Ah being frugal and getting free stuff. It’s great isn’t it? I think so, and I’m pretty good at it. If you’re going to buy something anyway, why not be rewarded for it? I’m sure we all understand the idea of loyalty cards – retailers vying for our business try to prevent us from going to the competition by enticing us with rewards. As simple as that, it’s how they earn our repeat business. While not all loyalty programs are created equal, there are some that fit seamlessly into daily life. Here are a few of my favourites:
1. Shoppers Optimum Points
I shop at Shoppers Drug Mart anyway, and the card is free so why wouldn’t I have an optimum card? I think every Canadian shopper should have an optimum card. My American friends, Shoppers Drug Mart is a pharmacy and everything in between. It’s similar to your Duane Reade. It’s recently merged with LCL and is now an urban go-to for groceries as well as cosmetics. We all know that every time you swipe your points card the retailer tracks your activity in order to learn your buying patterns and best target their marketing towards you. You might say it feels invasive, but I love how targeted Shoppers’ emails are. They will often offer points and sales on items they know you are prone to buy – and they’re right. The thing is though, I get these emails so often (in my special inbox of course) advertising that if I spend $50 or $75 in store I get 18,000 or however many bonus points that I only shop then. If I can wait a week and get more, why not? SDM is a great source for so many items that accumulating points and getting free gifts is easy.
2. Scene Points
If you go to the movies have a scene card. Even if you don’t go often, you get 100 points for every time you swipe your card, and a free movie every 1000 points. *TIP*if you are going with someone else and paying together, go to the machines instead of the tellers and pay in two transactions to get 200 points. The tellers won’t let you get more than 100 points per visit. So if you get 200 points per visit you can earn a free movie every 6th trip. The app Timeplay used to earn you points too during the pre-show on the big screen, but they’ve started being stingy and are scaling that back. Lame.
3. Esso Points
These are so wonderful! I haven’t had to pay for a car wash in forever! I’m not accusing them of collusion or anything but let’s be real all Canadian gas stations in the same vicinity are priced the exact same. So why choose one over another? Well I’ll tell you why. First of all Esso has what they call a Speedpass, which is the quickest method of payment, and earns you points at the same time. And second of all, Esso points add up much faster than other gas station rewards. You can redeem your points for things you actually need. No I won’t be buying a 6 pack of Coke, but I will definitely need more carwashes. Thank you Esso points!
4. Air Miles
You can actually earn Air Miles at Shell gas stations, so Shell is my #2 go-to for gas. But among other places that accept Air Miles are LCBO, Metro, Toys R Us, Rexall, and many more. You might not get a free trip at the end of the year if you didn’t make any big purchases, but even with small buys here and there you will be earning free cash, redeemable at Starbucks, or other handy dandy destinations. Let’s face it, LCBO alone will get you there!
What are some of your favourites?