Best Free Travel Rewards Card Programs:
I am an avid collector of travel reward cards. If you ask me the question of, “Would you like to sign up for our points card?” the answer is always YES, much to my husband’s chagrin most of the time. He wonders why I can’t just say NO. By default I am a dreamer and planner, and always hoping that some day those points will pay off. Here are a list of the points cards currently in my wallet:
- Travel & Flights: Air Miles, Aeroplan Miles, West Jet, Air Alaska
- All points can be redeemed for discounts off of flights based on the company’s travel rewards map. Beware of the term “free” as often you have to pay hefty airport taxes on points which still amount to hundreds of dollars. The cards are still good to use, just don’t go overboard dreaming that you will have a completely free vacation out of a certain number of points. Other travel programs include: Porter Airlines and Expedia Rewards in Canada, and United Airlines (Air Canada), American Airlines (US Airways), and Delta Air Lines in the United States.
- Hotels: Hilton Honors, Best Western Rewards, Wyndam Rewards, Coast Inn Rewards
- Based on the amount of hotel night stays, the member will obtain a certain amount of points per stay. With the accumulation of enough points, they can be redeemed for free nights accommodation. No extra taxes or fees will be charged, but it will take many stays to accumulate a free night in a hotel. Best Western Rewards can be converted to Air Miles or Best Western Rewards upon sign up. Coast Inn Rewards points can be converted to Aeroplan miles when enough points have been accumulated. Wyndam Rewards is great as they have so many different hotel chains where you can earn the points.
- Gas: Esso Extra, Petro Canada, Pioneer Bonus Bucks
- With every gas purchase, just swipe your points card. Eventually, you will be able to redeem your points for free gas. It is just going to take a really long time. It took me over 2 years to get a return of $70 in free gas at Esso. It was awesome getting a free tank though. The way I figure it is, you have to buy gas anyways, so why not get some points along the way.
- Entertainment: Cineplex Scene, Best Buy Reward Zone, Canadian Tire, Plum Rewards
- These are cards for once in awhile purchases. The Cineplex Scene card has returned a couple free movie passes over the years. In addition, there are credit cards you can sign up for at Scotiabank that hurry this process along. With the Best Buy card you can redeem cash off of purchases after spending a certain amount of money per their rewards chart. Canadian Tire is similar in that every dollar purchase earns a couple cents of Canadian Tire money which can be redeemed for money off of future purchases. The Plum Rewards Card from Chapters/Indigo bookstore gives you member discounts off of books purchased in store or on their website.
- Groceries: Air Miles, PC Plus, Shopper’s Optimum
- At many grocery stores in Canada they offer Air Miles points or PC Plus points on items purchased. The Air Miles can be redeemed for flight or entertainment rewards on their website with enough points. The PC Plus points can be redeemed for money back on future grocery purchases after obtaining a certain amount. Shoppers Optimum points work in a similar manner; after accumulating points on purchases, they can be redeemed for free in-store items.
- Car Rentals: Avis Preferred, National Car Rental
- If you incur a certain amount of car rentals in a year from Avis you can become a preferred member. With every National Car Rental you can also earn Air Miles! Just remember to show them your card or you might be missing out.
That sure is a lot of cards! Thankfully I have a digital App on my cell phone which I have scanned all the cards into. The Apple Wallet, Stocard or UGO apps simplify things, as I just carry my phone with me, and they scan the screen at the time of purchase. This is a great way to de-clutter your wallet.
What travel rewards are in YOUR WALLET?
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