If you’ve ever heard someone say nothing in life is free, they are terribly mistaken. Loyalty programs can allow you not only to save money, but also gain access to bonus products, upgrades and discounts that normal shoppers miss out on.
On the surface, loyalty programs can seem complex, difficult to understand and not worth your time. Some discounts only apply if you jump through multiple hoops or scan and upload receipts to a dodgy-looking website address found on the back of a packet. We’ve outlined some of the pitfalls of loyalty programs here.
Luckily, there are plenty of straightforward loyalty programs that will reward you for simply using their service or website. Most of these are free and allow you to benefit without pulling any extra weight.
Spaceship did some field research and we found 5 benefits you can start receiving today as a loyalty program member.
1. Earning points
The most common loyalty programs revolve around some form of points accumulation. When shopping frugally and trying to save money, earning points and saving them up your sleeve will generally help you receive discounts or other types of rewards at some time in the future. Value rises out of points programs if you are constantly spending with the same retailer, frequently throughout the year.
There is little consistency across programs as to how many points you earn when you spend but being a member of the program already allows you to benefit by earning points every time you shop. Check to see if any of the programs you are a member of have extra point promotions (usually allowing you to earn double or triple points).
2. Vouchers / cashback
While not necessarily loyalty programs in themselves, internet browser plugins have risen in popularity, allowing you to save money when shopping.
Honey does the hard work for you and applies the best available coupon code when you go to the checkout page for your shopping. Cashrewards will give you anywhere between 1-15% cash back every time you shop (at participating retailers) by simply clicking through a link every time you shop online.
Some credit card providers offer similar programs if shopping with their card, through an online portal. Check to see if your card offers this or see the links above.
3. Free shipping
For big online spenders, one of the more useful perks of loyalty programs is free shipping. For example, membership to Amazon Prime allows members in Australia to get two-day shipping for local items and global shipping for purchases from their international site.
Other sites such as the ICONIC allow for next day delivery to metro areas if ordered before 10pm. While this requires a minimum spend, having such fast delivery in Australia has been a great improvement in recent years for online shoppers.
Upgrades are a classic example of both rewarding and encouraging customer loyalty. Upgrades are most commonly found on airlines or at hotel chains (as there may be tickets or rooms that have not been sold prior).
These offers are often made on a priority basis, so being a member of their loyalty program can ensure your name is at least in contention.
One of the main advantages of being a member of any loyalty program, are discounts when signing up (anywhere between 5-20%) or for sales events throughout the year.
By joining, loyalty programs will often give you a voucher or discount code on your birthday and send emails to members for access to sales before the general public.
Depending on the company, members of loyalty programs can also get access to exclusive products or services and receive ‘members-only’ prices in-store or online.
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Loyalty programs largely benefit companies by generating repeat business, but as a customer, anything that can help you save money will ultimately mean more cash up your sleeve to put toward your savings goals, investments, or extra spending money - whatever floats your boat.