Exclusive cards, privilege cards, discount cards, membership cards… all these cards that various brands and companies are releasing to make us feel like we’re part of something! Yes or no? Well, it doesn’t hurt to earn points while shopping. In the Philippines, the most known and popular shopping card is the SM Advantage Card, considered as the biggest loyalty program in the Philippines. I’m quite tired of hearing the salesladies ask me if I have it and when I answer no (because I only shop at SM when I’m on vacation and that’s like once a year), they will start on their marketing spiel to encourage me into getting one. It’s annoying but I can understand the need for it, especially for people who shop in SM all the time. I usually borrow my sister’s SM card when we’re shopping together so the “points” go to her. Mind you, the point system is not that great but many people avail anyway because once you become a member, you earn and redeem points. There’s also the promise to exclusive access to sale events, special offers and freebies. If you think about it, it’s kindda nice for them to do this to their loyal consumers.
That’s the premise of loyalty cards! And in Saudi Arabia, some establishments have them too! I recently purged my wallet of cards and saw that I have acquired a few. I thought it’s interesting to write about them and see what benefits they give to consumers in the Kingdom.
FASHION LOYALTY CARDS
If you don’t know by now, most fashion brands in Saudi Arabia are under a few huge companies. For example, Landmark Group carries Max, Centrepoint, Home Box, Iconic, New Look, etc. while Alshaya carries H&M, Dorothy Perkins, Debenhams, etc. so getting their loyalty cards is a must if you’re a shopaholic. Keep note though that just because we’re calling it “card” it means you need the actual physical card all the time. Once you registered, you can download their apps so every time you shop in their specific stores, you can just use the app’s digital card.
What: Shukran is the retail loyalty program of the Landmark Group. Every time you shop in the stores of brands they carry, you earn “Shukrans” that you can eventually spend later on. “Shukrans” is a virtual currency that you can earn and spend when you shop at the brands under Landmark Group whether in-store or online, and also their other partner brands. It’s currently available for over a million products across various brands. Shukrans can be collected and earned even during sales and promotional events.
Brands: Centrepoint, Babyshop, Splash, HomeCentre, Home Box, E-Max, New Look, Iconic, Lifestyle, Max, Shoexpress,
How To Use: Sign up for Shukran in the participating stores or online. Present your card or the digital card in the app as the counter/cashier. If you are shopping online, link your Shukran account with your online account.
Points System: The point equivalent for Shukran is not standard. It depends on the stores you’re shopping from. For example, in Centrepoint, you get 4 points (non-sale) and 1 point (sale) every time you spend SR 10. While in Max, you get 2 points (non-sale) and 1 point (sale) when you spend SR 10. There’s a calculator online and in the app to check the equivalent point per brand. 1 point of Shukran is equal to SR 0.05. So to even get SR 25, you have to get 500 points.
How To Spend: Present your card or digital card as you pay in the counter/cashier. Sometimes, the cashiers check your points and will ask you if you want to pay your purchase with your Shukran points. Personally, I have saved up SR 30 on my Shukran card and recently used it for an accessory purchase.
What: The Privileges Club is the reward card system of Alshaya, on of the pioneering forces in the retail franchise sector with nearly 90 of the world’s best-known brands under its belt. The Alshaya Privileges Club rewards customers with personalized offers and rewards. Members also have a chance to win amazing prizes at monthly and quarterly draws (not available in Saudi Arabia). The card is also available in a mobile app.
Brands: H&M, Debenhams, Victoria’s Secret, Bath and Body Works, American Eagle, Claire’s, Coast, Evans, Dorothy Perkins, Icing, Next, Oasis, Payless
How To Use: Visit any Alshaya store (except Starbucks) to get your Alshaya card. Download the app for convenience. Scan your app or swipe your card every time you shop or dine at any of the participating outlets. The program is available in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Oman.
Points System: The Privileges Club is not based on points. It rewards you for just being you (whatever this means). So basically, you’re not collecting points when swiping this but you just unlock a range of “choices” and “benefits” when you use it. Alshaya also takes note on which shops you shop from frequently so they can personalize the promos and offers available to you.
How To Spend: Since this is not a reward program based on points, it can’t be “spent”.
What: Redtag is one of the most popular department stores in Saudi Arabia and it launched rt Rewards for its customers. Its components include real-time earn & burn rewards, targeted campaigns and personalized in-store engagement, consistent multichannel customer experience (in-store, online, social media), and analytical insights to drive personalized and relevant customer engagement. It has its card and mobile hybrid program too like the first two rewards cards mentioned.
How To Use: You can be a member of rt Rewards after any purchase that you make at Redtag. There are no criteria of a minimum purchase. Present your card when paying your purchases in Redtag. If you forgot your card, you can mention your registered mobile number to the cashier.
