There isn't much time to the big day for gift giving so 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. Shop via online shopping malls to earn miles & points plus take advantage of their bonuses!
Great Canadian Rebates
|Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan
American Airlines AAdvantage
Delta SkyMiles Shopping
United Airlines MileagePlus
|British Airways Executive Club
Cathay Pacific Asia Miles
Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
Virgin Atlantic Flying Club
Many of the online malls run bonuses during the holiday season and you can find them all listed right here in this chart. (Be sure to check back here often as this is frequently updated during the holiday season)
|Online Portal||Offer||End Date|
|Aeroplan eStore||Earn various bonus Aeroplan Points when you shop online via the Aeroplan eStore. Full details||Various end dates set by retailer|
|AIR MILES Shops||Earn various bonus AIR MILES when you shop online via AIR MILES Shops. Full details||Various end dates set by retailer|
|Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan||500 Bonus Mileage Plan Miles when you spend $150 or more shopping online via the Mileage Plan Shopping portal. Full details U.S. BASED PORTAL.||Until Feb 19, 21|
|American AAdvantage||Earn various Bonus AAdvantage Miles when you shop online via the AAdvantage Shopping portal. Full details
||Various end dates set by retailer|
|British Airways Executive Club||30% Bonus Avios on your first transaction when shop online via the British Airways eStore. Full details U.S. BASED PORTAL.||Unknown end date|
|Delta SkyMiles||Earn various Bonus SkyMiles when you shop online via the SkyMiles Shopping portal. Full details U.S. BASED PORTAL
||Various end dates set by retailer|
|Emirate Skywards||Earn Various Bonus Skywards miles when you shop online via the Skywards Miles Mall. Full details. U.S. BASED PORTAL||Various end dates set by retailer|
|Rakuten||2x Cash Back when you shop online at select retailers via the Rakuten portal. Full details||Various end dates set by retailer|
|United MileagePlus Shopping||Earn various Bonus MileagePlus Miles for Black Friday Cyber Monday when you shop online via the MileagePlus Shopping portal. Full details U.S. BASED PORTAL
||Various end dates set by retailer|
|Wyndham Rewards||5X Wyndham Rewards Points when you shop online via any retailer on the Wyndham Rewards Shop & Earn portal. Full details||Until Apr 8, 21|
A few years ago RBC Rewards had done away with their online shopping portal however they often run specials where you can earn more RBC Rewards points for shopping at select retailers. You can find that list of retailers here
Want to find out what U.S. retailers are participating in an online points or miles mall? Check out evreward.com and search your favourite stores to see where you can earn points or miles. Then for shopping at online retailers from the U.S. or overseas you could and should utilize a credit that offers No Foreign Transaction fees like the HSBC World Elite Mastercard or the Scotia Passport Visa Infinite card
Recommended reading: No Foreign Transaction Fee Credit Cards for Canadians
Double dipping is the term coined for earning miles twice in one purchase or transaction. This basically involves your rewards earning credit card being used for a purchase where you also earn miles in the same program as the credit card. Buying one of those funky Kuradori kitchen tools from Home Hardware as a gift? Using your TD Aeroplan Visa or American Express card and then swiping your Aeroplan card ensures you are double dipping.
Triple dipping involves the above but then adding in any bonuses available. Look for email, coupons or other promotions offering even more miles. With the above example, Aeroplan members can usually earn bonus miles on Home Hardware purchases during the holiday season. So the first dip is the base miles earned on the purchase, the second is the miles earned on your credit card and the third is the bonus miles from the promotion. When you shop online via one of the portals above you can push those purchases to quadruple or quintuple dips as you can also earn from the online merchant's loyalty program.
Double and Triple dipping does not have to involve the same program. You can always use a credit card that earns in one program while collecting the actual miles from another program for your flights, hotels, shopping or anything else you can earn miles on.
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'll only earn the base miles or points. Buy them at a place where you can take advantage of your credit card's 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 Cobalt Card if I bought the card at Best Buy but if I bought it at Sobeys, Safeway or any other grocery store I would earn 5 Membership Rewards points per dollar!
Here are examples some the credit cards and their category bonuses that you could use this for this tip (per dollar spent):
American Express Cobalt Card: 5x Points/$ on Dining/Food Purchases (Rewards Canada's #1 Pick for gift card buying/giving)
American Express Gold Rewards Card: 2x Points/$ at Grocery and Drug Stores, also at Gas Stations
American Express Air Miles Platinum Credit Card: 1 Mile/$5 at eligible gas and grocery
BMO AIR MILES World Elite Mastercard: 1 Mile/$10 on all spending
CIBC Aventura Visas: 1.5 Points/$ at grocery stores, gas stations or drug store
CIBC Dividend Visa Infinite: 4% Cash Back on grocery store or gas stations purchases
Scotiabank Gold American Express 5 Points/$ on grocery stores
Scotiabank Platinum American Express: 4 Points/$ on grocery stores
Scotia Momentum VISA Infinite card: 4% Cash Back on grocery store or gas stations purchases
TD Aeroplan Visas: 1.5 Points at grocery stores and gas stations
To learn more about these or other cards visit ourTravel Rewards Credit Card Comparison
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 and points then go for it! A good example of this is that you know that your child wants a new Nintendo Switch for Christmas. You could go buy it directly from Best Buy or Amazon 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 Best Buy or Amazon gift cards, earn the 1.5x or 2x or 5x miles/points on the purchase and then use the gift cards when you get to Best Buy or shop online via Amazon. 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 Best Buy since you don’t really require any of those benefits on Old Navy purchases?)
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 some sort of bonus. 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!
Remember to always collect your points and miles when you shop. 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.
AIR MILES Shop the Block - Earn up to 1,200 Bonus Reward Miles for earning miles from multiple partners until December 28, 2020
Whenever you can, use your miles/points earning credit card to pay for your purchases. As long as you are financially responsible there is no reason you should be using cash or debit for your purchases. It should always be on a rewards credit card so that you earn your coveted miles, points or cash back. It's doesn't matter if the purchase is $1.00 or $1,000, put it on your credit card. Not financially responsible? As in you only pay the minimum required amount each month on your card, then don't use your card. The interest you pay is not worth the extra miles or points.
Happy Holidays to all! May you earn a boatload of rewards this holiday season!
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