It’s not confusing or time consuming, and the things that you can redeem your points for range from wide screen TVs to school uniforms.

Often loyalty program members have access to extended shopping hours, reduced shipping costs and other perks not available to non-members.

Two women that know all about shopping, and the importance of value for money, are Anna Wallner and Kristina Matisic, stars of their very own hit TV shows ‘The Shopping Bags’ and ‘Anna and Kristina’s Grocery Bag.’

“Consumers can benefit from reward programs at all types of shopping destinations, including grocery stores, retail outlets and online,” says Anna. “Chains like grocery or drug stores are always a good place to start looking. For example, Safeway and Shoppers Drug Mart both offer programs that either provide discounts at the till, or a catalogue of items for which you can redeem your points.”

Be on the lookout

It’s not just the big stores that have attractive loyalty programs.  Looking for rewards in less likely outlets is a great way of ensuring that you don’t miss out on any big savings.

“Many smaller stores, like your favourite boutique may offer them too,” said Kristina. “Same goes for services. Online reservation system opentable.com, for example, allows you to book restaurants and collect points, which translate into future dining dollars.”

“The only thing more fun than shopping is shopping at a discount.” — Kristina

Do the math

Each loyalty system is different, so it’s a good idea to calculate the true value of the benefits that your favourite stores are offering.

“If you really care about figuring out the best reward program for you, take the time to make a chart of the pros and cons of each. Be sure to factor in the cost of the reward system,” said Anna. “Also, of course, talk to your friends about their experiences. And remember, one reward program doesn’t suit all.”

When you’ve decided on the rewards system that suits your shopping habits it’s time to commit, but be sure that you fully understand what you’re getting into before signing on the dotted line.

“Read and understand the fine print! Most of us sign up for rewards programs without knowing all the details. Educate yourself first,” said Kristina. “Also, keep your eye on traditional and social media so you can find out about double and triple point days, when you can accumulate points more quickly.”

“Consumers can benefit from reward programs at all types of shopping destinations, including grocery stores, retail outlets and online.” — Anna

Stay loyal and reap the benefits

Anna and Kristina have always championed consumer loyalty, and they believe that building a relationship with a retailer is a great way of staying one step ahead of the game.

“They will learn your likes and dislikes, and often allow for advance shopping before a sale starts, alert you when your favourite products arrive, provide more discounts more often and generally provide better service,” said Anna.

So, take it from the experts — if you’re already collecting reward points, familiarize yourself with all of the schemes to maximize your gains; and if you’re not collecting, well, now is the time to start.

“The only thing more fun than shopping is shopping at a discount. We love to brag about saving money,” said Kristina. “A free latte at your favourite café or a free manicure at the nail salon makes our day!”

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