Fri, 19 Apr 2013 12:30:00 GMT | By The Hindu Business Line

Make the most of your shopping

A benefit of a loyalty programme is the discount-season and other promotional offers, which typically open first to you and then to the public at large


Make the most of your shopping (© Reuters)

Come weekend and you have a long shopping list. Groceries and vegetables to stock up your kitchen, odds and ends for your house, clothes for the children who are growing just too quickly and a book or two for yourself. How can you make the most of all the shopping you do? Enter loyalty programmes. A loyalty programme gives you benefits from shopping in a particular store. The lucrative benefit for most is usually the points earned. An added benefit of a loyalty programme is the discount-season and other promotional offers, which typically open first to you and then to the public at large. Other benefits, especially at higher membership levels, include door-delivery of your purchases, valet parking, extra reward points on birthdays and anniversaries.

You can become a part of a loyalty programme either by racking up a one-time bill of a specified amount – buy worth Rs 2,000 at one time in Westside, for instance, to become a Club West member; or by buying a membership card. There are no costs associated with loyalty programmes, barring some such as Hero MotoCorp’s Goodlife. While loyalty programmes may be tempting, understand that the amount and frequency with which you spend make a lot of difference in benefiting from the programme.

A Lifestyle Inner Circle Silver membership, for example, will net you 2 points for every Rs 100 spent. But each point is worth only 60 paise. You need a minimum of 166 points to start claiming anything, which means you have to make purchases worth Rs 8,300 to earn Rs 99.6. In the more basic membership programme points accumulated and membership expire within 12 months. This makes it rather hard to squeeze any benefit out of shopping here.

But consider programmes such as BP’s PetroBonus. Rs 150 spent on Speed petrol will earn 25 points. Or Star Bazaar’s Clubcard, where Rs 200 spent gets one point, equal to Re 1 in value. Filling up a vehicle tank, or buying household and kitchen staples are done very often, and amount spent in these areas quickly add up. You are thus more likely to benefit well from these loyalty programmes. Being loyal to shops such as Big Bazaar or Star Bazaar may also be easier since they offer a wide range of products.

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