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How to earn reward points with gift cards?

To the point

Want to earn rewards with gift cards? Find out where to buy them in Canada and with which credit card!

Why are gift cards important?

There are dozens of gift cards for many businesses, and members of the Facebook group are big fans!

Gift cards are important in many situations:

If you prefer the video version, here it is! Otherwise, keep on reading.

Unlock welcome bonuses with gift cards

A good points & miles hunter is generally someone who follows his budget closely and is able to plan his expenses for the next few months, especially those made on his credit cards. All this is part of his strategy.

In this case, gift cards are valuable allies for quickly unlocking credit card bonuses.

Here, for example, is a typical budget for one month:

Type Example gift cards Purchases
Gas Esso, Petro-Canada, Shell… $150
Grocery Metro, Super C, IGA, Provigo, Walmart… $500
Alcohol SAQ $100
Drugstores Jean Coutu, Pharmaprix, Familiprix… $100
Monthly subscriptions Netflix, Apple, Android… $75
Online shopping Amazon $200
Shopping Gap / Old Navy / Banana Republic, La Vie en Rose, American Eagle, Sail, Simons, Sports Experts… $150
Home Improvement Home Depot, Canadian Tire, Home Hardware… $100
Everyday life Starbuck’s, Tim Hortons, McDonald’s, St Hubert, Keg, $50
Culture Renaud-Bray, Archambault, Cineplex $75
TOTAL $1,500

Thus, by planning expenses over the next 2-3 months – and having the cash to “advance funds” via gift cards – it is possible to unlock credit card bonuses more easily.

It can also be handy a few weeks before the deadline to unlock the bonus if you see that the 3 months won’t be enough!

Getting more reward points

In addition to earning welcome bonuses, it’s best to learn when to use the right credit card at the right place in order to earn more reward points or cash back!

For example, instead of using your American Express Cobalt™ Card directly at an SAQ branch (1 point per dollar), you could buy SAQ gift cards at your Metro/Super C grocery store, or your Couche-Tard convenience store (5 points per dollar)!

Thus, your purchase at SAQ with a gift card will have earned you 5 points per dollar instead of 1!

Saq Cobalt giftcard
SAQcard

This applies to a wide range of businesses; in fact, all those for which you can find a gift card in your grocery store, gas station, convenience store or pharmacy:

  • Walmart
  • Netflix
  • Home Depot
  • Hudson’s Bay
  • Canadian Tire
  • and much more!

Below you’ll find out which credit card to use where to get more reward points!

5X The Points On Amazon.ca For Cobalt Cardmembers!
super c gift cards

Using an American Express card almost anywhere

American Express cards are increasingly accepted, especially by small businesses.

Nevertheless, some businesses still do not accept them, such as large grocery chains. But there’s a solution: Rakuten.

Rakuten allows you to get cash back for your online purchases. But the site also contains a section dedicated to gift cards(not accessible from the mobile application)!

If you are not a member of Rakuten.ca, sign up via our referral link to get a $5 credit after a $25 purchase!

En X Giftcardshop Carousel
Rakuten.ca - gift cards

Many shops are accessible via the gift cards offered on Rakuten!

For example, since Maxi or Provigo do not take American Express, you could purchase a gift card for these grocery stores on the Rakuten.ca site. While earning a cash back!

Maxi gift card
Rakuten.ca - Maxi gift card

You can then use your American Express card (via Paypal) to get yourself a Maxi gift card for example.

That way, you use your American Express card indirectly at Maxi 😉

Paypal Maxi gift card
Rakuten.ca - Gift card through Paypal

Businesses who have gift cards in Canada

There are different categories of businesses in Canada offering gift cards that can be purchased with credit cards:

  • Grocery stores (Metro, Super C, IGA, etc.)
  • Gas stations (Esso, Shell, Petro-Canada, etc.)
  • Drug stores (Pharmaprix, Jean Coutu, Uniprix, etc.)
  • Convenience stores (Couche-Tard)
  • Home improvement centers (Home Dépôt, Rona, Home Hardware)
  • Office Supply Centres (Staples)

And for each of these categories, there are different credit cards to earn points! We will give you our best credit card choices for each category.

