Only four months ago, some people predicted that we would spend the summer indoors. But with more than 2 million cases of coronavirus now confirmed worldwide, many of us cancel travel plans and exchange family vacations for “virtual trips” such as live-streamed museum tours or Disney’s Magic Moments. If you have to change or cancel a plan, it’s good to know that many travel gifts don’t expire – but there are some important differences. Below, CNBC Select helps you understand the status of your travel rewards during the coronavirus pandemic so you can make the right decision about whether to redeem them by other means (such as paying points at checkout or buying gift cards) or saving them. The difference between a loyalty credit card and a travel gift credit card. First of all you need to know whether your credit card is a commonly used travel gift card or if this is a co-branded card in partnership with certain airlines or hotel chains. “General travel gift cards often offer miles and points that never expire or have a long window where you can redeem. I got awards – some for five years,” said Nashville-based financial adviser Brenton Harrison. On the other hand, co-branded cards generally have an expiration date to redeem your miles, and the window is often shorter than, Harrison explains – about one to three years. You can find the exact conditions and expiration dates in the card agreement sent to you, but the latest information will be accessible online. To get the latest balance information, enter your account and click the link that says something along the lines of “Account Details” or “Prize Summary.” This will take you to your gift portal. There may also be a section called “Declarations and Documents” which includes a summary of benefits and special notifications that break down each update for your gift card program. You can save your travel gifts for future trips. The most recent travel gifts expire as long as your account is active. U.S. Bank and Citi is the only two major card issuers who give an expiration date on a card holder’s travel prize. (The current expiration period is three years for both banks.) Meanwhile, almost every other major card issuer allows you to retain your points as long as your account is active and in good standing. For example, if you have a Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card, the card agreement states that your gift is your lifetime for an account without an expiration date. However, if you close your account, you will lose unclaimed prizes that you did not redeem. You usually have to use your card at least once every six months or so to be considered “active.” And if you have an American Express® Wells Fargo Propel Card, which gives you 3X points for food, gas, streaming services, travel expenses and transportation qualifications, plus 1X points for all other purchases, you can breathe a sigh of relief knowing you can “bank” “Your points are until you are ready to use it again. This also applies to American Express® Gold Credit Cards, Bank of America® Travel Rewards Credit Cards, both Chase travel gift cards and also Capital One travel gift cards as well. Some hotel loyalty programs make exceptions during corona virus pandemic. If you are worried that you will lose using your hotel loyalty rewards, there may be good news, according to travel writer and credit card expert, Holly D. Johnson of Club Thrifty “Most hotel loyalty programs extend their expiration policy points now, “explained Johnson. Here are some loyalty programs that have recently announced extensions: The Hilton Honors Program suspends all points scheduled to end before December 31, 2020. Members of Arvott Bonvoy ™ who have not had any activity posted for at least 24 months and any points scheduled to end before February 1, 2021 will see the expiration date for their points automatically pushed back to 1 February 2021. The Radisson Rewards program also suspends its point expiration policy for six months on 1 March 2020. The Wyndham Rewards program removes expiration points between now and 31 May 2020. The IHG Rewards Club extends the expiry date for each point that will expire from 1 April until 31 December 2020. If you are not sure when your points will end, you you need to check your loyalty program. “Most brands will have a Covid-19 update page where you can see the latest policies,” Johnson advises. For example, see the Hilton coronavirus resource page. Online credit cards with points that do not expire if you have one of the following airlines credit cards, your travel rewards will not expire as long as you actively use your account and make payments on time. ® Priority Credit Card United℠ Explorer Card $ 250 $ 149 $ 149 $ 149 $ 0 first year, then $ 95Rewards Get 3 miles per dollar spent at the hotel, 3 miles per dollar spent on Delta purchases, 2 miles per dollar spent at restaurants, 2 miles per dollar spent at a US supermarket, and 1 mile per dollar for all other eligible purchases 6X points for every $ 1 spent on JetBlue purchases; 2X points at restaurants and grocery stores; 1X points for all other purchases2X points for every $ 1 spent on Southwest purchases; 1X points for all other purchases, 2x miles per $ 1 spent on United purchases; 2X miles per $ 1 spent in restaurants and hotels; 1X miles is earned for every $ 1 spent on all other purchases. Welcome bonus. Get 40,000 bonus miles and 5,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $ 2,000 on your new card purchase in the first three months. Plus, get a $ 100 statement credit after you make a Delta purchase with your new card in your first three months 40,000 bonus points after you spend $ 1,000 in the first 90 days and pay an annual fee. Get 40,000 points after you spend $ 1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of your account being opened. 