I'll admit that i've always been more than a little cynical about, so called, "Loyalty Schemes".
For a lot of people, they are usually thought of as just a sneaky way of supermarkets etc monitoring & watching what you buy in their stores.
You only have to look at the promotional vouchers that they send you periodically, through the post, to realise that they have an awful lot of information about your spending habits.
It really is quite frightening, when you start to think about it.
You're giving away all of that information, quite freely & all for the promise of some money off vouchers, or coupons. If somebody was to stop you in the street, or come to your door & ask you about the contents of your shopping basket, would you tell them quite so happily?
So, i guess the question we need to ask is, "Is it really worth giving away all of this information? And what rewards are we gettting in return?"
I remember years ago, my parents collecting Green Shield Stamps. Remember them?
They would be given away, when purchasing certain items, or in certain stores (I think!)
You then stuck the stamps in specially provided books. The idea being to fill up & then save the completed books. You could then exchange these books of stamps for specific items. Which were displayed in special Green Shield Stamp catalogues.
Aah, those were the days.
When nobody was really that bothered about what you were buying & when you were just being rewarded for buying certain goods. Nobody was trying to build up a huge database of what their customers were buying. And your innocent little shopping basket was not being used as a secret market research tool.
I have no doubt that some of these Loyalty Schemes are a lot better, than others. I know for a fact that i get far more from some, than from others.
From a purely personal point of views. I think i do fairly well from the schemes that i use.
I'll admit, that i don't use, or sign up, for very many of these schemes. That is partly because of that cynical nature of mine that i mentioned earlier. I don't really want too many people having too much information stored about me.
I realise that this is probably a very naive pont of view. Because my personal information is, more than likely, currently stored on computers all over the world.
Still, i suppose i can kid myself that this isn't the case?
But, i do feel that i have been "rewarded" pretty well by one of the schemes that i'm signed up to. Albeit, by using it smartly.
As a family, we usually do our shopping at Tesco & as anyone who regularly shops there will know, they have their own loyalty scheme, Tesco Clubcard Points.
Like most people, i suspect, when we first signed up for Clubcard Points, we just got the money off vouchers & were quite happy with that. After all, they are giving you money off vouchers for doing the shopping that you would do anyway. How can you lose?
I then realised that i could have the Clubcard Points transfered straight into my Airmiles account. Yet another Loyalty Scheme. but, one that has the potential to get you free flights.
Well, since making that switch, i have "earned" two free flights to the USA & also a cheap weekend for all the family to New York City. That's some kind of reward for doing your weekly shopping!
In 2008, i got a free return flight, with British Airways, to Chicago & i have just booked another free return flight. This time to Los Angeles, also with British Airways.
And, no, there isn't a catch. In fact, the 'deal" has got better over the years. In the past, you had to pay taxes for the flights. But, now there are no taxes to pay & it is all so much simpler.
I know this all sounds like a bit of an advert for Tesco & Airmiles. But, really the point i'm trying to make is that, if you play the Loyalty Scheme game correctly, it can be used to your advantage.
And, all you have to do is go out and buy your weekly shopping.
Have a nice flight.