually find them advertised near your rewards portal or along the side of your account summary page once you log in.

For example, I have a current offer for a $10 statement credit when I spend $100 in store at Stew Leonard's (up to 2X), on top of the points I earn. That means I can earn up to $20 back, after spending $200.

Take note, activation is required before you make a purchase and you must pay with your card. There may also be limitations, such as the offer is only valid on in-store purchases or only online.

These offers also vary based on location and are usually only available for a limited period of time. Plus, you may need to meet minimum spending requirements, and there are maximum earning benefits.

Learn more:

For rates and fees of the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express, click here.

For rates and fees of the American Express® Gold Card, click here.

For rates and fees of The Platinum Card® from American Express, click here.

Information about the Target RedCard™ has been collected independently by CNBC and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of the card prior to publication.

Editorial Note: Opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the Select editorial staff’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any third party.