The advice in this article is only beneficial to people who spend a lot on rail travel.

One of the first articles I've written for this series was "Topping up your East Coast Rewards balance". It explained how you could top up your points balance by effectively pre-paying for your rail travel. The points collected this way would appear in your account within a day or so and would be ready to use (not pending).

Most people will use this method if they're a few points short to reach their balance before the earning deadline of 28 February, however, if you have some cash sitting in the bank is it worth pre-paying a few months worth of rail travel in order to get more rewards?

Interest rates are pretty low these days, you'd be lucky to get 4% these days. If you worked out you spend £1000 on rail travel over the coming months 4% interest would give you £40 over the year, so only £10 for 3 months. So if you get more than £10 benefit out of the rewards you've benefited by pre-paying your travel before 28th February to get the rewards points.

As you can get a first class return (i.e. two single tickets) or two standard class returns for 920 points the 1000 points you'd earn are definitely worth a lot more than the £10 interest. As they're valid anywhere on the East Coast route I'd value the rewards between £100 and £200 if used wisely.

If you can't get the tickets you want, then you could get 3 bottles of wine for 920 points (which should still be worth more than the lost interest), £10 House of Fraser or M&S vouchers are 510 points.

Conclusion

If you're able to use the gift eVouchers to pre-pay your train travel you could receive benefits that are significantly greater than the interest that you'll lose on the amount. If you receive less than 4% interest then the benefits will be even greater.

If you've got a rewards credit card and need to meet a spend target (e.g. some credit cards give bonus points if you spend a set amount in the first three months) this is also a way you can achieve this.

Risks

There's always a possibility that the rewards you want may not be available. Do not do this if you do not have the funds to cover this, the value is not worth it if you end up overdrawn. If you have any questions on this then ask me on Twitter - @SaveECRewards.