Every two or three years Becky Johnson makes a point of planning a new international adventure. The Edmonton resident and AMA member is a big-time traveller; her passport bears the stamps of destinations including Australia and New Zealand, China, Cuba and Southeast Asia.
Such globetrotting can be extremely fulfilling, providing boundless opportunities to expand your cultural horizons and create lifelong memories. However, it can also be expensive.
Fortunately, there’s a simple way that AMA members can make their money go further: Accumulate reward dollars and use them to help pay for AMA products and services, including membership renewal, home and auto insurance, and travel.
Johnson, naturally, chose travel. She recently covered 75 percent of her round-trip airfare for a European vacation—with stops in Amsterdam, London and Reykjavik—using reward dollars that she earned buying food, clothes, makeup, Christmas gifts and much more over the previous year and a half.
“Usually I spend them to help with the cost of flying home to Vancouver Island for Christmas,“ Johnson says, “but I didn’t last year, so I had some extra time to accumulate more reward dollars.” Ultimately she was able to put 670 reward dollars toward the cost of her flights, which were already a great deal at $890 total.
Here’s how Johnson did it—and how you can do it, too!
Check the AMA eStore and shop at AMA rewards partners
Johnson’s top tip for earning rewards faster? “Whenever you’re thinking of buying anything, check to see if it’s available from a rewards partner or through the AMA eStore.”
Shopping online at the AMA eStore can be highly rewarding. Dozens of brands, including Adidas, Canon, Hudson’s Bay, Indigo and even Starbucks, return up to 15 percent of your purchase in reward dollars. Other rewards partners offer discounts in-store or online when you use your AMA membership.
Be on the lookout, too, for special promotions, during which some partners may offer two or three times their standard reward dollars.
Book your trip with AMA
Once you’re satisfied with your reward dollar haul, redeeming them for travel is easy.
“There’s a lot more flexibility with AMA reward dollars than there is with other travel-rewards programs,”Johnson says.
That flexibility is paramount. Reward dollars can be used for anything AMA offers, with very few restrictions. When arranging travel, that means you can easily save on plane tickets, likeJohnson did, and not have to worry about blackout dates, seat limitations and other conditions. The same goes for cruises, hotel rooms, car rentals, tours and more.