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How to Earn Credit Card Reward Points When Shopping

Using rewards credit cards for spending on gas, groceries and other everyday expenses can help you earn rewards points. Learn to maximize rewards points earned through shopping, use those points to cut costs on everyday expenses, and then apply those savings to other parts of their household budgets.

July 24, 2020 in Benefits

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Find a rewards card with accelerated earn rates that match your spending

The more rewards collected, the bigger your redemptions or cash back savings. One way to earn rewards faster is to shop with rewards cards that offer accelerated earn rates on purchases within a category you shop for often. Spending bonuses for some rewards credit cards include double, triple, or even 5 times the regular rewards points when you use your card for spending in certain categories. These categories might include grocery stores, restaurant orders (including take-out or delivery), gas stations, or other types of purchases.


For example, the American Express CobaltTM Card offers Cardmembers 5 Membership Rewards® points for every $1 of eligible food delivery purchases made on the Card in Canada1. Shoppers can earn points from this type of regular monthly expense and Use Points for Purchases charged to the Card2.

Build your budget to get the most out of categories

A monthly household budget can help you make wiser credit card spending decisions and also help you manage your debt. Using a budget worksheet, break down your monthly expenses into categories to make it easier to match expenses and shopping to credit card rewards. This can help you get even more rewards points with your credit card purchases.

Plan big purchases and gifts with rewards redemptions

When you have a big purchase coming up, shop with your rewards program by logging into your online rewards portal and looking through your online rewards catalogues. Your rewards program may include discounts on select items, such as electronics and fashion, that may allow you to redeem with rewards points rather than paying for the item. American Express’ Membership Rewards program offers numerous ways to redeem your points, so checking the program before you buy is a must to get the best shopping value from your points.

Cash back vs. rewards points: Which is worth more to you?

Some credit cards offer cash back instead of rewards. With a budget in hand, you can compare how your spending will earn points versus how it will earn cash back so you can choose the option that works best for you.


For example, the SimplyCash Card and the SimplyCash Preferred Card from American Express gives Cardmembers the opportunity to earn cash back. Your cash back earnings will be applied to your account as an annual statement credit.

Pay your full balance each month to save the most

Using your cash back card to pay for your monthly bills can earn you cash back, but to be effective, aim to pay back the full balance every month. This prevents paying interest charges and adding debt beyond what you have budgeted for each month’s expenses.


If you don’t pay off your balance in full by the due date shown on your statement, you will be charged interest on all purchases shown on that month’s statement and interest will be applied to your account. When you pay your full balance each month, you’ll not only save on interest payment, you’ll also be taking action to help maintain your credit rating.


If you can’t pay the full balance each monthly on your credit card, make sure to pay at least the minimum monthly payment on time to help maintain a good credit rating.

Take advantage of your rewards program when you shop

Consumers today know there are many cash back and rewards credit cards to choose from. Do your research to choose the card that offers the rewards best suited to your shopping style and budget, looking for cards that feature earn rates that match your planned expenses and reward programs that offer you deals and discounts on merchandise that you find valuable. Your wallet will thank you.

Explore all American Express Cards to find the best option for your financial needs.

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