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Thursday, April 16, 2020

Now is a good time to pay off your student loans and tuition using points and miles via HigherEdPoints



A few weeks ago I was contacted by Suzanne Tyson from HigherEdPoints.com after my post on Shifting your loyalty program strategy to help during these trying and tough financial times and she reminded me about their service and how right now may actually be the best time to use them. In my piece we looked at shifting from a travel focus to a cash or cash equivalent focus in your loyalty programs and that's what HigherEdPoints is - a cash equivalent.

We've covered HigherEdPoints in the past on Rewards Canada but if you are unfamiliar with them here is a quick recap.

HigherEdPoints is a program that provides students and their families an option for using points towards post-secondary tuition and student loans. They are currently partnered with Aeroplan, CIBC and TD as a redemption option and you can convert points to cash payments towards payment of tuition at over 100 institutions in Canada or towards Canada Student Loans and other provincial student aid programs. To date Canadians have utilized HigherEdPoints to offset over $2 million in student loans and tuition.

How does it work?
You simply log in to your rewards account with Aeroplan, TD or CIBC and navigate to the proper page for redeeming and click on HigherEdPoints.  Or you can access the redemption option links via this page on HigherEdPoints.


How many points or miles does it take?
You can convert 35,000 Aeroplan Miles to receive a $250 credit. Same goes for CIBC where you'll get $250 for 35,000 CIBC Rewards points. Finally, there is TD Rewards which provides the best redemption rate: 62,500 TD Rewards points nets you that $250 credit. Compare this to the regular TD Rewards Cash Back rate of 100,000 points to get $250 cash back and you can see why it is such a good redemption option. It fact it's actually not far off the best redemption rate for ExpediaForTD redemption and is equivalent to the travel anywhere redemption option (up to $1,200 in travel)
Listen in: Rewards Canada podcast Episode 53 - Interview with Suzanne Tyson, founder of HigherEdPoints
Why redeem points and miles now?
"It's going to be so important for people to know about HigherEdPoints to help fund their education because it's a quadruple whammy coming ...parents laid off, student jobs disappearing, campuses needing to cut back on financial aid because students can't enroll (bursaries are funded by tuition offsets...so, less tuition, fewer bursaries) and the government funding may take a hit because of all the other funding they are providing nationwide..." states Suzanne, "Given the Feds have taken away student loan repayments and taken interest accruals off until September, this is a perfect time for students to get out from under their debt."
Recommended Reading: Using Points & Miles to pay for Tuition 
It's the latter point Suzanne makes that really may hit home with a lot of you. You can pay down your student loans right now to lower your future potential interest by using one of their three program partners. If you are a student and don't have the points or miles to redeem it never hurts to ask your family members. Remember that outside of TD the redemption rates from Aeroplan and CIBC may not be tempting for those who track value but take into account the interest savings, yours or your child's possible lack of cash flow to start making payments in September and all of a sudden those Aeroplan and CIBC redemptions become very valuable.

If you don't have enough points in any of the programs but are stable enough financially to take on a new credit card you could look at the TD First Class Visa Infinite Card as it provides up to 65,000 points as its welcome bonus (when you apply by May 31, 2020 and complete the minimum spending) and with no annual fees on the primary and first additional card in the first year as those are rebated. This means you can get that $250 HigherEdPoints credit, have 2,500 points left over at no cost outside of your actual spend on the card. Similarly you could do the same with the TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite Card but you'll have to spend a bit more to get to the 35,000 Aeroplan Mile level to redeem so if you were only looking making a move on a credit card for the sake of paying tuition or student loans I would recommend the TD First Class Visa Infinite card.

Learn more about HigherEdPoints here.


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