Boots has the advantage

It’s been rumoured for a while that Boots was considering spreading its Advantage Card wings and inviting third party retail partners to join its loyalty programme, and now the rumour’s borne fruit as 50 brand partners sign up.

Now instead of collecting and redeeming reward points with Boots there are 50 broad ranging brands across the retail, leisure and technology sectors that will award Advantage Card holders points for online shopping, much like the Nectar scheme.

The clever part of this third party affiliate deal is that the points can still only be redeemed in Boots. This is where it differs from Nectar, which has both collect and redeem partners.

Fashion brands such as Asos.com, New Look and the White Company now sit side by side with entertainment brands HMV, Lastminute.com and Ticketmaster and travel partners such as Virgin Holidays and Thomas Cook. The variety offers Advantage Card holders more ways to boost their points balance.

Of all the loyalty initiatives and partnerships in the past year, and there have been many, this is the one that appeals to me the most.

In the last 12 months, I’ve gone from having no loyalty cards to having two. I’m a Nectar Card holder and I have an Advantage Card.

I dutifully collect points for my purchases on both cards and watch the balance totting up but I’ve ever redeemed Boots points.

I needed a tiny jolt of retail therapy but couldn’t justify a spree, so I popped into Boots, found myself a striking shade of nail varnish I’d had my eye on, toddled off to the till, and paid on points.

I walked out feeling cheery that I had treated myself to something new and shiny but I was even happier that it didn’t cost me anything.

Of course it did. It cost me a few hundred loyalty points I’d racked up through my other purchases, but it made me feel good and it felt like getting something for nothing.

This is what Boots Treat Street recognises with the Treat Street concept. The emotional engagement that comes from redeeming points and walking away with that little something extra.

Dave Robinson, head of Treat Street, says most cardholders redeem points against treats, not against normal everyday items but they wanted to be able to build up their points balance quicker.

Advantage card is already a generous loyalty scheme and awards four points for every £1 spent and on redemption, 1 point equals a penny.

Via Treat Street, the online partner brands will guarantee at least 1 point per £1 spent.

The impressive thing is not that there are now additional partners, but the appeal of those partners.

The list shows an understanding of customers and the brands that they engage with regularly anyway not a list of random brands trying to leverage association with the Boots Advantage Card to obtain new customers.

I’ve already got my eye on purchases through a number of the new partners that will see my points balance rocket and my treat purchase courtesy of Boots points get more rewarding.

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