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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:

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).

 

General retailers

  • Walmart
  • Giant Tiger
  • Hudson’s Bay
  • Amazon
  • Ebay

 

Hardware & home

  • Ikea
  • Canadian Tire
  • The Home Depot
  • Wayfair
  • HomeSense

 

Travel

  • Uber
  • Disney
  • Various packages

 

Sports

  • SportChek/Sports Experts
  • Atmosphere
  • Decathlon
  • Golf Town
  • Bass Pro Shops
  • Cabela’s

 

Entertainment

  • Apple
  • Best Buy
  • ToysRus
  • Indigo
  • Cineplex Cinemas
  • Guzzo Cinemas
  • Ticketmaster
  • Netflix
  • Spotify
  • SiriusXM
  • Archambault
  • Renaud-Bray

 

Clothing

  • H&M
  • Winners
  • Marshalls
  • Reitmans
  • RW&CO
  • Penningtons
  • Lululemon
  • American Eagle Outfitters
  • GAP
  • Old Navy
  • Banana Republic
  • Saks Off 5th
  • Ardene
  • La Vie en Rose

 

Beauty

  • Sephora
  • Bath & Body Works

 

Telecommunications

  • Bell
  • Rogers
  • Telus
  • Fido
  • Virgin Mobile
  • Koodo
  • Chatr Mobile
  • Freedom Mobile
  • Lucky Mobile
  • Public Mobile
  • Various calling cards

 

Games

  • EB Games
  • App Store / iTunes
  • Google Play
  • Kobo
  • Xbox
  • Steam
  • PlayStation Store
  • Nintendo eShop
  • Fortnite
  • League of Legends
  • World of Warcraft
  • Blizzard
  • Roblox
  • KarmaKoin
  • Valorant

 

Food & Gas

  • Petro-Canada
  • Esso / Mobil
  • Irving
  • Ultramar
  • Metro
  • Super C
  • SAQ
  • DavidsTea
  • Couche-Tard

 

Restaurants

  • Uber Eats (Uber card)
  • Door Dash
  • McDonald’s
  • Tim Hortons
  • Subway
  • Starbucks
  • Dairy Queen
  • Burger King
  • Harvey’s
  • Pizza Hut
  • KFC
  • Taco Bell
  • The Keg
  • Swiss Chalet
  • Scores
  • Pizza Delight
  • Kelsey’s
  • Montana’s
  • Milestones
  • East Side Marios
  • BierMarkt
  • The Landing
  • Fionns
  • Vinnie Gambini
  • St-Hubert
  • Cora
  • La Cage
  • La Belle & La Bœuf
  • Nickels
  • Scores
  • Mike’s
  • 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).

 

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Summary

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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Andrew D'Amours

Andrew is the co-founder of Flytrippers. He is passionate about traveling the world but also, as a former management consultant, about the travel industry itself. He shares his experiences to help you save money on travel. As a very cost-conscious traveler, he loves finding deals and getting free travel thanks to travel rewards points... to help him visit every country in the world (current count: 62/193 Countries, 46/50 US States & 9/10 Canadian Provinces).

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