Battle of the loyalty cards

2014-06-29 15:00

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Your wallet may be bursting with all the loyalty cards you have from various suppliers, but are you making full use of all the benefits available to you? Neesa Moodley-Isaacs takes a look at some of the more popular loyalty cards offered by retailers and where you can save on your monthly costs

Clicks ClubCard

This is one of the most popular loyalty cards in South Africa, with about 4?million active users. It works on a points system. For every R5 you spend, you earn one point. If you have earned sufficient points during the qualifying period, you are sent a voucher for the amount of points you have earned.

There are also other benefits aimed at specific groups such as the BabyClub for expectant mothers and those with young children, and the seniors programme, where shoppers over the age of 60 can earn double points on the second Wednesday of each month.

Clicks also offers ClubCard members exclusive three-for-two special offers. For example, you can buy three packs of Berocca Boost priced at R112 each, but you only pay for two.

There are different loyalty levels and, as you spend more, you progress from the basic level (blue) to the highest level (gold status). Gold card members receive extra points and a free copy of the Clicks ClubCard magazine five times a year.

If you really want to ramp up the number of points you earn and you don’t already have a credit card, you can apply for the Clicks gold credit card. It carries a R250 annual fee and you earn points on all purchases regardless of where you are swiping the card.

This loyalty scheme is free. You don’t pay to sign up and there are no monthly fees. It is easy to use and gives you discernible savings in the form of special offers, as well as cashback vouchers. If you lose a cashback voucher before it has expired (they are valid for one year), you can contact the Clicks customer helpline with your loyalty card details and they will mail you a replacement voucher.

Note that the vouchers are tracked and it will be picked up if you have already spent them.

Woolworths WRewards

This loyalty scheme is available with a credit facility (as an account holder) or without a credit facility as a cash loyalty customer. When your card is swiped at the till before your purchases are scanned, the savings offers exclusive to WRewards members are automatically taken off the price.

The benefits seem to be mainly 10% discounts for food and up to 20% in other departments, including clothing, beauty and homeware.

There are different tier levels, depending on how much you spend at Woolworths each year.

The basic level is “valued member”, followed by “loyal members”, who spend R7?800 to R24?000 a year. The highest level is the VIP member, who spends more than R24?000 a year.

Valued members receive the basic WRewards savings. Besides basic WRewards, loyal members receive the free Wmagazine and “spend and save” vouchers. VIP members receive all the benefits that other members receive and discount vouchers on new food products and a 10% birthday voucher.

This loyalty scheme probably can save you some money if you shop regularly at Woolworths, but more than R24?000 a year seems like an awful lot of money to spend so that you can sample new food products and receive a 10% shopping voucher.

Pick n Pay smart shopper

You receive one point for every rand you spend.

However, unlike the other programmes where you automatically receive your discount or vouchers, the smart shopper programme requires you to visit the smart shopper kiosk in Pick n Pay stores and swipe your card.

You then have to convert your points into the cash equivalent and print vouchers to use at the till.

It is easy, but not as convenient as having your vouchers mailed to you or earning discounts automatically at the till.

There are more than 6?million members. Note that certain products or purchases are excluded and will not earn you any smart shopper points.

These exclusions are third party payments (traffic fines and utility bills), gift cards, tobacco products and prescription drugs.

It is a free loyalty scheme and if you buy groceries at Pick n Pay, this scheme definitely makes sense to use.

Just make sure that you remember to retrieve your points and vouchers regularly.

Dis-Chem

You earn points on your purchases, subject to a minimum spend of R10, which earns you 15 points. You have to maintain a minimum points balance of 675 and you can use any additional points to receive discounts at the till.

This means you have to spend just more than R300 before you start earning points that will translate into discounts.

For every 100 points you redeem, you get R1 off your purchase. So, if you want a R100 discount, you will need 10?000 points. To earn 10?000 points in the first place, you will have to have spent just under R670. This means you have to spend R670 to receive a R100 discount.

It makes sense if you are already shopping at Dis-Chem anyway to make use of their loyalty scheme, but it wouldn’t entice me to leave another loyalty scheme that is already working for me. The cashback of R1 for 100 points seems a bit steep to me.

Questions to ask before you join a loyalty scheme

When you are evaluating a loyalty scheme, there are certain questions you should ask to make sure that it is the best scheme for you:

.?What are the costs? This will include sign-up costs, annual fees and any minimum spend required before you start receiving benefits.

.?What is the rand value of the benefit? For example, Clicks offers you one point for every R5 you spend, while Dis-Chem offers you 15 points for every R10 you spend.

At first glance, it may seem like Dis-Chem offers the better benefit because you earn more points. But if you go one step further to the discount process, Clicks offers you a R1 discount per point that you have earned while Dis-Chem offers you a R1 discount for 10?000 points. That’s a big difference!

.?Do your points expire and when?

.?Look at the footprint of the store that is linked to the loyalty scheme. Is it convenient for you to use? Are there several different stores within the chain that are accessible to you? If you have to go out of your way, it may not be worth the effort.

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