Borders' Popular Rewards Program Proves Both Too Popular And Too Rewarding

According to the Wall Street Journal, Borders rewards program is popular. Too popular. And too rewarding. In response, Borders is cutting back the benefits and introducing a new program that it describes as “now simpler than ever” and “a new program to celebrate.”

Translation: “We were losing money. Lots of money. Sorry, but the program has to go.”

This news is a bit old, but since it affects the upcoming holiday shopping season, we found it interesting.
From the WSJ:

Under the new Borders plan, each time customers reach $150 in purchases at Borders superstores or Waldenbooks stores, they will receive $5 in Borders Bucks at the beginning of the following month. They can then use that $5 until the end of that month, at which point the offer expires. Users will be contacted by email and urged to print out a $5 coupon, although those who forget will be able to use their $5 credit by presenting their Borders Rewards card in stores. Customers will be able to earn Borders Bucks online after Borders opens its own Web site next year.

The old plan, however, was much more generous.

Members were given Personal Shopping Days, which enabled those who had spent $50 in a month to apply a 10% discount on all purchases made on a specific day in the following month. Gift cards were the exception. Customers also received a credit equal to 5% of their store purchases made through Nov. 14 in a special Holiday Savings account. That credit could then be used on purchases made from Nov. 15 through Jan. 31. The only caveat was that customers had to have at least $10 in their account — which meant they had to have spent a minimum of $200 to qualify.

The reason for the change is simple, it was cutting into Borders Holiday profits. The good news is that other retailers are actually adding bonuses to their membership rewards programs, so if you liked Borders program, maybe you can find a better deal somewhere else. The WSJ article has some examples.

If you’re a current member, you were able to redeem the credit you’ve accrued through April 11.
“And Borders customers who have spent at least $200 through April 11 will qualify for the Holiday Savings Rewards; those savings will be redeemable from Nov. 15 through Jan. 31, 2008. After April 11, the Borders Bucks program will be instituted,” says the WSJ.

Borders Slashes Buyer Rewards, Cuts Discounts
[AOL Money & Finance] (Thanks, Bill!)