Using your travel rewards to fly somewhere sounds logical, but it's not for everyone. It can be a lot of work to plan and co-ordinate a trip using your rewards miles or points and, let's face it, it can take a long time to save up enough points for a getaway. Thankfully most travel rewards credit card points and miles can be used towards other non-travel related perks such as electronics and movie tickets. Some can even be converted to other loyalty programs such as Shoppers Optimum points, while others can be donated to charity.
We take a look at three popular rewards cards to see what else you can buy with your travel rewards.
RBC Royal Bank® Visa Infinite Avion®
The RBC Royal Bank Visa Infinite Avion card has a lot of flexibility and offers cardholders a number of non-travel related rewards options. Points can be redeemed for brand name merchandise, gift cards and certificates, as well as RBC Financial Rewards vouchers. This means you can use your points to top up RBC investment accounts such as Tax-Free Savings Accounts, RRSPs or RESPs. You can also put it towards paying down your RBC mortgage, Homeline plan, credit line or personal loan.
In addition, you can transfer your points to various popular loyalty programs such as Shoppers Optimum Points and Pharmaprix Optimum Points, Esso Extra Points, as well as airline loyalty programs such as WestJet dollars and American Airlines AAdvantage miles, to name only a few. This might be a better option for someone who is keen to travel, but prefer to use a system they're already familiar with.
The American Express® AIR MILES® Platinum Credit Card
AIR MILES is one of the most popular rewards programs, which also means they have a wide selection of redemption options available to American Express AIR MILES Platinum cardholders. Do you have your eye on a new camera? A vast array of electronic and photography options are available. As are barbeques, household items, magazine subscriptions, movie and restaurant gift cards, and memberships to programs such as AutoShare.
Take your family away on a trip to somewhere like Quebec's Stoneham Resort. Many different overnight packages are available for people who want to get away, but don't necessarily want or need to fly to their destination.
CIBC Aerogold® Visa Infinite
As of January 2014, TD Bank will be the primary issuer of Aeroplan credit cards. Still, Aeroplan remains a popular card at CIBC as well as one of the most popular rewards program in Canada. Although Aeroplan is known for its travel redemption options, a number of activities and merchandise can also be redeemed.
Like AIR MILES, you can use your Aeroplan points to score thrills and adventures on dining and adventure packages. Fancy a weekend watching World Class Car Racing in Montreal? Redeem your miles for a 3-day pass to the April 2014 exhibition. Electronics, accessories and various other types of merchandise are also available.
An interesting aspect of this rewards program is the "Money Can't Buy" section, which features one-of-a-kind items and opportunities that also support various charities. There is a wide selection of autographed sports and music memorabilia with miles going towards groups such as War Canada and Free the Children.
Which credit card is right for me?
When it comes to rewards redemption options, your possibilities are endless. Whether it's buying that new Go Pro video camera or taking your fiancé to a dinner prepared by a gourmet chef, use the KANETIX online credit card comparison tool to find the rewards card that works for you.
Remember, you're closer than you think. Aeroplan's move to TD has heated up competition in the travel rewards market going into 2014. There already are-and will continue to be-a growing number of sign-up incentives and bonuses for new card holders, bringing you that much closer to that dream reward.
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