Loyalty is going mobile.

Have you ever walked into a favorite store and can't find your loyalty card? You’re not alone. About 75 percent of consumers use loyalty cards but can’t find them when they are needed and may miss out on free deals and discounts, according to surveys by Juniper Research. Merchants are giving consumers a helping hand by offering mobile loyalty programs in which they reward their loyal customers with points that can be accumulated and redeemed for perks, products, and services, all via their mobile phone.

Not only do cardless loyalty programs lessen the clutter of reward cards on your keychains and in your wallets, but they’re better for the environment as well. For example, via most mobile applications customers can man- age their loyalty card account, check their card balance, reload their card, check their rewards status and find a nearby location. In addition to the merchant sup- porting these efforts,there are a number of new apps that can help you manage all of your loyalty card numbers and loyalty card offers.

“Liking” can earn you points.

You can now earn points from your favorite loyalty programs via social media sites. Many merchants will reward you with special coupons for a “like” of their page. Others reward all customers with a discount code once they hit a certain number of “likes” on their page. Others give their customers points each time they “like” the brand’s updates and then let them cash those points in for free products. If you are a game lover, check out GameStop’s new store on Facebook.

"You can now earn points from your favorite loyalty programs via social media sites. Many merchants will reward you with special coupons for a “like” of their page."

The shop, accessible via GameStop’s Facebook page, allows users to purchase games online, read product reviews, watch trailers and find nearby GameStop outlets. Fans of the retailer can also “like” and share specific games on Facebook,and earn points via GameStop’s customer loyalty program.

It pays to check in.

A growing number of restaurants, supermarkets and retailers are integrating Foursquare and Twitter into their loyalty programs, giving customers points and special offers for checking in or tweeting about their whereabouts.

You can get free gas.

Grocery stores are known for their frequent shopper programs. They’ve conditioned all of us to keep our phone number and/or loyalty card handy to ensure we save as much as possible. Now many of these same stores are helping you save on gas too! In addition to your frequent shopper savings, gas savings are available. At some stores, your earnings are reflected on your receipt, at others you need to ask. But ask!

Some people are saving $.20+/gallon of gas thanks to their grocery shopping. Another tip, as the holidays come, purchase your gift cards at the grocery store—now your holiday shopping will get you additional gas discounts!

You can use your points for holiday shopping.

Points are like free money; but only if you use them. When planning your holiday budget, include your point balances. Don’t have enough points for a free vacation? Then redeem your points for holiday gifts. Credit card loyalty programs have always offered a wide variety of reward options. Now hotel and airlines do too.

You can redeem your points or miles for merchandise (including state-of-the–art electronics), gift cards, charity contributions and even tickets to concerts, plays and sporting events.