Loyalty Program Spotlight- Grocery Programs

Thanksgiving day is tomorrow! For most of us this means a beautiful golden brown turkey in the middle of a table surrounded by family and friends. This time of year not only promises eating, drinking, and time with family, but also more trips to the grocery store. Accommodating family and friends from near and far this holiday season can benefit you and your wallet more than you think. Did you know that UsingMiles can help you manage the points you earn towards so you can use them to save money at the pump?

UsingMiles allows you to track 18 grocery loyalty programs. This is especially important when you consider how often you grocery shop and how often you fill up at the pump. Both of these are done very regularly throughout the holidays. Unfortunately, these points expire on almost a weekly basis, so not tracking them is risky because who would want to lose all those points that result in discounted gas? UsingMiles even send you expiration alerts when your fuel points are about to expire.

The Kroger Corporation is one of the larger grocery chains with stores around the country that fall under different names depending on where you live in. Even though the chain names may vary, the Kroger Rewards program is universal among all chains. Stores within the Kroger Corporation include, Kroger, City Market, King Soopers, and many more. Click here to see the entire list.


Not only does the Kroger rewards program allow you to save on gasoline, it also enables you to make your grocery list, get local specials, weekly coupons and more. Obviously, the big highlight of this program is the fuel program. It’s simple: for every dollar you spend you get a point, and these points add up to save you money on gasoline. As a member, you will also receive notifications on other ways to rack up points, such as getting a prescription filled from the in-store pharmacy – this earns you 50 points!

Let us not forget about Safeway and Stop and Shop! These grocery stores also offer great incentives for doing your shopping in their stores. Members of this program receive one point per every dollar spent on groceries and pharmaceuticals. Additionally, members can earn up to 4x the points when they make gift card purchases. All of these trips to the store really add up, benefiting your wallet and car (for gas that is!) 100 points earns you 10 cents off each gallon, 200 points earns you 20 cents off each gallon, 500 points earns you 50 cents off each gallon, and 2000 points earns you 2 dollars off each gallon!

Stop and Shop has partnered with Shell to offer customers points toward fuel. Much like the other programs, this program lets you earn one point per dollar spent. Then for every 100 points you earn, you receive 10 cents off at a participating Shell station. Weekly specials, cash back for A+ schools, and more savings all apply to members of this program as well.

With the holiday season starting tomorrow (ahhh the land of football and turkey), there is no better time than now to start tracking your grocery points! See how much you can save on gas and starting tracking your grocery points today at UsingMiles.com!

We here at UsingMiles wish you and your loved ones a wonderful Thanksgiving!


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Tracking a Loyalty Program: Old-Fashioned to Modern Methods

How do you track a loyalty program?  From your favorite coffee shop and grocery stores to the many travel-based rewards programs, you can become inundated with the programs where you’re involved. And as $16 billion in miles alone expires each year, ignoring them is not a wise decision.


“Old-fashioned” methods just don’t cut it.  You could rely on loyalty statements, which can amount to a lot of paper statements crowding your files – or an endless number of documents on your computer.  Alternatively, you could keep track of them “by hand” – on paper or electronically – yet the obvious investment in work is not a pleasant prospect.

Luckily, modern methods of tracking these numerous programs are quite simple. UsingMiles is a free tool that can track well over 200 programs, allowing you to simply sign in and see a snapshot of your loyalty programs. With the holiday season approaching, these points and credits should be considered a second currency that customers can use or redeem towards gifts and more. Managing these programs is a simple solution to never losing a discount or reward again.

The difference is obvious and eye-opening.  Instead of worrying about losing your rewards and keeping track of your progress and deadlines each month, it can be automated.  The price to do this is hard to beat, as well.  Moreover, the time difference is staggering.

Take advantage of modern methods for loyalty program management.  Valuable miles, credits, points, and more can be a great perk and convert into some impressive rewards.  With a modern and automated tool like UsingMiles, you can track these accounts with ease. Contact us to learn more about this innovative, free tool that can manage all of your loyalty programs.

