Now lets be honest, cash back is not a sexy reward option. That is because cash back is a fixed reward. It is worth what ii is worth, which in many cases is 1 cent per point.
You won’t typically redeem your cash back for oversized value. You’re not flying Etihad Residence with cash back, but cash back is pretty stable in its redemptions.
With a few of these options below, you could be redeeming less cash back and receiving more value from your cash back, which is always a good thing.
So let’s take a look at a few ways you can extend your cash back and either save money on your travels or just make your money go a bit further.
Buy Gift Cards at a Discount:
There are plenty of ways you can buy gift cards at a discount. These include taking advantage of promotions, using 3rd party websites, Amazon, and many others.
Sometimes there are promotions where you can receive extra value or receive another gift card when you buy certain amount of money for a particular gift card.
For example, there was a Delta promotion when you bought $250 in Delta gift cards, you also received $25 in Airbnb Gift cards. This is essentially 10% bonus and will reduce the cost of a future Arirbnb.
There are many third party websites that sell gift cards at a discount. And these gift cards can provide a great discount. Using sites like Gift Card Granny can help show you where the best deals are for discount gift cards.
It is not uncommon for Amazon to offer Gift cards at a discount either right on their website or even during their promo when you use 1 Membership Reward point to save a certain amount of money or percentage.
For example, I used 1 American Express point and bought $500 worth of Airbnb gift cards for $400. By doing this, I essentially increased the value of my cash back 25%. Which I’m pretty happy with that return.
Beyond Amazon, Ebay and stores like Costco and Sam’s Club sell gift cards at a discount and there are many places you can take advantage of gift card sales. All of these options can be quite valuable, not just for travel but also for your daily life to save yourself money on expenses.
These options could save you a lot of money and give your cash back you earned a lot of extra value.
I don’t think I can say it enough. American Express Offers are probably my favorite benefit on the market. Don’t get me wrong, I like lounge access and others, but these offers have saved me thousands of dollars and earned me a ton of points over the years.
These offers come in many varieties of shopping, travel, and other offers that could be useful.
The return on these varies based on the offer, but you can find there are savings between 10 to 30 percent or even more.
Some of the offers like one of my more recent offer to Lowes, I bought a gift card to use on my travel expenses for Airbnb. Or even saving 30% at Staples to buy a Target gift card to save me more money on my groceries.
The travel offers can be good, but the goal is to get as close to the threshold to trigger the savings. The further you get from that point the smaller your percent savings is. Which could actually cost you more money, so not all of these are great.
But either way, with these offers you charge your purchase to your American Express card the Amex offer is loaded onto, earn your normal credit card rewards, and American Express will either give you a credit statement or issue you the bonus points your offer was for.
Stacking Apps and Portals:
This is probably one of my favorite ways to earn rewards or even save money when redeeming rewards. This could help you save for an upcoming trip, but you can also use these to help save for a current trip you are looking to make. Or just save you money for what every your hear desires. And really everyone should be using portals because they are such a great way to earn points or cash back.
If you don’t know what a portal is. A portal is a site that is pretty much an intermediate that will get you to the site you wanted to visit. The merchant gives the portal a kickback for referring you and the portal passes some of that to you. It takes just an extra second to use a portal.
On top of that, there are apps that will reward you when you link your credit card and use it at certain locations. Some of my top apps to use pretty easily is Dosh, Drop, Spent Money, and MPX. These are pretty simple to use and really I forget they are there until I see a notification that I earned rewards
And what is great, many portals will credit you, even if you were to use gift card. So you could buy a gift card at a discount and use the portal and save even more money. Or earn points to use for your future travels.
Buy using this you can essentially reduce the amount of cash back you would need to redeemed by the amount the portal will pay you back. And this all depends on the amount of rewards given out by that portal.
Buying Points or Miles:
This option can provide extra value, but that does not mean it always does. In many cases, buying points is not a great option, but there are times this can save you a lot of money. But when this options works out this could save you a lot of money and give your cash back even more value.
I usually recommend this when you have a specific redemption in mind and I am not a fan of preemptively buying points.
I’ve used this option to save friends and family a lot of money and even one friend was able to save 50% off his Hyatt stay by buying Hyatt points. Or if you pay attention to airlines, like Avianca you will see large bonuses when you buy miles.
Buying the points with your credit card then redeeming cash back for that purchase can really save you a lot of money, buy you want to be sure to run the numbers since this may not be a viable option.
But by buying points, you can redeem your cash back for those points potentially saving you a lot of money and adding extra value to your cash back rewards.
Sum It Up:
While cash back isn’t a sexy form of rewards, these are a few ways you can get more value from your cash back. These won’t get you into first class suites, but these options will help you get to your next destination at a lower price, or if extending your money is your goal, some of these options will do just that.
So tell me, what ways do you extend your cash back?
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