From cash back to free stuff, customer loyalty programs can be very rewarding. Most are free to join and only involve a little effort on your part. And while some require you to spend a minimum dollar amount to get your reward, others will gladly hand you something for nothing. Here are the top five types of programs you should join right away.
Many casual dining chains such as Famous Dave’s, Jersey Mike’s and Fuddrucker’s will give you a free meal on your birthday, as long as you sign up ahead of the date. Other chains such as Romano’s Macaroni Grill and Applebees will give you a free dessert or appetizer. If you’re married, you can also claim a freebie on your anniversary. If you dine out on a regular basis, look for programs that also reward you for every dollar spent. Daphne’s Greek, for example, gives you a point for every dollar. Rack up 100 points and get a $5 reward certificate good towards your next meal.
Find loyalty programs on the Blue Kangaroo Restaurants Board.
Grocery store rewards programs can add up to big savings not only in-store but at the gas pump, too. The Kroeger family of stores and the Von’s stores both give you points for every dollar spent. You can then use those points to save up to 20 cents a gallon on gas. If your lucky, you may still find a grocery chain that offers you cash back on every dollar spent, but those are a rare breed these days. In addition to points, a grocery loyalty card entitles you to pay a lower price on hundreds of items which can cut your checkout total by 50%. Signing up also means you’ll get both mailed and digital coupons. Savings, upon savings, upon savings.
Drug Store Chain
If you know how to play the game, you can walk out of any CVS or Walgreens with a bag full of free shampoo, toothpaste and candy thanks to their famous loyalty program. Walgreens recently switched to a points program. You earn points by purchasing certain items, filling prescriptions, even participating in a wellness program. 5,000 points = $5 which you can spend on anything in the store.
CVS’s program is a little more complicated but worth the effort. When you buy specially selected items, you get CVS bucks at the bottom of your register receipt. These are like dollar bills you can use right after they print. Dedicated shoppers use coupons on sale items then pay with CVS bucks then walk out with $50 worth of goods, absolutely free.
Find more health and fitness programs on our Health Board.
Stores and restaurants need your repeat business, so they’re willing to hand over all kinds of cash and discounts in order to keep you coming back. If you plan to visit a location more than once, take the time to sign up for the loyalty program. It’s a hassle, but it beats wishing you’d done it six months ago, when you realize how much you could have earned on subsequent visits.