Australia's Best Loyalty Cards Why not earn discounts and freebies while you shop at your favourite stores?
Some loyalty cards are not heavily promoted by stores, so you may not even be aware that you can be rewarded while doing your regular shopping.
Of course, it is important not to be sucked in to purchases in order to obtain that freebie. Scan away while you are doing your regular shopping activities, but try to avoid buying for the sake of getting a free sample which you could probably purchase for less.
Loyalty cards vary greatly in how they work, often with complicated rules around converting dollars to points and expiry dates for points. This is your no-fuss guide to loyalty cards that are both easy to use and are worth your time.
Note that some electronic loyalty cards collect data on your shopping habits. If you are particularly privacy conscious, stick to paper stamp cards (for example, programs that offer a free coffee after getting your coffee card stamped ten times) so you do not have to provide personal information.
You can often save money by signing up to loyalty cards. Image: Pixabay.
Priceline Sister Club Do you spend $100 or more at Priceline in three months? Between shopping for hair products, moisturisers and make-up, it is not difficult to hit that $100 mark which entitles you to a small voucher to put towards a future shop.
Shoppers who spend between $100 and $199 in a quarter are sent a discount voucher for 3% of however much they spent that quarter, and shoppers who spend $200 or more receive a voucher for 4% of the quarter's spending.
It can be difficult to get your head around the rules for the Priceline Sister Club, but it is worth it for regular Priceline shoppers.
I swipe my card every time I go to Priceline, and do not give it much thought otherwise. I regularly receive vouchers for maybe $3 or $4. The vouchers have generous expiry dates- a year from date of issue. Overall this is a handy card to have, especially because membership is free.
The Priceline Sister Club is a must-have in your wallet. Image: Priceline.com.au
Woolworths shoppers will be pleased with the Woolworths Rewards card, which allows you to get money off your supermarket shopping.
Card holders accrue dollars rather than points, but only on specific items. For example, a $3 jar of pasta sauce may have a promotion where you earn $0.30 in Woolworths dollars. Once you get up to a $10 balance, the $10 is deducted off your next shop.
There are also other ways to earn money off- sometimes Woolworths will email you an offer, such as getting $5 off if you spend $40 in a one week period.
Conveniently, any petrol discount vouchers you earn are stored on your card. You can simply scan your card when you pay for your petrol, rather than dig through your purse for old receipts.
What I like about this loyalty program is that it gives you money off just for scanning your card while doing your normal shop. The downside is that it is a complicated system and can be confusing.
Woolworths also collects a lot of data on your shopping habits each time you scan your card, so it is not a card for those who place a high value on privacy.
The Coffee Club's VIP Club
The Coffee Club's VIP Club card provides great value for regulars. The membership costs $25 per year, and entitles you to a 'buy one, get one free' on all hot drinks. Other perks include 10% off food on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays, and a free birthday coffee.
This card is easy to understand and easy to use. There is no points system, and the offers are the same all year round. Of course, because of the cost associated with membership, you should think carefully if you go to The Coffee Club often enough for the fee to pay itself off.
Social sippers will get the most value from the Coffee Club's VIP card, with an everyday buy one get one free offer on hot drinks. Image: Coffeeclub.com.au
Some coffee shop chains have free loyalty programs of the more traditional kind, where you receive a free drink when you accrue enough stamps. Check out the eSipper Rewards program at Gloria Jean's or the Muffin Break loyalty program.
Membership costs $19.95 for two years, and entitles you to 10% off full-priced products, 5% off sale stock, and free shipping on all online orders.
They frequently run promotions with lower prices for Linen Lovers Club members- at the moment, many of their full price sheet sets work out to be 30% off.
Even infrequent shoppers may find that it works out cheaper to purchase a Linen Lovers Club membership when you're buying one of their more expensive items.
A Linen Lovers membership can pay for itself fairly quickly if you are a regular at Adairs. Image: Adairs.com.au
Country Road and Trenery Cardholder Program
Stylish clothing store Country Road and their more upmarket sister company Trenery share a rewards program with excellent perks for shoppers.
The program is a little confusing with its four tiered structure. You join as a 'new cardholder' for your first six months, which entitles you to special offers and discounts, and free basic tailoring on suits. You then move to regular cardholder status, which involves all the perks of being a new cardholder plus a $20 welcome voucher and a $20 birthday voucher. To get into the upper tiers entitling you to further privileges, you have to spent at least $750 over one year to become a 'loyalty cardholder' or $2500 to become a 'VIP cardholder'.
For those of us who find spending $750 or more at Country Road unfathomable, it is fine to perpetually stay on the regular cardholder tier with no minimum spend. Your card does get deactivated if you do not buy anything in a one-year period, but it is automatically reactivated at your next purchase so you will not miss out on much.
Country Road and Trenery run a rewards program which offers free tailoring to members, among other perks. Image: Countryroad.com.au
Katies Style Rewards
Women's clothing store Katies is known for its reasonably priced, everyday clothes in a large range of sizes. They also have an excellent rewards program, Style Rewards.
Shoppers earn one point for each dollar spent at Katies. Once 100 points are earned, they convert into a $5 gift card to put towards your next purchase.
Points do not expire, but you do need to make one purchase a year to keep your card active.
The Katies VIP Membership is free to join and simple to use (particularly if you are familiar with programs that operate similarly, such as Priceline Sister Club), and you do not need to spend a huge amount of money to earn your reward.
You do not have to be a frequent shopper to earn rewards with a Katies membership. Image: Katies.com.au
Are you a current student? There are plenty of stores that offer student discounts, but there is one membership to rule them all when it comes to online shopping discounts.
Unidays is not a loyalty card as such, but it is certainly worth signing up for if you are eligible.
All you need is a current student email account in order to sign up to Unidays, giving you access to discount codes for online retailers such as Missguided, The Iconic, Asos, The North Face, and many more. Most stores have 10% to 20% discounts, and they frequently run promotions with larger discounts.
Speaking of student discount cards, Student Edge is a similar program which entitles card holders to discounts on online clothing stores and special offers for takeaway, software, electronics and entertainment.
Both Unidays and Student Edge are free to join, and your membership can be renewed for as long as you are a student.
Unidays and Student Edge are memberships worth having if you are a student with a shopping habit. Image: Pixabay.