loyalty programs http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/8238/all en-US Airline Credit Card or Flexible Rewards Card: What's the Best Way to Earn a Free Flight? http://www.wisebread.com/airline-credit-card-or-flexible-rewards-card-whats-the-best-way-to-earn-a-free-flight <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/airline-credit-card-or-flexible-rewards-card-whats-the-best-way-to-earn-a-free-flight" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-596778594.jpg" alt="Learning the best ways to earn a free flight" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>When it comes to strategizing how to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-ways-to-use-travel-rewards-cards-to-get-free-trips?ref=internal" target="_blank">earn free airfare</a> with travel rewards credit cards, there are two main schools of thought. On one hand, you can sign up for your favorite airline's frequent flyer program and get their <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-co-branded-airline-credit-cards?ref=internal" target="_blank">co-branded credit card</a> to earn miles through regular spending and flying. Or, you can get a credit card that lets you earn flexible travel rewards good for any airline instead.</p> <p>Both strategies can be advantageous depending on your travel style and goals. Still, earning a free flight becomes easier when you're able to make an informed decision about <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/choose-the-best-travel-rewards-credit-card-with-this-guide" target="_blank">what type of travel rewards card is right for you</a>.</p> <p>So, which should you choose? Airline miles or travel credit?</p> <h2>Airline frequent flyer programs</h2> <p>While each airline loyalty program works differently, they all follow a similar format. When you pay for a flight, you earn frequent flyer miles based on the cost of your paid airfare and/or the many miles you fly. You can get more points by using the airline's credit card to pay for it.</p> <p>The upside of earning airline miles is obvious; through regular flying, credit card spending, or a combination of the two, you can earn miles and redeem them for flights around the globe. With the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/which-american-airlines-us-airways-credit-card-should-you-get?ref=internal" target="_blank">American AAdvantage program</a>, a round-trip domestic flight costs as little as 25,000 miles while a round-trip flight to Europe can run as little as 45,000 miles. Since the average domestic flight costs around $400 and the average flight to Europe can cost $1,000 or more, you can score an exceptionally good value for your miles with this program (points are worth 1.6 cents and 2 cents respectively). (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/comparing-miles-which-airline-loyalty-program-is-better?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Which Airline Loyalty Program Has the Best Value for Their Miles?</a>)</p> <p>Keep in mind that, on top of your miles, you'll need to pay government-mandated taxes and fees. These fees are usually $5.60 per leg for domestic flights, but can range in the hundreds of dollars for flights abroad. The fees also differ with airlines. Do your research before you settle on the airline program to pursue miles with. Other factors include where they fly and their partner airlines that you'd be able to get use miles for. Also, blackout dates and award seat availability are factors, too.</p> <h2>How to choose a frequent flyer program</h2> <p>These are the things you should look for when considering a frequent flyer program to join.</p> <h3>No blackout dates or seat limitations</h3> <p>The best programs allow you to redeem your miles for any seat on any flight as long as they haven't been sold. Some programs designate a specific number of award seats per flight (or on select flights), or they impose blackout dates when you can't use miles at all. Unless you are a solo traveler with very flexible plans on when and even where to go, you'll end up very frustrated at your options and may see a lot of your points go unused due to the lack of availability. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-get-free-or-almost-free-airline-tickets?ref=seealso" target="_blank">10 Ways to Get Free &mdash; or Almost Free &mdash; Flights</a>)</p> <h3>Multiple ways to earn miles</h3> <p>Being able to earn miles through other ways than flying with that airline makes racking up miles easier and faster, which means free flights faster. Airline credit cards will often give points for all spending, and maybe even bonus points for additional categories.</p> <h3>Travel perks</h3> <p>Nothing is better than getting priority boarding, airport lounge access, and top notch service when traveling through the airport. Additionally, the best credit cards will include free checked bags, and a variety of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-types-of-travel-insurance-credit-cards-include-that-you-didnt-know-about?ref=internal" target="_blank">travel insurance</a> and protections. Some will include elite status (or give you a head start on getting there) so that you can enjoy the most luxurious perks like <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-frequent-flyer-programs-with-free-first-class-seat-upgrades?ref=internal" target="_blank">free seat upgrades</a>. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/travel-perks-you-didnt-know-your-credit-card-had?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Travel Perks You Didn't Know Your Credit Card Includes</a>)</p> <h3>Travel partners</h3> <p>Most airlines are part of a network that includes travel partners. This means you may be able to use your miles to get a free flight on their partner airline, or even a hotel stay and car rental. This provides more options for your travel plans. The ease of getting award seats and stays for partners differ between programs. Some make it very difficult and you have to call someone to inquire about availability. Others will let you book on your own through their portal. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-airline-partnerships-can-supercharge-your-travel-rewards?ref=seealso" target="_blank">The Secret to Redeeming Travel Rewards With Airline Partners</a>)</p> <h2>Flexible travel programs</h2> <p>If you don't want to be tied down to a particular airline or deal with restrictions and limitations on using your miles, there are travel rewards credit cards that allow you to accrue points through spending, which you redeem via a statement credit toward your travel purchases. For example, if you have 40,000 points, you can book a flight through any airline or booking service on your credit card, and then apply the 40,000 points (which comes out to $400) to pay for it. It will appear as a statement credit on your account. There are many benefits to this.</p> <h2>Benefits of flexible travel programs</h2> <p>What are those benefits? Let's have a look.</p> <h3>No restrictions</h3> <p>Book any type of travel reservation you want. You don't need to go through the program's portal website. You aren't limited by airline or award availability. You can choose to book through a travel site like Orbitz or Airbnb. If you have specific travel plans you'd like to stick with, as well as companions, this type of travel program will be the best way for you to use your rewards for travel.</p> <h3>Pay the difference</h3> <p>While there are some programs that allow you to pay for additional miles if you don't have quite enough, or pay the difference in cash, most frequent flyer programs do not allow this. This means that if you only have enough for one flight, but you have two travelers, you'd have to pay for one ticket with miles, and then do a separate transaction for the second ticket. That's only when you're able to split up a purchase like that. Maybe you are just shy of 100 miles for that flight to Europe. Or that all inclusive vacation package. Some programs simply won't allow you to book. But with a flexible travel program, you can make a $450 travel reservation, use 40,000 points for a $400 credit, and then pay for the $50 balance.</p> <h3>Works for non-frequent flyers</h3> <p>For those who don't often travel, it's hard to build up a balance of miles through a frequent flyer program. Credit cards that offer statement credits on travel purchases allow you to earn points through regular spending, even offering bonus points for everyday categories like dining and groceries. This is the best way for non-frequent flyers to be on their way to travel redemption faster.</p> <h2>The inbetween option</h2> <p>There is an option that stands between the two. These are travel rewards cards that have their own rewards program. For example, Chase cardholders earn Ultimate Rewards Points. American Express users earn Membership Rewards Points. Each program has its own set of travel partners and includes a travel portal that allows you to book flights, hotel stays, car rentals, and vacation packages with points. Additionally, you may be able to transfer your points to airline or hotel loyalty programs, many times at a 1:1 ratio so you don't lose a single point of value.</p> <p>Using these credit cards can be a strategic option for those who want a little more flexibility in their travel options but also want to optimize the value of each point. When you use points for a statement credit, they are always worth one cent per point. But if you can use miles or points in a loyalty program, those points are often worth more than one cent (as shown above with the American Airlines example). Furthermore, these exclusive travel portals offer discounts and deals that are not available to the public. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-that-anyone-can-travel-for-free?ref=seealso" target="_blank">7 Ways Anyone Can Travel for Free</a>)</p> <h2>What's right for you?</h2> <p>The best way to decide which program and credit card is right for you is to determine your travel goals and preferences. Are you dedicated to one particular airline? Are you traveling in a large group? Do you have flexibility in your travel dates and destinations? Do you enjoy special travel perks and benefits? These questions will help you choose the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-5-travel-reward-credit-cards?ref=internal" target="_blank">best travel rewards card</a> for you.