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How To Maximize Your Cash-Back Credit Card Rewards

Choosing the best cash-back credit card isn’t as simple as sitting down with your primary lender and choosing whatever credit card they offer you. I mean, you could go that route,  but you would run the risk of choosing a card that’s inappropriate for your lifestyle and spending habits. This simple mistake could leave hundreds of dollars in rewards on the table every month. Fortunately, with just a few minutes of research and comparison shopping, you can choose the best credit card for your lifestyle and reap the financial rewards for your spending.Here are our top tips for finding the best cash-back credit cards to maximize your rewards spending.


1. Choose the right card for your spending habits

Unlike travel rewards credit cards, where you earn a certain number of points for every dollar you spend, cash-back credit cards offer different reward levels for different categories.

For example, the CIBC Dividend Visa Infinite card allows you to earn 4% cash back on your gas and groceries spending, 2% cash back on dining, transportation and recurring payments and bills, and 1% cash back on everything else. This rewards scheme makes the CIBC Dividend Visa Infinite an excellent cash-back credit card for anyone with significant grocery spending like families, or anyone who happens to commute frequently. 


Earn $435/yrbased on spending $2,200/moafter $120 annual fee

Earning categories


On eligible gas, EV charging and grocery purchases.†


On eligible transportation, dining purchases and recurring payments†


On other purchases

How to redeem
Get cash back on demand - redeem your cash back at any time when you have a minimum of $25 through CIBC Online and Mobile Banking®

If you tend to spend more on restaurants than on groceries, a better option for you might be the SimplyCash Preferred Card from American Express. This credit card allows you to earn 2% cash back on all of your purchases, making it a great option for a variety of spenders, from entrepreneurs to power travellers.


Earn $312/yrbased on spending $2,200/moafter $120 annual fee

Earning categories


On all purchases


On eligible gas station purchases in Canada & on eligible grocery store purchases in Canada (up to $1,200 cash back annually), groceries

How to redeem
Credit to statement balance annually in August

2. Combine your credit card with a loyalty program

Many rewards credit cards are co-branded with loyalty programs such as Aeroplan, SCENE and Air Miles, but in some cases, you can double your points by using your credit card alongside your regular loyalty customer account. For example, your PC Financial Mastercard will get you Optimum points from shopping at any PC-affiliated retailer, but if you’ve also downloaded weekly deals onto your PC Optimum account using their app, you can extra earn rewards points on top of the base points from your card when you purchase those featured products. 

3. Use your credit card for big purchases 

This is true especially if the purchase lies within a category where you would receive a higher cash back rate or number of points per dollar. Taking the family out to a live event and dinner? If your rewards credit card card has high cash back for dining out and entertainment, reach for that instead of your debit card and reap the benefits. Just remember that it’s always a good practice to pay off large purchases on your credit card as soon as you can to avoid interest buildup.


4. Pay off your bill in full each month

Of course, all of the cash back rewards in the world won’t make up for the interest you’re charged each month if you don’t pay your balance back in full. With any credit card, it’s imperative that you pay off your balance in full every single month. Otherwise, you’ll incur interest charges which will wipe out any cash back rewards you earn.


5. Keep on top of your rewards

The cash back and points you’ve accumulated from using your card won’t do you any good if you’re not keeping track of how much you have. Check up on your rewards total each month and, especially if your rewards don’t expire, decide at what point you will cash in on all that loyal spending you’ve been doing. Perhaps you’re planning a big vacation or a party where you’ll have to pick up lots of supplies. These are perfect opportunities to use your cash back or bonus points.


Now that you know what you should keep in mind when choosing the right cash back credit card, use’s credit card comparison tool to help you determine which of the dozens of available cash back credit cards is the best choice for you and your unique spending habits.


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Flickr: Yasmeen