Taking Advantage of "Bonus" Offers

20,000 PC Points = $20
The past few weeks, I've been taking advantage of bonus offers. All sorts of bonus offers ranging from free PC points, free Air Miles, free Shoppers Optimum points, to free products (after mail-in-rebates).

However, not all "bonus" offers are worth taking advantage of.

Let's look at the ones I did take advantage of first.

The first one that comes to mind is the bonus 20,000 PC Points. If I were to buy gas three times at Esso and pay with my PC Financial World Elite MasterCard, PC would give me 20,000 PC Points. Since 20,000 PC Points is equal to $20 and I need to buy gas, it meant that PC was giving me $20 for free. You may be thinking to yourself, an average fill up of $40 means I'll need to spend $120 to get my $20 for free. I'd normally agree with you, but I read the fine print.

There was no minimums required!

I could have gone to the gas station and filled up $1 worth of gas three times and got the bonus!

However, I didn't do that. Since I needed gas anyway, I filled up $10 worth of gas three times on three separate days. Two weeks later, I received my bonus points.

The next offer is also PC Point related. Except it had to do with their PC Plus rewards card. Every week, they send offers to your account. These offers are usually 100-300 points if you buy a certain item. However, once in a while, they will send an offer like 100 points for every $1 spent on something, like beef or potatoes. One week, they sent me an offer like this. The chance to earn 100 points for every $1 spent on fresh pork. Of course, pork wasn't on sale that week. However, browsing the flyers on Thursday, pork ribs were on sale the next week for $1.99/lbs at No Frills. One good thing about the PC Plus offers is that you can save them for the next week. I saved the offer and on the following Saturday we purchased 3 packs of the pork ribs. Total damage of the pork was around $24 earning us 2,400 PC Points or $2.40. Since, pork was on sale and we were going to buy pork when it was on sale, why not take advantage of the PC Points as well?

The next offer I can recall is an offer to earn 50 Air Miles in exchange for signing up for an online newsletter. If you have only one email account, then yes. Your email can get cluttered very fast. However, emails are so ubiquitous, why not have a second account just for newsletters and offers? I signed up with my secondary account. A few days later, the 50 Air Miles were credited to my account. Whoot! 50 Air Miles is equivalent to around $5.26. Basically, this company is giving away free money just to sign up to a newsletter that people may or may not read.

The next offer is an offer I received on the Shoppers Optimum app. Shoppers Drug Mart was purchased a while back by Loblaws. As a result, they have a similar system for earning bonus Optimum points. Every Saturday, Shoppers sends coupons to your account. You need to load your coupons and fulfill the conditions to earn the bonus points. One Saturday, I received an offer to earn 3,000 bonus points if we spent $10 (before tax) on groceries. Super! We purchase our milk and eggs from Shoppers anyway to take advantage of the PC Points (3x the points at Shoppers Drug Mart with the PC Financial World Elite MasterCard) and the Optimum points. The only problem is that our total is around $8.95 (one bag of milk and two cartons of eggs). So we picked up a box of Ritz that was on sale that week ($1.99) to push us over $10. Wifey and father-in-law like Ritz, so it wasn't too bad. Despite spending the extra $2. We got our 3,000 points. Which is the equivalent of $3.75. Pretty good.

Lastly, we took advantage of two mail-in-rebates for condoms from two different companies. I guess they were trying to get people attached to some new products. Anyway, they were offering to cover the cost of the product, the taxes, and the postage (up to a certain total amount) if you supplied the original sales receipt and UPC code. The mail-in-rebate concept is a little foreign to Wifey as they don't have these offers in China. However, I've done my fair share of mail-in-rebates in the past. To take complete advantage of these offers, we purchased the required products at Shoppers Drug Mart (again to take advantage of the 3x PC Points with the PC Financial World Elite MasterCard and the Optimum points). I asked for a separate receipt for each purchase. Filled out the forms, and mailed everything in. Still a little early, but I expect to get the amounts back in 4-6 weeks. Free stuff right? Why not? We were at Shoppers anyway to get milk and eggs. The only cost to us was the cost of envelopes. But seriously, we got those envelopes from Dollarama. I believe it was $1.50 for 40. That's around 4 cents and envelope.

So what offers did we not take advantage of?

Well, in addition to the pork offer, a week later I received an offer from PC Plus. If I spent $45 in store, I'd earn 3,000 PC Points. The problem is that we rarely spend that much money in one place. We only buy things when they are on sale. Generally, that means spending around $20 or less at each grocery store. If we were to spend that money in store, that would mean buying things that weren't on sale or buying too many things we don't need.

Shoppers had an offer where if we spent $30 on anything in store, we'd get 3,000 Optimum points. Paying for an extra box of Ritz is one thing. Spending an extra $21 to get back $3.75 is another. I ignored this offer.

Wifey received an offer where if she sent $15 of Starbucks credit to a friend with her MasterCard, she'd get $5 back in her account. Or something like that. In order to take advantage of the extra $5, we'd have needed to open an account for myself. Wifey doesn't even frequent Starbucks as often as she used to. As a result, this offer was too much trouble for what it was worth.

Finally, the last offer I can recall was an offer to receive a $2 off PIN for movies at Cineplex. The offer expires in January and aside from Star Wars (already paid for with a free gift card and watched this past Friday), there's nothing else in theatres. Depending on where you go, movie tickets range from $9 to $12. I don't expect to see another movie in theatres for a while, so I ignored this offer.

In short, bonus offers can be great. If you were already planning on spending the money (like on gas or groceries), why not take advantage of all the offers you can?

However, not all bonus offers are created equal. You need to be mindful of offers that actually make you spend more money than you really need to.

Just be sure to read the fine print.


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