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/Airline%20Credit%20Card%20or%20Flexible%20Rewards%20Card-%20What%27s%20the%20Best%20Way%20to%20Earn%20a%20Free%20Flight-.jpg" alt="Airline Credit Card or Flexible Rewards Card: What's the Best Way to Earn a Free Flight?" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/holly-johnson">Holly Johnson</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/airline-credit-card-or-flexible-rewards-card-whats-the-best-way-to-earn-a-free-flight">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-5"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-steps-to-picking-the-best-airline-credit-card-for-the-most-rewards-value">5 Steps to Picking the Best Airline Credit Card for the Most Rewards Value</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/are-airline-or-travel-rewards-credit-cards-the-better-deal">Are Airline or Travel Rewards Credit Cards the Better Deal?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-airline-rewards-programs-for-trips-to-europe">The Best Airline Rewards Programs for Trips to Europe</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/once-in-a-lifetime-experiences-ive-earned-with-credit-card-rewards">Once-In-A-Lifetime Experiences I&#039;ve Earned With Credit Card Rewards</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-ways-to-use-travel-rewards-cards-to-get-free-trips">How to Use Travel Rewards Cards to Get Free Trips</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Travel airlines blackout dates free flights free travel frequent flyers loyalty programs miles rewards travel partners Thu, 27 Apr 2017 08:30:14 +0000 Holly Johnson 1931720 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Highly Effective Ways to Save Without Clipping a Coupon http://www.wisebread.com/6-highly-effective-ways-to-save-without-clipping-a-coupon <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-highly-effective-ways-to-save-without-clipping-a-coupon" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_using_phone_52920552.jpg" alt="Woman saving money without clipping coupons" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Let's face it, clipping coupons can be a very time consuming activity &mdash; and it's definitely not for everyone. In terms of savings, the time spent finding, cutting, and organizing coupons is not always worth it. It's with this in mind that I've come up with some easy ways to save significant money that don't require a coupon. So put down the scissors, walk away from the Sunday paper, and save money with these insider tips instead. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-online-retailers-who-let-you-stack-coupons?ref=seealso">9 Retailers That Let You Stack Coupons</a>)</p> <h2>1. Shop on the Right Day of the Week</h2> <p>Were you aware that many popular retailers have specific days of the week where they do all of their internal store markdowns? Shop right afterward, and you'll have first dibs on new clearance items, no coupon required. For example, save money on clearance clothing when they actually have your size or color of choice in-stock. Here are a few markdown days to keep in mind so you can shop and save accordingly:</p> <ul> <li>Kohl's: I had an employee tell me to shop on the second and fourth Saturday of every month. She said those are the two days when you'll find the freshest markdowns.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Macy's: I was told by an anonymous employee that they start their markdowns on Sundays and wrap things up by Tuesday morning. Shop on Tuesday afternoon and get first dibs on new markdowns.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Old Navy: The day to shop at Old Navy is Wednesday. Try it and you'll often find the clearance section stocked with new clothing as well as clearance stuff that has been marked down even further.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Ross Dress for Less: If you're a big Ross shopper like myself, you'll want to check out their inventory starting on a Monday. I was told by an employee, who heads up her store's clearance department, that Monday is the only day they do their markdowns.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>JCPenney: If you can shop at JCPenney on the first and third Friday of every month, you'll find a plethora of new clearance deals to pick from.</li> </ul> <h2>2. Always Use a Cash Back Site</h2> <p>If you're shopping online and not doing it through a reputable&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/30-cash-back-sites-to-earn-you-thousands-per-year">cash back website</a>, you're clearly leaving money on the table. In recent years, cash back sites have had the reputation of being more hassle than they're worth. After all, who has time to jump through a bunch of hoops to save a measly 50 cents? Those days are officially gone. Popular sites like Ebates, TopCashback, and BeFrugal have made it incredibly easy to shop online and get significant money back on your purchases by utilizing mobile apps and browser add-ons or extensions.</p> <p>Also, the amount of money you get back has risen as well. A perfect example is TopCashback.com as they give back all of the commissions they receive from retailers to their users. So instead of splitting the 8% with their users, they're giving it all to them &mdash; and instead are making their money via advertising and charging retailers for premium placement on their website. Because of this generous business model, the cash back rates are definitely high enough to make it worth your while.</p> <h2>3. Subscribe and Save Programs</h2> <p>Subscribe and save programs are an oft forgotten way to save money on household items that you'll need on a recurring basis. No coupon clipping required. Think things like diapers, laundry detergent, dog food, paper products, and trash bags, to name a few. The two leading players are Amazon and Target and the savings their programs provide is substantial. Their pricing often beats that of warehouse clubs like Costco and Sam's Club. Perhaps the best feature is they both come with free delivery, which means no more roller carts full of dog food and toilet paper to try and squeeze into the minivan.</p> <h2>4. Wal-Mart Savings Catcher App</h2> <p>If the idea of clipping coupons for your next trip to Wal-Mart gives you the cold sweats, their <a href="http://savingscatcher.walmart.com/" target="_blank">Savings&nbsp;Catcher App</a> is definitely for you. All the app requires you to do is scan your Wal-Mart store receipt after each visit. No scissors required. Wal-Mart will then scour the prices and ads from local competitors and credit your account if they find a lower price on something you purchased. Think of it like an easy way to guarantee you get the lowest price in town on everything you buy.</p> <p>I've been using the app for close to a year and my balance is currently at $42.92. That's a pretty good return on probably 15 minutes of my time. Then when you want to cash out, you can either get a Wal-Mart gift card or redeem via Bluebird by American Express.</p> <h2>5. The Ibotta App</h2> <p>The popular <a href="http://ibotta.com/r/jcsgjbv" target="_blank">Ibotta's</a> tagline, &quot;Better Than Coupons,&quot; pretty much sums it up. Instead of clipping coupons, you redeem rebates on hundreds of grocery store items, most of which you'll be buying anyway, and get money back.</p> <p>What makes the app stand out from the competition are the rebates available for generic items bought at <em>any</em> store. Buy a loaf of bread or a gallon of milk from the local corner store, and you can redeem a rebate on each. Then team up with friends and family to start earning cool $5 teamwork bonuses every month and your account balance will really grow. Once your account reaches $20, you can cash out via PayPal, Venmo, or a slew of gift cards from popular retailers.</p> <h2>6. Take Advantage of Loyalty Programs</h2> <p>While loyalty programs often get a bad reputation as nothing more than a way for retailers to push advertising on you, they actually serve as a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-store-loyalty-programs-that-are-worth-it">great way to save</a> if you do it right. The key is to only join the programs that'll give you rewards on purchases you'd be making anyway. Here are a few awesome free programs that jump to mind.</p> <ul> <li><a href="https://www.cvs.com/extracare/landing.jsp">CVS ExtraCare</a>: You earn a flat 2% back in ExtraBucks from almost all your purchases. (Excludes alcohol, lottery, gift cards, postage stamps, fishing licenses, and the like.) In addition, once you fill 10 prescriptions you get $5 back in ExtraBucks.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><a href="https://www.walgreens.com/balancerewards/balance-rewards.jsp">Walgreens Balance Rewards</a>: Earn 10 points for every dollar spent. Then once you reach 5,000, points you get a free $5 reward.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><a href="http://www.homedepot.com/c/pro_xtra">HomeDepot Pro Xtra</a>: Home Depot's loyalty program is a no-brainer if you buy in large quantities. After joining, you start with $20 of your first $200+ purchase. Then you get access to additional savings after that, like 10% off your $2,000+ paint order.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><a href="http://www.safeway.com/ShopStores/RewardPoints.page">Safeway RewardPoints</a>: Along with specific in-store reward deals, Safeway's program allows you to save significant money on your gasoline bill every year. When you spend up to $100 at Safeway, you get a $.10/gallon discount on Safeway gas. Spend $200, and they double it to $. 20 cents less per gallon.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-store-credit-card-target-redcard">Target REDcard</a>: The Target card works a little different from most as it connects to your checking account and works as a debit card. The strong benefits of 5% off every order, free shipping from Target.com, and 30 extra return days makes it a great option for loyal Target shoppers.