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Consumer loyalty points can come with a high cost

Categories: Business, Canada, Community


Retailers have been selling the concept of loyalty programs for years. Loyalty cards are essentially a marketing version of the ol' carrot and stick. 

Customers are given rewards if they keep purchasing items with the cards, which encourage them to keep buying. 

Canadian households belong to 8.2 loyalty programs on average, according to a study from industry group Colloquy reported on by the Canadian Press. 

In Canada, there are several well-known loyalty programs such as Canadian Tire money, Air Miles, and the largest loyalty program -- also the reason you may buy more toilet paper or cosmetics than you'll ever need at Shoppers Drug Mart -- the Optimum card. 

Further proof that such programs work occurred when there was outcry over the future of the Optimum card when Loblaws announced its purchase of the drug store chain

And in the wake of a deal that has Toronto-Dominion Bank taking over as Aeroplan's loyalty program partner, more customers will be double checking their reward options. 

The Montreal-based company -- Aimia -- that runs Aeroplan promised no one would lose points after the move from CIBC to TD. 

Rewards can seem like a good excuse to make extra purchases, but financial experts often suggest that consumers avoid buying goods for the purpose of accumulating more points or rewards. The numbers just don't often add up to make it worth it.

What do you think about loyalty programs? How many do you belong to?

Send us your thoughts at or continue the conservation in the comments below. 

Tags: Business, community, pov

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