It’s likely that you have some loyalty cards in your wallet, a few hanging from your keychain, and a couple of apps on your phone. It is also very likely that you are not entirely sure about the details of your earnings and redemption schemes, how many points you currently have, and what you can do with them. Sometimes you even forget to use your points, and they expire. It leads you to wonder: are my loyalty programs right for me?
These are a few questions you can ask yourself to evaluate whether a program is the right fit, and what to ask the next time you get offered to join a new program.
Are these types of rewards I want?
Loyalty programs are abundant, and the rewards can range from retail points to experiences such as trips or spa days. The general rule is that the bigger the reward, the longer it takes to earn enough points to redeem them. So, you have to evaluate if you’re looking for frequent rewards or willing to wait longer for a more significant one. While some people have patience, many others end up abandoning their programs because the wait for the payoff is just too long.
Figure out first the type of rewards the program is offering, and then decide on joining. At signup the promise is always 'free stuff', but in reality, the small items offered might not be worth it. Decide based on if the premium gifts and services at Sephora or the free coffee from Costa is worth it. A simple question can help you narrow down which cards you want to keep in your wallet.
How easy is it to track my progress?
It’s simple: your loyalty program should be easily integrated into your life and shouldn’t be a source of confusion. Programs that allow you to track your points online or through a mobile app will enable you to monitor your progress and see exactly how long you have left till you can redeem your next reward. Some even show you the different rewards available or the list of outlets where you can redeem them.
At the time of registration, ask about how you can track your earnings and redeem your points. This transparency will give you more control over their program and put you at ease. If your program isn’t that accessible, it is likely you won’t spend strategically and will eventually give up when you don’t get any returns. If a program doesn’t have a simple solution for managing and monitoring your activity, it’s best not to bother with a membership. In the digital age, it is a simple investment for the reward program to make to ensure your experience is smooth.
How long will it take?
This is the golden question here, and the easiest one to answer to yourself. Not only because you can quickly determine how many trips or purchases it will take to redeem something you want, but also because you are best at estimating how often you are likely to re-purchase at the brand. Of course, the point of loyalty programs is to bring you back, and we should exclude identical services to be fair (Costa vs Caribou coffee). However, if you fly once on Air Arabia and most likely will not do so again anytime soon, then you know the answer unless they offer easy redemptions. FlyNas of Saudi Arabia, for example, is awesome at rewarding you as they allow you to start redeeming from just 100 NASmiles, which you will get from the first flight. Do a quick calculation in your head, and if it is a reasonable re-visit or spending rate, go for it.
What else is my program offering me?
The organizations that run these programs are aware of what and where you purchase, and that is valuable information for both parties. Those loyalty programs use that data to retarget their customers by sending them deals and rewards that suit their lifestyle and tastes based on previous activity. If you like this kind of personalized attention, this is also another reason to consider joining. Retail brands are very good at this, by knowing your style and previous purchases, they can alert you of similar models or even discounts on the ones you might have thought are too much for you.
Overall this is an individual decision if the program is right or not, however, there is a method to follow in order to limit the cards you hold or even the junk in your inbox.