</li> </ul> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kyle-james">Kyle James</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-highly-effective-ways-to-save-without-clipping-a-coupon">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-smart-ways-to-save-money-this-year-without-clipping-a-coupon">6 Smart Ways to Save Money This Year (Without Clipping a Coupon)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-6-shopping-mistakes-keeping-you-from-a-great-deal">The 6 Shopping Mistakes Keeping You From a Great Deal</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/31-foolproof-ways-to-lower-your-grocery-bill">31 Foolproof Ways to Lower Your Grocery Bill</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-more-apps-that-pay-you-to-shop">6 More Apps That Pay You to Shop</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-10-best-couponing-apps">The 10 Best Couponing Apps</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Shopping apps cash back coupons insider secrets loyalty programs markdowns sales saving money stores Wed, 14 Sep 2016 10:30:11 +0000 Kyle James 1791538 at http://www.wisebread.com Does It Make Sense to Stay in a Hotel Anymore? http://www.wisebread.com/does-it-make-sense-to-stay-in-a-hotel-anymore <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/does-it-make-sense-to-stay-in-a-hotel-anymore" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/couple_hammock_beach_000031567486.jpg" alt="Couple wondering if it makes sense to stay in a hotel" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Staying in a hotel isn't necessarily the cheapest option, especially when you're staying in a big city, like New York City. However, before you book that apartment on Airbnb, you should consider the various advantages of staying in a hotel.</p> <h2>Discounts Are Available</h2> <p>Airbnb is <a href="https://www.busbud.com/blog/airbnb-vs-hotel-rates/">not always the cheapest option</a>. Depending on where you stay, it may actually be more affordable to book a hotel. It can be very affordable to stay at a hotel using discounts, promo codes, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/breakdown-of-benefits-and-value-of-the-best-hotel-rewards-programs-and-credit-cards?utm_source=wisebread&amp;utm_medium=internal&amp;utm_campaign=travel">hotel loyalty programs</a>, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-credit-cards-for-hotel-deals-and-rewards?utm_source=wisebread&amp;utm_medium=internal&amp;utm_campaign=travel">credit card reward programs</a>, and express deals on bidding sites. While you may be able to get a promo code for your very first day on Airbnb, there generally aren't any promo codes available for short-term rentals. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/travel-resources?ref=seealso">40 Most Useful Travel Websites That Can Save You a Fortune</a>)</p> <h2>You Can Complain</h2> <p>When you have a complaint at a hotel, all you have to do is call down to the lobby and let them know. If you want to take it one step further, you can ask to speak with a manager. This will usually result in discounts, upgrades, and just about whatever you ask for.</p> <p>When it comes to Airbnb, there is really nobody to complain to. If you are unhappy with your stay, you're stuck there anyways. At the end of your trip, if things don't go as planned, you may get a full or partial refund on your stay at a hotel. However, if you're booking a short-term rental, you likely won't get a discount.</p> <h2>You Only Have to Deal With Professionals</h2> <p>With Airbnb, you will likely have to deal with the hosts &mdash; before you book your trip and throughout your stay. Some hosts can be less than welcoming or accommodating. At a hotel, your interaction with hotel staff should be minimal, and they are expected to act in a professional, corporate manner.</p> <h2>You Can Enjoy Special Extras</h2> <p>You can expect a number of special extras when you stay at a hotel. These same extras aren't usually included in a short-term rental stay. Some of the most common extras you can often receive from a hotel include:</p> <ul> <li>Free soaps and shampoos (so you don't have to waste your own);<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Endless clean towels and linen;<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Special treatment on special occasions (let them know if it's your birthday, honeymoon, or anniversary so that they go the extra mile for your trip);<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Fitness room or spa;<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Business center;<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Hotel bar or restaurant;<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Continental breakfast or buffet.</li> </ul> <h2>Hotels May Be Cleaner</h2> <p>We've all heard the horror stories of black light findings and rumors of how filthy hotel rooms can be. However, have you considered how clean an Airbnb apartment may be? The owners aren't held to any standards, so you may be sleeping in a bed with dirty linen or using old towels.</p> <p>At a hotel, you can expect daily housekeeping, whereas with Airbnb, you're on your own to make the bed, empty the trash, and clean up after yourself. This can result in a tidy hotel versus an unkempt and unorganized Airbnb apartment.</p> <h2>Hotels May Be Safer</h2> <p>When it comes to a hotel, only the front desk and housekeeping should have a key to your room, so you can rest assured that no one should be coming in at night. On the other hand, with Airbnb, you have no idea how many people have the key to the apartment you're staying in, which may might you feel uneasy at night. Hotels also usually have security on the premises, security cameras, computerized door entry cards, and even room safes for enhanced security.</p> <h2>Hotels Are More Relaxing</h2> <p>Staying at a hotel feels more like a vacation from everyday life. It is a break from the normal daily grind. On the other hand, staying in someone's home on Airbnb may feel more like staying at home, with similar responsibilities.</p> <h2>Flexible Stays</h2> <p>You can book a hotel room for as little as one night, whereas with Airbnb, you usually have to book multiple nights. If you are expecting a late night arrival, a hotel is usually very flexible with the check-in time, whereas an Airbnb apartment usually has early check-in times that cannot be negotiated.</p> <h2>Local Assistance</h2> <p>Many avid travelers have made the case for Airbnb that staying in someone's home will allow you to find local favorites and get expert recommendations from your host. However, you can get the same experience from a hotel. Simply ask the concierge for recommendations, directions, and advice about the area. Staying in a downtown or metro area will also automatically put you in touch with some of the best things the area has to offer.</p> <h2>You Get What You Pay For</h2> <p>If you don't get what you see in the hotel's description, you can simply complain and they'll have to hold up to their end of the deal. On the other hand, Airbnb descriptions and photographs can be very misleading, so you don't always get what you're expecting.</p> <h2>Is Airbnb Still the Best Choice?</h2> <p>There are still a number of important reasons to consider short-term rentals. According to Priceonomics, compared to the average hotel room, you can <a href="http://priceonomics.com/hotels/">save up to 50%</a> by renting a private room on Airbnb, and up to 22% by renting an apartment on Airbnb. Those are substantial savings. You'll also have access to an entire apartment, including a kitchen and living area, as opposed to just a cramped hotel room. If you'll be staying in a popular area, like New York City, make sure to carefully weigh your options to determine if a hotel or Airbnb is right for you.</p> <p><em>Do you know of other reasons to stay in a hotel? Have you had experiences at a hotel or Airbnb you'd like to share? Please share your thoughts in the comments!</em></p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a href="//www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fdoes-it-make-sense-to-stay-in-a-hotel-anymore&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FDoes%20It%20Make%20Sense%20to%20Stay%20in%20a%20Hotel%20Anymore-.jpg&amp;description=Does%20It%20Make%20Sense%20to%20Stay%20in%20a%20Hotel%20Anymore%3F" data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-config="above" data-pin-color="red" data-pin-height="28"><img src="//assets.pinterest.com/images/pidgets/pinit_fg_en_rect_red_28.png" alt="" /></a> </p> <!-- Please call pinit.js only once per page --><!-- Please call pinit.js only once per page --><script type="text/javascript" async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/Does%20It%20Make%20Sense%20to%20Stay%20in%20a%20Hotel%20Anymore-.jpg" width="250" height="374" alt="" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/andrea-cannon">Andrea Cannon</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/does-it-make-sense-to-stay-in-a-hotel-anymore">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-simple-ways-to-save-on-hotel-stays">9 Simple Ways to Save on Hotel Stays</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/travel-resources">40 Most Useful Travel Websites That Can Save You a Fortune</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-to-do-about-a-terrible-airbnb-stay">What to Do About a Terrible Airbnb Stay</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-book-an-amazing-cheap-vacation-package">How to Book an Amazing Cheap Vacation Package</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-vacation-rental-alternatives-to-airbnb">10 Vacation Rental Alternatives to Airbnb</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Travel accomodations AirBnb apartments hotels loyalty programs renting trips vacations Mon, 06 Jun 2016 09:00:08 +0000 Andrea Cannon 1718095 at http://www.wisebread.com 4 Best Tools for Tracking Your Rewards Miles http://www.wisebread.com/4-best-tools-for-tracking-your-rewards-miles <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/4-best-tools-for-tracking-your-rewards-miles" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/000066208635.jpg" alt="Woman using best tools for tracking reward miles" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>One of the most challenging aspects of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-tricks-to-making-the-most-of-your-reward-miles">earning points and miles</a> is keeping track of all of your accounts. Every airline, hotel, car rental company, and credit card program has a separate account, each with its own user name, password, current balance, and possibly an expiration date. It's not that unusual for frequent travelers to have more than a dozen accounts to manage. