For years I’ve regularly paid for Kiva microloans with my FlexPerks Visa card. The US Bank FlexPerks Visa card has long offered 3 points per dollar for charitable donations. Even though Kiva loans are not technically charitable donations, the credit card coded them as if they were. And, considering that FlexPerks points have been worth up to 2 cents per point towards airfare, this has been a fantastic way to earn up to 6% back while helping others (and hopefully getting your money back as well!). You can read more about Kiva loans here: Manufacture Spend (and do good) with Kiva and Kivalens.
As previously reported, US Bank has already announced changes that made the FlexPerks Kiva connection less valuable. For one, starting January 1 2018, the FlexPerks card will offer only 2X for charity. And, beginning December 31st, points will be worth a fixed 1.5 cents per point towards travel rather than “up to” 2 cents per point for airfare. Taken together, these changes meant that the FlexPerks Kiva combo would earn at most 3% back towards travel rather than up to 6%.
Now, the final axe has fallen. As reported by several readers and confirmed on my own most recent credit card statement, US Bank is no longer coding Kiva as a charity. Kiva loans are now earning only 1 point per dollar. This has been verified with both the consumer and business versions of the card.
Fortunately, there are still many great options for funding Kiva loans, but the FlexPerks Visa is no longer one of them. As long as you can float the money long term and are willing to accept some risk, the following may make sense for funding Kiva loans:
- Fund Kiva loans in order to meet minimum spend requirements when signing up for the Best Credit Card Offers.
- Fund Kiva loans with cards that offer the best rewards for everyday spend.
- Fund Kiva loans with cards where your are trying to earn big spend bonuses.
- Fund Kiva loans with Visa, MasterCard, Discover, or Amex gift cards that you bought for 5X rewards and or at a discount.
If you are interested in learning more about funding Kiva loans by credit card, please see: Manufacture Spend (and do good) with Kiva and Kivalens.