Thursday, September 20, 2012

Rewards Programs

As I mentioned in my last post, I am super excited to be going with my darling husband on a trip to the mountains come December! However, as fun and lavish as the trip plans might sounds, the reality is, this trip will be taken a few weeks before Christmas, when funds get really tight, right after a tax installment is due, and just after we have to pay our annual home insurance installment.

Money is going to be tight...

However, there's always a way around that! This time around, we've opted to not cut back on the fun, but rather to get creative in how we afford the fun!

Reward Programs.

I have always been a fan of rewards programs. I have a ridiculous number of rewards cards in my wallet, for everything ranging from pet stores, grocery stores, travel programs and department stores. It has never made sense to me why you would a) not have a membership card (which you get for free), that allows you to pay less when you shop at a store (even if you only shop there once a year!) and b) why you wouldn't cash in on a rewards program for some of the things you buy most, like gas and food.

Myself, I shop primarily for groceries and fuel at our local Co-op, which offers a cash-back rebate program for all members. Whatever I spend in the course of the year, at the end I get a percentage back. This membership program does not keep me, however, from keeping Safeway, Save-on and Sobeys membership cards in my wallet. And while you may think, "You can't expect to get many points if you only shop somewhere a couple times a year," you're right, I won't get many, but as is the case with Safeway and Save-on-Foods, club members get an additional discount, which adds up quickly, and at Sobeys, you can convert your club points into Aeroplan miles! And those babies are things that we collect alot of.

If your credit card is not linked to a rewards program, get a new card. My husband has a work card which is linked to our Aeroplan account. The best part is, he has to buy flooring for people from time-to-time, which is automatically paid off the card as soon as we charge it on, but we get the points for the $3000 purchase too. The product of which is, after having his credit card for only two years, we now have just about enough points for two, round-trip, long haul flights.

You can also collect Airmiles, which rack up just as fast for some people, but while I've had an Airmiles card for years, we've barely raised enough points to buy much of anything (I just don't shop in Airmiles places). I was pleasantly surprised, however, to find that you can use your Airmiles rewards to buy passes to the Banff Hot Springs! For 35 points per person, you can be bathing in the natural hot springs on a cold Decemeber day - and that's just what we're going to do!! It's been a long time since we went to the Hot Springs (it just doesn't work as well when you have little ones), so for no skin off our noses, or money out of our wallets, we will spend a chilly afternoon in the warm pools.

My credit card has its own rewards program, which I basically forgot about until today when I realized I had a considerable number of points. While perusing their catalogue I found that I could redeem my points for a Keg giftcard, and wouldn't you know it, but the Keg in Banff overlooks the parade route that we were hoping to catch a glimpse of during dinner! I've got enough points for a $100 gift card, which will buy us a nice meal, and maybe even enough points afterwards for a $25 Starbucks giftcard, which will always get used in our household.

Besides the freebies, we're also going to be bringing our SUTP coupon book to help us decide where to eat, and what to do while we're in the Rockies. You can get discounts on things like Gondola rides, tours, spas and shops and while I'm not sure that we'll do any of those, it's nice to know we can if we want - and pay a bit less!

Do you have Rewards cards? If so, check out your balance - you might be surprised! If not, ....WHY????!!!?

Mrs. VanderLeek ;)

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