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The Prescott Daily Courier | Prescott, Arizona

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2/19/2013 9:52:00 PM
Shopping reward cards that save money
Courier Columnist

Since Ross and I have been small business owners for 15 years, we know the value of retaining customers. There is an enormous truth in the statistic that it costs businesses five times more money to acquire a new customer than it costs to retain an existing customer. In order to thank customers and retain them, many businesses offer loyalty cards or reward cards to keep shoppers coming back.

Auto Zone's reward card has been quite a blessing to us over the years. For a $20 expenditure, the card earns one point, and after five points the customer is rewarded with $20 to spend in store. Transactions can be separated as long as they are a minimum of 30 minutes apart. The best way make this work: if a transaction is going to be $40 or more, split it into separate transactions thirty minutes apart or on separate days. For example, Ross needed shocks for one of our vehicles, and each shock was $22. He bought one a day on four separate days, accumulating our rewards up to the point that he earned a $20 reward credit.

Many people aren't aware that Maverik has a reward program. The Maverik Adventure Card gives customers a 2 or 4 cent discount per gallon of gas. This is not a huge discount, but there is also a loyalty perk to their card, customers can earn Maverik gift cards. The formula for earning gift cards goes like this: a customer earns one point for every dollar spent in the store and one for every gallon of fuel; and on Tuesdays, customers earn triple points. These points accumulate per quarter and expire at the end of the same quarter. For every 500 points accumulated, the customer earns a $5 Maverik gift card. Maverik Adventure Cards must be registered online. Be sure to link your family or employee cards together to accumulate points faster.

Maverik also has a punch card for fountain drinks: purchase ten drinks and get one fountain drink or refill up to 64 oz. for free. Remember to hand them a punch card at the register, as they typically don't ask for it.

Olsen's Grain also rewards customers for shopping by awarding one point for every $1 spent. After 500 points are earned, a $5 gift card is rewarded. The wonderful thing about their program is the points don't expire; they continue to accumulate indefinitely.

Starbucks wants us to keep coming back as well. At Starbucks, customers must load money onto a Starbucks Card. For every 15 drinks purchased with this card, the customer earns any free drink (any kind). Free drink coupons arrives in the mail. (Cards must be registered online. If you have multiple cards, register them online to accumulate your rewards.)

Smart Girls Resale Fashion in Prescott Valley knows how to treat customers and encourage them to come back for more. For every dollar spent at Smart Girls, one point is earned. After 200 points, a $10 in-store credit is earned.

Fry's and Safeway offer fuel discounts when their loyalty card is used. Typically, a 10-cent discount is earned for every $100 of in-store purchases when their loyalty card is used. The points expire at the end of the month. Watch for promotions, which earn four times the number of reward points on the purchase of gift cards. This is a great way to purchase gifts, but it is also a great way to purchase restaurant or retail gift cards for personal use. In other words, give the gift cards to yourself!

Online ordering of Papa John's pizzas earns points toward a free pizza. One point is earned for every $5 expenditure, including tax and delivery, at A free large pizza with up to three toppings is awarded when you have earned 25 Papa Rewards Points. Is it possible that there are no calories in free pizza?

When we can receive additional rewards while we shop, the savings are sweeter. I welcome readers to write to me about other great reward card programs so I can share the information with others. Write to me at

Kara Rozendaal, a financial planner, wife and homeschool mother of three has lived in Prescott Valley for 15 years. Learn more ways to save at Kara's FREE class on Feb. 28, 6 to 8 p.m. at Trinity Christian School, Prescott. Register at

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Reader Comments

Posted: Wednesday, February 20, 2013
Article comment by: Gracie xx

I am so sick of "reward cards." It is a punishment to people who do not have the cards and don't want them. I don't want them. Our pharmacy recently instituted the reward card and said I needed the card to take advantage of their sale prices. We wrote the store manager a letter and then we took our $14K annual pharmacy business elsewhere. I guess they showed me.

Posted: Wednesday, February 20, 2013
Article comment by: Prescott Senior again

Better yet, shop at stores like Target and Loews. Use their store credit card and get 5% off instantly at the register. Better than any rewards card program!

Posted: Wednesday, February 20, 2013
Article comment by: Mike Brody

Most veterans can qualify for a Pentagon Federal Credit Union Visa Rewards card that will get them 5% off on gasoline everywhere, all the time. How about auto loans at .049% ? Go to for details

Posted: Wednesday, February 20, 2013
Article comment by: Alternatives to the Bucks

Anyone know if any real* coffee shops have a customer loyalty program/card?

*Real = beans roasted correctly, not burned.

*Real = a focus on actual coffee/espresso drinks and not 3,000 calorie diabetes inducing coffee milkshakes.

Posted: Wednesday, February 20, 2013
Article comment by: An American

And the Texico has a drink punch card, buy five get one free!

Posted: Wednesday, February 20, 2013
Article comment by: Former Barista

If you insist on drinking the burnt bean concoctions at Charbucks know this:

Double check that the Charbucks you frequent accepts the rewards card. There is a difference between licensed stores (think inside of Fry's) and a corporate store (think free standing stores in Prescott).

Also keep an eye on your rewards. Charbucks quit sending out the postcards and there have been numerous issues with redeeming your online perks.


former 'Bucks employee

Posted: Wednesday, February 20, 2013
Article comment by: Gerald N.

You bought your shocks over a four day period?

Obviously your time isn't worth anything.

How about you just shop at places that offer low prices without you having to have a wallet full of useless cards?

Posted: Wednesday, February 20, 2013
Article comment by: Prescott Senior

Well intentioned article but the Starbucks info is way out of date and the Fry's info omitted that getting your prescription filled there gets 50 points, no matter how much it costs.

SB rewards now require only 12 purchases for a for it, rewards can be used for food as well as drinks, and Rewards are now added to the customers card no more postcards.

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