Saturday, April 2, 2011

A Wallet of Cards

"Point card isseoyo?" asks the smiling cashier at E-Mart.

I shake my head and reply," Apseoyo."  She nods and rings up my purchases quickly, spouting off a total that I almost don't catch.  Luckily the register's screen displays the amount in big numbers, making it much easier to understand.  Handing over my check card, I wonder for the 10,000th time why I don't have a point card yet.  I have no clue how to get one, I remember.  My Korean isn't quite up to snuff to where I could understand the people trying to help me.  These thoughts alone remind me of two things:

A) I need to practice speaking more practical, every-day Korean
B) I need to get signed up for a point card already, no excuses!

The one point card I was able to get on my own was pretty easy.  I picked up the CJOne Card at my local Tour Les Jours one day on a whim.  I opened up the webpage on the card, entered my alien number and name, clicked a few boxes, and then my card was activated!

What does a CJOne Card get you?  Well, it works at any CJFoods-affliated store or restaurant in Korea.  These locations are:

Tour Les Jours
Coldstone Creamery
Bulgogi Brothers
Olive Young
CGV Cinema
A Twosome Place
Lobo Curry
The Place
Seafood Ocean
China Factory
Fisher's Market

As you can see, the CJOne Card is pretty useful.  Another useful card to have is the Shinsegae Point Card, which works at Shinsegae Department Stores and E-Marts, as well as many other locales connected through the OK Cashbag program.  You just need to look for this logo in the store's window to see if they participate in the program.

Another way to get a point card is through your cell phone company.  I have an iPhone 4, so I contract through Olleh KT.  With the help of my Korean friend--who also helped me get the phone--we got the mobile point card set up and ready to use.  I get points based on the value of my cell phone plan to use every month, so I have about 71,000 points to share with with my friend.  

What do these points do?  Anywhere that an Olleh Club membership sign is displayed, I can get a certain percentage off of my purchase amount.  It ranges from 10% up to 20% depending on the venue.  I bring up the mobile point bar-code on my phone for the cashier to scan, and the equivalent discount amount is deducted from my point total.  Instant discounts!

Having a discount or point card for your most-visited or favorite places comes in handy.  Not only does it save you money, it can grant you other rewards for being a frequent customer.  And for us ex-pats, saving time and money can definitely be a good thing.

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