What are your points earning you?
Updated: Apr 17, 2019
What points are you currently getting in return for using your credit card? For booking travel, or even buying your groceries? If your answer is nothing, you are HUGELY missing out. Likewise, if you're collecting points from ten or more different loyalty programs, you're not really getting the most out of it.
I've learnt that the key to benefiting from loyalty programs is to solely focus on collecting points for a select few programs. You'd be surprised how quickly your points add up, which in turn, provides you with free stuff.
While my top priority is to accumulate points to use toward travelling, there are many other ways you can save plenty of moola on everyday items. For those of you in Canada, here are my favourite loyalty programs.
1. WestJet Dollars. WestJet remains my favourite airline to fly with. Anytime I've had an issue (because let's face it, you're going to run into issues when flying), I've always received clear communication and excellent customer service. Once I was upgraded to first class after missing a connecting flight. Another time when my bag didn't make it home to Winnipeg with me, WestJet was quick to offer me a $100 cheque for incidentals. I was already home, AND my bag arrived one hour after me. Nonetheless great customer service if you ask me! I find that WestJet also provides many options for flights within North America, and they've recently expanded into Europe (hello Barcelona 2019). And the best part, WestJet has an amazing loyalty program.
My husband and I each have a WestJet World Elite MasterCard that we use for daily purchases (excluding gas, groceries and cosmetics which I'll get into later on). But this is by far the best travel credit card out there for Canadians. Perks include:
$250 West Jet Dollars (WJD) when you sign up.
Annual round-trip companion voucher starting at $99 CAD.
2.0% back in WJD on WestJet flights or WestJet Vacation packages. (plus an additional 8% back in WJD when you add your WestJet rewards ID to your booking).
1.5% back in WJD on every day purchases.
Free checked bag for the primary cardholder (and up to 8 guests on the same reservation).
For us, the annual fee of $119 CAD is easily recouped by the benefit of free checked bags alone. What is a checked bag cost these days? $25 CAD each one-way? One round-trip for me and my husband almost completely covers the cost of our credit card.
Using a combination of one of our companion voucher's and WJD, my husband and I recently flew to Puerto Rico (round trip) and ended up only $250 CAD out of pocket. Get this - in a few months we've already accumulated another $400 WJD. Because we're discussing Canadian credit cards I'll throw in a, "not bad, eh?"
2. PC Optimum Points. While this loyalty program is not travel related, the PC Optimum points loyalty program is friggen outstanding. We signed up for the PC Financial MasterCard (FREE) which earns you PC Optimum points if you use your card at participating retailers. And like the tacky slogan - more points gets you more stuff. For reference, 10,000 PC Optimum points gets you a fine $10 off your purchase at any stores offering PC Optimum points.
My husband and I have made a conscious effort to only purchase groceries at Superstore, only buy gas from Esso or Mobile, and only buy cosmetics/toiletries/ fill prescriptions at Shoppers Drug Mart. These stores all offer PC Optimum points.
As a side note, ladies - stop buying your beauty products at Sephora. Their point system kind of sucks. Believe me, you can purchase all of your high-end make-up and skin care products at the Shoppers Beauty Boutique - AND earn PC Optimum points. I get coupons emailed to me once a week for extra points on Shoppers purchases.
Top tip - try to purchase from the same sales associate at the Shoppers Beauty Boutique. I quite regularly get free stuff thrown in with my purchase.
With the PC Optimum loyalty program, the rewards are so amazing that I sometimes feel like I'm abusing the system. Nine cents off a litre plus PC Optimum points on gas? $20, $40, sometimes even $60 off my grocery bill? 20x the points at Shoppers? Special redemption days where your points are worth more? I'm only buying the stuff I need people!
I'm telling you, we've saved so much cash by making a conscious effort to collect PC Optimum points that we have a hell of a lot more disposable income to use on travel.
3. Expedia Rewards. Last but not least. Pick a travel site and stick with it. I like Expedia because you earn rewards on hotels, car rentals and flights (if you need to book a flight WestJet doesn't offer). I'm always getting special offers or member only pricing. The rewards transfer into a dollar amount which you can use when you book hotels or car rentals. The reward amount is worth double if you book an Expedia VIP hotel (which means it's affiliated with Expedia, it's not necessarily more expensive). Plus, if you book using the Expedia app, you earn double the amount of rewards. Bonus.
Do you have a go-to loyalty program? I'd love to hear all about it!