« back to Personal Finances

Maximize rewards when using your credit for holiday shopping

Maximize rewards when using your credit for holiday shopping

December 11, 2013

Did you know that there’s an art to smart reward points gathering and spending? Careful use of your credit card during the holiday season could earn you valuable rewards points. Of course, the gift of giving should be rewarding in and of itself. But there are ways to collect and redeem them wisely. Here’s what you need to keep in mind as you rack up your credit card perks on holiday gifts. 

Purchase wisely

While credit cards assign a certain number of points for dollars spent, some cards offer extra points in certain categories. For example, purchasing an entertainment-related gift may earn you more than buying a book or jewelry. 

Look for partnerships

Sometimes credit card companies partner with a retailer to offer deep discounts on everything from hotel rooms to sporting events. Periodically visit your bank’s website, or speak with a bank representative, to find out about the latest promotions and offers. 

Consider cash back

If you spend too much time focused on counting points, you might miss the opportunity to receive cash back rewards. Cash back credit cards are a convenient way to earn cash back on eligible purchases, ranging from drug store products to grocery store items. Either way, you receive a certain percentage of cash back on your purchases throughout the year while your loved ones are treated to holiday gifts.

Think travel

Points and cash back programs are always exciting but holiday purchases can also help you reach your travel goals faster. That’s because some credit cards let holders earn travel rewards faster than any other program. In addition to earning discounts and amenities at hotels, on airfare, car rentals, cruises and vacation packages, some cards come packaged with emergency travel insurance. 

Keep track of your spending

Don’t get so swept up in holiday shopping that you accidentally forfeit your rewards. Some rewards programs have expiry dates so be sure you cash in your rewards before it’s too late. Late payments can also impact your ability to redeem points. And no matter how tempting the holiday purchase, never buy items you simply can’t afford.