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American Girl Doll Rewards Program

The American Girl Rewards Program:

A Review

In June 2016 AG finally released a rewards program, and on the whole we are pleased.

 

The basic structure is that you receive a $10 off coupon in your email when you accumulate $200 worth of purchases. Each dollar spent is one point, and the coupon is generated at 200 points. The points accumulate on in store, online, and over the phone purchases, including sale and clearance items and AG restaurant purchases, but doesn’t factor in the costs of tax or shipping. Any such purchase must be registered to your AG rewards account, either at checkout or within two weeks after by doing it yourself online or calling customer service. The program is easy to sign up and easy to use for the average consumer.

The limits for the program are reasonable. You can only accumulate a max of five $10 rewards per month ($50 off any given month) and fifty $10 rewards per year ($500 off per year total). The coupons expire and cannot be reissued for any reason (lost, theft), but can be used on any AG purchase. It cannot be used by someone else or transferred to anyone else’s account – your AG rewards account certificate must presumably link up with your account in the AG store database where they track your purchases.

The monetary savings the program offers is surprisingly good. Over the years, AG has been notoriously stingy on providing discounts or even free shipping, offering such things only a few times a year and in modest numbers. While a $200/-$10 ratio is still very conservative for a retail rewards program (especially one with the mark-ups AG has on their products), it is still a considerable amount of money to be saved, and unlike their previous “sales” and discounts, it is always available and consistent.

The rewards program offers various levels incentivizing increased purchasing, as shown below. Whether these incentives actually prove to be valuable seems doubtful, even at this early stage. The track record is not so good.

 

The “Birthday Gift” they advertise is an email. Yes, an email – with a video wishing them happy birthday. It is cute, but is not a physical “gift” as suggested, nor is it a coupon. It will be a huge disappointment to a child who thinks they are getting an actual gift. Another problem is, it is sent to the parent’s email address, and includes things like the parent’s point value which might cause issues with a child who would want to use said points.

As of yet, the only AG Reward offer was to allow people in the program to purchase Melody’s starter collection up to one week early before its official release date with free shipping.  Early access to something that won’t sell out is not particularly valuable. The free shipping is nice, but you have to buy that particular product to get it. Moreover, the free shipping is valueless to someone with an AG store nearby, and even more so when you consider that by the time it is shipped and received, you could have gotten it in the store already. The offer was for only for a week, and did not extend past the collection’s release date. Overall, this deal was very meh.

Finally, in theory you get early access to sales and such, but the sales seem to be announced on the company’s Facebook page for everyone to see, regardless. I had anticipated a promo code or something, not an email that there is a sale happening which was already posted to their Facebook page.

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