Loyalty programs like collecting air miles and shopping reward points are marketing strategies used by companies to retain existing customers and to attract new ones. Even though they require effort and patience, these programs are almost always worth it considering the amount of cash you end up saving. So, accept this challenge: Understand how to collect and claim loyalty points, and let the savings begin!
#Level 1: Loyalty Points Through Brand Membership
Difficulty Level: Easy
You know after shopping or eating out when the cashier asks you to pay a small fee to become a member of their brand, that’s their loyalty program. Signing up for these entitles you to a lot of perks, especially around your birthday. Once you’ve signed up collecting points in this is pretty easy – Just Shop. For every purchase made, you get points based on the amount of money you spent. These points can be redeemed for discounts, vouchers, free gifts, etc. when you visit their store next.
Here are a few Cheat Codes to ace this Level:
1. Carry your brand membership cards wherever you go.
2. Sign up for those brands only if you are a frequent visitor there.
3. Ask relevant questions before signing up for any program:
Like: Does the card work at all outlets over the city or country? Do your points expire? If yes, note down the date. What is the conversion rate of points to rupees? Can you get cash redemptions etc.
#Level 2: Loyalty Points Through Credit Cards
Difficulty Level: Medium
Most credit cards come with ‘Reward Programs’. This means that every time you swipe your card, points automatically get accumulated in your account, entitling you to certain offers and discounts. These points can be redeemed for variety of things depending on your bank through an easy and fast enough process via NetBanking. If you haven’t registered for NetBanking the process could be a little tedious: you have to send in a form via post or make a customer care call.
Cheat codes to ace this Level:
1. Pay monthly bills through card instead of cash, as this gives you points every month. For online shopping too, pay by card because it entitles you to cashback and discounts offers and additionally gives reward points.
2. Use your card on special occasions like Diwali, Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, you might get some unexpected bonus points.
3. For getting more points you don’t need to spend more, you just need to spend wisely. credit card companies tie up with a list of stores and shopping at these stores means getting more reward points and better offers.
4. Some credit cards are provided by banks in partnership with airlines, petroleum companies, department stores, etc. These are called co-branded cards. Co-branded cards offer more points than regular cards but you need to spend only on those brands.
5. When redeeming points look out for the “Redeem Points for Cash” option. Lot of banks are now offering this new feature. Earlier banks would let you redeem points only for a catalogue of items provided by them, but after realizing that these were overpriced options they now offer other ways to redeem your points.
6. Depending on the bank, reward points expire within a period of 1 to 3 years. So check with the bank’s terms and conditions to use them before they lapse or expire.
#Level 3: Loyalty Points Through Frequent Flyer Program
Difficulty Level: Hard
Every time you take a flight with a particular airline, you can collect ‘air miles’ with their frequent flyer loyalty program. Becoming a member is free and has tons of benefits, so regardless of how often you travel by air, joining a frequent flyer program is a no-brainer. The miles collected can be redeemed for seat upgrades, extra baggage and free or cheaper flight tickets.
But be warned, the registration process for this level is complex and requires more attention than other programs.
Cheat codes for this level:
1. Air miles expire. To prevent this from happening, transfer your miles to another family member by paying a little extra or buy something from the airline to reset the expiration date.
2. Verify that your frequent flier miles are posted correctly to your account after each flight.
Now that you know about all hacks to collect loyalty points, here are a few general cheat codes to keep in mind:
Maintain an excel sheet to record all your usernames, passwords and important dates to remember (like: expiration date). You can do this on google drive and keep it private or use a password protector app.
Note down what cards can be used where and allocate specific cards for specific purposes. For eg. Use your co-branded petroleum card only for petrol.
Lastly, keep yourself up to date with all offers that you are entitled to & redeem them on time.
If you end up saving a bunch of cash through this challenge, recommend it to a friend and share your success story with us.