This Week’s Five Loyalty Deals

Loyalty programs are already set up to reward customers for their frequent patronage by offering points, miles, or exclusive discounts.  But sometimes there are periodic promotion periods in which the reward system is ramped up either to pick up sales during a down time or simply to encourage continued customer loyalty.  Either way, there are savings to be had or extra points or miles (eventually converted into extra savings or a freebie) to be earned.

Here are five loyalty deals for this coming week or longer:
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Five Deals for Your To-Do List This Week (and Beyond)

As your sort through your summer to-do list, here are some deals you may want to know:

  • This Tuesday, July 21st, Starbucks is giving a free pastry from opening until 10:30am with the purchase of any beverage.  Of course this is a good deal for those who usually purchase a coffee and/or pastry on your way to work [if all you want is a pastry, you could theoretically get a discounted pastry by buying a coffee that is cheaper than the pastry].  Check out the official announcement for more information.
  • When we first wrote about Borders Rewards, we noted that the rewards program itself is quite skimpy though the coupons that come with it are great.  Well, until the end of this month, Borders is making up for it – through July 31st, they are giving $5 in Borders Bucks for every $50 you spend in-store or at borders.com.  That’s essentially 10% back, which you can redeem and use in any future purchase.  This should be a good time to restock your summer reading books!
  • A while back we also wrote about the GapCard, which can be a great deal for those of you who shop at the Gap frequently.  It gives you 5 points per $1 you spend at Gap, Banana Republic, Old Navy, and piperlime.com, and you receive a $10 gift card for each 1,000 points you earn (basically 5% back).  If you were waiting for the right time to sign up, this may be it: until August 9th, besides the standard 500 bonus points for being a new member, you also get 20% off your first purchase online and double points until the end of the promotion period.  If you are already a GapCard or Gap Silver member, you are also eligible to earn double points through August 9th.
  • If you are a United Mileage Plus member and frequently shop at Safeway, Dominick’s, Vons, Genuardi’s, or Pavilions, register your store card (get one if you don’t have one yet!) with Mileage Plus to get 125 miles for every $250 miles you spend.  Once you register your store card, all you have to do to earn miles is use it when shopping – a pretty easy process to bring you closer to a free trip!  Click here to register.
  • With the recession, more people are going to movie theaters.  As you get ready to check off some new summer blockbusters from your list, you may want to sign up for the Regal Crown Club if there’s a Regal Cinema close to you.  It is a free membership program that awards 1 credit per dollar spent on ticket purchases (up to 15 credits per day) and another 2-4 credits for concession purchases.  And even if you use a corporate discount ticket such as the Super Saver you can still get credits when you redeem them for admission.  With this membership, you can participate in offers such as $1 candy on Mondays and $1 popcorn on Tuesdays as well as earn free popcorn, soda, and movie ticket rewards (rather than redeeming points, you get a reward as you reach each tier).  Click here to see the rewards schedule and sign up.

While not all deals are for everyone, I expect that participating in some of these deals has gotten on your to-do list, maybe next to repotting the plants and visiting local museums.  Good luck!

Habits That Pay

Humans are creatures of habit. We visit the same coffee shops, clothing stores, and movie theatres, because we are familiar with the products/services and know what to expect. And in turn, these places become part of our routine. Think back on the purchases you have made or take a look at your credit card statements from the last few months and you might notice that the same few merchants appear over and over again. Last week, we blogged about signing up for free loyalty cards to grocery stores and pharmacies, but this principle also applies to other places depending on how often you visit and how much you spend. The following are just a handful of options available:

  • BananaCard/GapCard/OldNavyCard – Banana Republic, Gap, and Old Navy are some of my favorite places to shop for work and casual attire. As a result, I have a BananaCard, which I can use at any of the above stores (as well as piperlime.com and athletica.gap.com). For every $1 I spend, I get 5 points, and once I have accumulated 1,000 points, I receive $10 off my next purchase. This is the same as a 5% cashback.  In addition, I get an extra 15% off my first purchase and free standard shipping over any purchases over $100. Once I have spent over $800 in a calendar year, my BananaCard gets upgraded to Luxe status, which entitles me to even more benefits, such as free basic alterations and a 15% off personal shopping day.  Even though I can use my BananaCard at any member of the family of stores, it does matter which card I have, because my BananaCard only entitles me to special promotions at Banana Republic. The GapCard, for example, is offering an extra 10% off on Tuesdays, to which I cannot participate.  I would recommend waiting for special promotions before signing up so you can get even more benefits. For example, when I signed up for my BananaCard, I actually received an extra 20% off my first purchase due to a special promotion. Currently, it is offering a bonus 500 points reward for new cardmembers.
  • Sephora Beauty InsiderAmericans spend over $7 billion a year on beauty products, which is why I suggest signing up for Sephora’s Beauty Insider. You get a point for every $1 you spend. Once you have accumulated 100 points, you can receive a deluxe sample, or you can save your points and redeem 500 points for an exclusive product (options change each month). You will also have access to special events, as well as a gift during your birthday month.
  • Starbucks Gold – Perhaps you are an avid coffee drinker and need your venti non-fat soy latte with extra foam every morning. Starbucks Gold has a $25 annual membership fee, but if you spend more than $250 a year on coffee, then this would more than pay for itself because Starbucks Gold offers 10% off every purchase (drink, coffee beans, mug, espresso machine, etc.). Other benefits include a free first drink, a free drink on your birthday, 2 hours of free Wi-fi every day (after you have registered your card), and special coupons.

My point is not to sign up for a card at every place we spend money, but that we might be able to get something extra, however little, from our shopping habits. So give your purchases a quick evaluation and see if your habits warrant a reward.