Reward Cards

Someone once pointed out that the Canadian economy is based on reward points. Too true. If only Tim Horton’s had a reward system, we could do away with cash altogether.

The trick to reward points is collecting and using them without over-paying just to get the points. Currently, we have a Shoppers Drug Mart Optimum card (a drugstore with grocery items), Scene debit cards, Air Miles, HBC rewards (a collection of department stores, both higher end and discount) and I collect Swagbucks online. Cards I’ve had in the past and regret: Chapters-Indigo iRewards and The Body Shop discount card. The latter two, I had to pay a fee for and even though the discount at the time of purchase made it worthwhile, I don’t shop at either place to make it worthwhile.

We live very close to a Shoppers Drug Mart and with the card, 4 litres of milk is only $2.99 – a dollar cheaper than any grocery store. Also Shoppers sells a limited number of groceries and there’s usually something every week that is good deal (e.g. this week Campbell’s condensed soup is $0.59 a can and McCain Deep and Delicious chocolate cakes are $0.99). The card is free and though the points collect slowly, I’m not over-paying for anything and I get $10 a purchase about twice a year. That combined with the savings on milk ($3 a month x 12 = $36) is about $56.

Our Scene debits cards come directly from our bank and were also free. We earn points when we shop using the debit cards. We hardly use cash at all, so we collect enough points to see a free movie every other month or so. The card also gets us 10% off movie concession snacks.

The Air Miles card was free and I hardly use it. We shop at so many discount stores (which don’t give Air Miles) that I often forget I have it. I use it at the LCBO (the government-run liquor stores in Ontario) but clearly, it’s not a place we visit often. And the miles collect SLOWLY – I have 22 points and a flight from Toronto to Milwaukee would be 1700 Air Miles. But the miles don’t expire. Researching this post, I used the Air Miles site to find places near us that take the card (there are a few, not many) so maybe we’ll use it a little more often.

The HBC card was another free card and though I haven’t shopped at the Bay (the higher end store of the company) since I walked by it every day for almost every job I had in Toronto (and even then I rarely bought anything there), it’s also good at Zellers (their discount store). I shop from the weekly flyer if there is something we need and it’s a bargain, so again the points collect slowly.

The newest collection is Swagbucks. I heard about through the Happy Housewife and rarity of rarities, it works in Canada, too! By using their search engine I get about one “buck” a day.

Which rewards systems do you use?


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