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-5-travel-reward-credit-cards?ref=seealso">Best Credit Cards with Travel Rewards</a>)</p> <p>Thankfully, there are a few tools that can help you collect all this information, view it all in one place, and even help you use it efficiently. You will never lose or forget about your hard earned rewards again!</p> <h2>AwardWallet</h2> <p><a href="https://awardwallet.com/#/">AwardWallet</a> is one of the oldest, and most popular websites for tracking points, miles, and other loyalty programs. It currently boasts over a third of a million users who use it to track nearly 70 <em>billion</em> points and miles. The basic version is free and will track the reward balances for an unlimited number of programs for you and your family members. It will also track your travel plans and notify you via email when your balances are about to expire. AwardWallet Plus is available for a donation (the amount at your discretion) and includes extra reward account properties, a historical account balance chart, and the ability to export the information to an Excel format.</p> <h2>Points.com Loyalty Wallet</h2> <p><a href="http://www.jdoqocy.com/click-2822544-11373616-1368501104000">Points.com</a> is one of the leading companies that work with the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-tricks-to-making-the-most-of-your-reward-miles" target="_blank">loyalty programs of airlines</a>, hotels, and retailers. While much of its business is providing the technological backend to the companies that operate these programs, it also offers its Loyalty Wallet service to consumers, which can track and manage your accounts in over 110 different loyalty programs. While this may sound like a lot of companies, it's far from comprehensive. For example, there are notable absences such as British Airways, Wyndham, and Chase. However, Points.com is unique in that it offers users the ability to exchange points and miles between different programs, but at less than a 1:1 ratio. It also lets you redeem your points and miles for merchandise and gift cards. There is no charge to use this service.</p> <h2>Expert Flyer</h2> <p>Earning airline miles is one thing, but finding available award seats is a whole other task. <a href="http://www.shareasale.com/shareasale.cfm?merchantID=25056">ExpertFlyer</a> allows you to search for airlines award seats and upgrade availability quickly and easily. The basic subscription is $4.99 a month and it allows you to create seat alerts so you are notified when an award becomes available. The Premium version is $9.99 a month or $99 a year, and offers aircraft change alerts, saved queries, and a mobile edition. There is also a free version available with limited functionality.</p> <h2>Tripit Pro</h2> <p><a href="https://www.tripit.com/pro/features">Tripit Pro</a> is a travel organizing tool that produces detailed daily itineraries for every trip while providing real-time flight alerts and notifications. It also allows you to stay on top of all the points and miles that you earn from over 150 different travel rewards programs with its Point Tracker feature. And while other point tracking applications require you to manually enter your program details, Tripit Pro lets you forward your monthly and quarterly statements to their email address, and the program will automatically populate the information on your account. This program, which is accessible via both a web browser and a mobile app, will alert you when your points or miles are about to expire. Other features include a seat tracker, the ability to share itineraries, and notifications of when you are eligible for a flight refund. The cost to use Tripit Pro is $49 per year, but you can try it for free for 30 days.</p> <h2>Superfly</h2> <p><a href="https://www.superfly.com/#!/main/">Superfly</a> is an app that assists in many aspects of your travel planning including performing flight searches and viewing your travel history. In addition, it allows you to manage all of your reward points and miles in one place with its Rewards Dashboard. It will also estimate the value of your miles based on the cost of tickets and the benefits provided, and it supports adding accounts from friends and family members. Another novel feature is the Lounge section, which allows you to network with other frequent flyers who have the same status on a particular airline. Finally, making reservations through Superfly can enable you to receive 5%-10% cash back on hotel bookings.</p> <h2>Award Mapper</h2> <p><a href="http://awardmapper.com/">Award Mapper</a> is a simple website that offers a map based interface that allows you to search for hotels based on the loyalty program they are a member of. This is useful when you are looking to stay at a hotel and earn points in a particular program, or if you have points from one or more programs that you wish to use. There is no charge to use this app.</p> <p><em>What tools do you use for tracking reward miles? Share with us in the comments!</em></p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F4-best-tools-for-tracking-your-rewards-miles&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F4%2520Best%2520Tools%2520for%2520Tracking%2520Your%2520Rewards%2520Miles.jpg&amp;description=4%20Best%20Tools%20for%20Tracking%20Your%20Rewards%20Miles"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/4%20Best%20Tools%20for%20Tracking%20Your%20Rewards%20Miles.jpg" alt="4 Best Tools for Tracking Your Rewards Miles" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/jason-steele">Jason Steele</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-best-tools-for-tracking-your-rewards-miles">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-card-rewards-programs">Credit Card Rewards Programs</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-travel-adapters">The 5 Best Travel Adapters</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-airline-rewards-programs-for-trips-to-europe">The Best Airline Rewards Programs for Trips to Europe</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-steps-to-picking-the-best-airline-credit-card-for-the-most-rewards-value">5 Steps to Picking the Best Airline Credit Card for the Most Rewards Value</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-evaluate-a-travel-program-for-the-best-rewards-redemption">How to Evaluate a Travel Program for the Best Rewards Redemption</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Credit Cards Shopping Technology Travel frequent flyer loyalty programs miles rewards programs Thu, 31 Mar 2016 09:00:09 +0000 Jason Steele 1666767 at http://www.wisebread.com Best Money Tips: Loyalty Programs You've Never Heard Of http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-loyalty-programs-youve-never-heard-of <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/best-money-tips-loyalty-programs-youve-never-heard-of" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/women_shopping_together_000057361630.jpg" alt="Friends using best loyalty programs you&#039;ve never heard of" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Welcome to Wise Bread's <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/topic/best-money-tips">Best Money Tips</a> Roundup! Today we found customer loyalty programs you&rsquo;ve never heard of, overlooked expenses that ruin your budget, and cheap ways to treat yourself.</p> <h2>Top 5 Articles</h2> <p><a href="http://www.csmonitor.com/Business/Saving-Money/2016/0120/Ten-customer-loyalty-programs-you-ve-never-heard-of">Ten customer loyalty programs you've never heard of</a> &mdash; Taco Bell Explore is a new rewards-based game that allows you to win real-world prizes, including food and drinks at Taco Bell. [The Monitor]</p> <p><a href="http://www.moneytalksnews.com/12-commonly-overlooked-expenses-that-are-ruining-your-budget/">10 Overlooked Expenses That Ruin Your Budget</a> &mdash; Emergency repairs around the house can cost a pretty penny, especially if it isn't something you can fix yourself. Make sure you have some money tucked away for service calls. [Money Talks News]</p> <p><a href="http://www.popsugar.com/smart-living/Cheap-Ways-Treat-Yourself-22129255">22 Cheap Ways to Treat Yourself</a> &mdash; Make time to watch the sunset! [PopSugar Smart Living]</p> <p><a href="http://www.cultofmoney.com/2016/01/20/7-tips-for-getting-more-done-every-single-day/">7 Tips for Getting More Done Every Single Day</a> &mdash; Facebook and email can be major distractions when you check them constantly. Delete the apps from your phone and remove the temptation altogether. [Cult of Money]</p> <p><a href="http://bargainbabe.com/five-minutes-a-day-the-lazy-persons-guide-to-keeping-your-car-clean/">Five Minutes a Day: The Lazy Person&rsquo;s Guide to Keeping Your Car Clean</a> &mdash; Bring a small garbage bag to collect the trash in your car, and another bag for the items that belong in your home. [Bargain Babe]</p> <h2>Other Essential Reading</h2> <p><a href="http://www.mybanktracker.com/news/best-job-benefits-you-may-not-know-about">7 Best Job Benefits You Should Be Using, But Probably Don&rsquo;t</a> &mdash; Your employer may have a tuition reimbursement program that will pay for continuing education programs or advanced college degrees. [My Bank Tracker]</p> <p><a href="http://thefrugalgirls.com/2016/01/carry-on-must-haves.html">11 Carry On Must Haves for your next Flight!</a> &mdash; A comfy travel pillow will help you rest well during any flight, long and short. [The Frugal Girls]</p> <p><a href="http://www.thefrugaltoad.com/household/save-time-and-money-update-your-home">Save Time and Money While You Update Your Home!</a> &mdash; A backsplash behind your counters not only looks pretty, it protects your walls from the stains that come with a busy kitchen. [The Frugal Toad]</p> <p><a href="http://www.marcandangel.com/2016/01/20/5-timeless-ways-to-turn-your-life-around-at-any-age/">5 Timeless Ways to Turn Your Life Around at Any Age</a> &mdash; Oftentimes, the most beneficial experience isn't the achievement of something you want &mdash; it's how you get there. Focus more on the journey. [Marc &amp; Angel Hack Life]</p> <p><a href="http://parentingsquad.com/should-you-give-your-child-an-allowance">Should You Give Your Child an Allowance?