According to the latest statistics published, over 95% of Canadian adults have at least one credit card.
This makes sense, seeing as most credit cards come with great perks and benefits that can allow you to earn money while you spend it.
Yep, you heard that right. If you’re using a rewards credit card, you can earn money just by making purchases.
Want to know how to quickly achieve card reward points in order to improve your finances? Here’s how.
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What Are Credit Card Rewards Points?
Points are one of the three types of credit card rewards that companies tend to offer. The other two are miles and cash back.
Depending on the credit card company you have a credit card with and the actual card itself, you might receive points for various different types of things, which include:
- Making purchases
- Spending a set amount within a set period of time
- Referring somebody to sign up for a card
- Signing up for a new card
Generally, when you sign up for a new credit card, their rewards system is very clear. It should also be a part of the terms and conditions you sign to activate the card or open the account.
You can redeem these points for different things, which also vary from company to company. You can apply these points to things like gift cards, travel, general payments, or even receive them in the form of cash or a check.
When figuring out if point rewards or a rewards credit card, in general, is worth it for you, you need to take into account a few things. Consider asking yourself these questions:
- Do you use your credit card to make a lot of purchases?
- Are you going to reach the spending limit to be able to redeem those points?
- Do you make purchases in the specific categories
- Can you redeem the points for things that you actually want or need?
Think about these things before deciding to apply for a rewards credit card. There are many different types!
The Most Popular Points Credit Cards
Financial experts have analyzed the “point value” of major credit card companies. Cards that offer more per point will have a higher point value.
According to NerdWallet, for example, the Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express has the highest point value. You earn 2.21 cents for each point. However, you can only redeem those points for cash back and nothing else.
This is why it’s so important to compare and contrast all major rewards cards. Let’s take a look at some of the most popular in Canada.
American Express Cobalt
You’ll receive $300 worth of points just for signing up as long as you spend $500 each month for the first year.
You’ll also receive five points for every dollar you spend with eligible grocery stores, restaurants, and food delivery services.
Add that to the two points you get for every dollar you spend on gas and public transit costs. All other purchases will earn you one point per dollar.
As an added plus, this card includes travel insurance, but we’ll talk about that perk in a bit! When it comes to financial planning, it’s great to know that you can save with your credit card by reducing your expenses in other areas of life.
Scotiabank Gold American Express
Earn up to $850* in value in the first 12 months, including up to 45,000 bonus Scene+ points and first year annual fee waived.1. Offer ends 30 April 2023.
The Scotiabank Gold American Express card is the best for everyday purchases and if you plant to pay bills with your credit card for points.
You’ll earn 6x the Scene+ points for each $1 charged to your account on all eligible purchases at Sobeys, IGA, Safeway, Foodland, FreshCo, Voilà by Sobeys, Voilà by IGA, Voilà by Safeway, Chalo! FreshCo, Thrifty Foods, IGA West, Les Marchés Tradition, Rachelle Béry and Co-Op.
This card beats the American Express Cobalt in terms of redeemable options, as it allows you to use your points to pay for any travel expense.
To receive a bonus of 40,000 Scene+ points (up to $200 in travel), you only have to spend $1,000 in the first three months, which is also less than the Cobalt.
What About Credit Card Travel Insurance?
Both of the best Canadian rewards credit cards mentioned above offer pretty comprehensive travel insurance as one of their many perks.
Most credit cards offer travel insurance as one of their perks. While it’s not usually enough to meet the insurance requirements for a visa, it does tend to cover things like:
- Lost or stolen baggage
- Emergency travel
- Flight delays
- Canceled trips
This is a great perk that you should consider when signing up for a new credit card!
Canadian travel insurance is great to have, but if you’re going outside of the country and forget to get travel insurance before your trip, you might be able to receive coverage with your credit card.
This can help save you a lot of money and hassle in the long run, as travel experts note that paying for an annual travel premium can save you money namely on missed flights and unexpected medical expenses while abroad.
When crunching the numbers and figuring out if credit card rewards points are best for you, think about these costs! You can save in other areas, and you can deduct those costs from your overall spending.
How to Achieve Card Reward Points Quickly
Racking up points isn’t that hard to do, and it doesn’t require you to do anything different than simply using your card to make everyday purchases.
If you’re creative about how you spend and how you manage your credit cards, you can achieve card reward points pretty quickly! Some great ways to earn points fast include…
Using Specific Cards for Specific Things
If you have more than one credit card, then you can use each card for a specific purpose.
This means that if you have a credit card that allows you to earn five points per dollar you spend on gas, use that card for gas. If you have another card that gives you more points for groceries and dining, then use it for that.
Be smart about how you use your cards and use the best card according to its best benefit.
Take Over Spending
A great way to rack up points is to take over money management and spending for your friends and family when it’s okay to do so!
If you all go out to dinner together pretty often, offer to pay for everybody with your credit card and then have them pay you back later.
If you go on family trips, you can put all expenses on your card and have your friends and family pay you back via Venmo, PayPal, or another similar platform.
The options are endless, but the more you put on your card, the more points you’ll earn, and fast.
Sign Up for iDine
Credit card points experts have taken to online message boards to mention that it’s a smart idea to sign up for a platform called iDine.
You can connect up to five different credit cards to this account and earn 15 points or 15% cash back on every dollar you spend. Yes, 15 points!
All you have to do is use your card to pay at qualified restaurants, and maybe take a couple of surveys sometimes, but aside from that, the experts seem to think it’s a pretty easy way to earn points fast.
How to Use Credit Card Points
Now that you’ve racked up a lot of points, what’s the best way to use credit card points?
The smartest answer, financially, would be to use your points to pay off other bills and financial obligations that you have. However, you can also:
- Purchase gift cards with your points
- Get discounts on airfare and hotels
- Pay off your credit card balance
- Get cash back (depending on your card) to pay for rent
Learning how to earn credit card points fast is only half the battle of optimizing your spending with a rewards card. You’ll also need to get smart about how you spend your points.
Make sure you’re unlocking all of the hidden deals that are available to you and that you aren’t spending more than you can pay back.
You’ll still need to keep your credit score high, which is why using your points to pay off your balance makes sense.
You’ll be paying off your balance with money that you earned from spending on everyday needs. This is a financially smart move that will leave you with more cash to spend on yourself and your loved ones.
Staying Financially Healthy
Learning how to achieve card reward points with your credit card is only part of ensuring that you’re financially healthy.
You’ll also want to ensure that you’re engaging in smart financial planning and that you’re paying off everything that you owe.
Putting money back into your savings account each time you have leftover cash is a great way to build up a rainy day fund in case you ever need it. Or, you can redeem your points for cash and put it all back into savings.
If you’re still unsure about how to live a financially healthy life, then take a look at our finance section for more tips and tricks.