Home Make Money The Most Rewarding Loyalty Programs That Are Actually Worth It

The Most Rewarding Loyalty Programs That Are Actually Worth It

by Allison

We’ve all been there. Standing in front of the pin pad, wondering whether or not to type in our phone number or recite our email to the cashier. We can’t help but wonder whether all of the pesky retail notifications will actually pay off in the end.

It seems that almost every store you shop at offers a loyalty program, but not all loyalty programs offer the savings you might be expending.

You can stop standing idly at the register, questioning whether or not to sign up, because we have found the ones that are actually worth it.

Get the most bang for your buck with the loyalty programs at these stores.

Types of Loyalty Programs

Knowing the differences between various loyalty program strategies is essential. When you know all the details of the programs you’re enrolled in, you’ll be equipped with the information you need to get maximum savings.

Here is a brief analysis of the different types of loyalty programs out there, and what you can expect from them.

Point Programs 

Point programs let consumers accumulate points with every purchase, and these points can then be redeemed for products and services. This is one of the most common types of reward programs out there.

The most important aspect of point programs is to remember to scan your account or type in your number for every single purchase. If you’re a frequent shopper, you’ll get into the rhythm of this in no time.

Tiered Programs

Tired programs are similar to point programs, in that consumers will accumulate points with every purchase. But tired programs have different levels of rewards that consumers can build their way up to as they continue to shop. The rewards available to every customer depend on what tier they are in; the higher the tier, the more rewards you can get.

Value-Based Programs

Value-based programs reward consumers in non-monetary values, like charitable donations. These programs usually do not require customers to provide a phone number or email, they are automatically applied at every purchase as a promise from the company.

Omni-Channel Programs

Omni-channel programs enable customers to accumulate and spend points in the store and online. Many point-based programs only offer their rewards in the brick-and-mortar stores, so an omnichannel program would be ideal if you frequently shop online and in the store of a particular brand.

Paid Programs

Paid programs are loyalty programs that require an annual fee from memberships. The membership fee varies from brand to brand and can cost anywhere between $20 and $120. Paid loyalty programs typically have the highest payoff, so if you’re a frequent shopper of a store with a paid loyalty program, signing up might help you save money over time.

Consider the Cost of Entry

Saving money always sounds like a good idea, but it’s important to note whether a paid program would actually help you save the money you’ve set out to. Paid loyalty programs come at a fee, so you shouldn’t be signing up for them without good reason.

Our best rule of thumb is to consider how much you shop. If you’re placing more than one order a month at a particular store, then the paid program might be a suitable option for you.

10 Retail Loyalty Programs that You Shouldn’t Pass Up 

  1. CVS Rewards
  2. Target Circle
  3. Amazon Prime
  4. Starbucks
  5. Marriott
  6. REI
  7. Ulta Rewards
  8. Sephora Beauty Insider
  9. Petco Pals Rewards
  10. Home Depot Pro Xtra Loyalty

CVS Rewards

Cost: Free

CVS is known for their meters-long receipts filled coupons on products found throughout the store. Their rewards program gets you all that and more. Signing up with your phone number and email will get you 2% back on all CVS purchases.

Target Circle

Cost: Free

To join Target Circle, just enter your phone number at the register and download the app. You will get exclusive coupons and earn 1% cash back on all Target purchases made in-store or online.

Amazon Prime

Cost: $14/month, $139 annually

The cost of a Prime membership doesn’t come cheap, but if you’re making 2-3 Amazon purchases every month, the membership can pay for itself. Prime members get free shipping on all eligible items, access to Amazon Prime streaming, and few other benefits across Amazon Gaming, Household, Music, and more.


Cost: Free

Create your free Starbucks account through the app and scan your barcode every time you get a drink. You’ll earn points, called Stars, with every purchase. Stars can be redeemed for free drinks and add-ons. In addition to Stars, members get benefits like free birthday drinks and free refills with the app. 


Cost: Free

This program is perfect for the frequent traveler. Similar to airline miles on a credit card, you’ll earn Marriott Points for every stay. Every Marriott point is worth 1.25 cents each and can be redeemed through the hotel chain by booking stays.

REI Co-Op Membership

Cost: $30 lifetime membership

This membership goes a long way for outdoorsy people. At the end of every year, REI members get 10% back on all of their purchases in one lumpsum. In addition to this, REI members get exclusive sales, free shipping on all online purchases, early access to limited-time products, discounted services and rentals, and the option to trade in their used gear.

REI is made for their members, and if you’re doing any shopping at all at this outdoor retailer, membership is worth it.

Ulta Rewards

Cost: Free

Ulta’s tiered membership program will get you points for every purchase you make at the store or online. These points can be redeemed like cash at the point purchase, so you can save up your points to get big discounts on your final purchases.

In addition to this Ulta rewards members get exclusive coupons for the store.

Sephora Beauty Insider

Cost: free

Earn points that can be redeemed with your purchases online and in-store. Beauty Insiders also get seasonal sales, free samples and gifts, free delivery, and access to in-person beauty events.

Petco Pals Rewards

Cost: $7.99- $19.99/month

Petco Pals rewards you with $20 cash for every routine vet visit you and your pet have. Your rewards vary depending on the type of pet you have. Dog and cat owners get 20% off every groom, 10% nutrition, and $20 off pet boarding and walking through Rover.

Bird, fish, and reptile owners get $20 for every vet visit, as well as $20 off all supplies and nutrition for your pet.

Home Depot Pro Xtra Loyalty

Cost: Free

Home Depot offers a tiered program depending on what kind of shopper you are. Consumers can choose between standard and pro membership, both of them offer exclusive savings, but the pro membership is exclusively tailored to those running their own business in contracting or other construction related fields.

Get discounted tool rentals, bulk pricing, access to the Pro Customer Support line, and more with a pro membership.

 In Conclusion 

Loyalty programs are a great way to save at your favorite brands without having to do exert much effort.  Saving can be as simple as typing your phone number at the PIN pad or offering your barcode to your barista to scan.

When it comes to free loyalty programs, it never hurts to sign on. If you’re worried about being bombarded with emails and notifications, we recommend that you create a separate email exclusively for your retail offers to go to. This will help you remove yourself from the frustration of these programs without sacrificing any savings.

For paid programs, at all comes down to how much you shop. Our advice is to only sign on if the program will pay for itself every month.

Need somewhere to start? Maximize your savings today with our list of the 10 loyalty programs that are worth your time.