There are now so many loyalty cards issued nowadays and it is to point that it is the bulk of my wallet.
Retail business is now very competitive and is growing more and more competitive. One of the methods used to get customers to the store is to have a loyalty card and to reward customers for their purchases. This is a benefit to us as consumers. I enjoy the benefits but I think it is getting ridiculous. Why? I have more than 20 different kinds of cards in my wallet and the number of cards seems to be growing. Most of the points accumulated have expiration period.
In Malaysia, we have the following cards:
The loyalty membership in Tesco is great; it provides a return of 0.01 cents for each dollar you spend in the store. This amount is then accumulated and when it reaches a certain threshold a cash voucher will be sent to the member in a mailer every six months. It is attractive because, you can link multiple members (in the family) so that all the purchases will be accumulated together. Further points can be accumulated with RHB/Tesco credit card.
Sunshine is a local chain only available in Penang. You need to pay for the card as well as the renewal. Supplementary cards are also available but again it is not free. Points accumulated can be redeemed for items or vouchers. This is not as attractive because more points are needed before it is worth anything.
Carrefour ties in with Realrewards (which will be covered later).
There are other stores (such as Jusco) around Malaysia but I will not be covering it here.
Esso/Mobil and Petronas has their own loyalty card but personally I find Esso/Mobil to be the most attractive. This is because you can redeem RM15/- petrol for 1000 points. The redemption for other petrol stations is not as generous.
Petronas used to partner with RealRewards but has since started their own. The rate is not as attractive, RM 10/- for 1000 points.
Shell partners with Bonus Link loyalty program.
Independent Loyalty Programs
There are a few independent loyalty programs (i.e. the loyalty program is managed by a third party). The two main ones I am aware of are Bonus Link and RealRewards.
BonusLink has many partners and you are able to easily get supplementary cards for your family members. Selection of gifts for redemption is also good but the number of points needed is extremely high. Also points expire after 3 years.
RealRewards started out strong because it had partnership with utility companies like Telekom and TNB. However, since then all the major partners have left the program. This has made its program a lot less attractive. One of the benefits of this program is that the points never expire. What is the point of having no expiration date when you don’t have many places to accumulate the points? To make things worse, the points can only be used to redeem products from Cosway. Even if you get the voucher to ease the redemption, you are restricted in terms of what is redeemable using the voucher.
Published in: Personal Finance