One of the ways I have found to increase my mystery shopper pay is by using reward credit cards to pay for my reimbursed expenses whenever I can. In fact, I use credit cards to pay for almost everything I buy, whether I am mystery shopping or not. As a result, I get hundreds of dollars worth of free gift cards and more every year.
This strategy must be used properly, or it could backfire—big time! Here are the steps you need to take to earn more with reward programs.
Most importantly, you can not carry a balance. That means that you should not use a credit card unless you will pay it off in full, every single month. No exceptions. One month where you pay interest can wipe out all of your reward income. Do not use an existing credit card account if it has a balance on it. One option is to get a credit card specifically for mystery shopping (or a card you use for all purchases when you want to maximize rewards). Do not charge anything on this card unless you will be able to pay it off on or before the due date.
Choose the right card. Because you are not going to carry a balance on this card, the interest rate is much less important that the rewards you will receive.
Paying a fee for the card means that you need to recover the value of the fee before you profit from your rewards. Many cards with fees have better rewards, so you should project your expected spending and rewards to determine if it is worthwhile to pay a fee. In most cases, it probably will not be cost-effective to pay a fee for your credit card.
Consider any special offers available. Do you get double or triple points for certain types of purchases, or purchases from specified merchants? Those bonuses can dramatically increase the value of your rewards.
How can you redeem your points? Are points good for gift cards good at only certain merchants? Is a credit automatically applied to your account? Can you choose from several redemption options? Do you get miles? On what airlines can they be used, and what restrictions exist? After all, if you can not use your points for something you want or need, they do not have value to you.
Using a rewards credit card for reimbursed mystery shopping expenses, or for necessary business expenses, can increase your profits by the amount of your rewards.