Moving to Toronto for school, I knew I entered the adult world when I received my first credit card. Like most Canadians, about 60 percent according to research commissioned by American Express Canada, I opted for the credit card from my bank because it was convenient. But things have changed and now I have a card that is more than a convenient payment method.
I know. The thought of changing credit cards can be overwhelming. Although 68 percent of cardholders believe a credit card reward program is important to them, many don’t really understand their program (27%) and some are overwhelmed or confused by the different choices available to them (11%). This might explain why eighty five percent of cardholders don’t research their options before choosing a credit card.
“It’s incredibly important for Canadians to do a little research upfront to ensure they choose the credit card that actually fits their spending habits and lifestyle rather than a default card provided to the masses”, says Brian Kelly, rewards expert and founder of ThePointsGuy.com
I tend to agree with Brian and as an Amex Ambassador I had the opportunity to speak with him on how families can determine which credit card delivers best on what they need:
- Look for sign-up bonus. Credit card companies want your business so why not make they work for it. A sign-up bonus, like the 25,000 reward points offered by American Express Gold Rewards Card, enables you to take advantage of your reward benefits right away
- Check for additional coverage. Beyond just buying items, Brian suggested looking for a card that offers more, such as the Gold Rewards Card travel and medical insurance, lost and damaged luggage coverage and more.
- Don’t dwell on the annual fee. Its true, when I was first in the market for a credit card I often discounted cards with a fee but Brian believes that the service and additional rewards offered by a credit card should outweigh this factor. American Express Canada knows you’ll agree that’s why they have waived their annual fee for the first year. There’s no fee to try the card and you’ll see, just like I did, that the service and additional offers far out weigh any fee.
- Investigate the card’s partners. Brian suggested not boxing yourself in to one brand when it comes to rewards. Look for a card, like the Gold Rewards Card, that has partnerships with other programs, such as Aeroplan, Avios and Starwood Hotels. A credit card with multiple partnerships gives you more flexibility when it comes to using your rewards.
- Look for rewards beyond shopping. Along with sign-up offers, Brian suggested looking for a credit card that offers additional points beyond what you earn spending money. One example would be the referral points offer from American Express Gold Rewards Card. This rewards Cardholders with an additional 10,000 points when they successfully refer their card to a friend.
- Remember to think of service. This is often forgotten until you need it but you should keep this in mind before signing up for a new credit card. Customers are a credit card’s best record of service. As an American Express Cardmember I can attest to the amazing service we’ve received from redeeming rewards online and prompt service on the phone, to the service offered by partners when we use our Gold Rewards Card.
Making the move to a new credit card can seem overwhelming and it is probably the last thing on your mind as you juggle laundry, office reports, and your child’s after school activities. Brian Kelly offers some great things to consider when evaluating your current credit card. You’ll also find that the American Express Gold Rewards Card delivers on all of these points.
As a Gold Rewards Cardholder and an Amex Ambassador, I have benefited from the peace of mind of having purchase coverage for the outdoor heaters we bought for our home and travel insurance when we rented a car in Hawaii. I have enjoyed the convenience of using my points to pay for trips AFTER the fact, not to mention the special offers from American Express Canada’s Front Of The Line and Delights programs.
Like you, I hesitated switching my credit card at the beginning but I have never regretted the move. In face I’ve been telling more people its time to start rewarding themselves for the every day spending they do for their family.
This post was sponsored by American Express Canada. The views and opinions expressed in this blog, however, are purely my own.