60,000 bonus miles after you make $ 3,000 purchases in the first three months since opening an account. See our methodology below. Learn More On the American Express secure site, Learn More or be provided by the card issuer before being published. Learn More On the safe Chase site Learn More On the safe Chase siteWhat do you have to spend on your points? There are many other ways to use your points, whether you want to save on daily expenses or give you a gift for good reasons. If you are an American Express or United credit card holder, you can donate your travel prize to Coronavirus RelieF’s efforts and support an ongoing fundraising campaign. For example, if you have an Amex EveryDay® Credit Card, Amex will match the charitable donations you make with your Membership Rewards® points when you give to Feeding America to help with food shortages during coronavirus. Other publishers such as Discover and Citi also make it possible to contribute your points. If you want to postpone a trip and use your points for other purchases, many gift cards offer a flexible way to redeem your points and miles. For example, if you have a Chase Sapphire Preferred® or Chase Sapphire Reserve®, you can use your Ultimate Rewards® points for gift cards, household items, and electronics through Shop through Chase. Keep in mind – a major excitement of the Sapphire card is that your Main Prize Points stretch 25% to 50% further for special travel-related purchases. So if you choose to use your gift in a way other than traveling, you won’t get that much value from them. It might make more sense to save them in the hope of withdrawing it for a big holiday at the end of the year or early 2021. This is also the case for most travel credit cards where your gift is given in miles. But applying it to other expenses may be commensurate with the current economic situation. Bottom Line “There is no right or wrong way to redeem points or miles,” Johnson explained, “so it depends entirely on the person who owns it.” think it’s unlikely you will travel at all over the next year, so you might consider redeeming your gift for non-travel options such as cash back, gift cards or merchandise if you can. “Of course, not all programs offer such flexibility,” Johnson advises. You can also remember domestic trips, he said. “I didn’t spend my points [on non-travel options] because I think I will be able to travel somewhere this summer and later this year. Maybe I’m stuck with domestic travel and only destinations that I can drive for a while, and that’s no problem. “I hold my points and miles until the time I can travel again,” he said. on coronavirus and travel: Our methodology To determine which card will return the most money to your pocket, CNBC Select evaluates popular gift credit cards evaluated by major banks, financial companies, and credit unions that allow anyone to join and offer prizes bonuses on airlines related to purchases. We compare each card on various features, including travel rewards (points and miles), annual fees, welcome bonuses, introductory and standard APRs, one-time allowance, annual allowance, exchange rates, and factors such as the required credit and customer reviews if available.CNBC Select works closely with the location intelligence firm Esri. The company’s data development team provides the most up-to-date and comprehensive consumer spending data based on the 2019 Consumer Expenditure Survey from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. You can read more about their methodology here. The DataEsri team sampled an annual budget of around $ 22,126 in retail spending. The budget includes six main categories: food ($ 5,174), gas ($ 2,218), eating out ($ 3,675), travel ($ 2,244), utilities ($ 4,862) and general purchases ($ 3,953). General purchases include items such as household supplies, clothing, personal care products, prescription drugs and vitamins, and other vehicle costs. CNBC Select uses this budget to compare cards that value certain purchases and estimate how much rewards the average consumer might get. Then we estimate how much the average reward customers can get (in the case of airline cards, usually “points” or “miles”) for one year, two years and five years, assuming they will try to maximize their prize potential by get all welcome bonuses offered and use the card for all valid purchases. Our final choice is overburdened to achieve the highest five-year returns, because it’s generally wise to hold credit cards for years. This method also avoids giving unfair advantages to cards with a large welcome bonus. While the five-year estimates that we include come from budgets that are similar to the average expenditure of Americans, you can get higher or lower returns depending on your travel habits. Information about Amex EveryDay® Credit Cards, Bank of America® Credit Cards Travel Rewards, the Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card, and the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card have been collected independently by CNBC and have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer before they are issued. Oversight Note: Opinions, analyzes, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are the property of CNBC Select editorial staff only, and have not been reviewed, approved, or endorsed by any third party. .