As the holidays draw closer, spending ticks higher as you buy gifts for friends and family and décor for your home. This is an excellent time to accumulate cash back or credit card reward miles. Here’s a primer on how to maximize your return.
IF FREE AIRFARE IS ON YOUR WISHLIST
Register on your favorite airline’s online shopping portal. You’ll earn at least one—or, oftentimes, double-digit—miles per dollar spent. Historically, the airline portals offer tiered bonuses; for example, you’ll receive an additional 5,000 miles for $1,500 of aggregate spending. Browse the retailer listings on the shopping portal, and click through to the desired retailer when you’re ready to shop. You can also use the portal like a search engine to determine which store offers the best deals.
IF FREE MONEY IS ON YOUR WISHLIST
Ebates, recently rebranded Rakuten, offers an easy way to earn cash back. For the holiday shopping season, participating retailers often provide 10 percent or more cash back per dollar spent, up from the typical 1 to 3 percent. Most deals are solely online, but some stores offer in-store discounts, too. Download the app, add the plug-in to your Internet browser, and start saving.
IF FREE MERCH IS ON YOUR WISHLIST
Many stores offer their own rewards programs, allowing you to buy gifts for others and earn rewards that you can later use for yourself. You might, for example, earn points to redeem later for store credit, receive something free or at a discount for completing a punch card, or be given store credit redeemable at a later date if you spend a certain amount now. Be on the lookout for shopping centers that sweeten the deal. In some instances, the shopping center will issue a gift card for a certain amount of aggregate spending.
With so many ways to save, it’s never too soon to start making your list and not only planning what to buy, but where to buy it.