Saturday, 19 April 2014

Credit Card Loyalty Programs: Is This For You?

A lot of us collect points with our credit card spending, in hopes of 'winning' free trips, merchandise, accommodation, etc.  While one must remember that these perks are never 'free', it makes us feel better to know that we may be getting something in return for our loyalty.  If you are living in Canada, this site provides a overview of the options available. 
 
http://www.rewardscanada.ca/choosing-a-travel-credit-card.html

We put everything we can on credit cards AND pay off the balance when our statement arrives. Here are a few more tips for accumulating points:
  • sign up for your reward program email newsletter to take advantage of bonuses (we still only purchase what we need. . . getting sucked into making purchases you had otherwise not planned is counterproductive.  Print the coupons you can use and keep them in your vehicle;
  • put everything you can on a credit card; it's a good way to understand where your money goes to help you budget all the while earning points;
  • Use your Airmiles card and credit card whenever you can.  If you are buying groeries, Sobeys in the east and Safeway in the west honor the Airmiles program;
  • pay your mortgage and loans on your credit card;
  • ask your bank whether your accounts accumulate points.  Be aware of minimum balance requirements;
  • sometimes paying an annual fee for your credit card makes sense.  Review the benefits and see if you can make it pay.  We use the travel insurance the most.  If you do not want to pay a fee, this site rates the best 'no fee' reward programs:  http://www.milliondollarjourney.com/top-no-fee-rewards-credit-cards-in-canada.htm
  • most gas stops have some kind of reward program; 
  • you can often accumulate points just by stopping in to a retailer; you don't always have to make a purchase;
  • If you are planning on using your rewards for travel, keep in mind, many cards have black-out dates, when you can't travel or different point values for travel during high season.  Book well in advance when you can and travel when you get the most bang for your buck.  By paying your travel expenses with your credit card, you will continue to earn points.
Just as I have given you some ideas how to accumulate points, here is a link of what NOT to use your rewards for:  http://blog.credit.com/2013/04/what-not-to-do-with-your-credit-card-rewards/.  The best tip I have to offer for this category is:  NEVER EVER EVER! SPEND MONEY YOU DON'T HAVE.  Living beyond your means is not going to get you anyway anytime soon.

Happy Travels!