How to Save Money with Loyalty Programs

Companies offer loyalty incentives to encourage consumers to favor their brand, with the goal of increasing profits and differentiating their brand from competitors. With so many companies offering different forms of reward programs, you can end up with a wallet full of cards, and very few benefits.

Grocery stores, department chains, auto parts, sporting goods, and office stores all promote their loyalty programs. Add other companies such as restaurants, airlines, hotels, and multiple retail outlets, and you may find it hard to be loyal to any single company. Then you must keep up with the points, discounts, and offers to get any real benefit from the various programs. Here are three tips that will help increase your savings with these programs.

Be loyal. With competing brands, all offering their own version of a loyalty program, it diminishes their value. Choose a few favorite stores based on price, promotional offers, and convenience and learn the rules of the programs to maximize the benefits.

Always use your card. Companies make it easy to use the card by tying it to an email address or phone number, often eliminating the need to carry a physical card. Consistently using the card will help you reach reward levels faster and reduce the loss of credit due to expiring points.

Use the sign on bonus early. Whether you sign up for free or membership programs, companies often provide an initial bonus to encourage sign up. For example, you may earn enough points with your first purchase for a dollar off discount on your next visit. These bonuses often have short expirations.

Using loyalty programs combined with sales or other discounts can lead to more money in your pocket. Many times, it pays to frequent a single store for the additional savings a loyalty program offers.