It’s as predictable as a rainy winter in Vancouver – the month of January is known as belt-tightening season at our house. Over indulgence with loved ones during the holiday season always leaves me with a thicker middle and a lighter wallet. So each January 1, I dive into the new year with the optimism and energy to tackle whatever money/ parenting/ fitness/ relationship/ muffin-top woes the year brings me. So every January 1st, I say good-bye to eggnog lattes, lower the thermostat a few degrees and say hello to my long lost friends, frugality and austerity. But like so many failed resolution runs before me, by the 25th of January or so, the enthusiasm with which the year started has been washed away by the endless rain and grey skies, leaving me with boring bills to pay, an empty box of chocolate and that ever present itch to spend.
So, I’ll let you in on my little secret. Every January, when I can’t find two spare twenties to rub together and buy a cute new top, I empty out my wallet and dump all the cards in a pile on my desk. This is when I notice that I’m carrying 27 membership cards which attach me to 27 businesses around town. Among them are a Whole Foods Rotisserie Chicken Punch Card, a Chatters Beauty Salon Customer Appreciation Card, a Goorin Brothers Loyal Customer Card, and a Pure Nail Bar Pamper Card. I love loyalty marketing programs and they love me, as my loyalty can be bought easily with a generous points program.
However, my favourite loyalty marketing programs are as follows (in order):
RBC Avion Visa – As the primary shopper of the family, I have been known to accrue a LOT of points on this card in just one year. A lot. Enough to fly this family of 5 somewhere guaranteed to be hot and sunny when the skies are non-stop crying in Vancouver. Spring Break in Oahu anyone?
Shoppers Drug Mart Optimum card – I currently have 94,364 points which is just 636 points shy of $170 of whatever I want from Shoppers!! After one more trip to get toilet paper, some extra strength Advil and some multivitamins, I can see myself spending my little windfall on that great Smashbox primer and Dior anti-aging eye cream!
AirMiles – These guys invented loyalty marketing in Canada and I love them. However, after cashing my points for a Cuisinart Griddler last year, I only have 712 points currently, which is not quite enough for that DeLonghi food processor I have my eye on. Guess I’d better stock up at Safeway soon!
Sephora Beauty Insider – I have 112 points there, which granted is not much, but a free mini mascara is nothing to sneeze at.
GAP Sprize – I’m so sad to see that this brilliant loyalty marketing move (where your account automatically gets debited if what you’ve purchased goes on sale AFTER you’ve purchased it!) has fallen by the wayside. Without a few bucks sitting my Sprize account to draw me in to browse, it’s unlikely I will be shopping there for me again.
The rest of the loyalty cards in my wallet are dead weight – more a membership ball and chain with nothing in it for me (yet). Except for requiring a giant wallet and the biceps to carry it around.
I love my Shoppers Drug Mart Optimum Card, I feel like I’m getting kickbacks for buying toilet paper and sunscreen. Now, if only those smart people at Holt Renfrew would discover loyalty marketing and jump on the bandwagon!