So, having just got back from a great winter (read summer) break in South Africa, I thought I’d report back on a Frequent Flyer experience that I had with Emirates Airlines. I always fly with Emirates where possible basically because they seem to offer the best value for money when it comes to long haul flights. I’d managed to scrape together enough points for a business class upgrade (on the outgoing journey) which was great but on the return journey they’d overbooked the flight. My heart sank when I saw the queue and disgruntled passengers at the gate. I went up to the help desk to find out about the flight status, was very polite, and handed over my passport and boarding passes. The lady at the desk saw the business class boarding pass from my previous flight and upgraded me there and then- to free up seats in economy. She asked me if I minded but, as you can imagine, there was a bit of a smug look on my face hiding the relief and slight elation! I’m convinced, being  a frequent flyer definitely does have it’s benefits sometimes.

So, it looks like loyalty clubs and cards have become almost a way of life for most high street shoppers and to inject a bit of life into the industry it looks as though a number of ‘local loyalty’ initiatives are taking off. The rise of services such as Groupon® and the loyalty card from the SwindonAdvertiser are taking loyalty and associated discounts much closer to home. Non-chain high street businesses seem to have had a slower uptake of loyalty programmes due to their relatively smaller audiences and programmes such as the niche-bridging Nectar card don’t seem to offer a great deal back to the retailers.

This is where the SwindonAdvertiser has picked up. They offer a free to register clubcard that gives really great deals and discounts to any cardholder, the difference with this loyalty scheme is that the retailers are local and your loyalty is covered by one card.

So, I’ve been doing a little research today and read up about the Tesco Clubcard credit card to see if it was worth getting one for the extra points. Presently you get 1 point for every £4 that you spend, as well as the points for the actual purchase. I’m a fan of online shopping and usually get stuff from Tesco and pay with my debit card but for a little extra effort, I suppose I could use a Clubcard credit card. The theory goes that I’d do my usual online grocery shop, without bags (for the green points!), then pay with my Clubcard credit card. Pay off the balance a few days later (might as well, to avoid interest), as though I’d paid with my debit card. Doing it this way should equate to an extra 50p in vouchers every month- not a massive amount but if you’re an avid points and rewards collector then it adds to the pot. If anyone has got some other tips they’d like shared here then let us know.

Welcome to Over the years, clubcards and loyalty cards have become increasingly popular in the UK with superstores such as Tesco and Boots having deeply entrenched rewards and collection programs. These programs typically work by rewarding shoppers for a). their continued loyalty and b). access to their shopping habit data and profile with the store.
As an avid follower of most of these schemes, I don’t have a massive issue with shops and stores collecting data from my shopping habits. For a start I’d much rather receive vouchers and coupons throughout the year that I might actually use rather than the ones for nappies or baby formula! I also have a fairly regular spending pattern when it comes to groceries throughout the year and inevitably go to the same store, great if that store just happens to be a Tesco. A simple swipe of a brightly coloured card and soon the points/ rewards add up.
If you’re a die-hard fan of these schemes you might be able to get a little extra for almost every pound that you spend. Have a look around this site for info on these programs and drop me an email if you’d like to let me know of one that I’ve missed out.

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