Author Topic: Use of frequent flyer cards, flybuys, supermarket loyalty cards  (Read 6411 times)

HappierAtHome

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 8576
  • Location: Australia
Use of frequent flyer cards, flybuys, supermarket loyalty cards
« on: February 04, 2014, 07:58:42 PM »
Not sure if this is as relevant to the Americans (as you may not have the same kind of system as we do), so I may be limited to responses from Aussies.

Does anyone use frequent flyer cards, e.g. Qantas frequent flyers or flybuys, and/or supermarket loyalty cards like the everyday rewards card??

Basically, I'm asking about the cards where you get 'points' for every dollar you spend and can eventually access gift vouchers or free flights as a result. The supermarket loyalty cards seem to be linked in to the major frequent flyer programs, so that you get special discounts on certain groceries as well as earning frequent flyer points.

Who uses these? Are they worth the effort? Seems like aside from the data mining issues, you can gain access to discounts and vouchers just by spending 5 minutes signing up and then remembering to hand it over when you buy.

I don't expect that I would buy very much at all that would be applicable for frequent flyer points other than groceries. So other than data mining, my main concern is that I wouldn't buy enough to be eligible for vouchers anyway.

HappierAtHome

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 8576
  • Location: Australia
Re: Use of frequent flyer cards, flybuys, supermarket loyalty cards
« Reply #1 on: February 04, 2014, 08:24:55 PM »
Just found a lifehacker article suggesting that the discounts aren't worth the effort for flybuys at least: http://www.lifehacker.com.au/2012/05/why-the-new-flybuys-is-a-rip-off/

SisterX

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2796
  • Location: 2nd Star on the Right and Straight On 'Til Morning
Re: Use of frequent flyer cards, flybuys, supermarket loyalty cards
« Reply #2 on: February 04, 2014, 08:32:24 PM »
I live in Alaska, so the AK Air cc is sort of a lifesaver for us.  My husband and I each have one, and my husband's is tied in with our grocery store rewards card, so he gets a small "discount" on food, + airline miles.  This works out for us because...well, Alaska.  It's a state that's bigger than most countries, so we've got to fly to get anywhere out of state in a reasonable amount of time.  (Driving to see my in-laws, at the bottom of the state, takes about 10 hours from where we are, in the middle of the state.)  So, it works out well if you'll really use the points.  It's hard to say an unequivocal "yes, they're awesome!" as I don't know your particular situation.  For me, having free flights is how we're going to go see my family this summer so that people can meet the munchkin. 

I don't really care about the data mining.  Honestly, we don't buy too much from this particular store as we tend to get meat from a local butcher shop (or it's been hunted/fished by family), as many veggies as possible are homegrown/bought from the farmer's market, foraged, etc., and I make pretty much all of our bread so they probably think we're vegetarians who don't eat very much!

The markup on items concerns me more.  Some things are just fine, but they charge $.90 for cans of cat food while the store across the street charges $.50.  (As just one small example.)  So you do need to compare prices, otherwise you'll end up getting swindled and then it doesn't matter how many free flights you get because you've essentially already paid for them.

The credit card is the most useful part for us.  My family lives in the Lower 48, and it can be really pricey to visit them.  Like, $800+ per ticket outside of the holiday season.  (Don't even ask about Christmastime.)  We just buy everything we need to on our credit cards, have our non-rent bills hooked up to them to auto-pay, and pay them off every month so we don't have to pay the astronomical interest rates.  We've accrued quite a few free flights this way, even with our modest spending.  Plus, I get one passenger discount ticket each year.  As in, pay full price for one ticket and someone else flies for $50.  We've never needed to use it ourselves, but we helped some family get here for our wedding because I bought their tickets using my discount and they paid me back.

bigchrisb

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1162
Re: Use of frequent flyer cards, flybuys, supermarket loyalty cards
« Reply #3 on: February 04, 2014, 08:37:23 PM »
An aussie here.  I own the company I work for, and channel ~$150k of work expenses through a rewards card.  Nets me about 200k qantas points a year, that I use for some flight, and cash the balance in for woolies gift cards. The % return is pretty low though - I reckon I only recover about 1% of the turnover.  Wouldn't be worth it if it was just my personal expenses, but those volumes makes sense.

chucklesmcgee

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 613
Re: Use of frequent flyer cards, flybuys, supermarket loyalty cards
« Reply #4 on: February 04, 2014, 09:57:00 PM »
Not exactly sure what you mean by flybuys, but rewards credit cards are extremely prevalent in the US. They pay out a % cash back or offer frequent flyer miles for every dollar spent.

Cash rewards cards are definitely worth it. I get an average of probably 3% back on all of my purchases thanks to a strategic combination of rewards cards. (currently 2.22% on everything Barclays Arrival, 5% on Amazon.com, restaurants with Citi Forward, 5% on gas with Chase Freedom, 4% on groceries with a Priceline Visa). Once you have a good set of cards there's basically no more than a few minutes a month to spend redeeming the rewards. Only one of my cards, the Arrival, has an annual fee, and the signup bonus was big enough to cover that for several years.

