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Loyalty programs in Canada
Earn and redeem points at the places you shop most frequently with a customer loyalty credit card.
If you’re a creature of habit and want to be rewarded for making frequent purchases with a specific brand or store, you might like to check out a customer loyalty credit card.
We’ll help you find out more about which stores offer loyalty programs and what you can do to earn bonus points for repeat visits.
Compare credit cards with loyalty programs
How do loyalty programs work?
Customer loyalty programs provide incentives to keep shoppers coming back to a specific store.
Many programs offer extra points, special offers and VIP benefits for repeat customers, which can be used to get discounts in-store or to purchase travel or merchandise from an online catalogue. These rewards are usually specific to the company offering the credit card, which means they can’t be redeemed at other stores or used as cash back.
Types of loyalty programs
- Points program. Whenever you shop at a particular store, you get a certain number of points depending on how much you spend. These can be redeemed for some combination of rewards or discounts.
- Tiered rewards. The more you shop at a store, the higher the level of customer loyalty you reach and the more points you earn. For example, frequent flyer programs offer extra points and benefits for those who fly frequently.
- VIP membership. You can get special access to a company’s discounted goods or services when you pay a small annual fee; for example, having a membership at a wholesale box store like Costco.
- Special perks. This loyalty program gives you fee-free perks for being a member. This could include freebies on your birthday or special coupons for discounts sent to your email.
Credit cards with loyalty programs
The following cards offer loyalty programs with points or rewards for spending at specific stores or locations:
- Marriott Bonvoy American Express Card. You can redeem points for overnight stays at luxury properties, plus a “free night” on the house every year.
- Scotiabank SCENE Visa. Collect points to spend on free movies at Cineplex locations around Canada.
- CAA Rewards Mastercard. You can earn points and cash back in CAA Dollars when you spend money on everyday purchases.
- Walmart Rewards Mastercard. You can earn Walmart Reward Dollars that you can use like cash in-store and online.
- President’s Choice Financial Mastercard. Collect and redeem points on groceries and more at participating stores, including Shoppers Drug Mart, Superstore, Loblaw’s and No Frills.
- Canadian Tire Triangle Mastercard. Receive Canadian Tire Money for making everyday purchases and redeem at Canadian Tire, Sport Chek, Mark’s Work Warehouse and other partner stores.
- WestJet World Elite Mastercard. You can get money back in Westjet dollars, plus additional perks like companion flights and flight credits for signing up.
What else do I need to know about loyalty programs?
There are a couple of things you should watch out for to make sure you get the most out of your customer loyalty program or credit card.
- Membership fees. Some loyalty programs require you to pay a fee to participate. Make sure that you’ll use your membership enough to cash in on benefits before you spend money on a fee.
- Special perks. Find out when is the best time to cash in on perks for members. Look for email offers, download the company’s app and put promo dates into your calendar so you don’t lose out on any discounts.
- Expiration dates. Keep an eye on expiry dates for rewards. Depending on the program, your points may expire if you don’t use them within a certain time period.
- Blackout dates. To avoid finding out you can’t travel or use your rewards on the dates you want, check whether your points limit when you can take advantage of discounts or benefits.
- Caps on rewards. Some companies cap your earnings once you spend a certain amount of money, or only give you points for some purchases and not others.
If you want to earn points and save money for shopping at certain stores, a store-brand or customer loyalty credit card could be just the ticket. These cards are designed for those who already shop at a store regularly and want to be rewarded for repeat visits.
Frequently asked questions
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Are credit card rewards taxable?
Usually, no — but there may be an exception for rewards earned from work-related credit card charges.