Georgina Guedes

Are loyalty programmes worth it?

2013-03-28 08:00

Georgina Guedes

A teacher at my daughter’s nursery school recently announced her intention to move all her banking to First National Bank because she wanted to start buying things with eBucks. She has a third child on the way and is about to get serious about her expenses.

There are lots of ways to make money out of affiliation to a particular service or brand, if you’re serious about it, and if you do it very carefully. My daughter’s teacher’s migration to FNB, for example is probably a clever move (I haven’t researched the exact costs), since she’s already giving her money to another bank anyway.

I got myself a Woolies Black credit card to get 3% back on all the money I spend in their stores. This is a good deal if you have any idea how much I spend at Woolies every month. However, as I am sure happens to many credit card holders, one particularly rubbish month, I relied a little too heavily on their credit offering and am now in a debt hole that I have to dig my way out of, with all the associated expenses.

I am also a Fanatics member, so I get bonus points for every rand I spend at Exclusive Books – which is also a lot. Problem is (although, it’s not a problem I resent too much), as soon as the crisp white voucher arrives in my post box, I dash out to Exclusive Books and find something to spend it on, rather than waiting for my next book-buying need to arise. The voucher creates the need – which is the purpose, of course.

Some companies create loyalty programmes for all the touchy-freely associations, but actually make it so impossible to collect on the bonus that it benefits no one. I’ve been pleased to note that many companies are making it easier for you to cash in on your loyalty points – making your association with them worthwhile.

This morning, when I was buying Kulula tickets to Cape Town for my family, I saw that I only had to enter my Discovery number for the Vitality discount to click in. I am pretty sure that there was a way of doing this is the past, but now I am handheld through the process, with the result that I got the discount and think far more affectionately of Discovery and Kulula as a result.

I was also delighted when making a purchase in Exclusive Books last week, that they told me that I had a voucher live on the system and asked if I would like to use it. That’s the kind of loyalty programme I want to be a part of – one that spoonfeeds hurried, forgetful me with all the information I need to cash in on my points.

The secret, of course, is being the kind of spender who is not drawn in by all the sparkly associations of getting something for free, and to continue conducting your business as you would if you didn’t have the bonus points stacking up. That way you earn your money back incidentally, rather than spending to save – a vice of which I am extremely guilty.

- Georgina Guedes is a freelance writer. You can follow @georginaguedes on Twitter.

Send your comments to Georgina

Disclaimer: News24 encourages freedom of speech and the expression of diverse views. The views of columnists published on News24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of News24.


SHARE: publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.