We receive compensation for some links on this blog and are always grateful if you use these links to support our content. Any opinions expressed in this post are our own, and have not been reviewed, approved, sponsored, or endorsed by our advertising partners unless otherwise specifically noted.
Check out our 5 Travel Amenities to Bring Home After Your Next Trip.
Last week, I ran a contest around the TGI Friday’s summer promotion. And now it’s time to announce the contest winner for the Endless Appetizers idea that best took advantage of the system.
I know that some of you were not sure if I was serious about this contest or if it was some kind of tongue-in-cheek reference. I was totally serious… this was a great way to illustrate (away from airplanes and hotels) how to dissect a loyalty program’s benefits and determine what type of net might be possible when layered with a promotion! The comments on that original post illustrated how creatively some individuals approach these programs and many (but probably not ALL) of the ways to take advantage of any given offer – a form of extreme couponing, if you will!
And the winner is….
All of the comments on that post were great – and it was a great education for me on ways to think outside the box about a promotion. Swag hit it out of the park though with a multi-layered approach to both accrual and redemption.
I encourage you go click over and read them but here’s a quick summary of my own takeaways that might apply to ANY points type program:
- Look into loyalty programs that may be native to a particular vendor – these go beyond the travel programs we commonly think of (in this case, the Stripes program at TGI Fridays)
- Make sure you make your dollar minimums – and understand how program points accrue so that you can maximize your spending decisions.
- Know what benefits you get with the program. (In this case, users report a free appetizer upon sign up and free chips & salsa for their loyalty program members.) I can’t tell you how often I run into individuals in loyalty programs (like hotels or airlines) who have no idea what benefits they may be due.
- Bring a friend and (if allowed by program rules) accrue their spend too.
- Take advantage of sales and promotions (like Endless Appetizers) – terms and conditions apply – the fine print can be important here.
- Layer your spend with other programs (such as extra earning on credit cards or miles for purchasing gift cards at a grocery store).
- Think ahead to future needs and purchase accordingly (like Mark’s suggestion to bring freezer bags to take home leftovers and ordering takeout for later).
- Spend points carefully (some redemptions are better than others). Savvy program participants save their points for the best value redemptions. (Translating this over to airline miles, you’ll rarely see a savvy traveler cashing in frequent flyer miles for a $200 ticket!)
AND FINALLY, my own addition to these rules. Make sure the promotion makes sense for YOU! Just because everyone else is doing it, doesn’t mean it makes sense. Know your own strategy. In my case, I won’t be eating TGI Friday’s appetizers, so it likely won’t be the best program for me. And not everyone needs thousands of packs of Healthy Choice pudding (for those of us who remember one of the all-time classic points takedowns).
Swag, send me your address… you have a gift card headed your way!