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Frugal Find: Loyalty Cards

   Posted On: July 19, 2013  |    Posted In: Saving  |     Posted by: Broke Millennial®

Believe it or not, I have been known to shop and buy the occasional overpriced frothy beverage. Two weeks ago I realized I had no clothing. I’m not sure if men experience this, but all women reach a point when they realize nothing in their closet is wearable. I am no fashionista and yet I still experience this plight. After a few weeks of putting off the stress of shopping in New York, I planned a stress-free mall crawl with my mother in Charlotte over the Fourth of July holiday. Sales were abundant and I felt so accomplished as I headed to the cash register. Then the friendly cashier said, “Would y’all be interested in opening a Limited card? It is really quick and will save you an additional 15% on your purchases!” I froze and frantically calculated the ramifications of opening a new credit card at a store I rarely frequent, but then again…15% off! Of course, I opted against a new credit card. However, loyalty cards can be a valuable asset.

I have a few loyalty (or loyalTEA for Argo Tea) cards myself and take great pleasure in sneaking other people’s meals, drinks or movie tickets on my rewards cards for added points. But while doing research for this post I realized I’m not too reward program savvy, because my friends, family and Broke Millennial Twitter followers had some “reward” winning tips!


(You see right, I’m only one punch away from a free bubble tea!)

  • 16 Handles: (Frozen Yogurt): 1 point per $1 spent. $5 reward per 50 points. I’m pretty sure they also have a punch card for a buy 10 get 1 free deal.
DSW: Members only rewards coupons, collect points for to dollars off, birthday coupons and advance notice about sales.
  • Safeway: Frankly, I’ve never heard of Safeway but a few people mentioned it so on the list it goes! Plus, a deal on gas is probably nice.
  • Regal Cinema’s Regal Crown Club: One point per dollar with a max of 20 points per visit. Points can earn you a soda, popcorn and eventually free movie ticket. It makes me a little sick to my stomach I have to spend $150 in movie tickets to get a free one, but it makes me even more sick to my stomach that doesn’t even equate to 15 movies.
  • Rite Aid Wellness Program: Deals on sale items and points add up to getting a coupon for XX% off an entire purchase.
  • CVS ExtraCare Program: Extra savings with personalized coupons and bucks back CVS dollars.
  • Starbucks Gold Card: Birthday deals, points towards free food or beverages and free refills.
  • Sephora Beauty Insider Program: The birthday rewards seem to be the most popular, but you also get points to redeem for makeup.
  • Anthropologie: Free shipping periods, birthday deals, special promotions and advance notice on sales.
  • Greyhound Road Rewards: My personal favorite, as I’m sure you know.
  • Best Buy Reward Zone: $1 = 1 point and 250 points = $5 reward card.
  • I usually ask about loyalty cards for any coffee, tea, clothing or restaurant I tend to frequent, especially local (non-chain) shops.
  • Library Card- hopefully no hyperlink is needed for this one. Get to your library!

Popular credit card loyalty programs:

I would like to preface this section by saying don’t apply for credit cards on a whim. Make sure you understand the APR, annual fee(s) and how establishing another line of credit could impact your credit score.

  • Target Red Card (Credit or Debit): Automatic 5% off in Target stores, free shipping and an extra 30 days for returns.
  • GAP visa: You earn a $10 rewards card for every $200 spent in the stores or on the sites. You also get 1 point per $1 spent elsewhere. $10 card for every 1,000 points earned. Users can redeem awards at GAP, Old Navy, Banana Republic, PiperLime and Athleta. There are also birthday deals and other in-stores offers.
  • United Milage Plus Visa: Racking up miles isn’t too shabby, especially if you’re a frequent traveler.
  • Marriott Rewards Premier Visa: After you fly on your racked up miles stay in a Marriott with your points!
  • Hilton HHonors American Express: Or a Hilton…
  • Express, Victoria Secret, Limited and pretty much anywhere you shop will have credit card offers. Proceed with caution.

