Techno Dabbler

Trying out new technology.

Friday

13

August 2010

Value of points

by Alexandre Denault, on Game Development, IPad, Market

Value of points

In our consumer market right now, the trend is to reward consumers for buying. Point cards, reward programs, it amounts to the same: the more you spend, the more rewards you get. But how much reward do you get?

I’m thinking of buying an Ipad and I was wondering how my points can help. I am currently subscribed to Areoplan, Airmiles, Hbc rewards, Rbc rewards and Sears points. I’ve barely shopped at Sears, so lets forget that one. What can I get from the others?

  • Areoplan: It’s a new card, have one flight on it, Montreal-HongKong, worth about 2000$. I can cash in the card for 100$ at Futureshop.
  • Airmiles: Owned the card for several years, used it religiously on every purchase I could, and even some of my friends purchases. I’ve got enough points for a 50$ card at iTunes.
  • Hbc Rewards: Had the card for years, but I don’t shop at Hbc or Zellers often. However, everytime I do, I pull out the credit card/point card combo for max points. I can get a 25$ iTunes card.
  • Rbc Rewards: Had the card for only a few months, but I had to make several big purchases on it. I can get an impressive 50$ at Futureshop.

So pooling all my points, I can get 75$ at iTunes, and 150$ at Futureshop. This should help the iPad purchase pretty well. However, after such a careful study of all these reward systems, which is the best?

None of them is a clean winner. I can say that I’m impressed on the return rate of the Aeroplan card. Only one flight gets me a 100$ gift card, that’s almost a return rate of 5%. Airmiles is disappointing, but it always was. You need to purchase stuff in increments of 20$ and you’re limited in the places that give points. I’m sure Aeroplan suffers from the same limitation, it just has a higher return rate. Hbc rewards aren’t very rewarding, unless you’re a heavy consumer at La Baie or Zellers. My favorite has to be the Rbc rewards, you get points for everything you buy and the return rate seems around 0.5%. Not incredible, but a nice surprise at the end of the year.

There seems to be a lot of programs allowing you to convert points from one system to another. My advice is DON’T. You’ll always lose a lot of point value. For example, converting Hbc points to Airmiles loses you about 50% purchasing power. Avoid point conversion programs like the plague.

Alexandre Denault
Alexandre Denault

Veteran software developer and holds a PhD in Computer Science. Avid computer enthusiast (geek) who has been dabbling with technology ever since his Dad brought home an 8086 computer.

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