Are Loyalty Rewards Cards Worth the Effort?

by Jamie Simmerman · 3 comments

Dog with rewards cardsComedian John Pinette jokes that every business has their own loyalty rewards card nowadays. He’s right. You can’t check out at a grocery store, gift store, or gas station without being offered a rewards card application.

Is it really worth your time to fill out yet another application for yet another card to tote around with you? In most cases, the answer is yes.

Examples of Rewards Credit Cards Benefits

  • On Thanksgiving vacation last year, we stayed in a cabin in the mountains. With two families eating a large holiday dinner, we spent a lot of time and money at the local grocery store. We signed up for a rewards card, saved a total of $57 on groceries, and got a free tank of gas from the store’s pumps for the return trip home.
  • One Christmas, I used my Speedway Speedy Rewards points to buy gas cards as Christmas presents for four family members — all without spending a dime.
  • My husband drives to work for free two weeks out of every month by purchasing his lunch supplies and snacks from the local grocery store. He watches for items that give extra points on his rewards card, and he uses it at the end of the month for a significant discount on 20 gallons of gas.
  • My local pharmacy has the lowest price on my favorite pain reliever, and by purchasing a bottle every month, I earned $25 on my rewards card to spend on anything in the store, including my prescriptions.

Tips for Taking the Pain Out of Applying for Rewards Cards

Filling out all that information for multiple rewards cards can be tedious. Plus, you don’t want to be bombarded with promotional emails from a dozen companies every week. Set up a special email account just for use with rewards cards and store promotions to keep your personal email clutter-free.

Carrying around dozens of rewards cards isn’t convenient. Even when I do remember to bring along the right card when I go shopping, I often can’t find it in my wallet in a timely manner, or I accidentally leave it in the car. If you have a smartphone, you can download special apps that allow you to scan in your rewards cards (and even your library card) so you have every card with you at all times.

Only fill out the required information on rewards card applications. If they don’t require your phone number, don’t offer it. Never provide personal information — like your full date of birth or social security number — just to get a rewards card.

Find out before you leave if the store offers online access to your rewards benefits and if your points expire after a certain time period. This will help you get the most out of your rewards cards. Some stores offer extra rewards for purchasing certain items. Or, they may require you to use your points every month or every calendar year to keep them from expiring.

Do you sign up for rewards cards Why or why not? 

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{ read the comments below or add one }

  • Tomasz Gorski says:

    Thanks Jamie for sharing your thoughts. Yes, there is no doubt about the benefits of using a loyalty reward card. But then I believe one should opt for it only when there is a probability of shopping regularly.

  • Jon @ MoneySmartGuides says:

    I only sign up for the loyalty card if I shop there on a regular basis. Otherwise, it’s not worth it to me just to sign up so they can send me mail and emails about sales.

  • @debtblag says:

    I treat loyalty rewards as just another discount. If loyalty rewards make a product effectively more cheaper at one store than another, I will buy it from there.

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