Each of the schemes that I have mentioned so far have their own reason for being and their own client group.
Airmiles (in the UK) is an association of high cost 'old economy' travel companies that cannot compete with the newer Internet offerings. This gang is led by British Airways, which is a rapidly fading former flag carrier that is usually 40% more expensive than its rivals. Despite this fact it is also a big loss maker, largely due to union problems. Airmiles has also recruited a variety of brochure package tour operators that have found it impossible to compete with the likes of Expedia. These companies are drawn to Airmiles as a way to separate themselves from the competition but have discovered that Airmiles is itself a high cost and failing company.
Nectar is all about up selling and works in a much more sophisticated way. The company will offer bonus points whenever a customer chooses the more profitable option. Very often there is very little difference in manufacturing cost between a premium bolognase sauce and the economy version. Companies such as Sainsbury's use Nectar as a way to direct customers to the more expensive option.
Mutualpoints on the other hand caters for the 'something for nothing' crowd. The scheme even promises to reward you simply for joining and offers no less than eleven pages of get rich quick and free product offers the moment you do.
I had assumed that this scheme had died out with the end of the dot com boom but it is still here and still has the same advertisers.
The site itself looks awful but claims to have some very powerful capabilities such as the ability to take any of your bank cards and turn them into a Mutualpoints loyalty cards simply by registering them. You are also invited to receive vast quantities of spam in return for further points.
The company has already paid me 750 points simply for showing up. This appears to be worth more than �5 but I have no idea how to redeem them for cash.
As ever.. join if you can but do not get sucked into additional purchases or registering for loads of junk mail.
LATEST NEWS! In a bizarre twist I am now the administrator of the Mutualpoints blog! I sent a comment requesting information on how to redeem the points and was sent the site password instead.
I could delete the whole thing if I chose but have simply linked to this site instead.