On rewards programs in Australia

your wallet could speak volumes about yourself

your wallet could speak volumes about yourself

I have had this brown Colorado leather wallet as my trusty companion since mid-2008. This item has been an extension of myself since then, as without this adjunct outside I would feel utterly incomplete. Thus I am not surprised at all to say that my wallet is mini-me, or myself in miniature. If the eyes are the window to one’s soul, the wallet is that extra baggage that makes all the difference each day. A variety of cards fill this little slice of my life. Since most of the plastic are loyalty cards, I have decided to take a closer look on what’s eating my dutiful pouch. I would attempt to canvas in the process how each rewards program stacks up Down Under.

My Cinebuzz VIP card has proven a very useful supplement to my casual trips to the silver screen. Cinebuzz rewards patrons of Event Cinemas every time that they see a movie. You accumulate points for standard sessions and even more for 3D, Vmax and Gold Class sessions. The last two sessions come with more features, such as a bigger screen, wider seats or – in the case of Gold Class – the luxury treatment. You are then able to claim a free movie upon accumulating sufficient points. I am now reaping the benefits of my fairly regular moviegoing last year. I earn an extra 25 percent of points on every session, making it quicker for me to redeem a free movie. There is little doubt that Event Cinemas has done a pretty neat job with this programme, so hats off to them.

My Qantas membership card is just another piece in my packed compartments. This doubles as Qantas Cash, which is basically a prepaid card that allows you to earn Qantas points for everyday spending. The trouble though comes with the hassle of loading funds into the card, as it takes two business days to be processed by Bpay. Another drawback is the method of earning points. One point for every $2 is a bit low, considering the other options out there. One gets confused on whether the card deserves a place in your wallet, as there are other ways to earn Qantas points – such as the new Bankwest Qantas scheme. My verdict on this is that it’s totally your call, as I personally don’t find issues when leaving the house bereft of this small appendage.

Meanwhile, the MYER one card is one of the more handy ones to carry around. This especially applies to me since MYER is one of the department stores that I consistently visit. I love the range of items that they have in store and they come up with frequent promotions that present reasonably priced merchandise. Therefore MYER vouchers are my option when it comes to redeeming vouchers for the surveys that I do during my spare time. Combine the promotions with the occasional voucher and you have yourself some good bargains. For instance, I was able to grab a Jansport pack two months ago for almost half of the regular shelf price. Plus you earn two points for every dollar that you spend in store, which adds up until you could claim a $20 gift card. Of course, there is more to their framework than this, as they likewise have various reward levels based on your annual shopping. However, the value that you get from their points system alone is more than enough to make a believer out of me. This sure is a very rewarding system, and one that is an ideal model in the current retail landscape.

My Jeanswest loyalty card, on the other hand, is at the other end of the spectrum. They have a three or four-tier rewards program that recognises your annual spending at any of their branches. You would then be able to get discounts on full priced merchandise, contingent on your reward level. Like other programmes, you reap what you sow – meaning you get more perks with more purchases. However, I am quite a bit bothered that they would only provide discounts on full priced stock. Given that I have visited their shops less frequently over time, I would say that I am a tad bit disappointed over this lack of acknowledgement.

There is also the EB Games card, something that has sort of drifted to obscurity in my case. I believe that I had near outgrown my PS3, even though they provide the best trades and deals for gaming stores. I found progressing to their reward level extremely hard, even by being a loyal customer many lifetimes ago. Simply put, you earn points or carrots by trading, buying and preordering games. Trying to make the next level requires too much carrots so it becomes a futile exercise, but I still remember to leave it in there just in case.

That leaves the Strandbags card. Yes, that catchy red one that sits meekly along your mini-me, but somewhat has the potential for more. I would not consider myself a Strandbags regular. However, it does speak volumes that I got the brown wallet from them. I have also bought a fair few other things in store over time. Curiously, it was only last year that I got their loyalty card and was justly rewarded for my spending. Their approach to loyalty is not too shabby, as you get a 5 dollar voucher for every 50 dollars that you spend. The problem though is that this is over a half-annual period and I am pretty sure that you are unable to check your progress on thei website (last time I checked). This would seem an issue more so due to their specialty, which are bags, wallets and luggage. So unless you are trying to keep up with the Joneses on the trendiest handbags and leather goods, you would be hard pressed to earn sizeable vouchers.

There are certainly other articles in my wallet, things such as bank cards, a health card, a Proof of Age card and so on. I may not even be that up-to-date, as others have their Passbook to keep not only their cards, but tickets, vouchers and everything nice. We all have that little piece of ourselves that mean so much – for me it’s my wallet. I couldn’t be myself without it, together with my keys and mobile phone. So the question then remains: what’s in yours?

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/australiaandthepacific/9710490/Police-uncover-Australias-biggest-credit-card-fraud.html by AFP (CC-BY)

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