13 Things You Need to Know About Redeeming Loyalty Points

Accumulating loyalty points takes time and effort. Here’s what you need to know about getting the most out of redeeming them.

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Treat Your Points Like You Would Real Money

Use them on products and trips you'd normally purchase rather than on luxuries.

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Photo: Thinkstock

Save Up

In most programs, the more you collect, the more your total is worth. At the lowest tier, you can use 8,000 Shoppers Optimum Points to get $10 off. But if you're a good saver, you can spend 95,000 on a $170 shopping trip.

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Get Out a Calculator

The value of Air Miles depends on how far in advance you book and the type of trip. To see how much your miles are worth, take the price of the flight and divide it by the number of miles it will cost. Then do the same for other options and compare.

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Get the App

Many companies have smartphone apps with deals. If you win Air Miles' Check-in Challenge, for example, the program doubles the miles you collected that month.

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Take Advantage of Promotions

Shoppers Drug Mart has Spend Your Points events, when your Optimum savings count for more.

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Maximize Your Movie-Going

The Cineplex Scotiabank SCENE program periodically offers members double or triple the points as incentive to see a new release.

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Comparison Shop

When buying a retail product with Air Miles, make sure you wouldn't be getting a better deal paying cash elsewhere. Say Air Miles were to offer a $115 blender for 1,000 reward miles. Seems great, until you find the same model on sale at Costco for $79.99.

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Friends Forever

If you and a friend are trying to book two seats together on points, work with an agent associated with your miles program so you can sit together.

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Use a Third Party to Get Deals

Sites like Points.com offer trading between programs such as Aeroplan and American Airlines' AAdvantage-useful when you're a few points shy of a new reward level.

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Don't Let Your Balance Expire

Had that card in your wallet for years? Points don't last forever-spend them while you can.

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Use Your Points to Help a Pal Fly

Consider buying a friend's flight and having them reimburse you. Flights bought with points can work out to be cheaper than those bought with cash, so you'll be saving them-and yourself-money.

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Give What You Don't Need

Multiple loyalty programs allow members to donate their points to the Canadian Red Cross. RBC
Rewards cardholders can give their earnings to Hope Air, which makes health care more accessible to
Canadians in remote communities.