Make Full Use Of Store Advantage Cards

by Kelly · 2 comments

in Money & Spending

I have fourteen store fidelity cards in my wallet and they serve me well. I know that many will argue for the psychological and financial benefits of an uncluttered wallet, but I find that the benefits far outweigh the extra 1/4 of a centimeter of space the cards take up in my wallet.

  • Two are for car related services: a gas station points’ program and a quick stop oil change program.
  • Two are for craft and fabric stores.
  • Two are for fast food joints such as Subway.
  • Four are for grocery stores.
  • Four are for merchandise stores: Decathalon, Kiabi, The Disney Store and of course, Ikea.

There are two sorts of rewards associated with fidelity or advantage cards. The first is cash back or a direct discount. The second is free goods or services. How do my cards break down?

Four cards entitle me to free goods or services and they are not inconsiderable. Both sandwich shop cards fall into this category, with free sandwiches or menus after having bought a certain number of meals. My gas station fidelity card program rewards me with points for every purchase and these points can be redeemed for things like car supplies. My quick stop oil change program is by far the most advantageous: after having bought five oil changes and tune ups, the sixth is free. Each oil change is €59, so I pay, over the course of the six oil changes, €295. The average price works out to be €49.16 per oil change, or a discount of €9.48 on average. Seeing as how I am by no means mechanically inclined and I think my time is worth more than the money I could save by learning to be mechanically inclined, I think this is a pretty good deal!

Ten cards earn me cash back or an immediate discount. The best of the bunch are the grocery cards. If I go shopping at one particular grocery store on Thursdays, I receive, on my fidelity card, €5 for every €50 spent. By shopping every two weeks I consistently receive at least €20 discount; this has been a great help to the grocery budget. One grocery store gives me five percent back on their store brands; they mail me a check at the end of the month. The other programs are basically about the same: for every X spent, I receive Y% of X in cash back or discounts.

So, is it worth it? Obviously I think it is. It costs me no more money to use these cards then not to use them and, in fact, by using them I save a significant amount of money. Five percent here or €9.48 there might not seem like much, but it all adds up.

How about you? How many discount or advantage cards do you have in your wallet? What are they for?


1 Nicole May 26, 2008

We don’t have many stores in Maine so I don’t have many cards. I carry my grocery one with me always but the other ones I keep in a seperate wallet that I keep in my car. That way they are with me when I’m likely to shop but I don’t have to carry them all the time.

2 Frugal Trenches May 26, 2008

Thanks for the reminder. I don’t like chain shops, but when I need to shop there I should be collecting my points!

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