For you coupon hungry folks try checking out Frugal Find Friday: Extreme Couponing, The Online Edition

What’s your favorite loyalty program?

A handful of my favorite posts this week:

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14 responses to “Frugal Find: Loyalty Cards

  1. My favorite is After you spend 10 nights in any hotels purchased through their site, you get 1 night free. The free night is the value of the average spent for the previous 10, and it can be redeemed absolutely anywhere. I’m not someone who likes to stick to one hotel chain, so this rewards program is perfect for me. My husband and I have racked up five or six free nights so far – and have earned and redeemed them all over the world. Unfortunately the rewards plan has been collecting some dust since we had a child two years ago, but I love to know it’s still there – a hope for good travel to come!

  2. An added bonus to the Rite Aid Wellness program is that if you spend at least $500 over the course of a calendar year, you get 10% all your purchases (not on sale) for the following year. If you spend $1000 over the course of a year, you get 20% off. Great bonus when buying things that never go on sale!

  3. So unimpressed with Express’s rewards…which is a shame because their clothes fit me better than everyone else’s.

    My philosophy with loyalty cards is that on the one hand, I try not to let them encourage me to purchase more, however, when they offer some manner of cash back with material value, I take that into account when comparison shopping.

    Great post 🙂

  4. I love my Amazon Chase card. We use it for every purchase that we possibly can and earn money to spend on Amazon’s site. We haven’t had to buy diapers for pretty much my daughter’s whole life!

  5. I hate keeping tons of cards in my wallet, so whenever they can go in the iPhone passbook (like Sephora and Starbucks), I just do that.

    I have loyalty cards for EVERYWHERE.

  6. Ha…ironically enough, I fell for The Limited credit card offer but I actually frequent that store so it works out. I get free shipping (which is great now that my local store closed down) plus a ton of deals and coupons. My goal is to pay less than $30 for anything from them because as much as I love their style, they are WAY overpriced! I have a ton of loyalty cards but mostly to grocery stores. Love ’em!

  7. The J.Crew card has pretty good rewards for a store credit card. Especially if you’re buying something expensive like a suit. Cardholders get free basic alterations which saves you serious cash at the tailor. $25 for every $500 you spend, early access to some products and invitations to cardholder only events. I also love that I can immediately pay off my card at the register. I put it on my J.Crew card for the points and then pull out my debit card to pay the bill.

  8. We only have a few loyalty cards. We used to have a lot more, but cut back quite a bit on them a few years ago. We have enough junk with our little ones that it just loaded us done with too much stuff, Lol! Thanks so much for the mention, I really appreciate it!

  9. Thanks for mentioning Cat’s post this week! I have a ton of loyalty cards, almost too many! The best one, which you mentioned, is the Target REDCard. You just can’t beat the automatic 5% savings every time you shop.

  10. We don’t do too many loyalty cards, simply b/c the cheapest places around here don’t offer them, and we’re working hard to spend only on necessities right now. I would be totally up for earning a free smoothie or something along those lines though. Strawberry, please. 🙂

  11. I know I am going to Canadianize myself right now, but we have a Scene rewards card that get’s you a free movie for every 10 movies you go to (unless you rack up bonus points) plus it get’s you some additional $’s off your concession purchases. Shoppers Optimum is pretty great as well which is for a drug store chain we have here, they have bonus point days most weekends and you can often get 2x the redeemable amount on certain Saturdays. Also I love my Air Miles card and double up on points by using my Air Miles Mastercard so I can hopefully use those miles for at least a trip or hotel stay when I’m in Europe next summer. I’ve decided to not get any retailer backed credit cards just because I would need to double my wallet size if I did (oh and would risk overspending too).

  12. I have a ton of loyalty cards. I use CVS and Rite Aid all the time when I’m coupon shopping. I also use my qdoba card a lot more than I should (I can’t remember how many, but after you buy a certain number of entrees you get one for free).

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