This post is sponsored by the AIR MILES Reward Program.
You don’t have to look far for signs that the Holiday season is underway. With Black Friday and Christmas around the corner, retailers – both online and brick-and-mortar alike – aren’t skipping a beat, pinning up Christmas decorations and plastering discounts on website home pages.
Whether you prefer to hit the mall to snag the latest deals or cross items off your gift list from behind a keyboard, odds are, you are going to use a credit card to pay for at least some of your Holiday shopping.
Below, we run through four tactics for using credit cards to your advantage this Holiday season, using Canada’s most recognized loyalty program – the AIR MILES Reward Program – as an example.
Take Advantage of Sign-Up Offers
If you have a solid credit score and the wherewithal to pay your bills without carrying a balance, getting a new credit card with a sign-up offer can be an easy way to pocket tons of rewards and stretch your shopping budget in time for the Holidays.
The BMO® AIR MILES®† World Elite Mastercard®*, for example, is currently offering a 1,000 AIR MILES Rewards Miles Offer after you make your first purchase. These easy-to-collect Miles can be used to get an array of merchandise – from the latest gadgets and household items to toys and jewelry – that you can gift to loved ones. You can get an additional 2,000 Miles when you spend $3,000 on the AIR MILES credit card in your first 3 months, a threshold that will be easier to hit as your spending ramps up in the end of the year.
Plus, from now until March 2019, save $120 in annual fees and take advantage of the special companion flight rebate: when you use your Miles to book two flights, you will be gifted back the Miles for one. That way you can give the gift of travel having your partner, friend or family member join in on your travel plans too.
While sign-up offers can be an incentive that can make an already great card better or push you to upgrade your wallet, it’s important to read the fine print to ensure you meet the offer’s conditions before you apply.
Get Rewards and “Double Dip” on Your Purchases
The Holiday season is traditionally a time of giving and receiving – so why not get something in return for all the gifts you will be buying over the next month or so.
Unlike cash or most debit cards, most of credit cards offer between 1% and 4% back in rewards on every dollar you spend. That can amount to some serious savings and help offset the cost of your Holiday spending. Plus, if you cross off your shopping list at the right stores, you can pocket even more rewards by double dipping.
If you’re not familiar with double dipping, here’s how it works: Let’s say you have a credit card that is affiliated with the AIR MILES Reward Program. For every $10 you spend on the BMO AIR MILES World Elite Mastercard for instance, you can get up to 1 Mile. However, if you shop from one of the Program’s Partner locations, you would get Miles from the Partner store on top of the Miles you would regularly get from your credit card. AIR MILES has a long list of Partner locations, such as the Metro, Staples and the LCBO, that offer Miles.
Another way to double dip and rack up rewards faster is to leverage the online stores partnered by your loyalty program. In the case of the AIR MILES Reward Program, that’s airmilesshops.ca. You can use this online shopping portal to buy several of the season’s most wished for items from big brand names such as Hudson’s Bay and Amazon.ca – all while getting Miles twice using your AIR MILES credit card. airmilesshops.ca is featuring the season’s hottest items on the Wish List Wonders Gift Guide to help you give the perfect gift, while getting Miles.
Leverage the Holiday deals of your loyalty program
While many rewards programs offer bundles and discounts throughout the year, the deals really ramp up towards the Holidays. Case in point: AIR MILES Gift Guide: The Holiday Edition.
This once-in-a-year promotional event runs from November 12 to December 7 and offers AIR MILES Collectors the opportunity to take the pressure off their wallets and use their Dream Miles to snag deals on the season’s most popular items.
Aside from a strategic way of using your Miles to save on gifts, the AIR MILES Holiday Gift Guide can also help streamline your search for the perfect present, with curated lists that cater to the motley tastes of everyone in your circle of friends of family – from foodies to techies and more.
Whether you’re looking to use your Miles on non-travel related purchases or recently got an influx of Miles after paying for a big-ticket purchase on your credit card and are in a financial squeeze, make sure to visit the AIR MILES Gift Guide: The Holiday Edition.
In the frenzy of the Holiday shopping season, it’s not uncommon for retailers to spontaneously offer steep discounts on items that, only a few days earlier, were being sold at full price. If you were unlucky and pulled the trigger on an item before its price was dropped, you’ll likely get hit with a case of buyer’s remorse. However, if you used a credit card that offers price protection benefits, you can still walk away with some savings.
Price (or purchase) protection is a perk that is provided by many top credit cards in Canada, and offers card holders a refund for the full or partial difference on purchased items that were recently discounted. The BMO AIR MILES World Elite, for example, offers price protection on eligible purchase for up to 90 days and a maximum of $60,000.
Price protection is one of the lesser-known benefits of using a credit card and offers a rare opportunity to save on your Holiday shopping after the fact, so make sure it’s leveraged whenever the situation calls for it.
®* Mastercard is a registered trademark, Masterpass and the circles design are trademarks of Mastercard International Incorporated. Used under license.
®† TM† Trademarks of AM Royalties Limited Partnership under license by LoyaltyOne, Co. and Bank of Montreal.