For Freshmen. By Freshmen.
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Oct 04 2016
by Alexa Marzina

8 Brand Loyalty Programs You Should be Taking Advantage Of

By Alexa Marzina - Oct 04 2016

For a lot of freshmen, it's coming to the point in the semester when you're realizing the truth behind the commonly-heard-phrase "broke college student." While you’re at school, it’s so tempting to treat yourself to take out every week (to avoid dining hall food) or to insist on buying your own cold medicine/toilet paper/notebooks/ without your parents’ help, because you’re an “adult” now. However, all that spending can catch up to you! Thankfully, a lot of brands have realized that they should reward their frequent customers and encourage them to keep shopping at their stores as opposed to their competitors'. Here are eight stores that offer brand loyalty perks that you should start using.

1. Panera Bread

Panera currently offers a free reward card for their customers. Simply sign up with an email and phone number to get your card. You can then present it to the cashier every time you make a purchase, and at the bottom of your receipt it’ll say how many more visits you need to make to receive a free bakery treat or exclusive offer!

2. Best Buy

Best Buy has a point for dollar amount system: you get one point for every $2 spent. When you get 250 points, you’re entitled to a $5 reward certificate. Not only that, you also get free two-day shipping with a $35 purchase and access to special offers and sales.

3. Starbucks

This system works by using either a physical giftcard or the Starbucks mobile app. Simply pay with either and receive two stars per dollar spent. Rack up 300 stars and you can score yourself free drinks and bakery items for additional stars. Not to mention you also get a free birthday gift, free in-store refills on coffee and tea and exclusive member offers.

4. Sephora

It’s no secret that new makeup can be super pricey. Luckily, the Sephora Beauty Insider program can help you snag free products and beauty classes! Each dollar spent in store gets you a point, and the more points you get, the more you can save and the more offers you’ll receive!

5. 7-Eleven

Great for coffee lovers and Slurpee addicts alike, this program definitely rewards you for things you’ll definitely be buying anyway! Simply download the 7-Eleven app and scan your unique barcode every time you checkout. Every 7th cup you purchase is free! Sweet!

6. AMC Theaters

For movie junkies (and even casual watchers) these benefits are great. With a free card, Insiders are entitled to a free refill on their popcorn (as well as a free bag on their birthday), discounts on tickets and 20 points per $1 spent, which can be used to redeem members-only discounts. For just $15 a year, you can upgrade to a Premier card, which gets you even better offers, such as: a bigger ticket discount, waived online ticket fees and more exclusive offers and screenings.

7. Plenti

Several retailers are part of the Plenti system. The system is simple: sign up for a card and receive one point for every $2 spent at a participating retailer. You can then use those points in-store to receive discounts, coupons and deals!

8. CVS

It’s inevitable that you will need something from a pharmacy at least once during college. CVS has a card that allows you to receive personalized coupons and deals upon signing up. You can also receive up to two percent cash back on qualifying purchases which you can basically use as free CVS money!

College is already expensive enough, so you might as well take some steps to save money or earn free products while you can! All of these programs are super simple to join, and they’re with companies that you’ll probably be purchasing from anyway. Your bank account will thank you!

Lead Image Credit: FirmBee via Pixabay

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Alexa Marzina - University of Pittsburgh

Alexa is a junior at the University of Pittsburgh and is majoring in psychology, minoring in creative writing and pursuing a certificate in American Sign Language. She also plays clarinet in the University of Pittsburgh Varsity Marching Band. One day, Alexa hopes to own at least three corgis. Follow her on Twitter @alexa_lou and Instagram @_alexalou

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