</a> &mdash; Giving an allowance can make your child better with money, but there are situations where it can backfire. [Parenting Squad]</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/amy-lu">Amy Lu</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-loyalty-programs-youve-never-heard-of">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-living-on-a-tight-budget-makes-you-happier">How Living on a Tight Budget Makes You Happier</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-baking-soda-took-my-bathroom-from-yuck-to-yes">How Baking Soda Took My Bathroom from “Yuck” to Yes!</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-35-best-ways-to-spend-your-free-time-frugally">The 35 Best Ways to Spend Your Free Time (Frugally)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-is-how-long-these-6-appliances-should-last">This Is How Long These 6 Appliances Should Last</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/51-uses-for-coca-cola-the-ultimate-list">51 Uses for Coca-Cola – the Ultimate List</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living best money tips loyalty programs Mon, 25 Jan 2016 20:00:02 +0000 Amy Lu 1643834 at http://www.wisebread.com 9 Store Loyalty Programs That Are Worth It http://www.wisebread.com/9-store-loyalty-programs-that-are-worth-it <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/9-store-loyalty-programs-that-are-worth-it" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/target_shopping_cart_000035488722.jpg" alt="Learning which store loyalty programs are worth it" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>If you've never taken advantage of store loyalty programs, then it's time to start. If you frequently visit the same stores, then you deserve to be <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-pricing-secrets-grocery-stores-dont-want-you-to-know">rewarded for your purchases</a>. But not all rewards programs are the same. Some are more of a hassle than they're worth, while others are ultra-generous.</p> <p>Here are nine store rewards programs that are definitely worth your loyal dollars.</p> <h2>1. Starbucks</h2> <p>If Starbucks is a place that you visit frequently, then the <a target="_blank" href="http://track.flexlinks.com/a.ashx?foid=1029882.225262&amp;fot=9999&amp;foc=1&amp;url=https%3a%2f%2fwww.starbucks.com%2fcard%2frewards" rel="nofollow">My Starbucks Rewards</a>&nbsp;program is a must. You can simply register online or download the app to your smartphone and accumulate points every time you visit Starbucks. There are different levels to the program, so the more you visit Starbucks, the more you will be rewarded. For instance, once you reach the gold level, every 12 drinks you purchase will earn you one free drink. You can even pay for your drinks using the app, and rewards members also receive exclusive deals and discounts throughout the month.</p> <h2>2. Target</h2> <p>Target offers its own unique apps to help shoppers find what they need faster, while saving more at checkout. Their Cartwheel app (available for <a href="http://goto.target.com/c/27771/103561/2092">Android</a> or <a href="http://goto.target.com/c/27771/103560/2092">iOS</a>) offers access to hundreds of coupons, which you can add to your mobile barcode to quickly scan at checkout. Additionally, <a href="http://goto.target.com/c/27771/99528/2092">Target's REDcard</a> saves 5% in-store and online, and you can still use all of your favorite coupons and money-saving apps along with it.</p> <h2>3. Sephora</h2> <p>Sephora's <a target="_blank" href="http://track.flexlinks.com/a.ashx?foid=1029882.885673&amp;fot=9999&amp;foc=1&amp;url=https%3a%2f%2fwww.sephora.com%2fprofile%2fbeautyInsider%2f" rel="nofollow">Beauty Insider program</a>&nbsp;is perfect for anyone who frequently purchases beauty products. With this multi-level program, you will earn points for every dollar spent, which can later be used to purchase items in the store. As a Beauty Insider, you will also have exclusive access to special products, free in-store beauty classes, select promotions, free items from time to time, and even a free birthday gift. When you accumulate enough points, you may receive an invitation to the Beauty Insider VIB Program, which grants you access to exclusive events and specialty products. <em>U.S. News</em> and <em>Refinery29</em> selected this as the best loyalty reward program for makeup mavens.</p> <h2>4. CVS Rewards</h2> <p><a href="https://www.cvs.com/extracare/landing.jsp?t=mySavingRewards">CVS Rewards</a> offers its shoppers coupons, exclusive deals, and cash back to spend in the store. This program is unique because it tracks what you purchase to provide you with customized coupons that fit your shopping habits.</p> <h2>5. Best Buy</h2> <p>With the <a target="_blank" href="http://track.flexlinks.com/a.ashx?foid=1029882.1372516&amp;fot=9999&amp;foc=1&amp;url=http%3a%2f%2fwww.bestbuy.com%2fsite%2fglobal-promotions%2fmy-best-buy%2fpcmcat309300050007.c%3fid%3dpcmcat309300050007%26type%3dcategory%26id%3dpcmcat309300050007" rel="nofollow">Best Buy Reward Zone</a>, shoppers are rewarded in a number of different ways. You can earn points for every dollar spent, receive exclusive offers and promotions, and have access to special events. The more you spend every year, the higher your status will be, which translates to even more money saved.</p> <h2>6. Safeway</h2> <p><a target="_blank" href="http://track.flexlinks.com/a.ashx?foid=1029882.259769&amp;fot=9999&amp;foc=1" rel="nofollow">Safeway</a>&nbsp;has mastered the art of the grocery store loyalty program. Now, every time you save at the market, you can save at the gas station as well. That's because with Safeway's Rewards Points program, you can turn every point earned into a discount at Safeway and Dominic's, as well as most Mobil stations. Simply use your rewards card at checkout to earn one point for every dollar spent. Once you hit 100 points, you will earn $0.10 off per gallon of gas.</p> <h2>7. Century 21</h2> <p><a href="http://click.linksynergy.com/fs-bin/click?id=g519OIyP0is&amp;offerid=318965.7&amp;type=3&amp;subid=0">Century 21</a> is one of the largest retail stores, and with its delightful array of offerings, it can be difficult to leave with only what you came in for. This is why the C21 Status program is so beneficial to frequent shoppers. It allows you to earn cash back, as well as access to express checkout lines and exclusive discounts. <em>Refinery29</em> selected this as one of the best store loyalty programs.</p> <h2>8. Bloomingdale's</h2> <p>Bloomingdale's <a target="_blank" href="http://track.flexlinks.com/a.ashx?foid=1029882.1637099&amp;fot=9999&amp;foc=1&amp;url=https%3a%2f%2fwww.bloomingdales.com%2faccount%2fsignin%3ffromLoyalty%3dloyaltySignIn" rel="nofollow">Loyalist program</a>&nbsp;offers points for every purchase made and double points for cosmetics and fragrance purchases. For every 5,000 points, you receive a $25 gift card. If you make big purchases at Bloomingdale's, then these rewards will add up quickly, and you can save even more by signing up for a Bloomingdale's credit card as well.</p> <h2>9. Gilt</h2> <p><a target="_blank" href="http://www.kqzyfj.com/click-2822544-11438951-1441397967000" rel="nofollow">Gilt</a> offers a unique online-only loyalty program. You can earn points for things like visiting the site, making purchases, and connecting with the brand. The points can be redeemed for discounts, early access to sales, free shipping, and a variety of other goods and services.</p> <p><em>Do you know of any other store loyalty programs that are actually worth it? Please share your thoughts in the comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/andrea-cannon">Andrea Cannon</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-store-loyalty-programs-that-are-worth-it">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-8-shopping-apps-thatll-actually-save-you-money-in-2016">The 8 Shopping Apps That&#039;ll Actually Save You Money in 2016</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/16-amazon-deal-hacks-you-may-not-already-know">16 Amazon Deal Hacks You May Not Already Know</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-best-discount-shopping-days-of-the-year">7 Best Discount Shopping Days of the Year</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-best-tools-for-tracking-your-rewards-miles">4 Best Tools for Tracking Your Rewards Miles</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/30-cash-back-sites-to-earn-you-thousands-per-year">30+ Cash Back Sites to Earn You Thousands Per Year</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Shopping deals free stuff loyalty programs rewards cards rewards points Tue, 22 Sep 2015 09:00:24 +0000 Andrea Cannon 1567320 at http://www.wisebread.com 11 Loyalty Rewards Programs You Didn't Know Existed http://www.wisebread.com/12-loyalty-rewards-programs-you-didnt-know-existed <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/12-loyalty-rewards-programs-you-didnt-know-existed" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/credit-card-1390539-small.jpg" alt="credit card" title="credit card" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>We've all heard of reward or loyalty programs for things like airlines, hotels, retailers, and restaurants, but there are also some other lesser-known places where you can rack up points for cash or goods. Check out the programs below, so you don't miss out. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-5-travel-reward-credit-cards?ref=seealso">Best Travel Reward Credit Cards</a>)</p> <h2>1. Upromise</h2> <p><a href="http://www.dpbolvw.net/click-2822544-10426251?cm_mmc=CJ-_-2276508-_-2822544-_-Upromise_com">Upromise</a>, which is owned by Sallie Mae, allows you to earn money towards college on your everyday spending at more than 800 online stores and thousands of supermarkets, drug stores, and restaurants. Members simply register their credit card to a Upromise account to earn 1%-25% cash back on qualified purchases. You can choose to invest your earnings in a savings account or 529 plan, or use your funds to pay down a student loan or other college expenses. