Shopping Rewards Programs Rated

Rating: ★★★★
Category: Other

(This review is also posted at

I became a woman at 30. At least, that’s what my sister tells me. “Ate, bakit ngayon ka lang nagdadalaga?” she had asked with a wry chuckle. I remember my kikay cousins giving up on convincing me to take care of my skin, to not look so raw, to pay attention to what I wear etc. etc. I was happy and comfortable with looking like a geek and not doing anything to change it. Being shaped like a woman, despite all the coverage, didn’t stop men from forgetting that your face is at the top of your shoulders and not plastered on your chest (however little it is), anyway.

Then suddenly, BAM! My definition of hellish torture had changed. From not being able to break a particularly tricky code (which, fortunately, has never happened) to something else: Hellish torture is when you walk along the hallways of Rockwell, seeing the drool-worthy Melissas on sale, and being on a tight budget. So yeah, thanks to the company of fashionista professors, 2007 was the year that I became a shop-a-holic.

Of course, it’s not like I have moolah 24/7. On days when I don’t feel like taking on a project — which means I’d be somewhat broke — I turn to a shopper’s friend. That is, the frequent shopper’s card. It comes in many names and not all of them are really as value-for-money as they claim to be. So let’s see…

    SM Advantage Card

    I had been using one for the last year and apparently, Banco de Oro (BDO) noticed my purchasing power enough to give me a pre-approved BDO credit card that comes with yet another SM Advantage Card (SAC). Actually, I wasn’t a frequent shopper at the time that I raked in points. It was my tuition fee, which the SAC had been used on, that pulled the points up. When I found out that using the new BDO credit card with the new SAC pulls your points up even more, I started using them and transferred all the points my old SAC had to the new one.

    Now here’s the little thing that irked me. Upon closer inspection, you’ll realize that you only get 1 point rebate for every PhP200 purchase, even less if you’re only shopping in affiliate stores. So it means that if you had spent around PhP50,000 in a day of splurging, you only get a measly PhP250 rebate. It’s probably enough to buy you two umbrellas. Blecch. What cheapskates!

    And the coupons you get upon membership? Almost all of them are worthless because you may have to travel far to redeem most of them. Some of them would also have the “valid only at selected outlets” label. Gee, I wonder what selected outlets those are. What if they’re valid only in Cagayan de Oro? Dare I go island hopping just to see which stores support them?

    Rustan’s Frequent Shopper’s Plus Card

    Now here is the big shocker: Rustan’s probably has the most valuable card released in the market. At first, when I was told that I’d get a PhP600 rebate for every PhP20,000 accumulated purchases, I wasn’t too impressed. I didn’t mind, though, since Rustan’s doesn’t really sell products that the mass market would go for. To my pleasant surprise, it wasn’t really that difficult to get your 600 rebate. I’ve only owned an FSP card for half a year and I have already amassed over a thousand points. Imagine if my graduate school was able to use a Rustan’s FSP card! I’d be raking it in! Here’s the computation: PhP33.33 = 1 point. That’s a far cry from SM’s PhP200 = 1. And you thought Rustan’s is unbelievably expensive, huh?

    Now if you can only use the FSP for Beauty Bar, too.

    National Bookstore – Laking National Card

    This is also one of the most sulit cards I’ve ever used. You basically get 10 points for every PhP1,000 accumulated purchases. That’s about 1 point for every hundred pesos, still beating SM’s lousy rewards system by 100%. And I’m saying it’s worth it because everyone needs a bookstore. Even the non-nerds. Now, I know that Power Books and Fully Booked may have the widest range of actual books as opposed to school and office supplies but there are accessible branches and subsidiaries of National Bookstore, like Best Sellers, that actually sell readables.

