You’ve probably seen Interac’s ads about uncontrolled Christmas shopping and the infamous ” holiday bills” on credit cards.
I think these ads are very well done, in that they serve as a reminder of the danger that uncontrolled use of credit cards can represent.
Of course, these ads are designed to encourage you to use the Debit/Interac method to “control your spending”.
But you, who follow me regularly, and who are fully aware of the importance of having an excellent credit file through a controlled management of your credit cards, you would surely like to take advantage of this holiday season to earn points or miles thanks to your various expenses!
Here are some tips and tricks from a mileage hunter to help you get rewards faster this holiday season.
Restaurants and grocery stores during the holiday season
The holiday season is a time to gather with family and friends, whether at home or in a restaurant.
Do what I do: offer to pay the bill on your credit card, and ask everyone to give you their share in cash, check or Interac!
Not many people are point hunters… you are!
Gift cards can be used in three ways:
- Either in their primary destination: a gift to a loved one for the holidays
Increasingly, surveys indicate that people would rather receive money than another gift.
The gift card is therefore a happy medium: we know that the recipient likes this or that store… but we prefer to leave it up to him to choose the gift that will really please him.
- Or in a diverted use: to accumulate the most points for an expenditure in another trade
You could use the gift cards to pay for purchases at stores (SAQ, Amazon.ca, Home Depot…) that would not have offered you a large number of points.
Credit cards often require that a certain level of spending be achieved in order to offer their welcome bonus.
Most often set at $500 of expenses in the first 3 months, this level can be higher ($1,000 or even $5,000 for some “corporate” cards).
Buying gift cards for businesses that you regularly visit (gas, grocery stores…) is a way to “trigger the bonus before it’s time”. You are only “anticipating” expenses that you would have made anyway in the weeks or months to come.
Of course, only do this if you are able to pay off your credit card balance before it is due!
Which credit cards offer the most points for gift card purchases?
The following three credit cards allow you to earn a large number of points or cash back not only during the holiday season, but throughout the year:
- The American Express Cobaltᵐᶜ Card: 5 Membership Rewards points per dollar at grocery and convenience stores
- Scotiabank Gold American Express® Card: 5X to 6X Scene+ points at grocery stores and gas stations
- National Bank’s World Elite Mastercard®: 5 NBC Rewards points at grocery stores
But in addition to these three cards, there are 2 other interesting ones because they also allow you to buy gift cards in pharmacies and get bonus points.
Scotia Momentum Visa Infinite Card
This is the card that offers the most cash back at certain businesses. Moreover, it is currently on promotion:
The American Express Gold Rewards Card
This card allows you to purchase gift cards at grocery stores, gas stations or pharmacies and earn 2 points per dollar.
You are sure to find the right gift card in one of these 3 stores!
Gift card ideas for the holiday season
In this article
I mentioned the countless possibilities offered by gift cards:
- Entertainment: iTunes, PlayStation Store, Xbox Live, Google Play, Netflix, Steam, Facebook, Minecraft, Cineplex, Guzzo
- Media / culture: Amazon, Indigo, Kobo
- DIY: Canadian Tire, Home Depot, Rona
- Gasoline: Esso, Petro-Canada, Irving
- Restaurants: SAQ, Tim Hortons, Starbucks, Subway, McDonald’s, Wendy’s, DQ, Pizza Pizza, Mike’s, Baton Rouge, Scores, The Keg, Boston Pizza, Cora, M&M…
- Stores: Toy’s R Us, HomeSense, Gap, Banana Republic, Old Navy, American Eagle, L’Équipeur, Ardene, Golf Town, La Vie en Rose, La Senza, Simons
- Telephony: Prepaid cards from operators (Fido, Koodo, Bell…)
So you see, there’s plenty to do with these holiday gift cards!
As you can see, the hunt for points and miles is well underway this holiday season!
It’s up to you to make the most of your credit cards.
For my part, I bought $250 worth of SAQ gift cards at Metro with my American Express Cobalt® Card which allowed me to accumulate 1,250 Membership Rewards points ($12.5 or 5% cash back or 1,250 Aeroplan points which are worth $25).
And I used these SAQ gift cards at an SAQ Depot with the purchase of 15 bottles of wine… enough to have a great holiday season!
I presented my SAQ Inspire loyalty card for a great return from …. 500 SAQ points or 0.5$. Quite disappointed on this side… but that’s the rule of the game: you still save 15% on the total by shopping at the SAQ Depot!