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/upromise-review-get-5-back-on-your-purchases?ref=seealso">Upromise Review</a>)</p> <h2>2. Health Insurance Rewards</h2> <p>Check to see if your health plan offers specific reward programs. Depending on your plan, you can earn anything from gift certificates to out-of-pocket credits just by taking health assessments, participating in healthy living programs, or going on routine preventative visits. <a href="https://www.humana.com/vitality/">HumanaVitality</a>, for example, even allows you to earn &quot;Vitality Bucks,&quot; which you can turn into movie tickets, hotel stays, or electronics at the HumanaVitality Mall.</p> <h2>3. Shopkick</h2> <p>Location based app <a href="https://www.shopkick.com/tour">Shopkick</a> allows you to accumulate points (&quot;kicks&quot;) just for visiting many of the nation's top retailers, like Macy's, Old Navy, and Best Buy. Scanning items on your smartphone and making purchases can earn you even more points. Points can be redeemed for gift cards at your favorite stores.</p> <h2>4. Bing</h2> <p>You can earn rewards just for using <a href="http://www.bing.com/explore/rewards">Bing</a> as your search engine. You can sign up using a Microsoft account that will automatically track your credits for each search. You can also earn by trying out new features, tips, and making Bing your homepage. Rewards include gift cards for popular brands like Starbucks, Amazon, and Xbox, as well as charities. You can even use rewards to get Skype credits.</p> <h2>5. Product Rewards</h2> <p>You may be familiar with <a href="http://www.mycokerewards.com/home.do">Coke</a> and <a href="https://points.pepsi.com/">Pepsi's</a> reward programs, but you may not realize there are other brands where you can earn points for your purchases. Baby care brands, such as <a href="http://www.huggies.com/en-US/rewards">Huggies</a>, <a href="https://en.pampersrewards.pampers.com/">Pampers</a>, and <a href="http://www.earthsbest.com/content/earths-best-loyalty-program">Earth's Best</a>, all allow you to earn points by entering product codes from your purchases to use towards things like free merchandise, gift cards, and other perks. Some other brand rewards programs include <a href="http://track.mysavingsmedia.net/click.track?CID=308703&amp;AFID=361810">Kellogg's</a>, <a href="https://deliciousrewards.leancuisine.com/common/about.pg">Lean Cuisine</a>, and <a href="http://rewards.lorealparisusa.com/">L'Oreal</a>. It's great to get rewarded for what you'd be buying anyway, but note that you need to take the time to manually enter your product codes in order to earn points.</p> <h2>6. Regal Cinemas</h2> <p>If you like going to the movies, don't forget to sign up for Regal Entertainment Group's theatre loyalty program, <a href="https://www.regmovies.com/Crown-Club/Alternate-Signin">Regal Crown Club</a>. This allows you to earn credits for box office and concession purchases, which you can redeem for free tickets, drinks, and popcorn at future visits. Considering Regal has the largest and most geographically diverse number of theaters in the U.S. (over 7,400 screens in 581 theatres), chances are there's a location near you. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-watch-movies-in-the-theater-for-free?ref=seealso">Watch Movies in the Theater for Free</a>)</p> <h2>7. Rewards for Exercising</h2> <p>Most people don't realize they can actually earn rewards (other than fitness and weight loss) by exercising. Mobile apps, like <a href="https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/everymove-rewards-for-being/id563721483?mt=8&amp;uo=4&amp;at=10lpjh">Everymove</a> and <a href="http://earndit.com/">Earndit</a>, which connect to popular fitness trackers, like Fitbit, RunKeeper and My Fitness Pal, allow you to earn points for going to the gym, exercising, or participating in fitness events. Rewards generally include fitness products and donations to charities. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-top-5-strength-training-apps?ref=seealso">Top 5 Strength Training Apps</a>)</p> <h2>8. StubHub</h2> <p>For those into sports, concerts, and events, <a href="http://www.stubhub.com/fan-rewards/">StubHub Fan Rewards</a> allows you to earn 2% in reward credits on every eligible StubHub ticket purchase. Reward credits are redeemed in $10 increments (called &quot;FanCodes&quot;) to be used on future StubHub purchases. Superstar status gets you 3% reward points, seat upgrades, and priority invitations.</p> <h2>9. Viggle</h2> <p><a href="https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/viggle/id487066871?mt=8&amp;uo=4&amp;at=10lpjh">Viggle</a> is an app for iOS and Android where you can earn points for watching TV shows. You can check in through the app to register the shows you are watching and earn points for the amount of viewing time. While it takes a good number of points to reach rewards, which include gift cards to popular retailers, it's easy enough to make a few cents watching your shows.</p> <h2>10. Amtrak</h2> <p>We all know that you can earn rewards for airline travel, but many people forget that <a href="https://amtrakguestrewards.com/info">Amtrak</a> also has a rewards program. All those business trips can easily earn you points if you sign up with the program. Amtrak even has an online shopping mall as an additional way to earn. Points can be redeemed for free Amtrak tickets, hotel stays, car rentals, and gift cards at popular retailers.</p> <h2>11. Recyclebank</h2> <p>With <a href="http://www.recyclebank.com">Recyclebank</a>, you can earn points on your weekly recycling pickup. The program works by teaming up with waste haulers to award points based on the weight of your recycling collection. You can also earn points by pledging green actions or taking tutorials on the site. Points can be used towards free magazines, grocery store credits, charities, and discounts at local stores, restaurants, and services.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!&nbsp;</h2> <p style="text-align: center;"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-color="red" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F12-loyalty-rewards-programs-you-didnt-know-existed&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F12%2520Loyalty%2520Rewards%2520Programs%2520You%2520Didn%2527t%2520Know%2520Existed.jpg&amp;description=12%20Loyalty%20Rewards%20Programs%20You%20Didn't%20Know%20Existed"><img src="//assets.pinterest.com/images/pidgets/pinit_fg_en_rect_red_28.png" alt="" /></a></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/12%20Loyalty%20Rewards%20Programs%20You%20Didn%27t%20Know%20Existed.jpg" width="250" height="374" alt="" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kelly-medeiros">Kelly Medeiros</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-loyalty-rewards-programs-you-didnt-know-existed">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-ways-your-credit-card-will-save-you-money-while-holiday-shopping">11 Ways Your Credit Card Will Save You Money While Holiday Shopping</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-get-a-discount-every-time">How To Get A Discount Every Time</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/16-amazon-deal-hacks-you-may-not-already-know">16 Amazon Deal Hacks You May Not Already Know</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-things-you-should-never-buy-at-the-dollar-store-and-10-you-should">10 Things You Should Never Buy at the Dollar Store (and 10 You Should)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/40-restaurants-that-offer-senior-discounts">40 Restaurants That Offer Senior Discounts</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Shopping discounts loyalty programs rewards Mon, 10 Mar 2014 11:24:14 +0000 Kelly Medeiros 1129400 at http://www.wisebread.com Get the Most Out of Safeway's Just for U Deals http://www.wisebread.com/get-the-most-out-of-safeways-just-for-u-deals <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/get-the-most-out-of-safeways-just-for-u-deals" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/27449565_94deba0e9e_z.jpg" alt="safeway" title="safeway" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="188" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Safeway is on the forefront of personalized grocery deals with its Just for U online savings program. If you shop at a Safeway or its affiliates (Dominick's, Randalls, Tom Thumb, Vons) you have probably seen signs urging you to sign up for Just for U. Signing up is a no-brainer &mdash; once you're using Just for U, you'll have access to discounts above and beyond the weekly advertised sales. But signing up is only the first step toward maximizing your savings at Safeway.</p> <p>First, a quick explanation of how Just for U works. Once you register your loyalty card on the <a href="http://www.safeway.com/ShopStores/Offers-Landing-IMG.page?">Just for U site</a>, you'll be offered two kinds of deals that you can add to your card simply by clicking the deals on the site. The deals come in two varieties: e-coupons, which are available to all Just for U users, and Personalized Deals. Personalized Deals are offered to you based on what you typically buy. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-grocery-shop-for-five-on-100-a-week">How to&nbsp;Grocery&nbsp;Shop for 5 on $100 a Week</a>)</p> <p>Here are some tips for making Just for U work for you.</p> <h3>You Must Actually Click the Deals to Get the Savings</h3> <p>When I attended a Just for U training session with Safeway representatives, they told me that many customers mistakenly think that all the deals shown on the Web site are automatically loaded to your card. In reality, you have to click each offer individually to get that price. Why don't they have an &quot;add all&quot; button? Because <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/10/business/supermarkets-try-customizing-prices-for-shoppers.html?pagewanted=all">they're using this system to find out what we're willing to pay for things</a>. Before I make a trip to Safeway now, I take a few minutes to check the site or the app on my smartphone to see if there are any new Personalized Deals or coupons available.