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Dealing with Delays and Cancellations By: Scott Schneider

In light of Superstorm Sandy and the upcoming winter season, I wanted to share some travel tips for situations that airlines call irregular operations, or IRROPS, as it is affectionately abbreviated. Irregular operations take place when a flight or a number of flights experience delays that are caused by one or more factors including aircraft, catering, strike, weather, crew, air traffic control, security breaches, and many others. IRROPS can occur any time of the year, but the chance is more likely during both the summer peak travel time when spontaneous thunderstorms arise and also in the winter when snowstorms and blizzards occur.

Here are some tips to cope with an IRROPS situation:

Before the trip-

  • Sign up for trip alerts from your airline’s website or smartphone app—airlines will text message or call you to let you know of a flight delay or cancellation if you sign-up for this
    free service.
  • Pack an extra pair of underwear and socks as well as enough toiletries to get you through an extra day in case you find yourself in an unexpected overnight situation and cannot get to your checked baggage.
  • Print out and carry your itinerary and receipts with your carryon essentials.
  • Research and take note of alternate flights and routes if bad weather is expected or if you have a tight connection.
    • Know the airline’s hubs—Cities where most flights from the airline go in and out of to connect its passengers. This will assist you in figuring out where you can connect through should you need to get rerouted.
    • Know the airline’s partners and their hubs should you need to reach your destination an alternate way—If an airline cannot get you on to its plane for a departure within several hours, it may consider accommodating you on partner airline. The number of hours required to be re-accommodated on a partner airline varies by airline and circumstance; for example, United Airlines will look at partner airlines if the delay is four or more hours from an uncontrollable delay. Airlines usually prefer to keep you on the airline the ticket was originally booked on, followed by a partner airline; only if all possibilities become exhausted will they put you on competitor carrier.
    • Know your destination’s co-terminals—Cities with multiple airports that are a short drivable distance; for example: Los Angeles Airport (LAX) and Orange County airport (SNA) are co-terminals as well as Washington Dulles (IAD), Washington National (DCA), and Baltimore Washington International (BWI). If your flight is significantly delayed, and a different flight is operating to a co-terminal airport, this may make the difference between you getting to the city of your final destination quickly versus arriving a day or two later.
  • Check for travel waivers—Often times if an area anticipates a storm, airlines will issue a travel waiver which relaxes some of their stringent policies on changing nonrefundable tickets. This may allow you to change your departure times or days without a charge for whatever reason you deem necessary. Check the terms of the waiver carefully. In some cases, change fees will be waived, but if you have to be rebooked in a more expensive fare class, you will have to pay the difference out of your pocket. In other cases, any and all fare differences and change fees will be waived so you have a lot more latitude to make changes at no additional cost. There is also an end date by which you must reschedule the trip, so if you want to change a weekend getaway to a date several weeks later, it might even be possible.

Anticipating a delay during the trip-

  • Note that airlines anticipate some delays and pad regular schedules slightly to allow for this depending on the flight’s on-time record, airport of departure, and other factors such as how many other flights are leaving at the same time. If you ever have been on a flight that did not actually take off until thirty-five minutes after departure, for example, but you still manage to land on-time, it is because of the airline scheduling extra time or because you had wonderful tailwinds pushing the flight.
  • Use multiple sources for checking the flight status—usually, information to the passenger is relayed by the ground crew, flight monitors, or flight crew faster than an airline’s website, but every so often, the website is faster.
    • Figure out where the plane is arriving from—Airlines often put this information online now, but you can certainly check the “arrivals” monitors at the airport. Look for the corresponding gate number of the inbound flight by looking for the gate you are departing from and see if the plane you are taking is truly arriving on-time so that you can have an on-time departure. Also, be aware that in hub airports, flights with significantly delayed incoming aircraft’s may be swapped.
    • Remember that when your arriving aircraft pulls up to the gate, it will take some minimum amount of time before you will board—Passengers from the arriving airplane that you are taking must deplane, and the plane must be cleaned, and the crew for your flight must board and check things over before passengers and you can board. If your flight shows an on-time departure, but your aircraft has not even arrived at the gate twenty minutes before, you will almost certainly be delayed.
    • Smaller regional jets with fewer than 100 seats usually have a faster
      turnaround factor so not much time is required between flights.
      Flights that arrive from international destinations require a much longer
      turnaround because of extensive catering removal service, extra cleaning, blanket and pillow removal, and the fact that the plane is often larger than a normal domestic plane.

