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Friday, December 2, 2011

Making the most of your American Express Gold Rewards Card this holiday season

Making the most of your American Express Gold Rewards Card this holiday season This is the 4th installment of my series on the American Express Gold Rewards Card, and with the holiday shopping season in full swing, we look at how to maximize the use of your Gold Rewards Card. Whether it is maximized on the earn or on the burn, using this card for your Christmas shopping can be very advantageous.

For those of you who have not followed my series on this card, I'll revisit the earning basics of the American Express Gold Rewards Card. The card earns 1 Membership Rewards point for every eligible dollar spent on the card, but where the card shines is on eligible gas, grocery, drugstore and travel purchases as Cardmembers earn 2 points per dollar spent at these locations. It is the strategic use of this point multiplier that will ensure you maximize your earning potential this festive season.

Speaking of festive, what is one of the first things that come to mind for the holidays? Food. And lots of it! Since the card earns double points on grocery purchases all the food for your festivities should be bought on the card. Of course, if you need other items for your holiday celebrations, put all of your spend on the card, as you will still earn 1 point per dollar for all of your purchases outside of gas, grocery, drugstore and travel outlets.

It wouldn't be Christmas without all the shopping for gifts. By putting all your gift purchases on your American Express Gold Rewards Card, you will see your points balance grow by leaps and bounds. But the question to ask here is: How can I earn even more points on those gifts? While it can't be done on all purchases, here are two tips on how to bring in the point multiplier on some of your non gas, grocery, drugstore or travel purchases:

1) Some people (like me) are hard to buy for, so gift cards make a great present. If you want to buy a gift card to give to someone as a gift, buy it at your local grocery store and earn 2 points per dollar versus 1.

2) If you have your gifts (and the stores they come from) planned out, go buy gift cards for your purchases at the grocery store first and then use them to purchase the gifts. For example, say you want to buy a shirt at The Gap as a gift. If you went to The Gap to buy it, you would earn only 1 point per dollar, but if you bought a gift card at Sobeys or Safeway for The Gap, you would earn 2 points per dollar. Then you could simply use the gift card for the actual purchase of the shirt.

By following these tips, you can ensure that you're maximizing your points earning for the Christmas season.

Another way you can maximize the use of your American Express Gold Rewards Card this winter is to look at how you can use the points you have already earned to help you in your gift shopping. How do you do this? Via the Membership Rewards catalogue! With an option to redeem online or by phone, the catalogue is quite extensive - with items ranging from $25 Keg Gift Cards to 46" Toshiba LED TVs and hundreds of items in between. There are even some online-only discounted redemptions that include such items as a Canon Pixma printer for only 13,500 points (regular 29,000) until December 8. But your points don't have to be used only on merchandise or gift cards. How about concert tickets for your significant other or even utilizing TripFlex (see our TripFlex post here) to get your family a vacation to somewhere warm?

No matter how you look at it, there are many ways you can maximize your earn and burn potential this holiday season with the American Express Gold Rewards Card. I know I have and I would love to hear from our readers who also have the card on how they have used it to its fullest for their Christmas shopping and gift giving.

Click here to learn more about the American Express Gold Rewards Card

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