Should you use a store’s points rewards card?

I want to talk to you about Store Point cards…not store credit cards, but just this little, almost invisible bits of plastic you are offered and maybe use at each store you visit.

In Bradford, the city i moved from a new shopping centre (mall) was built and opened recently. It will contain, when full 100 stores and restaurants and most, if not all of them will have their own store points cards. If in a day you visited 50 of those stores and accepted a points card from each of them, you would now be the grand owner of 50 pieces of plastic. Points card often have no monetary value in and of themselves. Points are exchanged either for vouchers you can spend in the store or for savings off something within the store or by using your card the stores promises to pay a small percentage of what you have paid to a charity of your choice.

Should you do it?

Are they worth it?

I can only go by my own experience with points cards, because in the end it comes down to personal preference. Here are some points to consider before you say ‘yes’ –

  • remember it is not a credit card
  • you can only use it at stores within the same company
  • how often do you visit that store?
  • would having ‘Their’ card make you favour their stores?
  • do you want to favour ‘Their’ stores?
  • decide if what they are offering as a reward to be a loyal customer is going to be worth it to you
  • how would using the card be of value to you?
  • be picky – very picky
  • they are only worth it, if you shop in the store regularly or even always, you would shop there anyway, the reward is of value to you.

Do i use any? Yes. Is the simple answer.

These are the ones i use, mentioning no names – 

  • book store – i have a stamp card, which for every £100 i spend in store i receive a £10 gift token in return and a points card, which earns 3 points for every £1 i spend, each point is worth 1p. It is worth it to me, because i live in the book shop. It is a major book stores and there is often one to be found even in the smallest of places. I am always buying books for myself and often as gifts. I can gain points on any product they sell in store, including gifts and their cafe. I use the points gained for me only and every stamp card filled is often used to fulfill a ‘want’ – a little secret indulgence and why not! I normally fill 2 stamps card in a year and earned £15 from the points card last year, but it may have been a little more. I won’t get rich by using it, but i would shop there anyway, so why not.
  • coffee shop – it is a well known high-street coffee shop found in most towns and cities and i often take a book and sit there for an hour or two at a time. I earn 5 or 5p for every £1 i spend. I spend it in store when there is enough on the card to buy lunch or a hot drink or when i’m a little strapped for cash and i want to indulge myself. Tend to visit the cafe 1-2 a week and i earn about 20- 30 points a time. Is it worth it to me? It never going to make me rich, but an indulgent hot chocolate on a cold day for free is always worth it.
  • chain store – i have 1 card for 1 high street chain store because i buy part of my food there. This card as no monetary value in and of itself, which i didn’t realise at the times i accepted it, as i was persuaded to take it on the grounds that it was ‘like’ a supermarket points card, but it isn’t. I did stop using it for a while, but i decided to begin using it again as i realised that every time i use it, the company pays 1p to a charity of my choice – my chosen charity was Shelter, who saved me from being homeless. Last year, Shelter received £122,374 because me and others like me who chose them as their charity and it cost me nothing more than my purchase and i can choose my charity and i choose to change my charity if i want too. I also get money off, at the moment i have 20% off kids, underwear, tights and socks, just what i needed thanks!
  • chemist – i have to be diligent in going into this store and buying toiletries from this store instead of purchasing them from the supermarket, while i am shopping. I also, sometimes buy gifts from this store, but not much else. I get 4p for every £1 i spend and i tend to use the money when i need something and i don’t have the money spare.
  • supermarket – it is good to have a supermarket store card, but i would suggested that you pick one, the one you are most likely to shop in regularly, instead of having several. I have 2; both cards can be used in many other places including Utility companies and you earn differing amounts of points depending on where you use the card. one company website is very confusing and the other one isn’t (thank you). I find it useful to leave the points/money to build up for emergencies, but recently i used them to buy a top i wanted, because i wanted it… The vouchers are spendable in-store or holidays, travel, some cinemas, and you can boost the value up by 4x by using them in this way. I have only ever used them in store.

Now it is up to you. Use them – don’t use them -like them – hate them – have 1 or 100 it’s up to you, but my advice is be picky, choose only the ones you are going to use on a regular basis and review often if they are still of value to you.