Some shoppers discover they have no additional money for presents every Christmas season. If you’re in this scenario, you might place your Christmas purchases on a credit card with a 0% introductory APR if you know you’ll be able to pay them off in a proper length of time.
However, if you have points or miles stashed away in your loyalty accounts, redeeming your rewards for presents may be a better alternative than going into debt. After all, these incentives may be a lifeline and let you place a little magic beneath the tree during tough times.
But many would recommend not to spend your card points on gifts as redeeming them for travels gives more value. But it is always better to put a smile on someone’s face. You can do this by using your points to redeem them for gifts from certain stores.
So let us see what ways you can do this are.
Giving Someone Your Credit Card Points or Miles
COVID-19 may have affected your trip plans during the last year if you’re like many other individuals. As a result, you can have a larger-than-usual stockpile of credit card miles or points in your account.
Most points or awards cannot be transferred directly to another person; instead, you must redeem them for frequent flyer miles and then distribute the miles to the person of your choosing. While some airlines impose exorbitant transfer and service fees, two significant exceptions exist:
These cards enable you to earn points that you may use to book tickets. Using JetBlue’s Point Pooling service, you may also form a “pool” of up to seven friends or family members. As you accumulate points, 100% of your points are added to the pool, and the chosen “pool leader” may use those points to book award flights with no transfer costs. 1
You may share your miles with others without incurring transaction fees if you or the receiver hold a Hawaiian Airlines World Elite MasterCard, Bangkok Hawaiian Airlines Visa check card, or Hawaiian Airlines Visa credit card-Japan. First, log into your credit card account and choose the “Share Miles” option. Then, enter the name of the receiver and the number of miles you wish to send.
Other Ways to Use Credit Card Reward Points to Purchase Holiday Gifts
Because most airlines charge costs to transfer your points or miles to another individual, it’s not necessarily the most innovative way to spend them. There are, however, additional ways to utilize your awards to provide meaningful gifts:
1. Make Travel Plans for Them
While transferring miles typically entails a cost, you may avoid it by arranging another person’s travel reservations on their behalf. You might offer them a handcrafted gift card stating that you will pay for their trip or hotel stay. Then, you may book their journey using your credit card rewards redemption website, using your points as the payment option, after they’ve made their arrangements.
2. Spend Your Reward Points on Gift Cards
Most rewards cards have various redemption possibilities, and many of them include gift cards. For example, you may redeem your points for gift cards or purchase gift cards for famous merchants and use them as a payment mechanism while doing your Christmas shopping.
3. Redeem Your Points for Goods
Majority of the cards allow you to trade your accumulated points for products such as jewelry or gadgets. You might, for example, use your incentives to buy a tablet, jewelry, or new baggage for your present recipient.
You may utilize gift cards bought with miles and points as Christmas presents in two ways.
One alternative is to exchange your points or miles for gift cards to Target or Best Buy retailers. You can then use these purchased gift cards to purchase presents at these businesses.
The gift card may also be given as the present itself. However, it should be noted that some programs will only send real gift cards to your home address. That implies you’d have to give the gift card to the appropriate recipient after it arrived at your house. Some programs solely provide digital gift certificates.
Some programs provide a higher return on your points than others. However, if you want to exchange your points or miles for gift cards, you have a few choices to think about:
- Citi ThankYou Rewards:
- Redeem at a rate of 1 cent for every point earned.
- Most of the time; special offers may provide 1.25 cents for every point earned.
- Chase Ultimate Rewards:
- Trade points at a rate of 1 cent per point on average, with rare deals offering 1.11 cents per point.
- Capital One Venture Rewards may be redeemed at a rate ranging from 0.8 to 1 cent per mile.
- American Express Membership Rewards: For merchant-specific gift cards, redeem at a rate of 0.7 to 1 cent per point, and for American Express gift cards, redeem at a rate of 0.5 cents per point.
- Delta SkyMiles: Redeem for Delta gift cards at the cost of 0.9 cents per mile.
- Southwest Rapid Rewards (only applicable to Rapid Rewards cardholders):
- Transfer points at the cost of 0.33 to 0.67 cents each.
- Marriott Bonvoy: Marriott gift cards are worth 0.4 cents per point, whereas other gift cards are from 0.2 to 0.33 cents per point.
- Wyndham Rewards points may be redeemed at a rate ranging from 0.33 to 1.14 cents per point.
- Trade at a rate of 0.3 cents for every mile with United MileagePlus.