If your flight becomes mildly delayed-

  • Inquire what the cause of the delay may actually be. Often the airline website states a generic reason such for a delay such as “maintenance” or “weather.” If you ask an agent, he or she will usually be able to provide you more detail and an estimate of the anticipated length of the delay.
    • If the delay is because of Air Traffic Control and you are waiting in the terminal, be very careful to not stray far away from your gate. Flights can suddenly be cleared to depart and the airline is not obligated to wait for missing passengers. Even if you were on the plane and had return to the gate to deplane you are still responsible for staying near the gate.

If your flight becomes very delayed

  • Contact your hotel or hotel reservation number if you did not guarantee your room for a late
  • Ask the airline gate agent or customer service representative politely for a food voucher— while most airlines do not initially offer vouchers for issues outside of their control such as weather, Air Traffic Control, or “acts of God” they may after an extenuating delay of several hours.

If your flight is cancelled-

  • Call your airline’s reservation number, get on your computer, or get to a kiosk as fast as possible to get rebooked.
    • If you are at a larger airport, you can also go to a customer service center. Also, consider going to another gate to get rebooked if the delay is unique to your flight and is not an airport-wide delay. Be mindful that a gate agent has a responsibility to his or her own flight first and foremost.
    • If you are at a small airport with only one agent who happens to be the gate agent, call the airline reservations phone number, your travel agent, or travel department while waiting in line.
    • If you are at an airport that has an airline lounge to which you have a membership, head over there to get rebooked. There should be dedicated agents in the club who are standing by to help you.
  • Above all, be friendly—the majority of the people on your cancelled flight picked that flight for a particular reason and have important commitments on the other end. While you are probably in the same scenario, getting stressed out about the situation will not help. The agents who are rebooking passengers are probably overwhelmed from the debacle and any irate passenger is sure to make things worse. Being polite and understanding that the gate agent did not cause the cancellation is important to remember.
    • You may come out ahead being nice, too—the agent may sympathetically assign you a seat with more legroom that you would normally reserve with a fee, gratis; otherwise this may be a good time to ask for the seat for free. Besides, sitting back and watching seemingly civilized individuals turn into crazy beings can be entertaining.
  • Usually when people get rebooked, the new flight is within 24 hours. Even if you are spending the night, make sure to get a boarding pass from the agent who did the rebooking and check that it is for the correct destination and date. With so many rebookings in a short period of time, an agent can easily make an error.
  • Unless the airline is at fault for the cancellation, such as a mechanical problem or a crew related issue, or you are an incredibly high status holder of the airline, it is unlikely the airline will pay for your hotel if you are stranded overnight. Instead, make sure to get a slip of paper from the airline that provides you with a special low distress rate at designated nearby hotels. For peace of mind, you should call one of the hotels on the paper to make sure that a room is held for you. You will need to provide the slip when checking in at the hotel to be eligible for the rate. The rate is much more reasonable compared to walking up to a hotel at the last minute under normal circumstances.
  • Contact the hotel in your destination city—Call the hotel directly or the customer service department through the national reservation number and inform them that your flight has been cancelled. Many hotels will work with you to waive any cancellation charges.
  • If you are starting your journey, your flight has been cancelled, and you no longer wish to travel you should be entitled to a full refund.
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Loyalty Program Spotlight- Disney Movie Rewards

Disney fans, get excited! Disney now offers a rewards program, Disney Movie Rewards, that parents and kids can enjoy together. Earn points and get rewarded when you and your kids watch Disney movies or listen to Disney music, it is as simple as that! This program allows Disney fans to earn, enjoy, and be rewarded for things they already do. Let’s take a look into this program… where “dreams come true.”


