Saving points in South Korea is in, while saving coupons is not so in. A few years ago, I posted about collecting proof of purchase to exchange them with points. I did it with OK Cashbag. I can use the points as discounts for a movie ticket or online shopping.
Nearly all establishments in Korea has a loyalty program, even the convenience store next door! Mileage or loyalty points is called 적립 and when you make a purchase, the cashier would usually ask if you have a card to save the mileage. If you have saved enough points, you could use them to discount the total price.
Whenever I buy cosmetics, I use my cards below to save points. Most of them are only for one establishment, except for the Amore Pacific point card. I could use it when purchasing online and in different stores like Etude House, Innisfree, Laneige, Aritaum and at department stores whenever I purchase Sulhwasoo and Hera.
When I go shopping at E-mart, Homeplus, Lotte, and even the nearby Jinro Mart, I earn a point for every 1,000 won purchase. The convenience stores like GS25, 7-11 and CU also has their own mileage cards. If you have a membership with the telecom companies such as SK, LG U+ and KT Olleh, you could also use the membership card to get a substantial discount at convenience stores. The SK T-World membership, for example affords me a 12% discount on purchases at CU, while KT Olleh offers 15% for their members at 7-11.
Restaurants and coffee shops also has a loyalty program. The only problem I have is I sometimes misplace the cards, so I end up having several cards of one restaurant. Every time I dine at one of my favorite restaurants or coffee shops, I earn one stamp. When I complete a card, I could exchange it for a cup of latte or get a 10% discount card. Sometimes, I don’t need to complete a whole card. I get a food for free after getting three or five stamps like in the case of Solemio, which is my son’s favorite restaurant. With the Chinese food delivery we always call, we could get one full order of sweet and sour pork with our 40th sticker, but I prefer the food for the 50th sticker.
There was a time when I used to bring all my cards with me, because I’ll never know when I might need them, right? That’s why I prefer the sticker type that I could just stick on my credit card. However, some establishments would let me earn points even without my card. I could just let the cashier know my phone number and I would get credits for my purchase.
A more convenient way to store my point cards is through the use of the app “Smart Wallet”. I have been using it for two years. Every telecom has their own “Smart Wallet” app. SK Telecom has their own app, and LG U+ too. I know this because I’m currently subscribed with the two telecoms. I tried downloading the SK app on my U+ phone, but it didn’t work.
The Smart Wallet app is very convenient, but it only words through mobile network ~ which is not really a problem in Korea. I just open the app, look for the store and hand the phone to the cashier to scan the bar code.
Saving points in South Korea is rewarding. I remember when my son had a birthday party at his day care center last year. I bought two cakes and got one ice cream cake for free, using my points. The look on my son’s face for having three cakes on his last year at the day care was priceless.