If you live in Canada, and enjoy saving a buck or two (like me) or treating yourself to some fabulous rewards, you’re likely a member of some type of loyalty program. Recently, LoyaltyOne put out a survey that indicates the average Canadian household participates in 8.2 loyalty programs – who knew!
If you’re addicted to collecting points (again, like me), you’ll probably agree that changing your shopping habits to collect the most points possible is an absolute reality. I have no shame in admitting that I’ll change my wine selection if it means collecting more points. And while I may not seem like a brand loyalist, jumping ship every time I see more points, I’m loyal to my loyalty cards (go figure)…
With all that work put into collecting, have you ever stopped to think about what happens when you die? I know I hadn’t and neither have most Canadians. A mere 3% of Canadians surveyed by LoyaltyOne have documented a plan for their points. And while it might not be the first thought that comes to mind as a collectorit’s definitely something to consider. You wouldn’t forget about your savings account, but people often forget about this lucrative asset. I mean if you are saving up your points for a trip of a lifetime or to purchase those holiday gifts, that’s some serious points. After all, wouldn’t it be nice to pass along your hard earned rewards to someone who will enjoy them just as much as you?
To make sure your points or miles aren’t wasted, here are a few tips to consider, whether you’re a first-time collector or not, here are a few tips to consider:
1. Treat points/miles like a financial asset. Your points and miles are part of your financial assets. Build a plan with an expert like an estate-planning lawyer to ensure your points and miles are given to your family.
2. Get Organized. Make a list of all of your loyalty programs. Include your membership number, recent statement, online log in, customer service phone number and policy guidelines. Keep in mind you may have to call customer service to get this last bit of information and should try to get in written form, such as an email. Keep all of this information updated, in a written document and in a safe place, like a fireproof lock box. Discuss your plan with your family members and let them know where to find your written plan.
3. Keep track of your points and miles. Several online services and apps, including AwardWallet.com, Points.com, Traxo.com and UsingMiles.com will manage your loyalty programs and monitor your points and miles. These free services will alert you when points and miles are about to expire and also provide tips on making the most of them.
4. Consider the fees. Many programs charge a fee – typically $50-$75 – to transfer points from account to account. If a fee is involved, it would dilute the value of small gifts.
5. Use them. Reward yourself and use your points and miles or consider gifting points to loved ones or a charity now.