I read an article this week that compared collecting reward points (specifically MyCokeRewards) to using heroin. The author said that his addiction to collecting points made him dig through the trash at work and beg his friends for their bottle caps; all in the name of a few free t-shirts. Since I fail to see the problem, I guess I must be an addict too.
I see nothing wrong with (most) loyalty programs. Nor do I see any shame in taking advantage of other people’s discarded benefits. My mom drinks enough Diet Coke to fill a small pool every year. We’d be a fool not to cash in on those points. The way I see it, rewards points are cash currency. We use them to buy things we would normally buy anyway (like cat food). We use them to get gifts for special occasions. We use them to give ourselves experiences that we’re “too cheap” to pay full price for (like going to the movies).
Every dollar that we don’t have to spend out of our pockets is a dollar saved.
Our favorite loyalty rewards programs are:
MyCokeRewards: A few years ago I wrote a post called How We Found $250 in the Garbage. We did it by searching the recycling bins at our apartment complex for Coke caps…caps that we redeemed for rewards and later donated to our local elementary school to be turned into park benches. Back then, we drank a 12 pack of Coke Zero every week. Today, we drink very few sodas, yet we’re always flush with caps…most of them found by picking up garbage when we go for a walk. In the past few months, we’ve cashed in Coke points for an AMC Movie Experience (2 tickets, 2 large drinks, and a large popcorn), two $10 GameStop gift cards (for my nephew’s birthday) and a $10 Amazon gift card.
Purina My Cat Perks: We buy the same brand of cat food monthly; the only brand that our picky cat will eat – Purina Cat Naturals. Angie manages our points for this program, which she can only enter once a month. It takes a while to get a free bag but we still average 1-2 free bags per year. In fact, we got our first one of 2016 delivered via UPS this week. Caesar was so excited!
Kellogg’s Family Rewards: We eat some sort of cereal six days a week. It’s not always Kellogg’s. In fact, we rarely buy Kellogg’s without a sale and a coupon. But when we do, I make sure we get points for the purchase. What I like best about this loyalty program isn’t necessarily what we can get for ourselves, but what we can use it to give. From time to time, Kellogg’s runs a promo where one code equals one Scholastic book that can be donated to the school of your choice. Angie and I alternate between sending them to the elementary schools we attended as children. We have also used points for free RedBox movies and Starbucks gift cards (which come in handy when we travel).
Kroger: Nearly every grocery store loyalty program has some sort of added benefit – from cents off on gas to special coupons throughout the year. We don’t do a lot of our regular shopping at Kroger but we do use our loyalty card to get 3 cents off on gas (since Kroger gas is consistently the cheapest gas in our town each week). We also get the weekly Friday Freebie. We’ve gotten everything from yogurt to wild rice to an organic chocolate bar. It’s a fun way to try new foods or pick up free snacks for the times when our niece or nephew visit.
Speedway Speedy Rewards: We discovered Speedway while RVing this past year. The gas is cheap and their sub sandwiches are phenomenal! We often pick up a couple of subs when we go for a picnic and definitely when we travel. It’s cheaper than Subway. Any 12″ sub is only $4 – even Angie’s favorite spicy grilled chicken sub. Speedy Rewards has several “clubs” too. Buy 6 bags of chips, get one free. Buy 6 sodas, get one free. Rewards points can be redeemed for a lot of different items. We use ours for free subs (of course).
Do you use loyalty rewards programs? What are some of your favorites?