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With only a month left to the big day for gift giving the push is on to start your Christmas shopping for friends, family and maybe even yourself! Whether it is shopping for gifts or for food and drink to entertain there are many ways to maximize the miles and points you earn holiday shopping. Ultimately you can make those reward dreams come closer by following one or more of our tips.
1. Use your mileage/point earning credit card & your loyalty cards to Double or Triple Dip
Double dipping is the term coined for earning miles twice in one purchase or transaction. This basically involves your mileage earning credit card being used for a purchase where you also earn miles in the same program as the credit card. Buying luggage as a gift at Bentley? Using your TD Aeroplan Visa or American Express and then swiping your Aeroplan card ensures you are double dipping.
2. Giving gift cards? Buy gift cards at credit card multiplier locations
Are you a gift card giver at Christmas or you don’t know what presents to give this year so you’ve settled on a gift card? If you can, and it depends on the retailer, don’t buy the gift card straight from them as on most credit cards you will only earn your base miles or points. Buy them at a place where you can take advantage of your category multiplier bonus. For example if I wanted to give my dad a Best Buy gift card I would only earn 1 Membership Rewards points on my American Express Gold Rewards Card if I bought the card at Best Buy but if I bought it at a Drug Store or Grocery I would earn 2 Membership Rewards points.
3. Buying gifts at retailers without credit card multipliers? Use the gift card trick to earn more miles!
This one is similar to above but involves a little more time and effort. This tip is for those of you who know what gifts you are buying for your kids, family, relatives and friends. The reason why it will take more time is that it requires multiple stops and purchases but if you have the time and want the extra miles then go for it! A good example of this is that you know that your child wants a new Playstation 4 for Christmas. You could go buy it directly from Future Shop and earn your base miles on your credit card but by going to a grocery store, drug store or even a gas station that sells gift cards you go buy yourself the Future Shop gift cards, earn the 1.5 or 2x or more miles/points on the purchase and then use the gift cards when you get to Future Shop. There is only one downside to this method other than the extra time required and that is you will not be able to take advantage of the purchase protection, price protection or extended warranty offered by many of the reward credit cards. (Maybe it would be better if I used Old Navy as an example instead of Future Shop since you don’t really require any of those benefits on Old Navy purchases?)
4. Use bonus offers to your advantage when buying groceries for the holiday season
This one ties into the Double or Triple Dip outlined in the first tip. Always check your emails for bonus coupons or offers or even when you first enter a store. Doing your grocery shopping and expecting to buy lots of food since your hosting Christmas and have a dozen people coming over? Always look at the flyer stand when you first enter Safeway, Sobeys or whatever grocery store as long as they are part of a loyalty program. We have found that Sobeys tends to be hit and miss at letting people know about bonus Air Miles offers via email so I always check the flyer stand to see if there is a bonus coupon and more times then not there is. Safeway is better at letting people know by email and sometimes it is only via email that the best offers come. For example, the 2013 Christmas season had the biggest bonus we had ever seen for shopping at Safeway, 500 Bonus Air Miles for a $200 spend. Here's crossing our fingers that offer returns this year!
5. Always remember to swipe your Loyalty Card and/or use your miles/points earning credit card
Remember to always collect your points and miles when you shop. Did you know you can earn Cineplex SCENE points at Sport Chek? Air Miles at Michaels? Always think ahead and bring your loyalty card to swipe/scan when you shop. Don't want to carry around that much plastic? Most programs now have smart phone apps that also double as your loyalty card. This is a good way to always have your card on hand, especially for forgetful people.
6. Shop via online shopping malls and take advantage of their bonuses!
Many frequent flyer and frequent guest programs have online shopping portals whereby you can earn miles for shopping at hundreds of retailers online. For Canadians the best are Aeroplan's eStore, AIR MILES airmilesshops.ca, RBC Rewards eMall, ebates.ca and Great Canadian Rebates. That being said
Travelling to Europe before Christmas? You can take advantage of bonuses for shopping at Chic Outlet Shopping Villages in 9 European cities:
Additional Holiday Shopping offers and ideas!
Right now until December 14th, if you redeem your Aeroplan Miles for many of Aeroplan’s gift cards, you can save miles. Examples include: iTunes $50 gift card (regularly 6,500 miles – now 6,000 miles), $100 The Gap/Banana Republic/Old Navy gift card (regularly 12,000 miles, now 11,000 miles), $100 Golf Town gift card (regularly 13,000 miles, now 12,000 miles etc.)
By following some or all of these steps you will be making sure that you are maximizing the miles and points you earn this holiday shopping season! The mileage or point balances in your accounts will escalate and then those reward flights, nights or merchandise will come to you sooner!