How’s that wallet? Stuffed? It can sometimes feel like you’re collecting points for everything from a simple coffee to flights and vacations. How many loyalty programs should you be participating in? And how many are too many? To answer those questions it all depends on you, your job and your lifestyle.
Take a good hard look at all the things you pay for in a week, that morning latte and scone, groceries, gas, lunch and dry cleaning. Are you earning points on these things or are you paying out of pocket and getting nothing in return? You may want to consider using a points earning credit card for the purchases that you know aren’t likely to change in your regular routine. Make your everyday expenses earning expenses and you’ll be surprised how quickly the little things can add up to big points.
A lot of us travel for work. We spend more time in the air than we do in the office. In this case it’s important to have the right mix of airline and hotel loyalty programs. Choose ones with the most flexibility, since we all know that travel plans can change. Check and note the minimum miles required for redemption. Also look into whether you can buy additional miles if needed and if you can exchange points or miles for other rewards besides flights.
The best way to assess how much travel you will be doing is to look at the previous calendar year and jot down the miles logged. Then check in with the powers that be at the office to see if the current year is expected to be comparable.
Once in a Blue Moon:
We all get sucked into loyalty programs that sound like a good idea at the time but really don’t end up being useful to us at all. The bra lovers card anyone? I mean how many bras can one person buy in one year? It doesn’t hurt to sign up for a program, but if years have gone by and you haven’t used it, it might be time to move on.
Pull out all your cards. Go ahead. Now pick out the ones you haven’t used in six months, maybe even a year. These are probably specialty cards for one particular store that you frequent you got it, once in a blue moon.
Did you have to pay to be a member of this loyalty program and feel guilty tossing the card away? No need. It’s happened to the best of us, just pick it up and take the scissors to it. But not before a quick bit of research to see if you can transfer any points you may have to another loyalty account. If not, time to say good-bye.
Going forward it’s good advice to get all information on a loyalty program from any retailer offering one to you. Take the literature home. Do some homework online and see if the program is right for you instead of signing up in the heat of the moment. We know those cards can just be so darn sexy sometimes. But take your time. The program will still be there tomorrow.
A Final Note on Diligence:
It pays to be on top of your loyalty programs. That means always having the cards handy when you need them so you don’t miss out on an earning opportunity. Check your balances regularly so you can take advantage of timely redemption offers. Just as you check your bank balance check your loyalty program balances. Think of this as your “OBB” other bank balance. It does have value after all. And we want to see you make the most of it.
For more help organizing your programs, check out Organize Your Loyalty Life for 3 tips on getting yourself on track.