Tips for Getting the Most Out of Loyalty Programs

As much as the economy has recovered since the GFC, people are still very tight with how much they spend and what they spend their money on. As a result, retailers, business and companies in every industry are competing hard for the money you are spending and many of them are doing this through loyalty programs. A loyalty program rewards you, often simply for being a member, but more often by encouraging you to collect points or a certain number of visits to their store, before you receive a free gift, or your choice of redemption gift.

However, with so many businesses offering rewards programs, how do you decide where to align your loyalties, and when you have decided, how do you make the most of your spending and your rewards?

You Actually Have to Be Loyal

An airline loyalty program is a good example because these are some of the most involved rewards systems, allowing you to collect points both for flying and partnered spending, and allowing you to use your points for flights, redeem them for other rewards, or couple your points with a cash payment to reach a desired reward sooner. Some tips for staying loyal to your loyalty program – whether it is an airline program, or a credit card, department store or coffee shop loyalty program – include:

Always be rewarded. If you are already a member of a loyalty program, make sure you register your membershipstore cards every time you shop/fly with that business. If for some reason you can’t use the business you are already registered with, join the loyalty program of the company you are using because membership is usually free and if you’ve had to use them once, you’ll probably use them again in the future, at which time your points will add up.

Always be loyal. While the first point is more realistic, the ideal is to pick one loyalty program for each service you need – one airline, one cafe chain – and stick with them. In this way you are consolidating all of your rewards for your purchases into one loyalty program, not to mention it’s easier to keep track of and remember to use just one program.

Sign up for alerts. Make sure you are notified of the specials your loyalty programs run so that you can always take advantage of them. These notifications could relate to new partnered businesses, double points earning days or the release of new rewards you can redeem your points for.

Boost your points. Loyalty programs such as frequent flyer programs are often closely associated with a number of credit cards. For example, if you sign up for a partnered credit card you will receive a bonus 20,000 points towards your loyalty program with your first purchase.

Consolidate Your Loyalty Programs

Where you can consolidate your loyalty programs you have the opportunity to earn eve more points and redeem even more valuable rewards. You can benefit from some up front loyalty rewards from consolidation for example, priority check in or free baggage with an airline program.

You can consolidate your rewards programs by looking for partnered businesses you already use or could easily switch to. For example, your credit card may be partnered with your frequent flyer program, and all you have to do is contact your provider to have the link activated from your card so that every dollar you spend anywhere on your credit card goes towards your air miles balance. By consolidating your loyalty programs you not only make it easier to earn points, but also to redeem points, because you don’t have points scattered across a number of platforms, instead you have them all added together into one useful and redeemable balance.

Choose the Right Loyalty Program

How you choose a loyalty program is just as important as how you use it, as you need to make sure you go with the one which will work the hardest for you. Therefore, look for the following things when you’re comparing the best loyalty program for your needs:

The value of the points. Most loyalty programs will allow you to earn points for every dollar you spend or every time you travel. However, some airline loyalty programs will reward you with miles. The points programs are often more flexible, but when you are earning actual miles what you are earning more closely correlates to what you are spending, and the value you can redeem those miles for.

Wide reaching. You want to make sure that you can earn points and redeem points with your loyalty program wherever you are. This means whether you’re on an interstate holiday or walking around the block from your office for a coffee. This also means choosing a rewards program which is relevant to your current location – the one where you spend most of your time and it is the easiest place to spend your money.

Partnered businesses. Even if you don’t have a lot of loyalty or current business with a particular program, look at which companies they are aligned with as you will often be able to earn points and redeem rewards with partnered businesses.

Program perks. At the end of the day some loyalty programs are simply more inclusive and more generous than others, so make sure you compare all of the extras and specials offered by each program, and choose the one with the most value to you.

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  1. Credit card interest rate caps do not make sense.: An article from: Review of Business « Debt Consolidation San Francisco says:

    […] You can consolidate your rewards programs by looking for partnered businesses you already use or could easily switch to. For example, your credit card may be partnered with your frequent flyer program, and all you have to do is contact your provider to have the link activated from your card so that every dollar you spend anywhere on your credit card goes towards your air miles balance. By consolidating your loyalty programs you not only make it easier to earn points, but also to redeem points, because you don’t have points scattered across a number of platforms, instead you have them all added together into one useful and redeemable balance.Source: theshoppingmom.com […]