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Party On! Birthday Bargains: Taking Advantage of Loyalty Programs
I don't know about you, but I am always looking for a bargain. Let me tell you about the best bargains out there: free birthday gifts. We all have a birthday (even if we sometimes pretend we don't) and a number of restaurants and stores want to help you celebrate it. I say, if a store wants to give me something free for my birthday, I am there!
I've been on my own personal mission for over a year now to sign up for email lists and loyalty programs, and get as much free stuff as possible. I now have a list of restaurants and stores that will give you presents for your birthday and I want to share this information with other bargain shoppers.
Even if you don't see a store on this list, make sure the ask a customer service representative if there is a loyalty program. Until recently, I did not even realize The Body Shop had a loyalty program. Since there is a $10 charge to join, I will not add it to the list. However, they do give you a birthday present and discounts, so it does basically pay for itself in no time.
Sephora probably has the best loyalty program if you are interested in receiving a free birthday gift. You simply sign up for their program called the Sephora Beauty Insider and you are all set. Once you have the card, you will receive an email from them about 2 weeks before your birthday reminding you to pick up your gift. There are no strings attached. You do not need to make any other purchase at all. You walk through the door, go to the counter, tell them it is your birthday, and they hand over your gift. It is so simple and very generous of Sephora.
The gift for 2011 was shower gel. It was called Happy Birthday, Beautiful, and it smells like birthday cake. Aside from the birthday gift, the sales associate actually handed over a free sample with it. I thought that was really nice. Especially since I did not buy anything. Also, according to the website, there are birthday gifts available for men, so don't feel left out if you are a guy reading this hub.
For this year, 2012, 2 small lip glosses are the birthday gifts from Sephora. The box includes a mini sugar lip treatment and a mini sugar rose tinted lip treated. Each one is SPF 15. I will also say they are both smooth and smell very nice. What is most important? They are totally free for your birthday!
Do you love coffee? If so, this could be the perfect birthday gift for you. If you sign up for a Starbucks Rewards card, you will get a free birthday beverage of your choice. You can get whatever flavor you want, hot or cold, as long as you are registered. Also, there is no limit on the size. Starbucks will send you an email, and then send a postcard so you can take it in and get your free drink.
I received my email telling me to expect a postcard about 2 weeks before my birthday. The week of my birthday, the postcard arrived. I got to enjoy a free caramel coffee for my birthday. Ah, the perks of getting old. Get it - coffee - perks? Never mind.
Panera just recently started their own loyalty program. It is called My Panera and you can easily sign up. Since this is a new program, there has been much debate about it online. Apparently, you can get a free dessert in some states, but not others. I would advise asking someone at Panera if they know the answer to this question. What I do know is they definitely give you something free just for signing up. In Maryland, you can get a free smoothie or espresso drink. I've used my card a couple of times there and I've already earned another free drink. So I think even if there is no birthday gift, if you eat at Panera at least once a month, it is worth getting their card.
3/14/11 UPDATE: Panera just sent me an email inviting me to pick up a birthday dessert. Looks like Maryland Paneras celebrate your birthday!
Birthday Bargain Poll
Are you more likely to shop at a store that gives free birthday gifts?
Victoria's Secret also has a free birthday gift waiting for you. Unfortunately, you need to get a Victoria's Secret credit card for this. If you get their credit card, you are then a Victoria's Secret Angel. Aside from a free birthday present, you will also earn free gift cards depending on the amount of points you earn based on how much you shop at the store.
Personally, I do not have their credit card. I have too many cards as it is and I figured with all the interest, I am not sure it makes sense to do that just to get a gift card here and there. If you shop there a lot and you can pay off the card each month, it may certainly be worth it to you.
Restaurants Will Gladly Sing and Serve You
Just about any nice restaurant out there will give you a free dessert if it is your birthday. That is why I am not creating a special section for each one. I would be typing this hub for another month. By the time I finished, it would be way past my birthday and I would not even be able to get my own bargains! A number of restaurants have reward programs and you can sign up online. Here is a list of some restaurants that offer a free dessert. Make sure to check out their website to determine if you need to register with their loyalty program first.
LIST OF RESTAURANTS THAT OFFER FREE DESSERT:
- Coldstone Creamery
- TGI Friday's
- Rainforest Cafe
- Noodles & Company (free meal)
- Ruby Tuesday's (free burger)
- Red Robin (free burger)
- Red Lobster
- Olive Garden
- Bob Evans
- Cheesecake Factory
Copyright ©2011-2012 Jeannieinabottle
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Links to Stores Listed Above
Sephora's Insider Rewards Program
- My Starbucks Rewards | Starbucks Coffee Company
Learn more about Starbucks Rewards and register your card.
Panera Bread's new loyalty program, the MyPanera Program, is our way of showing food lovers like you how much we appreciate you in unexpected ways, surprising ways. The program is free to join and the more you visit, the more rewards you'll enjoy.