</p> <h3>Make Sure That You Are the Only One Using Your Account</h3> <p>You might have a couple of Safeway cards in your household, or you might just punch in your phone number at the register without having any idea whose account that number is linked to. When I first started shopping at Safeway, I noticed that the cashiers would call me &quot;Ms. Mrouks&quot; when they handed me my receipt &mdash; because my phone number was linked to an account belonging to someone with that name. In that past, this kind of sloppy card use would frustrate Safeway's marketing executives, who are of course using these loyalty card accounts to study our shopping behavior, but it didn't matter much to you and me. However, if you want Just for U to offer you deals on things you're actually likely to buy, you should make sure you always use the same account. If you see weird items pop up on your Personalized Deals &mdash; like cat food if you don't have a cat &mdash; call customer service and they'll figure out if someone else is using your number. They have ways of fixing that.</p> <h3>Download the Just for U App Onto Your Smartphone</h3> <p>Safeway has improved the speed with which deals you add to your card get saved on their system, so you should be able to add deals with your phone while you're in the store and have them active by the time you get up to the register. Give it 10 minutes or so &mdash; and make sure you're getting a good cell connection when you add the deals.</p> <h3>Combine Coupons With Deals</h3> <p>This is tricky, because as coupon shoppers know, you can't redeem two manufacturer's coupons on one item, but you <em>can</em> combine a manufacturer's coupon with a store coupon or discount. Some deals on Just for U are manufacturer's coupons, while others are store discounts. How can you tell the difference? According to Safeway representatives at a recent Just for U training session, you should be able to pair a paper coupon with any Just for U deal where the item price is named. You won't be able to pair a paper coupon with e-coupons that promise a certain amount of money off. For instance, if your Just for U coupon says &quot;50 cents off Friskies cat food,&quot; that's a manufacturer's coupon, and you can't use a additional paper manufacturer's coupon with that. But if the Just for U deal says &quot;Friskies 45 cents per can,&quot; that's a store discount, and you can sweeten the deal by adding a paper manufacturer's coupon. If you try handing over paper coupons that can't be used with the deal on your card, the register will give you whichever coupon has the best value and give you back the other one.</p> <h3>Combine a Personalized Price With a Buy One, Get One Free Sale</h3> <p>Every week, Safeway offers a number of items that are <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-buy-one-get-one-free-is-usually-a-bad-deal">buy one, get one free</a>. If you are lucky enough to have a low personalized price on one of those items, you will get two for the personalized price, often resulting in a really good deal. For example, say that Oscar Mayer bacon is offered BOGO, with a $5.97 price. On Just for U, you load a personalized price of $2.97. Other shoppers will get two packs of bacon for $5.97, or about $3 each. But you can get two packs for $2.97 &mdash; less than $1.50 each!</p> <h3>Check Your Receipt</h3> <p>Just for U has improved a lot since its trial launches last year, but it may still sometimes happen that you don't get the discount that was promised to you. Just like with other coupons and discounts, you should check your receipt and take any problems to the customer service desk.</p> <h3>If You Move to Another Region, Call Customer Service</h3> <p>When I moved from Chicago (Dominick's territory) to California (Safeway territory), I went online and changed my zip code on the Just for U site. But even after I made the change, none of my personalized deals were working. This is because personalized deals only work in the region of the store where you shop most often. It can take several months for Safeway's computers to stop offering you your former region's deals and start offering you the new region's deals. You can speed this up by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-get-what-you-want-on-customer-service-calls">calling customer service</a>, but even then, the change won't be immediate. Personally, if I had it to do again, I might have simply applied for a new account at my new store &mdash; but that's my suggestion, not Safeway's.</p> <h3>Can You Game the System?</h3> <p>This <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/10/business/supermarkets-try-customizing-prices-for-shoppers.html?pagewanted=all">New York Times article</a> quotes one shopper saying she gets better personalized prices when she alternates brands of coffee. I haven't experienced anything like this so far, but it's worth experimenting with. One tactic I plan to use after reading the article is to avoid clicking on personalized prices that I find too high &mdash; I want to teach the system that I am a customer who should be offered the absolute lowest prices.</p> <p><em>Disclosure: Safeway provided me with several Safeway gift cards at their Just for U information session, as well as assorted goodies and a ride in a fancy limo bus.</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/carrie-kirby">Carrie Kirby</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/get-the-most-out-of-safeways-just-for-u-deals">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-delicious-ways-to-go-meatless-for-the-newly-vegetarian">12 Delicious Ways to Go Meatless for the Newly Vegetarian</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-and-worst-times-to-go-grocery-shopping">The Best and Worst Times to Go Grocery Shopping</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-having-your-groceries-delivered-can-save-you-money">6 Ways Having Your Groceries Delivered Can Save You Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-meaning-of-milk-label-colors">The Meaning of Milk Label Colors</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/great-summertime-grilling-for-any-budget">Great Summertime Grilling for Any Budget</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink grocery shopping just for u loyalty programs Safeway Fri, 17 Aug 2012 10:24:41 +0000 Carrie Kirby 950542 at http://www.wisebread.com Are Loyalty Programs A Marketing Gold Mine? http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/are-loyalty-programs-a-marketing-gold-mine <div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-label">Link:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="http://www.openforum.com/articles/are-loyalty-programs-a-marketing-gold-mine" target="_blank">http://www.openforum.com/articles/are-loyalty-programs-a-marketing-gold-mine</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/small-business/are-loyalty-programs-a-marketing-gold-mine" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000012205267Small.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="165" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Customer clubs can dramatically increase customer loyalty and give you targeted feedback on your marketing. Or they can be a gigantic waste of time. How do you know whether it will work for your business?</p> <p><strong>Do a Little Self-Analysis</strong></p> <p>If you're running a customer club of any kind, have you taken a good look at it lately? It can be a valuable tool, a way to get cash in the door, increase customer loyalty, gain targeted marketing information, get customer feedback, improve customer service, and make more sales. Too often, though, small businesses settle for something much, much less than that: a sad excuse for a customer club, with a meaningless membership card and uninspiring perks.</p> <p>Here's what you should be giving and getting with your customer club:</p> <ul> <li>You should be giving value to the customers.</li> <li>You should be giving a reason for customers to be loyal.</li> <li>You should be getting customer information.</li> <li>You should be getting <a target="_blank" href="http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/marketing/article/4-simple-ways-to-get-customer-feedback-online">targeted feedback on your marketing</a>.</li> </ul> <p><strong>Are You Providing Value and Increasing Loyalty?</strong></p> <p>First, examine your customer club for value to the customers. What do you provide?</p> <p>The most common (and, often, most useless) customer club is a free, opt-in system. For a little information, customers get a basic reward like <i>one</i> free coffee after you buy 10. What the business gains from these is merely a bit more information. The program doesn&rsquo;t really provide value or give customers a reason to be loyal.</p> <p>What if, instead of schlepping together a free but low-value customer club, you put together something really worthwhile? What if a customer had to pay to be part of your club, but in return they always got a 10 percent discount (retailers) or they always got free shipping (online sellers) or they always got a $5 lunch special (restaurants) or they always got rush status (service providers)?</p> <p>A club that people have to pay to be part of conveys exclusivity, which is something customers tend to like. We all want to be somebody special. A club anyone can join without charge or consideration, and with very little effective value, is not going to give your customers a feeling of being special.</p> <p><strong>Are You Getting Information and Feedback?</strong></p> <p>Having a little extra cash up-front is nice for a small business, but that's not the sole purpose of your customer club. A customer club, full of <a target="_blank" href="http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/marketing/article/secrets-to-earning-passionate-fans-not-just-customers-and-the-top-3-things-stopping-your-company">loyal members who love being part of your business</a> because <i>you make them feel special </i>is a gold mine of customer information and targeted feedback.</p> <ol> <li>Your membership form should <b>gather basic information</b> and various methods of contact (address, phone, email). It can also ask lots of questions. The questions can be optional, of course, so someone in a hurry can skip them; you don't want to deter potential members with a lengthy questionnaire. Give them a bonus if they fill it all out.