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“Christmas club” cards seem to be all the rage this holiday season, with Sears and Toys R Us bringing back and introducing (respectively) Christmas savings cards. But you can also maximize your credit card rewards this season — earning extra points and cashing in points for great gifts — with careful shopping.
Chase Bank recently shared with CreditShout some of their special promotions that give cardmembers participating in the Ultimate Rewards program more rewards, discounts and bonus points during the holiday season.
1. Give a Gift, Get a Free Gift Card:
How it Works: Redeem 5,000 points in a single transaction and get a $10 Best Buy gift card as a bonus. Redeem 10,000 points or more and get a $25 gift card, in addition to your rewards redemption.
When It Runs: November 14 – December 20
2. Shop ‘N Save on Cyber Monday
How it Works: If you shop through Ultimate Rewards on Cyber Monday (the Monday after Thanksgiving), you’ll save 30% on merchandise purchased (with dollars or rewards points). Combine this with the Give a Gift, Get a Free Gift Card promo to make your points go even further.
When It Runs: Cyber Monday, November 29, 2010
3. Eight is Great: Earn 8 Times the Points
How it Works: Shop at the Ultimate Rewards Mall (read our full review of the mall here) and earn eight bonus points for every dollar spent at select merchants. Again, combine this promotion with the Cyber Monday and free gift card promotion to get even more bang for your buck.
More Ways to Save
In general, when you shop with a rewards credit card this holiday season, you can save money and earn more points by following these tips:
Shop around to earn maximum points AND to find the lowest prices.
Three or five or even 10 times bonus points won’t matter if you’re paying more for merchandise you buy through an online rewards shopping portal. Shop carefully, and figure out the true dollar value of the points you’ll earn before you make a purchase. You may be surprised that some of the best “deals” really aren’t … or that it makes sense to pay a bit more now to earn extra bonus points you can redeem later.
Shop around for great deals on gift cards.
You can often redeem rewards points for gift cards at a better rate than you can redeem points for merchandise. And who on your list wouldn’t love a versatile gift card, like one from Amazon, in their stocking?
Join all the programs available. Cards like Chase Freedom offer bonus points in select categories — but you have to opt in to the program before you can start earning 5% cash back. Make sure you’re taking advantage of all the bonus rewards programs offered by your credit card providers.
Pay attention to expiration dates.
Most credit card issuers now have points that never expire — but special deals and promotions do! Pay attention to the start and end dates on profitable programs that can earn you discounts, bonus points, and more.
Take advantage of price protection through your credit cards.
Some credit card issuers offer price protection if you see an item sold for a lower price after you make a purchase. Of course, it’s easier to shop around before you buy to get the best deals, but don’t worry if you find you’ve spent too much. If your credit card company offers price protection, you may be able to get a refund.
The maximum credit card savings comes from paying off your credit card purchases before you have to pay interest. Make sure you have the cash to cover holiday purchases or use a card with a 0% introductory APR this holiday season and budget to have it paid off before the introductory period ends.
Programs like Chase Blueprint make it easy to avoid paying interest by helping you set monthly payments that will let you pay off the credit card in a fixed time period.