Rethink the way you are rewarded

Research shows 57 per cent of consumers believe brands need loyalty programs to keep us loyal – among millennials this figure jumps to more than two-thirds.

Australia is a nation that loves to be rewarded for spending – but if truth be told some of us aren’t getting the most bang for our buck.

By Julie Nestor, Vice President, Customer Marketing and Experiences, American Express Australia & New Zealand

I’m talking about getting the most out of your credit card reward program. By simply changing how you pay at the checkout I’m going to help you reverse this trend, and get more value for money from every dollar you spend.

Many of us are part of loyalty programs. New research shows 57 per cent of consumers believe brands need such programs to keep us loyal – among millennials this figure jumps to more than two-thirds.

However, with so much choice in the market – how can you decide which credit card is best for you, and the difference between the various providers out there?

Reward habits

My biggest piece of advice – carefully consider the financial perks of each card based on what you spend and make it work for you. Not all rewards cards are created equal. For instance, some will give you more points when spending on every day goods and services, while others give more rewards against travel bookings. Similarly, some cards will give you a credit when you spend a certain total in the first few months.

Choosing a credit card that matches your spending habits means you do not have to make any changes to the way you spend, yet you could be more rewarded based on where and how you shop.

Due to the way banking fees work between card issuers and banks, how credit card loyalty programs are funded can differ from issuer to issuer, impacting the level of rewards offered.

So how can you maximise the points you earn on your credit card?

Here are some simple life hacks I use that are designed to help you quickly accumulate points on your card thanks to your everyday spend, which will help see you rewarded faster.

1.    Use your credit card for everyday purchases

Some people only use their credit card for large purchases when looking for extra security or protection, but using your credit card to pay for your everyday purchases is a savvy way of earning reward points quickly. By using your card to pay for everyday items like groceries, your phone bill, the kids school fees or at the petrol pump you’ll quickly see your reward points grow.

2.    Link your corporate card to your personal reward account

In some instances, companies will allow you to link your corporate card to your personal member reward account. This means you can earn points for personal use from business purchases. It’s definitely worth an ask!

3.    Link your credit card to your PayPal for online shopping

Often shopping online won’t earn you points via your credit card the same way shopping in a bricks and mortar store will. However, by linking your credit card to your PayPal account and using this for online shopping will enable you to earn the same points as a purchase in-store.

4.    Pay for group bills

Offer to pay the bill when you are out with friends – for example at a restaurant – on your own credit card and simply ask your fellow guests to pay you their portion. That way, you earn a higher number of reward points without spending more yourself.

Now that you know how to earn points – where or what can your points get you?

The most common rewards associated with credit card points are frequent flyer points. And if you’re a keen jetsetter, look out for cards that also offer a free flight every year, automatically saving you a few hundred dollars.

However, it’s not all about jet setting. There are a number of ways you can put your points to use as a form of payment, rather than redeeming them for goods or experiences such as:

  • Pay with points: You can pay off eligible purchases with points, for example holidays, shopping sprees and bills, or even your card’s annual fee
  • Shop with points at selected retailers, or purchase gift cards
  • Or redeem points for a credit on your account

Finally, it’s not just about clever points management. Think about the extra benefits that a card can offer you; free travel insurance or mobile phone screen protection could save you hundreds of dollars a year, while VIP access to airport lounges or entertainment venues is pretty hard to put a price on!

This article is sponsored by American Express, and first appeared as content originally published by Fairfax Media. To find out how you can go further and be rewarded with American Express Membership Rewards points, review the full offering from American Express here.

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