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4 easy ways to earn more rewards from holiday shopping

This year’s flying by! With Halloween past us, it’s already time to start thinking about the holidays, which means many of us will probably start shopping for friends and family. Below, we’ve outlined 4 ways that you can earn some extra reward points this holiday season. Smart financial strategies before you start shopping can really pay off.

1. Open new cards for sign-up bonuses

Thinking about taking that dream trip, but don’t know how you’re going to afford it? Odds are you’re planning on making several purchases over the next two months. If these are purchases that you’ve budgeted for (see point #4), then you should consider opening a new credit card (or two) and use these purchases to help hit minimum spending requirements. Most cards with large sign-up bonuses have minimum spending requirements of $1,000 to $4,000 in the first 3 months of opening the card. Open a card or two with high sign-up bonuses and you’ll be on your way to your next trip. But make sure you don’t blindly open cards and always open responsibly. Check out to find the best card for your needs.

Large, budgeted purchases can help you hit minimum spending requirements on new credit cards

2. Utilize shopping portals

Most airlines and credit card programs have their own shopping portals. These portals are online shopping “malls” where airlines and credit card companies give bonus points for purchases made through their site. Here’s an example: American Airlines is currently offering 4x points/$ spent at Brooks Brothers. You make a purchase of $100 from Brooks Brothers via the American Airlines site and you get 400 American Airlines miles – it’s that easy. These are miles in addition to what you could earn on your credit card from these purchases. These portals are great because you get extra points on purchases that you were already planning on making. Some of the stores require shipping, but others allow you to pick up in-store.

Shopping portals are a great way to earn additional points.


3. Don’t forget about spending category bonuses

Your credit card probably offers spending category bonuses. Make sure you take a look at your credit card(s) for specific bonuses, as they vary. Some of the most common spending category bonuses are on dining, gas, grocery, office supplies, and travel. This means that every purchase made on a card in that spending category receives bonus points.

If you have a card that earns 2x points on all grocery purchases and you’re planning on purchasing gift cards for someone, purchase them at the grocery store with that particular card. If you get 3x points on dining, offer to pay the bill at a family dinner and have them pay you back.

One card that offers special bonuses is the Chase Freedom card. The Chase Freedom offers quarterly 5x points/$ spent on quarterly categories, up to $1,500 in spend. This quarter (October-December), categories are big box stores (Costco, Sam’s, etc.),  drug stores, and select department stores. If you have a Chase Freedom, make sure you activate your card today!

Some credit cards offer shopping category bonuses.

4. Put all budgeted spending on credit cards

If you have budgeted for your holiday spending this year, then you should have cash set aside for these purchases. Why use that cash on the purchases, when you can make the payments with a credit card and receive reward points? Once you make the purchases, simply pay off the credit card statements with the cash you’ve set aside in your budget. This is an easy way to earn points on spending that you were already planning to do. Tie in some of the category bonuses mentioned above and you can earn some extra points.

Using your credit card for budgeted purchases can rack up points.

It really is easy to maximize your reward points earning through shopping this holiday season. Just make sure you’re taking advantage of the opportunities we’ve covered in this post and you’ll be well on your way to saving money on your next trip, like Joanna and Sean, Nicole and Sal, and others have! As always, please send any questions or feedback to or leave them in the comments section below.