Points Overlapping

in Case Study, Points

A post from another financial blogger got me wondering about whether other folks do the same as we have done, and that is maximizing our Customer Allegiance points (like Aeroplan, Petropoints, or Air Miles), by overlapping customer appreciation point systems.

If you already do this,  this seems obvious, but I have found some folks who don’t try to optimize their points, or aren’t aware of some of the “tricks of the trade”. Some of the tricks are obvious, in the case of PC Points, Loblaws typically has deals and bonus points for buying specific things, such as this month, if you buy a $25 Itunes gift certificate you get 5000 PC points bonus (which is $5), so watching for those kind of bonuses is a good way to get more points. A lot of times I have earned these bonus points, without even being aware I was doing it (which is always nice).

The other more interesting trick is to overlap points, but how do you do that? Here is a couple of examples of the idea:

  • If I am using a cash back credit card or a PC point card and buy gas for one of my vehicles, I use my Petro Points card with Petro Canada, I collect two sets of credits for the same purchase.
  • If I go to Sobey’s but use my Amex Cash Back card, I get money back from the purchase, and get Club Sobey’s points.

You can see this is not rocket science, but it is something to take into consideration. Now I know that if you use a Sobey’s BMO Mastercard you get more Club Sobey’s points, so it might be interesting to figure out when it is best to overlap points, and when it is best to stick with the base points system (if anyone has done this, please point me at your research).

Is there a way to create even more points using customer appreciation points systems (that are within the rules, please, no Black Hat solutions)?

{ 10 comments }

  • crunchy January 27, 2011, 12:21 AM

    1-use cibc aeroplan credit card to purchase shoppers gift cards->get 1.5x aeroplan miles+shoppers points. e.g a $50 gift card purchase will get you 75aeroplan points + 500 shoppers points

    2-use gift cards to buy stuff at shoppers (get more shoppers points). some shopper stores allow you to buy other gift cards with a shoppers gift card(but no shoppers points given). i use this to buy esso gas cards. another variation is to buy gap gift cards

    3a-buy gas at esso- get 1aeroplan pt for every $3 spent. so a $50 esso card gets you 17aeroplan pts
    3b-go to aeroplan estores portal and go to gap.ca and buy stuff (2pts/$1) a $50 gap cards gets you 100 aeroplan pts

    so in summary a $50 purchase starting from step 1 will get you 500 shoppers pts+82aeoplan pts on the esso card or
    500shoppers pts+175aeroplan pts on a gap gift card

    Reply
  • Echo January 25, 2011, 11:45 AM

    Air Miles really tries to promote “double-dipping” by using an Air Miles rewards card to purchase items at Air Miles sponsored stores. But if you just do the math it doesn’t always work to your benefit.

    For example, I have an Air Miles AMEX, but the return is only 1 Air Mile for every $15 spent. If I spend $2,000 a month on that card I would receive 133 Air Miles. The $20 gas card at Shell costs 175 Air Miles.

    With the PC MasterCard, if I spend $2,000 a month I would receive $20 in free groceries.

    The double-dipping method is flawed, because I will still get the Air Miles for purchasing items at sponsored stores…but I am better off using the PC MasterCard to make the purchase.

    So, you need to find the best credit card rewards program for you (cash back, groceries, whatever) and use it for every purchase, and then supplement it with loyalty rewards programs if you shop at the same stores all the time (Air Miles, PC Points, Petro Points, Aeroplan, etc).

    Reply
    • bigcajunman January 25, 2011, 11:54 AM

      That was the point I was trying to make, you have to figure out how you can optimize your point accrual without compromising your spending (i.e. overspending).

      Reply
  • Kathy January 25, 2011, 10:33 AM

    Ah, the game of reward points! When Air Miles first came out, we got caught up in it — shopped at Safeway, bought gas at Shell, used the BMO AirMiles MC to maximize points. One day we went to Superstore, realized the lower prices….and questioned if AirMiles was really worth paying the extra cost at Safeway…..so we stopped “actively pursuing” the Air Miles. (This was many years ago — I did pop into Safeway a little while ago, and their prices weren’t as bad if you used the Club Card, but still higher than Superstore.)

    Many, many years later…..today it seems everyone has a points program. Our shopping has also changed. We tend to hit Superstore for most things, except dairy (we’ve had problems with Superstore, and have switched to Sobeys) and meat (find Co-op has better quality). We signed up for the Sobeys points, and have actually gotten $10 back so far, which surprised us.

    The credit card we use is the RBC VISA with their reward points, which we turn into HBC gift cards.

    I’m sure we could target one type of point system, but our experience with Air Miles has really turned us off maximizing rewards. So now we use the reward systems at the places we tend to shop, but the reward system does not influence our purchases.

    Reply
    • bigcajunman January 25, 2011, 10:36 AM

      I think that is why I use PC Points as well, even though we don’t shop at Loblaws as much as we used to.

      Reply
  • claire January 25, 2011, 9:31 AM

    thanks for the great post and insightful responses. I’m finding this all very helpful.

    Reply
  • Michael James January 25, 2011, 9:19 AM

    Are you really getting enough value from points to justify changes to your spending habits? Even just a couple of misguided purchases resulting from point-chasing that turn out to be mistakes would more than wipe out the value you get from points.

    Reply
    • bigcajunman January 25, 2011, 9:25 AM

      Agreed, I am certainly not espousing going out of your way to create points if you don’t need to purchase things, however, if you were going to make the purchase anyhow (say like buying gas for your car, or were going to buy iTunes music anyhow), then finding out a Points Optimization technique would be a good plan.

      Yes, please do not mistake this for me saying “Go out and buy anything if it makes you points”, that is not the point I am attempting to make.

      Reply
  • SavingMentor January 25, 2011, 5:41 AM

    I think a big mistake that many people make is to always try and earn one type of points with their credit card and their loyalty card. Most banks and points programs advertise it this way so they don’t think of doing it another way.

    You should always match up the best credit card you can possibly find with the points card for whatever store you happen to be shopping at that has the best prices. Don’t worry about collecting the same type of points. If you are a savvy points collector, you will quickly earn enough points to redeem for something good in BOTH programs.

    Reply
    • bigcajunman January 25, 2011, 7:10 AM

      OK, good points made, any other comments out there?

      Reply

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