Earning travel rewards allows you to travel more for less. Earning 5X the points makes it go way faster. And you can do this at over 100 retailers with the simple trick of buying gift cards at the grocery store. Here’s the list of retailers (and explanations).
Of course, welcome bonuses worth hundreds of dollars are how you earn the most travel rewards.
But it can’t hurt to also get 5X the points on lots of spending for all the times you’re not unlocking welcome bonuses.
Basics of the gift card trick
Here’s a simple summary:
- Many credit cards earn 5X the points at grocery stores
- Grocery stores sell many gift cards at no cost
- So you can get 5X the points at lots of other places
Step by step:
- You buy a gift card at the grocery store with your credit card
- You get 5X the points if you have the right cards below
- You then use the gift card at the 100+ retailers below
- So you get 5X the points indirectly even if it’s not a grocery store
Pretty simple, right?
It pays to know the pro tricks in the world of travel rewards.
Here are the cards that earn the most at the grocery store:
- July’s record offers (10X/5X the points or ≈ 15%/7.5%)
- American Express Cobalt Card (5X the points or ≈ 7.5%)
- Scotiabank Gold American Express Card (5X the points or 5%)
- BMO CashBack World Elite MasterCard (5% in cashback—max. $500 per month)
- Scotia Momentum Visa Infinite Card (4% in cashback—max. $25,000 per year)
- BMO eclipse Visa Infinite Card (5X the points or 3.55%)
And for Amex cards specifically, which are not as widely accepted but have the best welcome bonuses, there are many grocery stores that accept Amex cards in Canada.
You can find a lot of gift cards there. Some convenience stores code as groceries too (Circle K, Mac’s, Couche-Tard, etc.) and they have gift cards too.
Here’s a final note: By paying with a gift card or prepaid credit card, you won’t be covered by the purchase protections (for theft, loss, damage, etc.) and extended warranties that come free with almost all good credit cards. So only use this tip for purchases where you don’t want to have these protections.
Gift cards vs. prepaid credit cards
Gift cards are free, but note that you can also buy $500 Mastercard prepaid credit cards at some locations and some of them only have a $5.95 fee.
That’s only a 1.2% fee, far less than what you earn in rewards with 5X the points. It’s important to know how to do the math in the world of travel rewards!
That gets you a net of ≈ 6.3% back everywhere with the American Express Cobalt Card, including at Costco for example (because you won’t find no-fee Costco gift cards at the grocery storeand Costco only accepts Mastercards).
List of retailers that can indirectly count as a grocery store
Some gift cards are available at just one of the retailers, some are available everywhere, some are not always in stock everywhere either… but this gives you a good idea of the possibilities, at least based on my own findings here in Québec (I would assume the selection is similar Canada-wide).
- Giant Tiger
- Hudson’s Bay
Hardware & home
- Canadian Tire
- The Home Depot
- Various packages
- SportChek/Sports Experts
- Golf Town
- Bass Pro Shops
- Best Buy
- Cineplex Cinemas
- Guzzo Cinemas
- American Eagle Outfitters
- Old Navy
- Banana Republic
- Saks Off 5th
- La Vie en Rose
- Bath & Body Works
- Virgin Mobile
- Chatr Mobile
- Freedom Mobile
- Lucky Mobile
- Public Mobile
- Various calling cards
- EB Games
- App Store / iTunes
- Google Play
- PlayStation Store
- Nintendo eShop
- League of Legends
- World of Warcraft
Food & Gas
- Esso / Mobil
- Super C
- Uber Eats (Uber card)
- Door Dash
- Tim Hortons
- Dairy Queen
- Burger King
- Pizza Hut
- Taco Bell
- The Keg
- Swiss Chalet
- Pizza Delight
- East Side Marios
- The Landing
- Vinnie Gambini
- La Cage
- La Belle & La Bœuf
- Baton Rouge
- Ben & Florentine
- Première Moisson
- Microbreweries (Packages)
Images of the displays
This is a typical convenience store gift card display (Couche-Tard in Québec).
This is a typical Giant Tiger gift card display.
This is a typical grocery store gift card display (Super C or Metro in Québec; many use the same displays).
Want to get more content to learn how to earn more free travel?
Gift cards purchased at the grocery store will get you the phenomenal 5X the points earn rate at 100+ retailers instead of just at the grocery store. This is a great pro tip for those who took advantage of the record July offers, or those who have the American Express Cobalt Card or Scotiabnak Gold American Express Card that both earn 5X the points.
What do you want to know about this tip? Tell us in the comments below.
See the deals we spot: Cheap flights
Explore awesome destinations: Travel inspiration
Learn pro tricks: Travel tips
Discover free travel: Travel rewards
Featured image: Gift card display at Super C (photo credit: Andrew, Flytrippers co-founder)
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