- Exchange at a rate of 0.31 cents per point using Choice Privileges.
Only American Express Membership Rewards enables you to redeem points for non-merchant-specific gift cards among the choices described above.
4. Request a bank deposit or statement credit.
If you use your credit card to purchase Christmas presents, you may redeem your points for bank transfers or statement credits to reimburse yourself for those expenditures.
5. Make a charitable donation in memory of a loved one.
Many credit card issuers allow you to contribute your points to specific organizations so that you may make a contribution to a charity in under someone else’s name as a present.
As an example, consider American Express. You may utilize your Amex points to make charitable gifts through Just Giving.
You can use your accumulated points to donate to charities such as Susan G. Komen, SmileTrain, and World Central Kitchen.
Discover cardholders may reward organizations like the American Red Cross, Make-A-Wish, and the World Wildlife Fund.
Shop with miles and points for items
Points and miles may also be redeemed for items in specific programs. Here are some ideas for shopping for Christmas presents using points and miles:
- Ultimate Rewards from Chase
Shop for Apple items at a 1 cent per point rate via the Apple Ultimate Rewards Store.
You may spend your points on Amazon or PayPal at the cost of 0.8 cents per point.
- Membership Benefits from American Express
Pay with points at Amazon, Best Buy, Boxed, Dell, Grubhub, Newegg, PayPal, Rite Aid, Saks Fifth Avenue, Seamless, and Staples at the cost of 0.7 cents per point.
You may use your Membership Rewards points to shop at the cost of 0.5 cents per point.
- ThankYou Rewards from Citi
Points may be used for purchases at Amazon (0.8 cents per point) and PayPal.
When you buy at Best Buy or the 1-800-Flowers family of businesses, you may redeem your points for statement credits.
- Venture Rewards from Capital One
Purchases at Amazon and PayPal will earn you 0.8 cents per mile.
The Hilton Honors program
Use points for Amazon purchases at a rate of 0.2 cents per point.
At Hilton Honors Shopping Mall, you may use your points to purchase products (only available to members in select regions).
- MileagePlus by United
Use your miles to purchase items, including Apple products, at United MileagePlus Awards.
- Rapid Rewards from Southwest (only Rapid Rewards cardholders)
Use your points to purchase stuff at Southwest Rapid Rewards More Rewards.
- Marriott Bonvoy Program
Use your Marriott Bonvoy points to purchase products at Marriott Bonvoy. Use your Points to shop.
- IHG Reward Program
Use the IHG Rewards catalog to shop for products with your points.
Through IHG Rewards digital rewards, you may use points to purchase certain games, software, movies, eBooks, eMagazines, and newspapers.
Privileges of Choice
Using the Golf by Choice program, you may purchase golf equipment.
Through MagsforPoints, you may redeem your points for chosen magazine subscriptions.
- Wyndham Reward Program
You may use your points to purchase products in the Wyndham Rewards online points catalog.
You should always check to confirm whether there will be any shipping expenses on your purchase, as well as the shipment time frame, before redeeming for items. After all, you don’t want to spend your points and miles on a Christmas present and then not get it on time.
Do Credit Card Reward Points Ever Expire?
Credit card rewards do not usually expire as long as your account is active and in good standing. However, some awards, especially those involving airline miles, may expire if you do not earn or exchange them at least once every 18 months. Check your credit card agreement to ensure you understand the terms.
Can You Transfer Credit Card Reward Points to Someone Else?
Most programs do not enable you to transfer credit card points to another individual unless they have an account with the same program and are an immediate family member. To transfer your incentives to another person, you must usually redeem them for airline miles and then share those points. Alternatively, you may save the rewards for gift cards or items and give them as gifts instead.
Is it possible to claim a tax deduction for donating credit card rewards?
Many credit card issuers allow customers to donate their points, miles, or cash back to charity partner organizations. Donations of credit card rewards, on the other hand, are not usually tax-deductible.
Finally, the points, miles, and other rewards you’ve accumulated in your credit card accounts are a valuable resource to consider while doing your Christmas gift buying this year. First, however, examine the restrictions for transferring miles and watch for any hefty transfer fees. Instead of moving points or miles, you may discover that collecting rewards directly for travel plans for family or friends provides the highest value. Otherwise, redeeming points or miles for gift cards or products around the holidays might be a more practical choice, even if the maximum points or miles redemption value potential isn’t completely fulfilled.