Here is how it works. There are three ways to earn points. The first is to buy Disney DVD’s and blu rays of the Disney favorites we all know and love. The second way is through attending newly released Disney movies in the theaters. Finally, earn points when you buy Disney CD’s so the fun can continue in the car, or wherever you listen to music! Each of these items contain a special magic code that you input either into the site, your mobile phone, or by putting the disc into your computer. With each code, you will earn points that allow you to reward yourself, (can you say Starbucks gift card,) or reward your children with items ranging from all points values and categories. Parents, why not get rewarded for doing what you already do? The time has arrived for all those Disney purchases to pay you back!


This free and easy to join program offers a few “members only” benefits to make it even better! Members only benefits include many perks such as access to the inside scoop on movies, the ability to earn great rewards and offers, member surprises and more. Plus, never miss a beat when you “Like” Disney Movie Rewards on Facebook and follow (@Disney_DMR) the program on Twitter.

Start to earn and redeem now with this program, and do not forget to track all of your Disney Movie Rewards points on your UsingMiles dashboard!

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Donation for Hurricane Relief Efforts Earn Frequent Flier Miles

Those affected by Hurricane Sandy still need our help! Through November 30, 2012, United Airlines and American Airlines are offering frequent flier miles for cash donations to the hurricane relief efforts.  With the effects of Hurricane Sandy, these announcements are made in order to help victims that have been affected by the storm – one that has caused nearly 150 fatalities.
Here are the basics on each offering:

  • United Airlines: A one-time bonus of 250 bonus miles will be given for donations from $50 to $99 – or 500 bonus points for donations of $100 or more.  Enter your MileagePlus number when you make the donation.  A maximum of five million miles will be awarded with the program.  The bonus miles are awarded for donations to American Red Cross, AmeriCares, or Feeding America – United Airlines is also matching donations for these three organizations, up to $50,000.
  • American Airlines: A minimum of $50 will earn a one-time bonus of 250 miles – or 500 bonus points for a minimum of $100 to the American Red Cross.  The announcements note that the name on the donation will need to match the name on the AAdvantange account for the bonus to be eligible.  Users will need to mark “Yes” next to the statement pertaining to the donation offer.

Interested parties can make a donation through the linked programs, in order to gain some frequent flier miles and to support the hurricane relief efforts. Contact us to learn how you can track your miles and any discount program with UsingMiles – a free tool to manage your rewards.

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UsingMiles Becomes Sponsor of Make-A-Wish Foundation!

We are proud to announce that UsingMiles.com is now a proud sponsor of  the Make-a-Wish foundation. In an attempt to further carry out the mission of Make-a-Wish foundation goals, UsingMiles will  become a positive resource for these children and families to obtain travel through the generosity of other people donating their frequent flier miles.

In order to do this, UsingMiles will acquire airline mile donations for the Make-a-Wish Wishes in Flight program. UsingMiles customers will have the opportunity to donate miles they have accrued to further a child’s wish being granted. As most wishes require travel, this sponsorship will enable users to easily donate unused miles to the foundation and help the children reach their destination of choice!


One of UsingMiles’ goals is to give back to the community. “We’re thrilled to play a role in giving the gift of travel to make these life changing experiences possible,” said Krista Paul, founder of UsingMiles.

Both UsingMiles and the Make-a-Wish foundation are excited about this new relationship and look forward to the benefit the children and families of the Make-a-Wish Foundation will receive from the generosity of UsingMiles customers.

“Airline miles are essential in the fulfillment of our mission, whether a wish kid wants to visit a theme park, travel to a unique destination, or just fly to reunite with a close family member,” said David A. Williams, president and CEO of Make-A-Wish America.  “We’re excited to welcome UsingMiles as a resource in supporting wishes like these across the country.”

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Loyalty Program Spotlight- Belly

Belly is a free universal loyalty card aimed to make the loyalty world innovative and convenient. Belly creates digital loyalty programs for small to medium businesses. Belly has a goal of eliminating the wallet clutter created by numerous paper punch cards, loyalty cards, and key ring cards to consolidate the loyalty world. With a “one card fits all” plan of action, a Belly card will replace all the rest. You can even download the mobile app so you can always track your rewards and  locate places to “belly” while you are out and about from your phone.

