Canadian Quick Question: What Do You Think Of “Savings Passes” Or “Savings Cards”?

The latest trend among retailers is to offer store credit in the form of gift cards or bonus points when you spend a certain amount of money at the store.  It is not uncommon to see “spend $100, get a $25 savings card!” or some other catchy title splashed across a flyer or sign.  Sometimes the offers seem too good to be true, especially when the savings will be 50% or more.  And, nine times out of ten the deal is too good to be true…

The initial claim of 30%-60% off gets your attention.  With the excitement building, you furiously read the fine print to see how you can get in on this fantastic deal and then…there it is.  The tiny little detail that kills your joy in a split second:  “savings pass is redeemable on your next purchase of $100 or more”.  And what’s more, retailers will usually tell you when you can spend the savings pass.  Hmmm…better write that one down on the calendar or the entire promotion will be good for nothing.

I find these promotions misleading and frustrating.  Why would a retailer make an outlandish claim (save 50%!) only to squash all excitement by bogging it down with fine print to make the deal a waste of your time?  If the goal is to catch your eye, then this is a highly effective marketing gimmick.  However, it seems absurd to lure a customer in just to disappoint them in the end.

What do you think of savings passes?  Do you find them frustrating?  Or, are they a savvy marketing tool?  Let us know!



18 responses to “Canadian Quick Question: What Do You Think Of “Savings Passes” Or “Savings Cards”?”

  1. Rosa says:

    I don’t mind if I am in need of something in that store anways. IMO seems like people are spending double(on the first purchase and on the second purchase). Would be much better to give a discount with no minimum spend!

  2. Chantal says:

    Not everyone can afford to go shopping often, find all the clothing they need in one store, buy large amounts of clothing, carry 20 non essential cards in their wallet… A lot of these are not worth it when you’re not a mom of a bunch of teens. Sometimes I need one top but it’s buy 2 and save 5$ a shirt so I buy two and wear one. How much did I save? I would prefer discounts on clothing right away, no strings attatched. I thought there wasn’t supposed to be expiry on gift cards… and % off cards where you have to go back between dates and you can’t buy a sale item…

  3. alisa1 says:

    I hate them! Have fallen once for this without reading the fine print at the Bay(the card went to garbage after all) and they will never have me as a customer again! Only for the end of season sales with the discounts “here and now”.

  4. xXtiggerXx says:

    I dislike these “deals” as well. The dollar amounts needed to get the cards are usually much higher than one would typically spend in that particular store, and then you have to go back again to spend a bunch more. Sometimes it even has to be all regular priced merchandise, which would go on better sale if I waited anyways.I much prefer a 25% off sale to a spend $100, get $50 card for next $100 purchase.

  5. adora says:

    They are useful if you plan to buy a lot of stuff from the same retailer. They are a way for retailers to offer some discounts to “good customers” who wouldn’t wait until the end of the season. And it is just that. These offers are not targeted for bargain hunters on SC.

    I do find them useful on occasions. My body is exactly sample size, which means I buy average size clothing and shoes. If I wait for the end of the season, they would run out of nice things in my size. This type of discount at fashion stores such as Smart Set, gives me incentive to purchase even at full price. I would buy fashion item when it first came out, get the discount card for essentials like T-shirts later.

    I also like this type of discount for Christmas. Retailers tries to get people to shop earlier, but we all know things get cheaper the last week. For me, I like to finish all my shopping by Advent. This type of discount makes me feel a little better when I see the stuff I bought are half the price by 20th.

  6. beth says:

    I do not mind I like the idea but the card must have a long expiry date
    some cards say must come back next week to use

  7. dee says:

    I dont think it makes much financial sense.It is a way to entice the consumer back into their store,but most people dont end up using them.Also you have to make a purchase of certain amount to get the deal.In the end you spend more on stuff you hadnt planned for.

    They never work for me.The marketing gurus might think its a good way to get the consumer back,but I think it is a small percentage who dont watch their budgets .

  8. Sandra5 says:

    The Bay is especially annoying for doing this even though I spend there quite regularly.
    Their current “spend $75 get a $25 savings card” is especially chintzy.
    You can’t redeem it unless you spend a minimum $100 within a particular time frame! Unless you see something you like within that time frame, the savings card is useless. Plus there is the added inconvenience of having to go back to the store twice and spend the exact specified amount of money within the exact specified time frame.
    Whew, that’s a lot of work to remember the convoluted rules for a tiny savings.
    Sooo., getting back to the Bay example, spend $175 get $25 off is a truly crap deal. It insults the customer’s intelligence and only makes the intelligent shopper suspicious of the retailer’s so-called “deals”..

