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Virtual loyalty programs

Virtual loyalty programs

Credit: AP

by Terri Gruca

Bio | Email | Follow: @TerriG_KVUE


Posted on August 5, 2010 at 11:00 PM

Updated Thursday, Aug 5 at 10:56 AM

Forget adding another loyalty card to your key chain or wallet. More retailers are using virtual loyalty programs that you can use on your phone and most are free.

Here are a few of them and how they work.

Foursquare This is one of the most popular apps. It lets you connect through Facebook and Twitter, find where your friends are hanging out, get recommendations on things to do nearby, earn points and badges for checking in, some businesses will even offer you discounts and savings based on how often you check in.

Gowalla This is very similar to Foursquare. You can search for businesses you like or a business in a city you live or visit.

Bright Kite This app lets you check in with your friends and learn what’s happening in your area. You can find your friends or meet new people in your area and find events and parties too.

Place Pop Businesses sign up and you collect their virtual loyalty cards then collect discounts and savings based on how often you frequent the business. There are cards for nearly every city in the country. Here’s an example of some of the savings: Target gave away $10 gift cards to the first 100 people to earn Silver status.

Shop Kick This app was launched in 2009 and helps you save money at your favorite stores. It senses when you're near a store and can push ads or savings your way. For example, Macy's and Best Buy provide loyal customers with personalized offers, product information, and peer advice.

Top Guest This lets you earn points and rewards on travel and you use it with many of the other sites mentioned above so there’s no need to download a separate app. You simply sign up and check in at various hotels and restaurants to earn points and rewards.

Cause World This app lets you check in with certain retailers, make purchases and earn points for charitable causes.

 You won't want to sign up for each of these, that will be overwhelming. But find your favorite and you may just be able to save.