Customers who use Belly simply scan their actual Belly card or use the mobile app on the iPad at the merchant’s store. Instantly upon scanning and checking in, the customer will see how many points they have earned. The iPad will also display the rewards customers can choose from once they have enough points.

The rewards gained from using your Belly card can be of monetary value or not. Some quirky but fun rewards include a sandwich named after you at your favorite sandwich shop or the ability to punch a comic book store owner in the stomach (not kidding, this really is a reward). These unique but fun rewards options encourage increased customer retention. Because the rewards are easy to earn, use, an offer a splash of fun, Belly makes is worthwhile to revisit your favorite places.

Small to medium business owners can register their business on the website, and for a small subscription, they can participate in the Belly loyalty program. Belly will even offer the business owners analytics and other useful data to examine customer retention. There is no restriction the type of store when using Belly. They offer cupcakes stores, hair salons, comic book stores, and many more all for which the Belly card will reward you.

This check in process takes it one step further by offering points and in turn rewards by just scanning in at the location. To find a list of locations near you that offer the Belly program, check out the website.


This unique and innovative form of a universal loyalty card is changing the face of the loyalty program industry. No longer do consumers need to fear packed wallets of useless punch cards that never actually offer any value to customers. With a new face (or should I say ‘belly”) to the loyalty world, it will be interesting to see how many businesses start to revamp their loyalty programs.

Be sure to keep track of all your Belly points on your UsingMiles dashboard. This program is coming soon but be sure to add your credentials so once it is up and running, your points will appear in your dashboard!

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Loyalty Program News You Could Use: Week of November 5, 2012

Earn Rewards When You Shop in Vegas


A new loyalty program,“Inner Square,” rewards those who shop at Town Square when they visit Las Vegas. Most reward programs focus only on one place. But the Inner Square offers its users benefits at the entire mall, not just particular stores and restaurants in the mall, but all of them! “We want everyone who is shopping or dining at Town Square to benefit from this program. It has been in development for more than two years, and we’ll roll it out in various phases,” said Jaimesen Mapes, marketing director for Town Square Las Vegas. Shoppers will receive 100 points, just for sign up. Perks for being a member of the Inner Square include extra points on their birthday, exclusive offers, sale information and more. With numerous stores, restaurants, and entertainment options, the Inner Square rewards program will help shoppers earn points and use them with ease!

Malaysia Airlines will join oneworld Alliance


Malaysia Airlines will join the oneworld Alliance starting February 1, 2013. The current loyalty program, Enrich, serves 2 million members. These members will soon be able to use and extend their frequent flyer privileges with any oneworld member airlines. Enrich Platinum and Gold members will be able to use any of the 550 airport lounges worldwide offered by oneworld member airlines whenever they fly with any of the alliance’s carriers. Malaysia Airlines’ First and Business Class passengers will also be able to use oneworld partner airline lounges. Enrich Platinum cardholders will have Emerald status in the oneworld program. Enrich Gold will be equivalent to oneworld Sapphire and Enrich Silver will be oneworld Ruby. The perks of flying within alliance partners include more accessibility and flexibility than those airlines who operate alone in their rewards programs.

Citi Seeks New Members with Revamped Rewards Card

Citigroup is in the process of recreating and revamping, Private Pass, a longstanding rewards program that organizes special events and tickets for Citigroup customers. Citigroup is overhauling its credit card program after the financial crisis and Private Pass in an attempt to stand out in the increasingly competitive field of card issuers. Private Pass was originally emphasized on concerts but now it is looking to expand into sports events, food, and more family activities. Citigroup says it has 10,000 Private Pass events planned for 2012, up 23% from last year.

Hilton HHonors offer 1,000 Reasons to Travel


This November and December, Hilton HHonors, the loyalty program for Hilton Worldwide, is providing travelers with an extra incentive to plan weekend travel through its latest global promotion, 1,000 Reasons. Hilton is attempting to encourage people to travel for whatever reason it may be, to extend a business trip, plan a weekend getaway, or a last minute family vacation. From November 1, 2012 through December 31, 2012, members will earn 1,000 Bonus Points per night for hotel stays completed Thursday through Monday at participating hotels. Register here.

