by Adrienne Dobson

Worth it, or not?  It seems like just about every retailer/restaurant/service provider now has some form of a rewards program.  But how do you decide which programs will truly benefit you in the end?  The biggest deciding factor for me is cost.  If a company is going to charge me an additional amount in order to be a “preferred customer,” then I’m most likely not buying it.

One that I use fairly often is Kroger groceries.  With their program, you receive in-store discount on several promoted items.  You can also download digital coupons that are automatically applied when you check out!  The question here is….. am I REALLY getting a discount?  Or are the prices generally marked up higher than the average grocery store, and I am now just getting the standard cost with my “discount?”

I prefer the programs where I receive tangible rewards and incentives.  My two favorites by far are DSW and Sephora!  Both companies operate on a point system, where every dollar you spend gains you points towards free gifts and discounts.  DSW often has specials where they offer double and triple points on various products.  And what do the points get you?  Gift certificates!  DSW operates like clockwork, sending you $10 certificates based on how much you’ve spent in the past few months.   Sephora also treats their “Very Important Buyers” quite well.   Points add up to gain you actual products…. The more you save, the more you get!  Plus they offer exclusive products to their members then tend to be quite the catch.

So what programs do you participate in, AND find that you receive truly beneficial treatment?  I’m not talking about getting the constant marketing emails, reminding you that they still exist and want your money.  Which companies treat you well, as if you were really a preferred shopper?  Do them a favor right back, and spread the word!

Feature Image by: FreeDigitalPhotos