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Please God, not yet another 'Expat Discount' card....

By Mr Grumpy - Fri 11th Feb 2011

If I pick up another expat newspaper or magazine, or log onto another expat website here in Spain and see yet another 'discount card' on offer I refuse to be held responsible for my actions.

Ponder it for a minute. Can you think of just one newspaper, 'commercial' magazine' (I'm excluding the smaller 'labour of love' type mags that often have some decent content), or website that does NOT include some kind of 'amazing offer' etc... Honestly, I've lost count myself.

I think that the reason that in the UK these cards died a slow and horrible death back in the 1990's was that, on the whole consumers realised that paying for the priveledge of giving business to somebody was completely unnecessary. Granted, there were one or two such cards from a few enterprising restaurants that seemed to offer genuinely good value, but they never seemed to be around for long.

Then loyalty cards came along that allowed purchases like Petrol, and almost everything else that could be bought on the high street (but from a supermarket, if that makes sense) - and this was given to you, no obligations ! - You didn't need to buy them, they had offers on products that you would actually buy on a day-to-day basis, and best of all the offers and discounts were actually 'good'.

So why do the retailers of such cards here in Spain think that I must have gone slightly insane and checked my common sense in at UK customs and excise upon leaving the country ? Why on the surface of this holy planet would I spend 25 Euros to actually purchase one of these such cards, which offers such 'fantastic offers' as a Free Busicuit whenever I buy a Cafe con leche, Free carrier bag with every pair of shoes I buy, or get 50cents off a Meal at restuarant on any Monday night (Special Menu excluded, not available in conjunction with any other offers etc...) None of the deals even seem to be for estalishments that :

A) Are located anywhere close to me.

B) I have actually heard of.

C) Once I had found out about them, would be unlikely to ever want to go to.

Do any of these cards have any actual value to the consumer - regardless of whether they are given away gratis or being paid for in cold hard cash ? - at the rate of 25 Euros per card it would take about 8 years worth of drinking cafe on leche's (with Free Buiscuit) and Monday night meals (A la carte, not Special menu) to glean enough 'value' to just about make it worth my while.

Do they bring any value in to the Businesses that pay to use this as a means of marketing their products & services, or is it just another means of 'adding value' to exsisting paid advertising services ?

As always, I am more than happy to be proved wrong - drop me a comment below if I'm hideously wrong.

Comment on this Blog

When I started my website in September this year, I looked at these cards and also thought "why should I (or my readers) pay for the privilege". To date I haven't put up any info about them as I think most offers can be found for free elsewhere.
Maxine - Thu, 17th Nov 2011
I am yet to see an decent offer with any of these discount cards... A reward/loyalty card would be better. I mean honestly, I do not sit at home and suddenly think, I know lets go and eat at that restaurant because we will get 10% off... I would be more likely to go to these places if I knew that the more I spend the more I earn in rewards... Kind of like the Nectar card in the UK. The rewards are always good save up for Christmas presents!
Dan Brammall - Fri, 11th Feb 2011

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