Whether you’re a reward points junkie, or new to the game, reward collecting can be equally exciting and exhausting. Here are some simple ways to make the most of your rewards credit card and other loyalty programs this holiday season.

An illustration of (from left to right) an indoor plant, a smart phone showing a notification of a delivery, a tablet computer showing a bicycle and a card with a big star in the middle, next to the tablet are a smart watch. and a couple of wrapped gifts. 

Use your credit card for big purchases

The quickest way to earn rewards is to pay for large purchases using your rewards credit card (our favourite is the Servus World Elite® Mastercard®). During the holiday season, when your spending generally increases, carefully planning how you'll pay can pay off big time. Start earning points far enough in advance and you can strategically redeem points (like Circle Rewards® points) for merchandise to give as gifts.

Use your credit card to make all your holiday purchases. Just be sure to set money aside so you can pay off your balance in full when the bill arrives.

Take advantage of bonus reward points

Many credit card rewards programs offer opportunities to earn bonus points on specific types of purchases or at certain stores. For example, some programs give you 5% back on gas or double the points at grocery stores.

That's great, but what if you're shopping for items you can't buy at a grocery store? Good news is you can game the system by purchasing gift cards for your retailer of choice. Most grocery stores stock a ton of retailer gift cards, making it especially great to do so during the gifting season. Give the gift card itself or use it to buy a specific item on someone's wish list. Either way, why not earn bonus reward points while you're at it?

Use online reward malls

Several membership programs reward you for making purchases you'd normally make anyway – simply for doing so through their online portal. AMA, Air Miles, Aeroplan and Rakuten are just a few programs offering rewards for purchasing from stores via their online malls.

Getting familiar with the retailers each reward program offers can help you rack up reward points on nearly everything you buy. Remember to follow cyber security best practices, like only purchasing via secure sites and using strong passwords, when you're shopping online.

Install browser extensions

Wouldn't it be great if you got alerts reminding you that item you're looking at is available through a reward mall? Or let you know there's a special offer available? By installing browser extensions you totally can!

Use Google Chrome to browse the web and you can set up extensions for reward programs like Rakuten and Air Miles. You can also use extensions to get alerts for promo codes and coupon offers from Honey or SwagButton.

Bonus: Reap the benefits of points stacking by using your rewards credit card to pay. Earn loyalty points and credit card reward points at the same time – it's double dipping in the best way!

There you have it – simple ways to up your rewards game during the holiday season and beyond. Now it's time to start dreaming about all the possibilities for redeeming them.

Originally posted on December 4, 2019.