Society & Culture

Club Membership and Loyalty programs - beneficial or just the best marketing scheme?

Society & Culture

Posted by: ab

17th Feb 2023 09:55am

When you use a club/group membership card or any loyalty program, do you really believe you're getting something that you couldn't have got, if you'd just asked for it?

Eg I directed a friend to a particular automotive group for his car service. After the price was quoted, he was asked if he was a member, he said 'no, but I have a friend who is'; oh, in that case, let's say 'yes' and he was given the membership discount.

Eg I was a 'Privilege Member' to a hotel group. While I was checking in to the room I'd booked, I overheard a checkin in progress next to me for a non-member who was given a bump up in their accommodation. I didn't see the 'Privilege'. Naturally, I closed my account and destroyed the card.

Are we deluding ourselves when we think that there's an actual benefit that we couldn't have got just by asking?

Comments 7

  • 27th Mar 2023 12:32pm

Love the loyalty cards but some are better than others. i love the ones that offer cash back, life Red Rooster. i love mcdonalds points where i can regularly get a free coffee, i love flybuys where i cash in points for gift cards each Christmas. Woolworths rewards is not as good but great to get some money off shopping each year. I use BP rewards and that builds money that can be used on petrol. Some loyalty programs though are either duds or too much work, so much so the people employed at the places dont even remember to ask you if you have one. the best ones are where the companies involved are fully invested in them and that makes it worthwhile for both parties.

  • 26th Mar 2023 08:09pm

I think some have benefits, whilst others don't. For me, I don't change my shopping behaviour to benefit from any scheme - if I get a bonus, then whoopie, I haven't spent any extra for it.

  • 24th Mar 2023 07:22pm

This is an interesting subject! I like loyalty programs but am mindful not to spend to keep or climb levels. As already mentioned, scanning your coffee card will eventually lead to a free coffee that you would otherwise buy - every 7th for 7-Eleven! I use grocery rewards cards but ‘game’ the system by not allowing them to know what I spend in full. So while my sister will get a flybuys offer for spend $300 a week for 4 weeks for $50 off, I will get the same offer for $60/70/80/90 and then as it climbs I just stop shopping at Coles for a bit and move to Aldi and Woolworths. I’ll just pop in and shop the half price specials and keep my purchases low until they start sending me better offers. And vice versa with Everyday Rewards!
It takes some time but I feel it’s worth it and I get better value for my groceries.
When we travelled overseas I’d use and while I won’t pay more to book through them I found them very well priced and as my bookings added up I was getting even better offers and privileges! Free breakfast, late checkouts and upgrades.
Yes, I think it’s worth it as long as you are mindful of loyalty tax and refuse to pay it by always shopping around! 😊

  • 24th Mar 2023 11:09am

If you shop at a particular store, then the loyalty card is like icing on the cake. I love Gloria Jeans and purchase one drink at least every week. Scanning the card is a bonus and I get a free drink every now and then.

I use when I travel and have redeemed by free nights with no problems.

Other programs, I'm not using as much as I used to - Priceline or Millers are 2 examples.

  • 16th Mar 2023 09:27pm

loyalty cards can offer some decent rewards, as long as one does not spend just to acquire more points. only go for points from a "normal" shopping trip. buy items you need, not something just to get points.

  • 14th Mar 2023 11:48am

I only have the supermarket loyalty cards, which give little back, but 'little' can be better than nothing.

Just have to avoid succumbing to the temptations that they put in front of you: spend $100 to receive 2000 bonus points (worth $10). If I spend less than $90, as perhaps I would have done anyway, I don't get the bonus points but am still ahead because I have spent less.

  • 7th Mar 2023 10:18pm

Of course, it is marketing. It is a case of the brand being in our psyche and therefore the first that comes to mind when we think of that product category. I do believe we are deluding ourselves in thinking loyalty will provide us with benefits. Having a loyalty card is the delusion to thinking the brand will also be loyal to us by offering us a better deal, not the case. This plays out with insurance companies like Budget Direct giving you a good deal the first year to reel you in and then a terrible price increase for the years following, which most people are too lazy to then shop around so take the higher price and renew. You give up so much of your data to be a member, which is useful to the company, so nothing is free. I find the best approach is to look for deals online from specific companies without having to become a member, such as deals at hotels.

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