  9. Emily says:

    I agree with beth, they need longer expiry dates! You have to spend a certain amount to get the card and then the store expects you to go back a week later and spend another $50 or $100 to be able to redeem the card! Most of the time I end up throwing them away.

  10. Kim says:

    I do NOT like this type of so-called savings card. I prefer my deals to occur at the time of purchase and to be string-free. I am frequently highly irritated by the so-called ‘deals’ retailers offer with these cards… Sometimes it feels like a Bait and Switch tactic. “High Percentage off or FREE!!” very quickly becomes “SPEND $100 today and get ‘X’ item free with next purchase” or something similar, once the fine print is read. What the?!? AND the deal is only good at a specific time? IMO, that no longer makes the offer a deal. The retailer is surreptitiously squeezing more cash out of unsuspecting consumers… NO THANKS. I prefer to shop when I want, where I want; and when the price is right for the quantities I want. In short – on MY terms, not the retailers terms. They can keep thier cards.

  11. C says:

    Old Navy is the worst for this- Supercash is terrible! Not only do you have to spend more than triple to use it, it’s only valid for 1 week usually 2 weeks after your purchase.

  12. saver says:

    I’d rather get a discount upfront and sometimes you end up spending more money than you would otherwise. From the retailers point of view it is better for them as you are spending your savings at their store, so a win-win for them.

  13. X says:

    They do it because they bank on you NOT being able to use the card in the amount of time, OR you come back and spend a bunch of money in their store just to get x amount off, but they mark stuff up enough that they lose nothing. It’s not a gift card, it’s a ‘savings card’. It’s a bs through-hoops thing that they do to trick customers into spending more. The fact that you have to spend usually at least the same amount as what you spent before to use the card is so dumb.

    I don’t fall for this, ever. I’d only use it if, say, I was planning on buying big-ticket items anyway, I’d just buy half my purchase at once and the other half later. That’s the only way I’d SAVE money with these cards, is if I was buying the items anyway.

  14. thrifty says:

    I hate them! I’m thrifty! and unless It’s a place I shop at all the time or have some specific needs …like oh say the grocery store!…I’m not likely to come back for anything else within the time frame that the card or coupon specifies. Sometimes you even have to spend a minimum amount when you use the savings card or coupon. It’s just a big cash grab to get you back in the store spending more money. Even if they don’t get you back in the store…how much extra did you spend to to get the savings card?

    I also hate B1G1 50% off or whatever…I only want 1 “pair of shoes” (or insert item here) at 25% off not 2 at 25% off. Heck I’ll even take 15% off if it’s something I need to buy…but I’m not spending MORE money for 2 of something when I don’t need it!

    What happened to good old…% off no strings attached sales? They seem to be less and less these days!

  15. abbasgirl says:

    I really hate the ones where you have to spend a certain amount to get a card and then have to spend more in order to use the card. Some stores offer a card with no minimum purchase and I’m fine with those. I participate in those offers when there’s something I need. But the other ones just make me mad and I end up avoiding those stores. Petcetera is a good example of a store that I used to shop at until they started offering these scams.

  16. Beth says:

    I don’t “buy” in to them!

  17. cs shopper says:

    I agree with those of you who hate the ‘special offer’ card from the Bay or other clothing stores. it is NOT a gift card and they are very careful to not use that term otherwise they would be forced to follow the rules of the gift cards which do NOT have expiry date nor a certain period for it to be used.

    I also threw out my Bay card. Like my sister says when telemarketers call from Bell whose speech is: if you buy this, include that, upgrade for so much $, you will save 5 dollars every months. thank you very much, they want you to spend more money to save money. What part of saving did I miss?

    As most of you, I would rather have my 25% discount on what I am buying which I consider only about 10% real discount for example, since you still have to pay 13% tax, at least in Ontario.

    So, in summary, I am thrown off with the fine print and I avoid those stores. As someone just said, what happened to the straight % savings on the spot no matter how much you spend then and there.

  18. sue says:

    These are terrible in Canada. Spend $200 and get $15. That seems to be the trend. There is no enticement. Most don’t even cover the sales tax.


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