Using your own money to get Travel Freebies!
So I did a post last Friday mentioning the “double dip” you could pull off using your RBC Rewards credit card shopping through their portal at Shop.ca.
I mulled this over all weekend going over different scenarios in my head – this stuff intrigues me!
The fact that RBC was offering a total of 5X points for shopping at Shop.ca this weekend was good – but the fact Aeroplan was offering 10X points for shopping at Shop.ca sealed the deal.
You could get both bonuses buying giftcards for shop.ca and using them later – I did that as well.
***NOTE – RBC’s website says you cannot get the 5x bonus if giftcards are purchased…but that is not necessarily true.
I want to mention another strategy I did that I can live with and am happy I did.
So…you can get the double bonus buying the shop.ca giftcards and redeeming them later, but you CAN’T use those giftcards to purchase third party giftcards like Esso, Boston Pizza, etc.
That is what I wanted to do, but they have put a stop to that as they caught on to this – and rightfully so on their part.
So, if you buy third party giftcards (Esso) you only get 1X Aeroplan but still 5X RBC Rewards going through their portal.
Now, like I mentioned Friday, RBC offers a bonus where you can convert your RBC points at a 1.5X to British Airways Avios points – which is EXACTLY what I do.
So this bonus is actually 7.5X RBC points if you are converting points to Avios when they offer this bonus (usually 1-2 times a year)
So now I wondered what third party giftcards can I actually use?
Boston Pizza. sure but it might take years to use up say, $2000 worth of giftcards if you don’t eat out much. Same goes for any restaurant.
The Gap/Old Navy. OK but I don’t really think I want or need to spend that much at those particular retailers.
What retailer are you guaranteed to spend money at NO MATTER WHAT?
Gasoline. Esso giftcards.
That is the only retailer I can justify spending $2000 on giftcards – knowing I have to use up those giftcards.
Now, here me out. “$2000? I thought he meant like $100 or something!”
Well, back to my title – using your own money to get travel freebies.
$100 in giftcards won’t get you many $ worth of freebies, but $2000? YES.
Let’s say you have $2000 sitting in a bank account doing nothing but collecting horrible interest.
Yes, this is a decent chunk of money, but I know people like myself that keep an “emergency fund” “travel fund” whatever you want to call it.
Here is the thing. You pay yourself back. Every time you use that giftcard.
What? Yes, let’s say every time you fill up it’s $50. For me that’s once a week so this example is easy. Transfer that $50 you would have spent at the pump to that account that had the original $2000 in it. Do it once a week or do it whenever, but DO IT!!!
Some quick math tells me 40 weeks later you have your money back.
Yes, if a real emergency came up and you needed that $2000 right away this might not be for you.
You could still get a low rate Line of credit, but that’s another story.
Think about it. Is that $2000 in your “other” account really making you any money?
Here is the final result of buying those $2000 of Esso Giftcards.
1. 2000 Aeroplan from Shop.ca – convert to Avios at 1:1 during bonus period – 2000 Avios.
2. 10,000 RBC points from shopping portal(5x points) – convert to Avios during bonus period (1.5X) – 15,000 Avios
3. Every time you fill up at Esso you use your Esso extra card. You get 2000 Esso extra points. That equals 1200 RBC points – convert during bonus – 1800 Avios.
End Result – you end up with 18,800 Avios.
Bloggers better than I value those points at at least 1.5 cents each or $282.00 in travel.
Or 1 of my flights from Detroit to Florida valued more like $400.
Lot of work? Not really, after the initial purchase just remember to top up your original account every time you fill up!
In the end using my own money to pay for things I will have to anyway over the course of the next year gets me 1 free flight to Florida.
People do this all the time in the US, it’s just not as popular here in Canada because of the limited opportunities we have to do this.
It works though!
Last note*** If you suddenly needed cash for those giftcards you could sell them at 90% of their value on certain websites like cardswap.ca.