Shopping Discount Cards at Central Department Stores, Tops Supermarkets, Siam Paragon, Emporium, Villa Market
Most shoppers' wallets nowadays are filled with a variety of discount and member cards. This is a relatively late development in Thailand.
Arguably, the Central Group and Tops Supermarket were the first to implement shopping discount cards in their stores. Reward (or spot) can be collected and card holders receive discount coupons for groceries. Most other retailers started providing shopping discount cards later. We will try to summarize some of the cards and discounts available. Some cards are worthwhile, some just increase the weight of your wallet, with little real benefits.
In most cases, cards are actually not heavily promoted. Only on occasion, a cashier will ask you if you want to get a discount card. I guess it only happens when it is not too busy in the store. You will usually have to fill a form, and some of the questions asked may be a bit intrusive.
Spots Rewards Card (Tops supermarkets, Central Food Hall at CentralWorld and Central Chitlom)
10 baht spent will get you one reward point. 10 reward points have a value of one baht. Certain goods purchased will earn you extra reward points.
In summary, 100 baht spent will get you one baht discount. As a member of the program, you will get every three months coupons by mail, equivalent to the amount you earned, and you can use them instead of cash for purchases at the stores mentioned.
More important than this 1 % discount, you will also receive a number of about 8 (sometimes more) discount coupons. For example, there may be a coupon for a 25 baht discount, for purchases valued at more than 500 baht. Or a 75 baht discount, for purchases of 1,150 baht or more. Discounts with these coupons seem to vary between 5 and 8 %, but remember that the number of coupons you get is limited.
Besides the coupons, some goods in the stores will be heavily discounted for card members.
M Card (The Mall Group, Gourmet Market at Siam Paragon and Emporium)
The M Card is also used to accumulate points at the department stores. For groceries it works as follows :
Every 25 baht spent will earn you one 'point'. 800 points collected can be exchanged for a coupon valued at 100 baht. So 20,000 baht spent, earns you 100 baht. This is a discount (from collecting points) of 0.5%.
Gourmet Market (at Siam Paragon) offers locally produced and imported groceries.
When checking out groceries, you will receive a discount for purchases of more than 800 baht, of approximately 5 %. Some goods are excluded (discounted products, alcoholic beverages, tobacco). If you go shopping daily at Siam Paragon and spent more than 800 baht each time, you would be able to 'save' more by getting discounts, than by using the coupons sent to you by Spot Rewards card. But in our opinion, similar goods, are priced higher at Gourmet Market, than they are at Central Food Hall or Tops supermarkets.
Au Bon Pain
Au Bon Pain (bakery goods, sandwiches and coffee) offers a ABP Privilege Card. You pay 200 baht to get it. Afterwards all purchases will be discounted at 10%. There are additional small discounts or promotions from time to time. If you are a regular customer, this present good value.
Villa Market introduced a card at the end of 2010. The card is called 'Villa Market'. 20 baht spent will earn you 1 point. 500 points will earn you a 100 baht discount. So 10,000 baht spent, earns you 100 baht, for an overall discount of 1 %.
There are no obvious other coupons on top of this, and in the store we did not notice (if there are, there are few) any specially discounted goods for card holders.
Lately (2013) we found out Villa Market now charges 50 baht for a member card. So basically, you have to buy 5,000 baht worth of goods, to just recuperate the money you spent on your membership.
Other cards, beside those available from grocery retailers :
HomePro has issued a discount card called 'Card Home'.
30 baht spent will earn you 1 point. 1000 points have a value of 100 baht.
So every 30,000 baht spent, will earn you 100 baht, a discount value of 0.33%
When becoming a member, you also receive a number of discount coupons for a selection of products.
Mangpong (DVD and music CD store)
Holders of a Mangpong Privilege card, can get a 5 % discount on purchased DVDs, and a 10% discount on DVDs (local Thai products) for which Mangpong has the copyrights. You need to pay 100 baht to get the Mangpong Privilege card.
Asia Books (includes Bookazine) :
Paying 200 baht will get you the discount card for books at Asia Books and Bookazine (the card has no name). With the card you get a discount of 10% on books (that are not already discounted). This is a substantial discount for once. Remember though, that recent publications still may be cheaper if you get them at Kinokuniya. Kinokuniya also offers discount card, but we recall it is rather expensive, and not really of great benefit to the casual reader.
SF Senior Card
If you are older than 60, you can get the SF Senior Card which allows you substantial discounts at all SF Movie Theatres.