Points System: For every non discounted item, 1 SAR = 3 points. For every discounted item, 1 SAR = 1 point. Points are valid for a period of 12 months before expiry.
How To Spend: Just visit any store and at the time of payment, inform the cashier that you would like to redeem your points. You can start redeeming points after initially reaching a minimum of 2,500 points (equivalent to SR 835 in non-discounted purchases).
FOOD AND DINING LOYALTY CARDS
What: The Alfaco Rewards Program lets their diners earn points and exclusive privileges. Their three-tiered rewards program (Rewards Card, Silver Card, and VIP Gold Card) gives additional rewards as soon as you level up. The first level (Rewards Card) is given for free, no need to amass milestones. The Silver Card is given if you spent SR 5,000 while the VIP Gold is given at SR 20,000. They have a website dedicated for this Rewards system that lets you register your card and see how many points have you earned.
Brands: Piatto, Steakhouse, Firegrill, City Fresh Kitchen
Points System: For the Rewards Card, SR 1 = 1 point. For the Silver Card, SR 1 = 2 points. You also earn priority seating un their restaurants. For the VIP Gold Card, SR 1 = 3 points. In addition, you also get reservation privilege and a free dessert. The card has a lifetime validity and there are no annual fees.
How To Spend: Points have an equivalent value in riyals which you can use to pay for your food. 500 points is equivalent to SR 25 and so on. If you’re an Alfaco member, you can also avail of their specials every day in the restaurants. For example, Steakhouse gives free dessert every Wednesday for their card members.
2. RC Dining Loyalty Card
What: The most luxurious hotel in Riyadh has a dining loyalty card that not only gives you benefits and privileges in their restaurants but also awards you with a one-night stay in their hotel. It’s not for free, of course. Grand things come with a great price and in this case, it’s SR 2000 per card membership.
Brand: The Ritz Carlton Riyadh
Points System: This loyalty card doesn’t have a points system. The card is valid for one year.
How To Spend: The card entitles you to different benefits like welcome gifts consisting of complimentary Ramadan Iftar for 6 guests, complimentary 1 kg Sweets of Arabia signature selections, complimentary special cake from Chorisia Lounge, and a Golden Friday overnight stay for 2 inclusive of Friday brunch. Apart from these, you get discounts every time you dine at the restaurants and cafes of the Ritz. You also get discounts in their room rates if you stay in of their rooms all-year-round.
What: This is Tamimi’s appreciation program which earns customers points every time we spend on selected products. Tamimi also offers exclusive deals and weekly offerings for that value-worthy shopping experience.
Brand: Tamimi Markets
Points System: You can pick up a Tamimi Rewards card in any of Tamimi’s cashier or customer desk. What I like about this is they give us options so we won’t forget them: they provide a physical card (normal-sized one and small ones to be placed in keychains) and also stickers that can be put in phones. There’s also the digital card that can be accessed through the Tamimi phone app. Customers earn 10 points for every riyal spent on most items and promotional double points on selected items advertised in their flyers.
How To Spend: Redeeming points can be done through the Tamimi online customer portal or their phone app. Go to the Redemption area and select the denomination you want to redeem based on the available points. Once points are redeemed, the amount is automatically converted and visible in the Digital Wallet section. Example of earned points and its equivalent reward value: 50000 points = SR 100, 125000 points = SR 250, 150,000 = SR 300, and so on. You can now use this to make a purchase.
These are just some of the loyalty cards in Saudi Arabia. There are more if you want to collect them. Haha. Also, it depends on your preferred establishments. The fashion shopping cards are generally for everyone but if you’re a traveler, you can check out the membership programs of your airlines of travel agencies. For example, Reina and I are Alfursan members of Saudi Airlines. We fly Saudia most of the time and we get miles out of the flight tickets we buy. Recently, we also ventured into Air Arabia’s Air Rewards because of our trips to Georgia. Fly Nas also has their NaSmiles program.
Other stores that has loyalty memberships and cards are that you might want to check out are the following:
Is it necessary to get a loyalty card? Honestly for the most part, I don’t carry them in my wallet and I forget them all the time BUT since the inception of their mobile apps, it’s now easy to carry them around so WHY NOT? I mean if you’re such a loyal customer of these stores, why not reap the rewards for it? No matter how small or how “marketing ploy” this might look like, it still adds to the overall shopping, dining, and traveling experience. It’s not for naught. No one’s forcing you to shop again and again in these stores and establishments though. The purpose of these cards and programs is to give back to customers. We all can chill and keep the cards handy. If you want to use it, fine. If not, that’s perfectly fine also. HAPPY SHOPPING, Riyadhizens!