I've started looking into Frequent Flyer mile credit cards and have come to the conclusion that they generally aren't worth it for me. Most pay 2 miles per dollar spent on tickets for that airline and 1 mile per dollar spent elsewhere. Most airlines miles are worth about 1.2-1.8 cents/mile, depending on just what kind of flight you want to redeem them on, which means for most purchases I'd do worse than my 2.22% back. Also you have to deal with the hassle of redeeming them, which seems to be an art in itself. They also carry annual fees which are quite hefty, sometimes as high as $450. They usually have some perks like free checked bags and access to airport lounges, but I probably wouldn't pay for a lot of those perks anyway, so it's not as though I'm really getting additional value. It also really locks you and discourages you from seeking a better deal. It might be worth it if you fly a lot, say for work.

Frequent flyer programs themselves are fine. You might as well sign up for them as it's money you're leaving on the table if you don't. Lots of travel sites store your frequent flyer numbers so you don't have to remember anything when you're buying tickets. If you're flying internationally, you'll quickly rack up enough miles for free flights whether or not you focus on one carrier. My flight to Chile gave me enough miles for a free one-way domestic flight.


moestache

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 64
  • Location: Australia
Re: Use of frequent flyer cards, flybuys, supermarket loyalty cards
« Reply #5 on: February 04, 2014, 10:43:39 PM »
I have them. But I don't deliberately go out of my way to shop at the stores I have loyalty cards for though. I figured its free to join so why not. You can opt out of their email subscription list so you don't get bombarded with email ads.

Likewise I don't go out of my way to fly with specific airlines, again I only joined up because its free to join, and I do tend to fly at least once per year. 
If you don't fly that often then it may not be useful as I think most programs require some sort of activity (earn or use points) on your account once every 3 to 4 years.

Have one reward credit card, and luckily it has no annual fees for the life of the membership as I joined up during the promotion period.

As for data mining, I don't like it but I'm kind of resigned to it, I'm sure companies like Google and Facebook do the same thing by keeping track of your online activities and I think in this day and age there isn't really a way to avoid it completely.


gooki

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2382
  • Location: NZ
Re: Use of frequent flyer cards, flybuys, supermarket loyalty cards
« Reply #6 on: February 04, 2014, 11:25:54 PM »
I get about $60 a year from our supermarket rewards card. The bonus being they send me the vouchers automatically so no need to redeem them my self.

And we get about $200 a year from our CC rewards, that I redeem whenever they hit $50 worth.

I don't bother with flybuys.

Nudelkopf

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 899
  • Age: 28
  • Location: Australia
Re: Use of frequent flyer cards, flybuys, supermarket loyalty cards
« Reply #7 on: February 05, 2014, 11:17:52 PM »
I have flybuys - but I've only gotten $20 over the last 2 years :P Woo.

Dicey

  • Senior Mustachian
  • ********
  • Posts: 10842
  • Age: 61
  • Location: NorCal
Re: Use of frequent flyer cards, flybuys, supermarket loyalty cards
« Reply #8 on: February 05, 2014, 11:51:46 PM »
I have a couple of affinity cards. One is an airline card, which has been a wash at best. I don't know if I'll ever use the points, but I keep the card so the miles don't expire. It saved my ass when the airline I was traveling to Hawaii for a family gathering went BK. I was able to get myself and my brother to HI on this airline and for that I am eternally grateful, as it was an incredible trip. I did eventually get money back from the BK airline's affiliate. For a few years, it did get me a number of first class-upgrades, which was nice, but those days are long gone.

The other card is a hotel card. I love it! I just an hour ago booked a five-day trip for my sister with points. DH and I have a romantic getaway weekend booked with points for next month. Having the card assures my Platinum status (no blackouts, guaranteed availability, upgrades, a "free" night every year, etc.), despite the fact that I no longer travel for business, being RE and all.

That being said, I read somewhere that affinity cards are proven to make you spend more with whatever entity they're connected to. I avoid any and all store cards. I don't care if I get a one-time discount for opening an account, I don't want to spend one penny more than I need to in the big picture. And the Target Red Card with its 5% "discount"? Don't make me laugh. Through smart shopping, I can beat their prices by at least that any day. The extended return policy is a nice add-on, but I don't need it if I don't shop there.

soccerluvof4

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5331
  • Location: Artic Midwest
  • Retired at 50
    • My Journal
Re: Use of frequent flyer cards, flybuys, supermarket loyalty cards
« Reply #9 on: February 06, 2014, 04:32:58 AM »
I use Sams club discover card for all purchases there in Bulk which for a family of 6 equates to  a week of groceries a year 200$ +/-. In fact expecting mine soon. Otherwise we use one card that rewards us cash back on everything. Simpler. I dont want alot of cards but we charge everything so we can easily view/catagorize our payments but pay off every month

Dicey

  • Senior Mustachian
  • ********
  • Posts: 10842
  • Age: 61
  • Location: NorCal
Re: Use of frequent flyer cards, flybuys, supermarket loyalty cards
« Reply #10 on: February 06, 2014, 09:25:15 PM »
soccerluvof4 - I totally forgot about my Costco Amex! Because it's the only card they take, and it has no annual fee, I don't think of it in the same light as say, a department or electronics store card. That being said, Costco is my weekly grocery store and DH uses it as his main CC. We will be getting almost 1k back this year.

Two tips from my bro who works there: The Membership Desk can look up how much rebate you've earned from Costco to date any time. Your monthly AMEX statement shows how much to expect from them. Next, don't spend those checks on merchandise! You can cash that sucker right in the store and sock it away into savings. What you pay cash for in the store with your rebate check won't earn Amex rebates.