With Christmas only weeks away, we’re all saving money like nobody’s business in order to be able to buy everything for this expensive holiday. While Christmas time is about families, it’s also become largely about wish lists, food and sparkly decorations. These things cost money, so here’s how you can maximise credit card rewards for holiday shopping.
‘If you are using your cards wisely and saving up your points and planning ahead, it can definitely benefit your budget [to redeem points] in a way that suits your spending’– Andrea Woroch, consumer savings expert.
1. Take a Look at Your Rewards Programme
Review your rewards programme. You may be able to get more points at one petrol station as opposed to another, for example. Some cards have rewards that you have to sign up for, too. Understanding the ins and outs of your card can help you to dramatically maximise credit card rewards for holiday shopping. You’ll need to find out the following:
- Are there caps on your points?
- Do your miles expire?
- Are all redemption options equal?
Be sure not to waste any of your points or miles in order to maximise credit card rewards for holiday shopping.
2. Buy Everyday Things with Your Card
Buying your food at a supermarket with a card that offers extra points for shopping there is a great way to maximise credit card rewards for holiday shopping all throughout the year! Some cards even offer this for certain restaurants. Go out for a meal with your friends, they give you the money and you pay on your card. Win on both sides!
3. Shop with Your Issuer
Banks and credit card companies often have online shopping sites, where you can use their rewards program. Consider browsing for items that you would usually buy, but keep an eye on your money. You want to build up your points, not add to your debt.
4. Manage Your Finances
If you don’t pay your credit card bills off on time, your points can be rendered useless. Make sure to pay your bills on time, maybe even pay twice monthly to keep the final balance down. If you make multiple payments you can easily maximise credit card rewards for holiday shopping, even if you’re on a strict budget. Mobile banking apps make it easy to keep an eye on your money and transfer money from a debit card to a credit card.
5. Maximise Credit Card Rewards for Holiday Shopping With Alternative Rewards Sources
Airlines and hotels often offer rewards programs where you can pool points together. Although these points fund holiday travel, it’s money that doesn’t have to be spent. Many people have to fly between countries at Christmas too, and this can be a really expensive time of year to fly. Watch out for foreign transaction fees! Buying an item off a Spanish website (for example) will charge extra money. Try and get a no-foreign transaction fee credit card. Less and less credit card providers have these fees, but it’s wise to check anyway!
6. Sign-On Bonuses
Issuers often offer extra points, cashback and miles in order to attract new cardholders. This method can help you to gain a lot of rewards in a short amount of time. As good as this method is to maximise credit card rewards for holiday shopping, don’t sign up to more than one card to get rewards. Every time you sign up for a credit card, you have to spend a certain amount of money for it to be valid after a certain amount of time. Also, each application means an inquiry on your credit report and could hurt your credit score. The card you choose should have competitive rewards system that is right for you. Remember that sometimes you’ll need to call the providers to fund out all of the special promotions. Comparison sites like Money Supermarket can give you a good look at what may work for you.
[Read: Saving with a Credit Card]
If you follow these steps, you could have plenty of money saved for this Christmas. If that deadline is too short, build these into your financial habits for next Christmas! Take a look at these hints and tips to increase your rewards, without paying an arm and a leg:
- Be cautious. You could damage your credit health with these methods and always be responsible with your money. You want more rewards, not more debt
- As well as using your credit card for rewards, some retailers offer rewards programs, which could save you hundreds of pounds a year
- Check your bank statements and credit scores often to avoid identity theft (fraud)
- Pay all credit card bills on time and keep your credit rating healthy
Happy spending, and hopefully you can get everything on your Christmas wish list!