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How To Make The Most Of Your Loyalty Points

How To Make The Most Of Your Loyalty Points

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 them asking you to be a part of 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, or free gifts. when you visit their store next.          

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- 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 cash? Can you get cash redemption.

Some birthday perks for members

Starbucks
Free drink at any outlet

Westside
20% discount on shopping

Body Shop
Special discounts and offers

Lakme
Selected services will be free

#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 reward points automatically get accumulated in your account, entitling you to certain offers and discounts. These points can be redeemed for a variety of things depending on your bank through an easy and fast enough process via net banking. If you haven’t registered for net banking 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. A 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.

How Can Credit Card Companies Afford Giving You Reward Points?

When you swipe your card, at a restaurant, at the mall, at a cafe or to pay bills credit card companies also get a cut from this transaction, its called as an interchange fee. Credit card companies also make money through annual charges and interest collected from people who make late card payments. A part of this money is then given back to customers, in the form of rewards, to thank customers, retain them and attract new ones.

Few credit card perks

Amazon offered 10% cashback to Standard Chartered for the Motorola Moto mobile, T.V, and other appliances.

SBI Platinum Card offers 5 reward points on every Rs. 100 spent on dining, stores and international transaction

Last Diwali (21st October-3rd November) Yes Bank offered double reward points for credit card transactions

The Indian Oil CitiBank Platinum Card offers 4 reward points for every Rs. 150 spent on fuel at Indian Oil outlets

#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.

Steps To Become A Frequent Flyer Member

STEP 1: 
Pick an airline, preferably one which you travel by often

STEP 2:
Explore the airline’s website and sign up for its frequent flyer program

STEP 3: 
Submit the form on the website with your details and you’ll get an email with your frequent flier number

STEP 4:
Save this email until you receive your frequent flier card in the mail

STEP 5:
After every flight verify that your frequent flier miles are posted correctly to your account

Few general cheat codes for becoming a pro at the loyalty points challenge

Maintain an excel sheet to record all your usernames, passwords and important dates to remember (like the 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.

I wanted to buy an Electronic Device from Amazon, but my credit card didn’t show the product in their catalogue. After browsing through the various ways to redeem my 21,000 reward points collected on my HDFC Titanium Edge card, I found an option to convert my points into cash. Now I have a credit of Rs.5250 (1 point=25 paise)  and I can buy any product with those points.

If you end up saving a bunch of cash through this challenge, recommend it to a friend and share your success story with us.

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Talkative, clumsy, punny, intuitive are just a few buzzes of this queen bee. An aspiring business journalist looking to find her throne in the corporate world.

5 comments

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