Only credit cards offering a permanent bonus in the categories are mentioned. Cards that impose a time limit for the bonus on certain categories (3 months, 6 months) or use an “easily attainable” annual maximum amount ($15,000) have therefore been excluded.

Grocery stores

To buy gift cards in grocery stores with a credit card, you will turn to one of these 3 credit cards:

Credit card Earning rate
American Express Cobalt™ Card 5 points per dollar
Scotiabank Gold American Express® Card 5 points per dollar
Scotia Momentum® VISA Infinite* card 4%

The first two American Express cards can be used in most Metro, Super C and Safeway grocery stores.

They will offer 5 points per dollar, a return of approximately 5% on all grocery store gift card purchases.

You can read our detailed comparison on these two credit cards here.

cobalt super c
5x points at Super C

If you do your grocery shopping elsewhere, then you may want to consider the Scotia Momentum® VISA Infinite* card which will give you 4% on all grocery store gift card purchases.

Gas stations

To purchase gift cards at gas stations with a credit card, use one of these 5 credit cards:

Credit card Earning rate
Marriott Bonvoy™ Business American Express® Card 3 points per dollar
Scotiabank Gold American Express® Card 3 points per dollar
American Express Business Edge™ Card 3 points per dollar
American Express® Gold Rewards Card 2 points per dollar
American Express® AIR MILES®* Platinum Credit Card 1 mile per 5 dollars

All gas stations accept American Express credit cards. Here, the choice of a card will vary depending on the type of rewards you prefer to have.

If you prefer to earn Marriott Bonvoy points by purchasing your gift cards at gas stations, we recommend you use either:

If you prefer to earn travel points by purchasing your gift cards at gas stations, we recommend that you use either:

air miles shell amex
American Express, AIR MILES and Shell

Finally, if you prefer to earn AIR MILES miles by purchasing your gift cards at gas stations, we recommend that you use the American Express® AIR MILES®* Platinum Credit Card which earns 1 mile for every $5 in gas station purchases.

Drugstores

To purchase gift cards in drug stores with a credit card, you will turn to one of these 3 credit cards:

Credit card Earning rate
American Express® Gold Rewards Card 2 points per dollar
Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card 2%
American Express® AIR MILES®* Platinum Credit Card 1 mile per 5 dollars

Most drugstores accept American Express credit cards.

If you prefer to earn travel points or AIR MILES miles by purchasing your gift cards at drugstores, we recommend that you use either:

featured jeans coutu 2019
Pharmacy Jean Coutu

If you prefer to earn cash back by purchasing your gift cards in drugstores, we recommend you use the Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card or the Tangerine World Mastercard®.

You can choose the “Drugstores” category among the categories offering 2% cash back.

Convenience stores

To buy gift cards in convenience stores such as Couche-Tard, Macs, Circle K, 7-eleven with a credit card, one will turn to one credit card:

Credit card Earning rate
American Express Cobalt™ Card 5 points per dollar

The American Express Cobalt™ Card is recognized as one of the best credit cards in Canada.

When you buy your gift cards in convenience stores with this credit card, you will get 5 points per dollar:

cobalt couche tard
Couche-Tard - Achat de carte-cadeau

And now, Walmart gift cards are available for purchase at Couche-Tard/Circle K convenience stores! A roundabout way to earn 5 points per dollar for Walmart with the American Express Cobalt™ Card.

Including prescriptions in Walmart drugstores!

Walmart Gift Card
Walmart Gift Card

Home improvement centres

To purchase gift cards at home improvement centres with a credit card, two credit cards shou;d be used:

Credit card Earning rate
Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card 2%
Tangerine World Mastercard 2%

You can earn cash back by purchasing your gift cards at home improvement centres using the Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card or the Tangerine World Mastercard.

You can choose the “Renovations” category among the categories offering 2% cash back.

Introducing The World Mastercard Tangerine
Categories

Office supply stores

To purchase gift cards at office supply stores with a credit card, two credit cards should be used:

Credit card Earning rate
American Express Business Edge™ Card 3 points per dollar
BMO Rewards® Business Mastercard®* 3 points per dollar

You can earn travel points by purchasing your gift cards at office supply stores using:

Conclusion

Now you know which credit card to use in the right place to buy gift cards to:

  • get a welcome bonus from a credit card more easily
  • earn points faster with credit card purchase categories
  • use an American Express card almost anywhere

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