Slash Your Holiday Gift Bill By Tapping Credit Card Rewards
by Barbara Thau Nov 8th 2012 7:00AM
And, now, with the election over at last, Americans can shift their focus to something a little less stressful: Holiday shopping.
And if you're looking for a way to save on gifts this season, you might want to tap your credit card. No, not by charging up a big fat bill -- but by maximizing your rewards points.
Here are six ways to do just that and in turn, stretch your gift-giving budget.
1. Go Catalog Shopping
2. Tap App Savings
Citi's Thank You Rewards App allows cardholders to download an app and shop in store at Best Buy (BBY). Shoppers can scan the item they want in store, see if they've earned enough points to make a purchase, pay with those points and leave the store with the merchandise.
3. Shop the Virtual Mall
Chase Ultimate Rewards members can get cash back via check or direct deposit starting at $20 for 2,000 points by shopping via the Ultimate Rewards Mall, featuring retailers such as J.C. Penney (JCP), The Body Shop and Staples (SPLS), among others. Or, use your points to pay yourself back for anything you've bought with your Ultimate Rewards in the last 60 days.
4. Buy Gift Cards
Consider buying all your gift cards via your credit card rewards. Most credit card rewards programs work on a 1 point to 1 cent ratio, so racking up 2,500 Points can earn you a $25 gift card.
The American Express Rewards card requires even fewer points to earn a gift card.
5. Donate to Charity
Capital One's (COF) Venture Rewards and American Express Membership Rewards cards let shoppers donate points to a range of charities such as UNICEF, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital and local Toys for Tots chapters, in addition to colleges and universities.
6. Go Amazon
Amazon.com now allows holders of the Amazon (AMZN) Rewards Visa card, American Express Membership Rewards card, Chase (JPM) Ultimate Rewards card and Discover (DFS) Cashback Bonus card to pay for an order using their credit card points.
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