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Understanding Spending Multipliers

Credit cards often offer bonuses on certain categories of spending. Here are my tips for optimizing them.

In our list of the best credit cards, we often focus on what you can get with your points and miles.

We must not forget about multipliers. They are granted on expenditures made at certain types of businesses. My colleague Frédéric explains in another article how these multipliers work and tips on how they are calculated.

Often, if the card is linked to a loyalty program such as Marriott Bonvoy, spending at these establishments is enhanced.

For example, paying a $300 Marriott Bonvoy hotel bill with your Marriott Bonvoy® American Express®* Card will earn you an additional bonus. In fact, your spending will earn 1,500 Marriott Bonvoy points, or 5 times the points per dollar spent.

Optimizing certain expenses

Most credit cards have discounts on specific categories, giving a bonus only for spending at grocery stores or gas stations. This is the case with the Scotia Momentum® Visa Infinite* Card, for example. This card gives 4% cash back on groceries and 2% cash back on gas.

On the other hand, the SAQ is not considered a grocery expense. There, your multiplier will be 1 point per dollar spent, for example. But most food stores or gas stations offer SAQ gift cards. When shopping at these grocery stores, the American Express Cobalt® Card gives you 5 points for every dollar you spend.

So, with this card, a $50 purchase directly at the SAQ will give you 50 points. The same $50 purchase of an SAQ card at Metro will give you 250 points. Then use your SAQ card in store to make your purchase.

You can also watch this technique in the video we produced. It gives you more tips on how to increase your Reward Point balance.

The “double dip”

Some programs also award points or miles on purchases when you provide your membership number at the time of the transaction.

For example, AIR MILES is a partner of Shell. By scanning your AIR MILES membership card at the cash register, you earn 1 AIR MILES mile for every 10 or 20 liters of gas.

Plus, when you pay with an AIR MILES credit card (such as the BMO AIR MILES® World Elite®* Mastercard), it also earns 3 miles for every $12 spent at Shell. This way, you earn 4 miles instead of one!


With these simple tips, you can significantly increase your points balance.

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