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If you’re interested in earning airline miles and credit card points, you’re always looking for ways to maximize your miles and points. After all, you’re always looking to get the best deal and most points to help you and your family travel. Some cards give a flat reward (usually between 1-2x points) for all spend, and other cards give an enhanced rate for spending in different categories. If you have multiple different cards, you’ll want to use the card that gives you the biggest reward every time you’re spending. While in many cases the difference between using the most optimal card and another one ends up being in the tens or hundreds of points (aka not a huge deal), it’s still good to get in the habit of being aware of the different category bonuses of different cards.
Best cards for charitable donations
While charitable donations aren’t the most common category for spending, today we are going to look at the best cards for charitable donations. Before we do that, there is one thing to keep in mind before you donate to a charity with a credit card. As you probably know, credit card companies charge a small fee for all transactions paid for with a credit card. So either you’ll have to pay the fee to make a charitable donation (in which case the fee is likely to offset any credit card rewards you’re getting) or your charity has to eat the fee. While I’m sure that most charities would prefer to pay the credit card processing fee if it made the difference between getting and not getting a donation, just be aware that if you’re donating to a charity with a credit card that they won’t get the full amount of your donation.
Credit cards that give a bonus for charitable donations
If you do decide to make a charitable donation with a credit card, let’s take a look at credit cards that give a bonus for charitable donations. There used to be a few cards that offered charitable donations as a specific bonus category, but at the time of this writing, there is now only one credit card that offers charitable donations as a bonus category.
The U.S. Bank FlexPerks Travel Rewards Visa Signature Card offers double FlexPoints in the charity category. Each FlexPoint is worth 1.5 cents when redeemed for travel, so every dollar spent on charity with the FlexPerks Travel Rewards card gives 3% back towards travel. The FlexPerks Travel Rewards card also offers double FlexPoints on airlines, gas stations and grocery stores, and one point for all other spending. Currently it is offering an initial welcome offer of 25,000 FlexPoints if you spend $2,000 on the card in the first 4 months.
Other good credit cards for charitable donations
Since there aren’t very many cards that offer a bonus for charitable spending, your best bet is to use a card that has good earnings for everyday purchases. Here are 4 that offer a good rewards return on all purchases (charitable donations included)
- Blue Business Plus Credit Card from American Express – earns 2x Membership Rewards on all purchases up to $50,000 each year. No initial welcome offer and no annual fee.
- Chase Freedom Unlimited – 1.5x Ultimate Rewards on all purchases. That could be worth 1.5 cents for each dollar spent or up to 2.25 cents if you also have a premium card like the Chase Sapphire Reserve. No annual fee and a current welcome offer of 20,000 Ultimate Rewards (marketed as $200) after spending $500 in the first 3 months of having the card
- Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card – 2x miles on all purchases. That means each $1 spent is worth 2 cents towards travel. The current welcome offer offers 50,000 miles (worth $500 towards travel) after spending $3,000 in the first 3 months of having the card. The annual fee is $95 but waived the first year.
- Citi Double Cash – The Double Cash card has no initial welcome offer and no annual fee, but offers 1% back when you make the purchase and another 1% back when you pay your statement. That effectively makes it earn 2% on purchases.
Consider using one of these cards if you’re planning on making a charitable donation with a credit card.
Cards that benefit charities with your spending
In addition to cards that give you extra bonuses for spending at charities, there are a couple of different credit cards that give a donation to specific charities when you spend. Often this in lieu of earning any credit card rewards yourself.
- World Wildlife Fund Credit Card or Susan G. Komen® Cash Rewards Visa® credit card – both of these cards are from Bank of America and offer a $200 welcome offer plus 3% cash back in the category of your choice, 2% cash back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs and 1% cashback on all other purchases. In addition, the charity will earn $3 each year you have the card open and 0.08% of all net retail purchases made with this card.
I mention these for completeness but generally, you’d be better off earning rewards on your credit card purchases and then donating the value of the rewards to charity should you prefer.