How to take advantage of bonus spending categories

Bonus categories are a very useful tool when it comes to reaching your next reward redemption. Many credit cards award you bonus points for using the card for certain type of purchases, such as gas, supermarkets, dining, travel, etc. For instance, the Hilton Honors American Express card awards 6 Hilton Honor points per dollar spent at supermarkets, gas stations and drug stores. The Chase Sapphire Card awards 2 points per dollar spent in all travel and dining purchases, and the American Express Premier Gold card award 3 points per dollar on airfare, and 2 points per dollar on supermarket, gas and shipping purchases, and 1 point per dollar on everything else.

I’m building up my Hilton points balance for a future redemption. So to me, 6 points per dollar in supermarkets, gas, and drugstore purchases is a really solid benefit. But you can only spend so much money on food, gas and prescription drugs, right? This is where gift cards come in.

CVS, Walgreens and Publix, my favorite local grocery store, all have a huge selection of gift cards for all kinds of purchases. You can find Amazon, Best Buy, Starbucks, Subway, Chili’s, and dozens of other restaurants and retailer gift cards. So, let’s say I’m on my way to dinner at Chili’s or Applebee’s, or picking up lunch at Subway. Instead of using my Hilton Honors Amex to pay directly at the restaurant and earn 1 Hilton Honor point per dollar, I stop by CVS, Walgreens or Publix and pick up a gift card for the place I’m planning on visiting, and then use the gift card to pay for the purchase. So, on a $50 dinner at Chili’s, instead of earning 50 Hilton Honor points, I’m earning a cool 300 points. Not too bad.

Amazon is an even better winner for me. By going through the Hawaiian Airlines shopping portal, you can earn 1 Hawaiian Airlines mile for every dollar spent. But here’s the twist. You can then transfer Hawaiian miles in 5,000 increments to the Hilton Honors program on a 1-2 basis. So 5,000 Hawaiian miles turn into 10,000 Hilton Honors points. So whenever I plan on making Amazon purchases, I head out to my local supermarket or drugstore, pick up an Amazon gift card and pay with my Hilton Honors Amex and get 6x per dollar spent. Then I go through the Hawaiian Airlines shopping portal, link to Amazon and then go make my purchases and pay with the gift card. By doing this, I earn an additional 1 Hawaiian mile per dollar. But since Hawaiian miles can be transferred to Hilton on a 1-2 ratio, that additional mile will turn into another 2 Hilton Honors points. So, by using this system I’m earning 8 Hilton Honors point per dollar spent on Amazon.

Bonus categories are very useful when it comes to earning additional rewards for things you already purchase everyday. Make sure you are aware of any bonus spending categories offered by the credit cards you current have, and think of ways how you can maximize earnings by using the trick shown above.

What other methods do you use to boost your earnings via bonus spending categories? We would love to hear your comments below.

This entry was posted in Airline, American Express, Bonus points, Chase, Dining Programs, Hawaiian Airlines, Hilton Honors, Hotel. Bookmark the permalink.

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