Get the most out of your loyalty cards

With so many loyalty schemes on offer, it is not surprising that many shoppers are missing out on the rewards they offer. However it is not always easy to separate the gimmicky schemes from the rewarding ones.
A recent report commissioned by Morgan Stanley highlights the fact that two-thirds of shoppers are not benefiting from the schemes they have joined. Less than one in three actually redeemed their loyalty points, took advantage of the Airmiles collected or claimed the cash-back from credit cards .
Among the popular schemes are American Express Nectar and Airmiles as well as credit cards cash-back deals.
The report found that users of Goldfish credit cards were more likely to take advantage of the points based reward scheme. Almost half cashed in points worth £64 in the last quarter.
The scheme offers one point for every £1 spent. By accumulating 1,500 points the cardholder is entitled to a £10 voucher that can be used at selected shops such as Boots and Debenhams.
Other companies such as Marks and Spencer, House of Fraser and John Lewis offer similar schemes where points are converted into vouchers to be used in that store.
Out of all the schemes on offer, consumers are least likely to use Airmiles. Out of all the people who collected Airmiles only 9 per cent have used them in the last three months.
Even so, Airmiles has the highest redemption value of any scheme and has more user-friendly terms with a new website.
Some of the companies that subscribe to the Airmiles scheme are Currys and Interflora, but there are many more. Points can also be gathered by using a Nat West credit card. Once you have collected the required number of points they can then be exchanged for flights to the 20 most popular destinations. For example, a trip to Paris will use 400 Airmiles. To save 400 points you will have to spend £1,667.
One of the lowest value ranked cards was the American Express Nectar card . For every £1 spent you can earn four points on the Nectar credit card or the Nectar loyalty card. An extra one point is given for every £1 spent on the credit card depending where American Express is accepted.
Patrick Muir of Morgan Stanley said, “Reward schemes can be a great way for cardholders to be rewarded for everyday spending but there’s no point having one if you don’t redeem.
“Spenders should consider how useful the rewards are and how easy they are to access.”
It may be easier staying with one scheme rather than joining several.

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