Loyalty Programs: what works for you?

Loyalty programs are hot currency, are they a way to save? Judith Cane is always investigating different ways to manage and make the most out of your money. Let’s stop today and consider loyalty programs and what they can bring us.

Loyalty programs are available today from just about everywhere.

Think about it.

You can enroll where you buy your gas, a night out at the movies, groceries, cosmetics, hotel and airfare, even where you buy propane for your bbq there is a loyalty program. These highly researched marketing programs appeal to a broad range of Canadian lifestyles. They offer us points that can add up to discounts towards future purchases, and many are targeted exactly to our shopping behaviours.

Some Canadian loyalty program facts:

  • The average Canadian is a member of 2 loyalty programs per household, or 4 cards in each wallet.
  • 90% of Canadians (that’s 22 million Canadians) have at least one loyalty card.
  • Customers buy more when they have a loyalty card: up to 40% more at retail outlets.
  • Air Miles has the most penetration in the Canadian market with its loyalty program tapping into 2/3 of Canadian households.

Get the most out of any loyalty program you are enrolled in:

  • Double and triple dipping with a mileage card – Use your mileage earning credit card to make a purchase where you also earn miles in the same program as your credit card.  The triple dip by using coupons or promotions offering more mile.
  • Always make sure you are up-to-date with the retailers participating in your loyalty program. Today you can use your AirMiles at Metro, Michaels and the LCBO. Filling up your gas tank? You can use your Aeroplan program at Esso. Or, you can visit a Petro-Canada where the Petro Points program points on a litre of gas, as well as on carwashes and convenience store purchases.
  • Save your Shoppers Optimum or The Bay rewards points all year and then turn them into gift cards for Christmas or birthday gifts. I use my points for my Christmas shopping.
  • Do your research and know your earn rate. Programs can differ across the board. Some offer point for dollar, others require you spend two or three times what you get back in points.
  • Watch the limitations, know whether the points or miles expire or there are blackout dates for travel. Collect with an eye on saving, not just collecting.
  • Consider consolidating to one credit card and one loyalty card and you will accumulate your points or miles faster.
  • Read a report on Canada’s most popular loyalty programs.

Whatever program you chose,  remember they aren’t just about rewards for you. Companies will preach about the savings and discounts, but their ultimate goal is to get you to stay in their store – or on their site – and to spend more. It’s important to separate your actual needs from shiny new toys you see on the shelf. Don’t be tricked. Get the true bargains and avoid the extra stuff you really don’t need.

Money Coach, Judith Cane, always looking out on your behalf so you can save and spend your money wisely. Want to find out more, get in touch today. 613-875-5834.