John Sellers
Rewards Executive at Bank of America

As the Bank of America executive in charge of Rewards, John Sellers oversees all rewards programs; including consumer and small business reward programs and credit card rewards redemption.

Prior to his current role, he led work in other product areas at Bank of America including Auto Lending, Merrill Edge and Credit Card. John is the architect of the award-winning Bank of America Travel Rewards Credit Card and led the effort to bring Chip technology to all Bank of America cards.

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‘Tis the Season to Maximize Rewards For Holiday Shopping

Make it the most wonderful time of the year with a strategy for budgeting, benefits, discounts and cash back.

By John Sellers, Rewards Executive at Bank of America
Advertorial Disclosure

This is a sponsored post by Bank of America as part of Wise Bread's continued partnership with them.

As we approach the holiday season, many of us will find new ways to connect with family while also trying to pick out the perfect presents for our loved ones. According to a recent Bank of America survey, one-third of Americans say their least favorite part of the holiday season is the stress that comes with so many things to do – and holiday shopping is often one of those stressors. Early preparation and strategic planning can ease much of your holiday shopping-related stress – allowing you to focus on the best parts of the season, whether that’s frying up some latkes, decorating a tree, counting down to the new year or just spending socially- distanced time with friends and family.

Here are my top tips for making the 2020 holiday shopping season as merry and bright as possible:

Deck the halls with lots of planning

Just like your kids may think carefully about the best place to leave cookies for Santa, you should also create a thoughtful plan for your holiday shopping endeavors to stay on track with of your spending. Our recent Bank of America survey found that over half of Americans are planning to spend more than $500 this holiday season, and 45% of Americans have admitted to overspending on gifts during the holidays. Curb these spending cravings by creating a shopping list and setting a budget to help you stay on track.

One easy way to stick to a budget is to shop when the big-box stores have their sales. Traditionally, the largest big-box store deals and discounts happen around Black Friday and Cyber Monday. There’s been a definite shift as retailers extend these previously day-long sales into special shopping events spanning November and December, with some deals lasting for weeks and others for 24 hours or less. To plan for your shopping, it can help to mark dates in your planner or calendar that you suspect will be a day for deals at your favorite retailers. Check emails or social media posts from years past for some great context around sales patterns and when they are typically timed during the holidays.

Get on the nice list by combining rewards products and programs

Layer your rewards programs together - by combining retailer, app, credit card and banking loyalty programs - to maximize your discounts, perks and financial rewards earnings. For example:

  • Layer 1 - Retailer Programs: Make a list of your top shopping spots for holiday spending – including department stores, electronics, grocery, clothing and sporting goods stores and more. Once you have the list, check it twice to ensure you’re signed up for each retailer’s loyalty program. Many retailer loyalty programs are available at no-charge, and perks may include free shipping, exclusive/early access to sales and new products, bonus points on purchases and more.

  • Layer 2 - Apps: If you are one of the many people taking a more online-centric approach, be sure to use the popular web plug-ins and mobile apps that will scour online shopping sites for all available discount codes. Many of these programs also offer rebates such as additional cash back at online retailers.

I also suggest adding a few of our Bank of America product and program offerings into the mix:

  • Layer 3 - Customized Cash Rewards Credit Card: Our Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card offers 3% cash back on your choice of six spending categories, including online shopping (perfect for gifts for the holidays if you’re skipping the mall). An added benefit is the ability to change your cash back category month to month as your spending priorities change.

  • Layer 4 - Best-in-Class Banking Loyalty Program: The Bank of America Preferred Rewards program provides our members with a credit card rewards bonus of 25 to 75%, based on your tier, which translates to up to 5.25% cash back for online shopping with the Customized Cash Rewards card.

  • Layer 5 - BankAmeriDeals: Finally, our BankAmeriDeals program offers our credit cardholders another way to earn bonus cash back at a number of popular retailers, restaurants and service companies through tailored offers that cardholders can activate.

Let technology be Santa’s little helper

Tap into digital banking technology to conveniently pay for your holiday purchases, plus track and redeem the rewards you accumulate. The My Rewards dashboard, available in Bank of America mobile banking app, is a centralized place where you can view, discover, manage and redeem your rewards on-the-go across Bank of America credit cards, BankAmeriDeals and Preferred Rewards. For ultimate convenience, be sure to add your Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards credit card to any of the major digital wallets so you make secure payments for any in-store purchases.

It has been a year unlike any other, and that will likely be the case this holiday season as well. I hope the tips I’ve shared can make your holiday shopping a little easier and more rewarding – giving you extra time to safely relax and unwind over the holidays.

For more information about the Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards credit card see here, and to learn more Bank of America Preferred Rewards, visit our site here.