Loyalty programs: Five insider tips to maximize rewards

(NC) -- A loyalty program is only as good as the rewards it offers. Even so, many Canadians are missing the boat when it comes to choosing the program that's best for them. There are so many loyalty programs available plus so few tools to help people discover the one that best suits their lifestyle.

According to Ken Wong, Queen's School of Business, “even when a consumer can pinpoint their preferences and desired reward, there are still hundreds of programs available across the country competing for their favour. This can cause consumer confusion.”

With that in mind, below are five tips to help Canadians uncover which loyalty programs will get them the rewards they want, faster:

1. Maximize rewards earnings by selecting a loyalty program based on personal shopping habits, location and desired rewards. For example, a points card for gas is much more worthwhile for suburban car owners who drive daily than urbanites who rent cars occasionally. Picking a program that matches earning opportunities with existing spending habits will help to earn points faster.

2. Focus on one or two loyalty programs; concentrating on fewer programs will help individuals get to rewards goals much faster than earning points or miles among multiple programs. Programs that allow consumers to earn at a variety of retailers, also known as coalition programs, may also speed accumulation of points or miles.

3. If used conscientiously, a credit card tied to a consumer's chosen loyalty program can contribute significantly towards getting to a reward. This approach enables miles or points to be earned with both the loyalty card and the credit card on the same purchase.

4. Always carry your cards with you for use at the check-out. Remember – if you don't carry them, you won't benefit from the program.

5. Find out which loyalty program will reward you faster via a new, free online tool at www.compareloyaltyprograms.ca. Answer a few quick questions about your location and shopping preferences to determine which program(s) are the best fit.


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