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How to use points for travel or everyday purchases?

To the point

Find out how to use credit card points to save on travel and everyday purchases!

Most banks or financial institutions have their own loyalty program:

Institution Program
American Express Membership Rewards points
BMO BMO Rewards
NBC NBC Rewards
CIBC Aventura
Desjardins Bonusdollars
HSBC HSBC Rewards
MBNA MBNA Rewards
RBC RBC Rewards
Scotia Scotia Rewards
TD TD Rewards

Each of them offers points. These points have a different value depending on the program, and the rules of earning and use are also different.

Most of these programs focus on travel purchases. Why? It’s simply what most of us dream about. This encourages each of us to use our credit card with one objective in mind: to earn points in order to take a trip!

But as we will see, it is also possible to apply these points to other expenses.

Use points for travel purchases

American Express Membership Rewards

Using your American Express Membership Rewards points for travel purchases is easy. Charge any travel purchase to your card and apply your points to it by logging into your online account.

Choose one of your Membership Rewards cards – in this case I chose the Platinum Business Card from American Express – and then click on “Redeem Points“:

appliquer points voyages amex 1b

Then, a 90-day history of your purchases on the card will be displayed. If you wish to apply Membership Rewards points to past spending, you will need to call American Express.

Here I have chosen to apply points to a transaction with Air Canada. The rate is therefore 1,000 points = $10.

Then you click on “Redeem points“.

appliquer points voyages amex 2

A window will open.

You will be able to set the number of Membership Rewards points you wish to use for this transaction to the exact point. Here, I chose 1234 Privilege Points for a credit of $12.34. Click on “Edit“.

appliquer points voyages amex 3

The window closes, and the total number of points you will use is updated. Note that you will need to use at least 1,000 Membership Rewards points or $10 on all your transactions.

You check, then you click on “Next“.

appliquer points voyages amex 4

A confirmation screen appears. Simply check the box “Accept terms and conditions” and click on “Confirm“.

appliquer points voyages amex 5

The credit will be posted to your account within 24-48 hours and marked “Points for purchases”.

An example with Air Transat

The principle is the same for all other American Express Membership Rewards cards. For example, the purchase of a flight on Air Transat, charged to the American Express Cobalt Card, on which points can be applied at the rate of 1,000 points = $10.

cobalt transat

An example with Airbnb

For those who are wondering: Airbnb is well recognized as a travel purchase.

Here’s an example of an Airbnb rental charged to the American Express Cobalt Card. Use 10,000 points to save $100!

cobalt airbnb

Membership Rewards cards

All American Express Membership Rewards cards allow you to use 10,000 points for $100 in travel purchases.

Here they are:

Scotia Rewards

On the Scotia side, the principle is the same.

The difference: you will need to use a minimum of 5,000 Scotia Bonus Points or $50 in purchases. Here is an example of travel purchases made on the Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite Card.

You can follow the process here.

Scotia Points Apply Fr

Scotia Rewards Cards

All Scotia Rewards cards allow you to use your points on travel expenses:

HSBC Rewards

HSBC Rewards has a similar approach.

However, you will need to use 25,000 HSBC Rewards points or $125 in purchases. After that it will be done according to a grid:

POINTS ACCOUNT CREDIT
25 000 $125
35 000 $175
45 000 $225
55 000 $275
65 000 $325
75 000 $375
85 000 $425
95 000 $475
105 000 $525
115 000 $575
125 000 $625

An example with Air Transat

To use your HSBC Rewards points, simply charge any travel purchase to your HSBC World EliteMD MastercardMD (and earn 6 points per dollar for that purchase in the process).

Then you can go to the HSBC Rewards portal to apply your points on your travel purchases and get a statement credit.

For example, here is the purchase of an Air Transat ticket on my HSBC World EliteMD MastercardMD:

Introducing the HSBC World Elite® Mastercard®

An example with Airbnb

Here’s another example of renting an apartment on Airbnb with my HSBC World EliteMD Mastercard:

Airbnb Hotels Hsbc

Use points for everyday purchases

Generally, it is not wise to apply travel points for anything other than travel: their value will be diminished.

American Express Membership Rewards

The process will be the same as for the travel points seen above.

However, the redemption rate will be different and much less interesting: 1,000 points = $7. Here’s an example with my American Express Cobalt Card:

appliquer points voyages amex 6

American Express Small Business Cards allow points to be applied to ALL PURCHASES at a ratio of 1000 points = $10

MBNA Rewards

MBNA Rewards is one of the only programs that allows points to be applied to all purchases. In fact, you claim a $50 credit for every 5,000 points you earn.

In this case, it’s worth it!

mbna recompenses retrait

Here are the two cards that allow you to redeem your points for an account credit:

Conclusion

Redeeming points for travel or everyday purchases can be an alternative to transferring points to other loyalty programs, or cash back cards!

HSBC Canada Credit Cards

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