I’ve done some extensive research on all my retail loyalty cards. The only ones that give me back a return that’s worth it are my travel, grocery, select restaurants, fuel, and of course CVS rewards. All those consumer retail stores that sell pretty things I don’t need are unnecessary.
I started by reviewing a year’s work of bank and credit card statements to determine where I’m spending, then looked at my loyalty program accounts to see how much I received in perks or rewards. And what do you know, I received very little in return for my efforts and money.
Remember these marketers are masters of psychology and know exactly what buttons to push and words to use to make you think you’re getting something for nothing. Financially, retailers and marketers also know at what point to offer a reward, I’ll bet most people don’t spend enough to get the rewards in the first place. We are not have selling our information, we are giving it away for free.
One of the ways businesses get you to sign up for their programs is to “make you feel special” The operative word is “feel” special.
At Sephora you can be a “Beauty Insider”, a “VIB Insider” or “Rouge”. What’s the difference? Spend $350 to be a “VIB”,spend $1000 in a year and I’m “Rouge”. Let’s say you spent $300 at Sephora in a year to buy all your goodies, but wait, the year is coming to a close. Spend another $50 on something you don’t need then Viola, you are a VIP for a whole year! Now you’ll get an extra 15% off once a year for a two day time-frame, that’s not all that special, is it.
I have not seen much difference between being a Beauty Insider or a VIP. Nobody know if you’re a Insider, VIB or Rouge and nobody cares except the marketers. Repeat “I don’t need another mini mascara or cleanser packet”.
I have a ton of loyalty reward accounts from Anthropologie to Urban Outfitters. Most of them had been opened out of habit, if I shop somewhere I should have their loyalty card, right? Well actually the answer is a resounding NO. I confess I was enticed by the promise of free stuff, that by the way, I end up never using. Now, I’m on a quest to remove and delete all those loyalty cards I no longer want to hear from. Simplify!
Here’s an an example; I have an Urban Outfitters loyalty card, I signed up online and made my purchase, points for me. A few months go buy and I shop again, this time in the store and forget to give the clerk my loyalty number, bummer no points. This is exactly what happens to me most of the time, I just forget to use the loyalty card. These programs provide no value to me, only to the marketer that has my email, phone number and address.
More reasons to say goodbye to loyalty cards
The other reason to chuck the loyalty programs is how much money you need to spend to get any return. Most give back maybe 1%, spend $2000 and get a $20 certificate unless of course you use their retail credit card at 30% interest, then you don’t even get the 1%. Just doesn’t make sense anymoreI’m sure the marketers have done their research to find out what most people spend and then set the reward levels at just below that amount.
Three reason I’m getting off the loyalty cards merry-go-round and ditching my loyalty cards.
- Signing up for a retail cards for discounts and coupons can diminish the value of any rewards if you carry a balance especially if the card has a high APR.
- Spending the minimum amount to reach a reward threshold can be very expensive. Here’s a example:
Nordstrom customers earn $20 after accumulating 2000 points. Most shoppers get 1 point for $1. That is a 1% return. Spend $166.67 a month at Nordstrom and you get $20.
I’m not picking on Nordstrom, I love Nordstrom but I will no longer play the rewards game. My personal Nordstrom saving trick is to purchase online using a discounted gift card and picking up in-store.
- One of the biggest reasons I’m opting –out is the major data mining going on with information. I’m no longer willing to give away my information for a few dollars just so I can buy more stuff I don’t need. The whole purpose of these programs are to entice you sign up so your information can be sold to marketing companies.
What about Travel Loyalty Progams
On the other side of the coin are the hotel and airfare rewards and to those I say YES. I limit the brands I frequent as to not dilute my rewards. My go to hotels are Starwood and KImpton. Between these two hotel brands I can usually find a hotel to fit my needs. Starwood has joined with Marriott and KImpton has joined with IHG so my options have greatly expanded. Luckily I always seem to get a perk during my stay, mostly either free Internet or a late check.
Airfare, I fly mostly JetBlue and America Airlines, both are good programs and I’m happy with what I receive in rewards from these programs.
The bottom line is to do what works best for you and your spending style. I find sorting and deleting the daily marketing emails I’m bombarded with is not worth the effort just to save few dollars off of something I probably don’t need. Once I’ve completed my loyalty program deletion campaign I’ll probably switch my email and start anew with these golden rules.
Politely say no to any request for any personal information.
Don’t fall for the “signup for an account to make it easier for you to check out next time” spiel. It’s not to make my life easier, it to make theirs more profitable.
Only buy what I can afford to pay cash for.