    Bench Loyalty Card via TheFaceShop

    I was supposed to get one when I saw it atop a cash register in TheFaceShop at Glorietta. That was because I already spent so much on bath products, which I’m guessing had already gone above PhP10,000. TheFaceShop had already given me free soaps, towels, a beauty bag and whatnot because of my loyalty. Then the card appeared. Thing is, in order for you to get that card from TheFaceShop, you need to show them that you have PhP10,000 worth of accumulated receipts. What the hey??? (This is what the cashier at TheFaceShop Rockwell told me.) If I had known they were going to do that, then I should’ve compiled my receipts. I think that was a little bit too steep and it turned me off, considering I had already spent that much anyway and I’m not really inclined to spend another 10 grand just for a measly card. I felt like I was being punished, especially when they could’ve just given me the card for a mere PhP150 membership fee (like what other decent stores do). TheFaceShop had lost my loyalty because of that (I’d still be reviewing their lovely soaps, though) and I have since turned to Ilog Maria and Rustan’s Essenses’ organic stores for my bathing needs.

    Bench Loyalty Card

    I’ll probably still get a card…through Bench. That way, it only would only cost PhP150. I read that the points are equivalent to how much you spent. As in literally PhP1 = 1 point. Now for the points translation, I’ve yet to find out. I will have to ask when I do drop by Bench one of these days. The card can also be used for Human, Bench Fix Salon, Kashieca, Charles and Keith, TheFaceShop and other stores under or connected to Ben Chan.

    Will update rating when I finally get the card.

    Your own credit card’s rewards program
    I haven’t actually asked yet about mine. I only know that I’m rooting for miles. Still, I’ve been told that you can actually convert credit card points to either pay for your membership or to convert them to gift certificates for Rustan’s or SM. I get freebies from mine, which is Metrobank, like that Belo cryo-something treatment that I haven’t redeemed yet. (Belo also has a reward card that I use on the rare occasions that I go to them.)


  1. Rowena Wendy Lei

    October 30, 2007 at 2:18 am

    Sulit Rustans kasi like when I go Christmas shopping toys in Rustans and SM are priced the same naman tapos free gift wrapping pa sa Rustans sossy pa ang dating…

  2. Ave Organic Skin and Spa

    May 4, 2008 at 4:49 pm

    how much sulit rustans and FSP?

  3. Bea Lapa

    May 4, 2008 at 5:00 pm

    600 pesos rebate for every 20,000. i think i stated it here? 🙂
    sa 20,000 mo for bench and sm you only get like 100+.

  4. Ave Organic Skin and Spa

    May 4, 2008 at 5:11 pm

    what i mean how to apply for one

  5. Bea Lapa

    May 4, 2008 at 5:16 pm

    ah, just go to the rustan's information counter. they will tell you what you need to do. i forgot na the process but it's pretty quick. they'll give you the card after 3 weeks.

  6. Ave Organic Skin and Spa

    May 21, 2008 at 4:54 am

    thats nice… i have the ayala discount card way back.. i think for me thats the most sulit.. i had my first ayala discount card…. way back in high school.. my ex and i had to accumulate a certain amount with reciepts… dati free parking if you have that… i wonder if they still have that now.. ang alam ko me free use of internet ka. 🙂 i havent been to ayala lately din so ifever.. id love to renew my membership

    rewards plus na lang pla ang rustans no… dati meron sila automatic discount. my friend has that…. sis what stores applicable ang fsp… is it true i can use it in charriol?

  7. Bea Lapa

    May 21, 2008 at 7:03 am

    yeah, my friend has a discount card version of the fsp. nagtanong nga ako sa kanila kung magkakaroon ulit, wala pang balita.

    di lang ako sure san pa puwede gamitin. ibang card pa yung sa supermarket nila eh. rustan's fresh card. my sister's getting one kasi puwede gamitin sa shopwise.

  8. Dringpot Xing

    February 4, 2009 at 2:56 am

    hi. how much accumulated receipt needed to apply FSP card? thanks!

  9. Bea Lapa

    February 4, 2009 at 4:33 am

    wow…i forgot. i think 2k? i got mine a long time ago so they probably changed rates.

  10. aleina 022010

    September 3, 2010 at 5:00 am

    Now you are ready for the design of your site?? Do you have any idea now?? Kindly share it to us. Maybe we can help you..


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