</li> <li>A customer club is an <b>automatically created </b><a target="_blank" href="http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/marketing/article/6-ways-to-boost-your-mobile-e-mail-marketing">mailing list</a>. You've got a list of people who want to do business with you and several ways to contact them.</li> <li>You can <b>periodically send out surveys</b> regarding your business and products to your customer club members. Offer an additional coupon or discount for customers who complete the surveys.</li> <li>You can invite a limited number of customer club members to come in as &quot;<b>secret shoppers</b>.&quot; You comp them a meal or a service or a product, and they fill out a detailed response or survey. You are getting feedback from the type of customer you want to have.</li> <li>You can <b>host customer club parties and special events</b> (including online events and sales for &quot;members only&quot;) that will help you get to know your best customers and their buying habits.</li> <li>You can <b>test out new product ideas</b> on your customer club first; let them know it's an exclusive offer for members only and track how they respond.</li> </ol> <p>That's just a beginning.</p> <p>If you're not getting valuable information and targeted feedback from your customer clubs, you're doing it wrong. And you're wasting a huge opportunity to get valuable marketing help without having to a pay a PR consultant or marketing firm.</p> <p>So, grab your pickax and start mining.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/annie-mueller">Annie Mueller</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/are-loyalty-programs-a-marketing-gold-mine">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-sign-up-for-half-price-flights-and-free-hotels">How to Sign Up for Half-Price Flights and Free Hotels</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/where-oh-where-are-my-worms-be-on-your-toes-when-ordering-from-small-web-businesses">Where Oh Where Are My Worms? Be On Your Toes When Ordering From Small Web Businesses</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/250-tips-for-small-business-owners">250+ Tips for Small Business Owners</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-find-freelance-clients-part-two">How to Find Freelance Clients: Part Two</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/sell-your-house-faster-with-these-6-house-flipping-tricks">Sell Your House Faster With These 6 House Flipping Tricks</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Small Business Resource Center customer loyalty customer service customer surveys loyalty programs market research marketing small business Thu, 15 Sep 2011 22:24:01 +0000 Annie Mueller 696862 at http://www.wisebread.com Credit Card Rewards Programs http://www.wisebread.com/credit-card-rewards-programs <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/credit-card-rewards-programs" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/credit-cards-453232329-small.jpg" alt="credit cards" title="credit cards" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>A commenter on a recent article of mine on <a target="_blank" title="Guide to Using Credit Cards Wisely" href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-seven-reasons-why-i-use-my-credit-card-for-everything">credit card usage</a>, suggested a follow-up post with an eye to uncovering the mysteries of credit card rewards programs.</p> <p>And in my research, I discovered it&rsquo;s a murky world of points, rebates, fees, and interest rates out there! A lot of it comes down to personal choice, but here is some information to aid your plight for a suitable credit card rewards program:&nbsp;</p> <h2>Types of Rewards</h2> <p>There are typically three types of rewards programs: <strong>point-based, cash back, and frequent flyer miles</strong>. Some programs offer combinations of these rewards, with varying value for point redeemed.</p> <p><strong>Points-based programs</strong> involve accumulating points (based on the amount you spend), and then redeeming your points for merchandise from their catalogue. Points leave a little to be desired, since depending on what you redeem your points for you might not get a lot of value.</p> <p><span style="font-size: 13px; line-height: 1.7em;">Gift certificates tend to be the best value for your points when flipping through the catalogue, and it is generally recommended that you stay away from the merchandise, since it is over-priced and lacking in quality. The gift certificate option also carries an added value advantage, since credit companies strike deals with the retailers to give them a deal on the gift certificates, whereas a dollar is a dollar when it comes to cheques or merchandise.</span></p> <p><strong>Cash back</strong> is most common, and offers quick rewards for your buck. However they can also have limitations; Some will only start to honour the cash back policy once you have spent a minimum amount of money, and yet others will cap the total amount of cash they&rsquo;ll reward.</p> <p><strong>Frequent Flyer Miles</strong> for airline tickets will sometimes give you the best bang for their buck, but can be a pain to redeem. Many issuers have blackout times, while others only designate a certain number of seats per flight as airline rewardable seats. If you don&rsquo;t book your ticket early enough you can be out of luck, especially if you want a flight that&rsquo;s commonly flown and redeemed for.</p> <p>Saving for airline ticket rewards can also be tedious and take some time to accumulate for, and in this changing airline world, increasing fees and limitations could pose problems in the future. I have already noticed that one of the rewards programs I use have imposed a stipulation that if you do not use your points within seven years of the point being rewarded to your account, you lose it. So if you are saving up for a big reward (or on the flip side have accumulated tons of points over the years and haven&rsquo;t used them), you may lose your chance.</p> <p>Also, expect to pay out of pocket for the taxes, fuel surcharges, and other miscellaneous expenses (like a special booking charge if you redeem on the phone with an agent as opposed to online). But hey &ndash; a buck is a buck. To fly across the country (or around the world) for the cost of the taxes is rarely something to complain about.</p> <h2>Tips for the reward-hungry credit card user</h2> <p><strong>Pay off that balance!</strong></p> <p>As stressed in my <a target="_blank" href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-seven-reasons-why-i-use-my-credit-card-for-everything">previous article and related comments</a>, using a rewards program is for responsible credit card users. If you rack up a balance with an eye to getting rewards, and then spend the next 6 months or more trying to pay off the balance (and paying interest all the while), then the value of your rewards decreases significantly. Pay off those darn cards every month and treat your credit card like a debit card or chequebook &ndash; if you don&rsquo;t have the money in your account, don&rsquo;t whip out the plastic.</p> <p><strong>Don&rsquo;t get sidetracked by the smaller rewards</strong></p> <p>Initially it can take time to build up a big enough balance to start redeeming for the rewards you really want. Don&rsquo;t lose patience and redeem your 800 points for an item of insignificant value when what you really got the card for was airline tickets, or special gift certificates. Most rewards programs have tiered systems that offer sweeter rewards (with better value) for those with more points. Your patience in saving up will be rewarded.</p> <p><strong>Get the card for the rewards you want</strong></p> <p>If what you want is an airline ticket to Hawaii, then search for the best card to get you there. I found a program (in Canada) where flights to Hawaii required fewer points than even some continental flights, and I chose that card with an eye to getting that ticket. It took time, but my boyfriend and I are now living (temporarily) in<a target="_blank" href="http://www.wisebread.com/hobo-living-made-easy"> Hawaii</a>, and got return tickets for a total of $76 in taxes for both of us (whereas paying in cash would have been over $1,600 for both of us).</p> <p><strong>Look for bonus points</strong></p> <p>Lots of programs will offer bonus points depending on where you spend your money or what you buy. Check online for bonus offers regularly, and spend wisely. You can often get triple the miles with a little research and effort.</p> <p><strong>Look at points conversion programs</strong></p> <p>Some programs are in cahoots with each other, and you can transfer or convert miles from one program to another. Be wary of those that charge a fee to do so, and take a close look at the conversion ratio. Sometimes they&rsquo;re way out of whack such that is makes no sense to convert.</p> <p>Specific programs vary from country to country (and sometimes even within regions), so I won&rsquo;t go into many specifics with regards to individual program choices. It's up to you to decide which rewards will ultimately benefit you the most. Just remember to use it wisely or else the interest fees will end up costing you more than you're getting in rewards, and it's a safe bet that that is exactly what the credit card companies are counting on.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/nora-dunn">Nora Dunn</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-card-rewards-programs">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-best-tools-for-tracking-your-rewards-miles">4 Best Tools for Tracking Your Rewards Miles</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-5-credit-cards-for-groceries">The Best Credit Cards for Groceries</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-get-5-cash-back-on-holiday-purchases">How to Get 5% Cash Back on Holiday Purchases</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-highly-effective-ways-to-save-without-clipping-a-coupon">6 Highly Effective Ways to Save Without Clipping a Coupon</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/frequent-flyer-junkie-manage-your-miles-here">Frequent Flyer Junkie? Manage your Miles Here</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Credit Cards Shopping cash back frequent flyer loyalty programs rewards programs Sat, 01 Dec 2007 00:22:00 +0000 Nora Dunn 1442 at http://www.wisebread.com