Are you in loyalty points limbo? We asked an expert how to make them work for you

Jun 18 2019, 6:57 am

You’re officially a responsible adult if you’re the proud owner of a loyalty points card (or three). Congratulations!

But with those cards comes a new challenge: What do you do with your points? Many of us don’t know how to get the most out of them and some of us end up saving for years.

A third of Ontarians (33%) believe that earning loyalty points is more satisfying than redeeming points, according to a recent survey by PC Financial Mastercard. And when you look at what customers find most satisfying about their favourite loyalty programs, it’s the dollar value of the points, and ease of earning and redeeming them.

With that in mind, we spoke with personal finance and travel expert Barry Choi to find out how you can get the most out of your loyalty points.

Okay, so why all the loyalty points?

“The marketplace is changing every day and merchants are offering loyalty points or discounts as a way to reward you as a customer. This means you’re getting something back for being a return customer,” Choi explains He goes on to point out that this is a win-win for businesses because they can see what you bought and then entice you by offering a tailored experience with discounts or bonuses on items you’re likely to buy in the future.

What makes loyalty programs worthwhile

Each loyalty program out there has its own different purpose and benefits, whether for the short or long term. When Choi thinks of the cards in his wallet, he says the ease of earning and redeeming points is one of the reasons why he uses the PC Financial Mastercard.

Choi shops at many Loblaw family stores, including Shoppers Drug Mart where he can earn extra PC Optimum points on his PC Financial Mastercard. “Not only am I earning rewards quickly, but I’m also able to make redemptions on a regular basis since I only need 10,000 points to claim $10 in groceries or merchandise.”

So, why aren’t some people using their points?

According to Choi, people don’t realize how valuable their points are, or even how much they have accumulated. In the survey for PC Financial Mastercard, on average, Ontarians said they redeemed $432 worth of points in the last year (highest in Canada) and are holding onto $972 worth of loyalty points.

“One-third of Ontarians (33%) said that earning points was more satisfying than redeeming them, which is kind of crazy, since I believe redeeming points is much more rewarding.”

Figuring out if a points system is worth your time

Asking yourself whether a points system is worth your time is something that should be done right from the start. Choi recommends looking at how easy it is to earn and redeem your points. “Keep in mind that every loyalty program has a different value for their points so you need to do a bit of research to find out what’s best for you.”

According to the survey from PC Financial Mastercard,  “value” (35%) is the most satisfying feature of a loyalty program, followed by “simplicity” (31%), “frequency” (21%) and “location” (13%).  And with these results in mind, Choi says it’s important to choose a loyalty program that suits your day-to-day lifestyle and needs.

The points-earning life hack everyone should know about

Choi says taking advantage of targeted offers from PC Optimum and then paying with PC Financial Mastercard is the easiest way to earn points fast because you’re basically stacking up the points on select purchases. “Sometimes there will be additional in-store promos where I can earn even more points, or multiply the dollar value of the points I spend,” he concludes.

For more information and to start earning more rewards points even faster today, visit PC Financial now. 

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