Rewards are a way for companies to show they care about customers. Acknowledging your patrons’ loyalty with the lure of a bonus can prompt them to choose your store over a competitor’s. Many companies offer bonus points you collect each time you make a purchase, then allow you to pool those points for discounts on a future purchase.
I try to save money everywhere possible, so I gladly enrolled in the free rewards programs offered by Dick’s Sporting Goods and Best Buy. I was surprised by a recent email indicating I had no points in my Dick’s “Scorecard” account, because I know I purchased more than one item at Dick’s last year. When I asked a sales representative at the local store if points expire, she said “no” and advised me to log into my account at mydickssportinggoods.com. I did just that when I returned home but found no record of my 2012 purchases. I went to the site’s FAQ page and found the following:
“Will my points ever expire?
So, it turns out the sales rep was incorrect. Not only that, but the way I read this policy, your points could expire within a few days of your purchase if you buy something in the month of January.
Another company I make occasional purchase from is Best Buy, which offers a program called “Reward Zone.” The program’s website indicates a practice similar to the Scorecard program:
- “At the beginning of every calendar year, the points in your account (except Premier Silver members and Reward Zone Gamers Club Unlocked members) will be issued as reward certificates down to the $5 level, and any remaining points will be forfeited. You will begin getting points for the new calendar year on January 1. For example, if you have 300 points, you will receive a $5 reward certificate (250 points) and you will forfeit 50 points.”
If these and other companies want to show customers they truly value them, they should not apply 12-month expiration policies to their rewards programs. I can see the wisdom of expiring points every 3-5 years to save the company the expense of recordkeeping on inactive customers. But every 12 months (or less, in the case of Dick’s Sporting Goods)?
If you have points in a store’s rewards program, be sure to check the expiration policy so you can make an informed decision on the timing of your next purchase and not miss out on savings opportunities.
Do you participate in a rewards program that doesn’t allow points to expire? What retailer rewards programs do you find most valuable?