Chicago Public Schools Team Up With Walgreens


Walgreens and Chicago Public Schools have teamed up to encourage parents to get involved in schools. Parents who pick up their children’s report cards and participate in teacher conferences will receive one of the drugstore chain’s, Balance Rewards, loyalty program cards worth $25 in free merchandise at stores. Students, parents, schools, and Walgreens look to benefit from this partnership. Offering incentives for parental involvement in schools is a new idea that will be monitored closely to measure effectiveness. In unveiling his latest “public-private partnership,” Emanuel offered to put the card in the hands of parents at 70 Chicago public schools.

Have a great Monday, everyone!

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The Joy of Credit Card Points for Tight Budgets

Creating and abiding by a tight budget can be extremely difficult.  Yet, it can be necessary when things are not going very well financially.

In these types of situations, there might not be time for rewards of any kind.  After all, it’s bad enough paying credit card and utility bills, mortgage payments, and worrying about saving for (more) rainy days.  Vacations and nice dinners out may be a distant, fleeting thought – or fantasy.

Credit card points and other loyalty bonuses can offer a much-needed break.  Versatile, many credit card points can help with monthly bills, as most can be used to take care of part of the balanced owed.  However, there is certainly room for credit card points, miles, and furthermore to be enjoyed.

If your budget is manageable, consider using saved credit card points and/or miles for this purpose.  Consider how your rewards can single-handedly give you a short or long weekend’s vacation – or simply a nice night out.  It could be the escape from troubling financial times that is needed.

Plan adequately for these extras by utilizing UsingMiles, which is a free tool for keeping track of all loyalty points.  You can see all of your points and never lose them due to expiring terms on your card.  It’s a simple, easy tool that can help you manage any type of loyalty points program.

Contact us to learn more about how you can track all of your loyalty points.  It may be a great way to coordinate some fun activities that won’t break the budget.

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Loyalty Program Spotlight- Rakuten Point Club

Rakuten, a site based in Tokyo, Japan, focuses on electronic retail. Much like eBay is to the United States, Rakuten is to Japan. As one of the world’s largest sites, it offers everything from clothes and shoes to sweets and alcohol, which makes it simple to find anything you need on Japan’s number one shopping site. The Rakuten Point club tracks all of your purchases and offers reward points for you to apply to future purchases!


The Rakuten Point Club allows you to save with each purchase. When you earn Rakuten Super Points, you can save money each time you shop. Benefits of this program allow you to earn 1% Super Points with each purchase as well as bonus Super Points. Super Points are awarded for numerous seasonal promotions that offer 1,000 bonus points or 10 times point offerings.

This loyalty program has four membership levels; silver, gold, platinum, and diamond. More rewards come as you move up in the membership levels. At the beginning level of silver, you will receive 700 bonus points on your birthday. The next level is gold, where you will earn 700 birthday points, access to 48-hour sales, and a 50,000 max bonus points if you win the lottery. At the platinum level, you will receive all benefits listed for silver and gold plus limited invitations to sales, 50 points back every month, and a monthly coupon. The top tier of this loyalty program is the diamond level. Here you will receive 150 points back each month, a group coupon each month, a special offer on your one year anniversary and all benefits leading up to diamond. Additionally, loyalty program members will receive special limited time deals, based on the level of membership held.

To use your Super Points, you must have at least 50 to apply to a purchase. During the purchase process, you will be able to sign into your account and apply your Super Points to your purchase.


In perusing this site myself, I found it to be very interesting. Prices are reasonable and they have a vast amount of products to browse through. This site could be useful to many with the Holiday season on its way. Just make sure you leave enough time for shipping, because after all, it ships from Japan!

Add Rakuten Point Club to your UsingMiles dashboard now to track all of your Super Points!

Happy Halloween everyone! Have a wonderful Wednesday!

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