I am a sucker for loyalty programs. I love collecting points. I choose hotels (Starwood), airlines (BA, Southwest), rental cars (Hertz), restaurants (Nando’s, The Palm), movie theatres (Odeon, Regal), grocery stores (Sainsbury), coffee (Cafe Nero), and vitamins (GNC) in order to earn more points. I get excited when I get a free popcorn at the movies or a free coffee at Cafe Nero or a free chicken at Nando’s. I love free stuff. But I really hate cashing in my points. I feel like it sets me back in my collecting quest. I hate seeing my balance diminished after all that hard work building it up in the first place. If I cash them in too soon, then I might miss something really great down the road, like four first class airline tickets to Australia or a month in the Presidential Suite in the St Regis Hotel in New York or having my daughter’s wedding at The Palm.
I am even loyal to products that don’t have loyalty programs. I really deserve something from them too. I’ve had thousands of cans of Diet Coke. I should get at least a free six-pack. McDonald’s owes me a few free burgers. Gap jeans. Polo shirts. Fruit of the Loom briefs. Cohiba cigars. How about something for remaining a Knicks fan all these years? That would seem to deserve a championship at some point. I’ve bought all of Elvis’ Greatest Hits albums, even the gospel and country ones. You would think he could at least pay a visit (even if its an extraterrestrial one). Or Priscilla could send an autographed picture. What about thirty-one years of marriage? That would seem to merit more than My Very Own Closet.