My personal enthusiasm [ed: Obsession!] for points rose out of my inherent frugality [ed: Cheapness!]. I like to travel, but hate to pay for it. Well, I also like to buy things, but I hate to pay full price. The good news is that you usually don't have to.
I've written a little about cashback through webportals like Mr. Rebates, Topcashback, and Big Crumbs.* Those are great for online shopping, but sometimes you have to go out into the real world to buy things. That's where gift cards come in. Say you need to spend $300 Home Depot for a project. You could just drive there, pick up the items and leave. Simple, easy, costs $300.
But, with a little planning, you can whittle that cost down. First, you could go to Topcashback. From there you link to Plasticjungle.com where you can buy Home Depot gift cards for 7% off. Bam! Your cost just went down to $279. But wait, you also get 2.5% cashback for purchasing the gift cards. That brings your cost down to $273. Is an approximately 9% discount worth a little foresight and planning? It is to me. This can be particularly valuable for larger projects. Cards from some merchants are discounted considerably more.
There are also some good tools for locating discounted gift cards. www.giftcardgranny.com does a pretty good job of covering what cards are available and telling you what the discount is. They don't sell the card themselves, but rather point you to PlasticJungle, Cardpool, or one of the other gift card malls.
*If you sign up for one of these sites through my link, I'll earn a referral bonus.
I wanted to edit this post to give a tip of the hat to The Frequent Miler who does yeoman work with researching the best ways to obtain and use gift cards.