The banks and credit card providers have kicked their advertising campaigns into high gear as they fight to get their travel rewards programs to stand out and gain more share of your wallet.

Increased activity and promotion in the credit card market right now is great for consumers as this means there are more choices and opportunities than ever before to find a credit card that fits your unique lifestyle and spending habits.  Now is the perfect time to evaluate the credit card program you currently use and see how it stacks up.

Related: Travel rewards under spotlight as Aeroplan move shakes up industry

Convenience is the name of the game when it comes to what’s in Canadians’ wallets.  A survey from American Express found that while Canadians value rewards programs, they play a very passive role when it comes to choosing their cards – most of them (60%) admit they use the card that their bank simply provided them and only 15% said they research their options.

The survey found that over half of consumers (57%) rank free or discounted travel as their preferred perk in a rewards program along with free products (66%) and cash back (77%).

The majority of those surveyed (64%) said their rewards program saves them money, and nearly half said they choose to shop at particular stores based on where they can earn rewards points.

Take a look at your personal lifestyle and spending habits and think about what you use your card for and what rewards and perks you value.  Finding a card with flexibility is important and the American Express Gold Rewards Card is a great option for that reason.

Most of us think we have to choose between a pay-with-points system and a frequent flyer program, and many are frustrated with the restrictions these programs impose when it comes to redemption.

The American Express Gold Rewards Card offers its members the option to book a trip through any travel provider or transfer points 1:1 to frequent flyer programs like Aeroplan, Delta, British Airways, and Starwood, among others.  You can also:

  • Use your rewards points to travel when you want, where you want, and how you want.
  • Pay for ANY type of travel with your points.
  • Get an accelerated earn rate on every day spending, with double the points on purchases at eligible grocery stores, gas stations, and drug stores , as well as on travel spending.
  • Get a welcome bonus of 25,000 points, which is good for a flight almost anywhere in North America, and the annual fee ($150) is waived for the first year.
  • Get a free supplementary Gold Rewards Card ($50 value) to help earn points faster.

Stephen Weyman, a blogger at HowToSaveMoney.ca, says he uses the Gold Rewards Card as his primary spending card and couldn’t be happier with it.  He transfers his points to Aeroplan and redeems them for long haul flights to get maximum value from the rewards program.

“It takes 25,000 points to fly anywhere in North America. I value that at $700 (before taxes and fees) because I use my points to book high value tickets (long routes, small airports),” he said.

Weyman figures if he spends $25,000 on the Gold Rewards Card every year then he can get back somewhere between $750 and $1,500 in rewards per year depending on how much of your spending is in bonus categories.

“The sign-up bonus of 25,000 points is unheard of and the fact that they are throwing in the first year annual fee for free makes it a no-brainer to at least try out for one year,” said Weyman.

To learn more about the American Express Gold Rewards Card, click here.

This post was sponsored by Amex Bank of Canada.  The views and opinions expressed in this blog, however, are purely my own.

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