When It Pays to Join the Club: “Insider” Deals

Style > Best Bargains Package

Many stores and restaurants offer discounts to “club” members. These frequent-buyer clubs are usually free to join but require that you sign up online—meaning you’ll get e-mails.

When is it worth giving a store your e-mail address? We looked for programs where the savings outweighed the nuisance. Here are seven we like:

American Plant Garden Rewards, Free membership means monthly specials, free delivery on orders of $500 or more, and advance notice of special events at American Plant locations in Bethesda and Great Falls.

Borders Rewards, Coupons come weekly, and every purchase earns points for additional savings on books and more.

Capital Restaurant Concepts, Get a free meal with another entrée for signing up, a free entrée for your birthday, and other special offers at Georgia Brown’s, J. Paul’s, Old Glory, Paolo’s, and Pika Pita.

DSW Rewards, Members of this shoe club earn points for discount certificates and get online offers.

Filene’s Basement Fan Club, Receive alerts about new shipments as well as special deals such as a 15-percent-off coupon.

Loehmann’s Insider Club, Receive e-mails about new shipments, earn points each time you shop, and get notice of sales. Insiders recently got to choose a day to take 20 percent off their entire purchase.

StoreAdore, Sign up for the e-mail newsletter and get word of deals just for subscribers—like 20 percent off at local boutiques such as Urban Chic, Sassanova, and Ann Hand.

Other shops and eateries have frequent-purchase cards that customers get stamped, punched, or swiped to earn free food or merchandise. These include Cosi, Papyrus, and Starbucks. Still others, such as Bloomingdale’s and Macy’s, send occasional offers—say, free shipping or an extra 10 percent off—once you’ve placed an order and given your e-mail address.

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