Best Reward Schemes and Loyalty Programs in Canada

Reward schemes are bigger than ever. Companies finally realized that it wasn’t all about new customers and that while they spent their time only offering rewards as incentives for new customers to join, the ones they already had were getting fed-up and leaving. So they changed the goalposts and now most big banks, credit card companies, department stores and even online retailers have some kind of reward scheme to benefit loyal customers.

But which loyalty schemes are best? Which ones offer the most bang for your buck, the most return on your investment? Let’s find out.

Air Miles

Best Air Miles

This is one of the oldest and most widespread loyalty programs in the world. They are available with certain credit cards, often American Express, and they give you a set number of “miles” based on how much money you spend. Each program is different and pays out a different number of miles, but these programs are fairly generous with how they operate.

It’s one of the few loyalty programs that can be both generous to the customer and beneficial to the offerer. They convince you to spend more money than you usually would and in exchange you get points that can be put toward air travel. You still need to pay taxes and you will also be asked to pay for extra baggage and other things, but at the end of the day you’re still getting good value for money.

Credit cards that offer air miles often charge a higher interest rate and even a monthly or annual fee. That’s just one of the ways they make this program profitable, but they also focus on cheap flights. There is also the equally lucrative and beneficial AeroPlan loyalty program, which rewards you with extra points when you buy basics like gas and groceries and lets you accumulate air miles to spend on flights of your choosing.

Petro Points

Esso have a great loyalty program, rewarding you for topping up your car with gas which is something that we all do everyday anyway, so we might as well get points for it. But the loyalty program offered by Petro Points is even better, offering more points and a greater rate of return on those points.

Every litre of fuel that you buy earns you points, with 1 litre earning you an impressive 10 points. What’s more you can also earn points when you spend money in the store and on things like car washes, picking up 10 points for every $1 that you spend away from the pumps.

Once you hit 50,000 points then you can redeem them for a total of $50, which you can use as money off of gas or in-store purchases. This sounds like a high number, an unachievable target even, but it’s not. Think of it this way: if you travel regularly, wash your car once a week and are always stopping off for food, drink and other basic supplies, then you could be saving yourself as much as $50 a week with this program.

The average family, on the other hand, will save between $100 and $200 a year, an amount that is still well worth the time it takes to signup to the Petro Points program.

Club Sobeys

Sobeys is the second largest grocery store chain in all of Canada, with more than 1500 locations. They are in every city and every town, which makes Club Sobeys the ideal loyalty program for the average Canadian. This reward scheme works in conjunctions with the Air Miles scheme, offering you more points and more rewards and giving you more options when it comes time to spend your points.

One of the best things about this program is that most of us will shop at the store anyway. And if you’re already buying groceries and spending money you might as well collect points for it, beefing up your Air Miles total and edging ever closer to that vacation of your dreams.

HSBC Rewards

This huge bank has a hugely popular loyalty scheme, enrolling millions of members and giving them a chance to earn points on everything they spend money on. These points can then be redeemed on everything from fast food purchases to groceries, entertainment and more. It’s an incredibly diverse program and while it is not as generous as some of the ones mentioned above, it is very accessible and offers a wealth of options for its members.

Optimum Card

This card is issued by Pharmaprix and Shoppers Drug Mart, with the former being in Quebec and the latter being everywhere else. It offers shoppers 10 points for every dollar that they spend and this increases to as much as 200 points per dollar on key days throughout the year. These “happy hour” periods make this one of the most generous reward programs in Canada, a must for anyone who wants to collect points on basic pharmacy products.

These points can then be redeemed on everything in store, saving shoppers huge amounts of money.

Canadian Tire Money

Finally, it’s worth mentioning Canadian Tire Money. It was one of the first in the country and it has persisted as one of the biggest ever since. It has been active for more than half a century and it remains a fantastic loyalty program that is as rewarding now as it has always been. It’s accessible, generous and there are plenty of ways to collect and redeem, making this an ideal option to add to your portfolio of loyalty programs.