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Think about bigger picture when spending points

Got plenty of points but don’t know what to spend them on? Maybe you need to try thinking big, or really small.

Got plenty of points but don’t know what to spend them on? Maybe you need to try thinking big, or really small.

While many expensive toys can certainly qualify as unique purchases — 12,000 Air Miles can net you an electric scooter, for instance — there are plenty of uniquely practical ways to spend your points.

If you’ve got kids, spending them on family passes to an amusement park will probably be a lot more memorable than another towel set, for instance.

As for big ideas, giving to others is one of the most meaningful, so why not put your reward points to good use by making a donation to charity? Most redemption programs now offer the chance to convert your points into cash donations. If Kids Help Phone or the Special Olympics are important to you, for example, Air Miles runs a program where you can turn 170 reward miles into a $20 donation.

Interesting options aren’t just the realm of the big stuff either. Grocery, gas and movie gift cards may not be as flashy, but they can give a lot of bang for your buck as a way to spend your last few points on something useful.

Recently, Air Miles introduced the option for its users to buy iTunes cards, an idea Air Miles’ senior public relations manager Perry Schwartz says might not have been thought of years ago but which grew right out of customer suggestions.

“Where we go in terms of rewards is wherever the customer is going. The iTunes thing is definitely a trend we jumped on,” Schwartz said.

Despite the growing availability of product options, flights to exotic locales and package vacations are still one of the most customizable reward options and are resurging in popularity, Schwartz says.

 
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