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Thursday, February 7, 2013

Belly: Rewards at local merchants

Another quirky but really interesting program, Belly serves as a centralized hub for local/small merchants to offer rewards programs that would be too expensive to run on their own without the back office technology that Belly provides.

Here's how it works: You sign up at Belly and download the app to your Smartphone.  Whenever you go to a merchant, you flash your app in front of the store's iPad (Both the stores that I went to had the iPad right at the register, no employee interaction required.).  You get five points from Belly, which are stored in your account under that merchant.  I do believe you actually have to buy something, although it doesn't matter whether you spend a penny or $10,000, and Belly points from that merchant are redeemable only at that merchant.

Two cool things about Belly:

1) It has merchants in just about every major city in the US, unlike Mobee, which is my favorite Boston app.  Certain locations also offer "Belly bites," which are simply discounts at the merchant.

2) The prizes can be really, really cool.  The pizza place near me offers a pizza party for 11 for 1,000 points.A Mediterranean restaurant will put your name on a patio chair's plaque for 500 points.  A 7-Eleven store will let you name a Slurpee flavor for a month for 250 points or give you and 20 friends all you can eat donuts (insulin not provided).  But the best one that I've seen so far is from the local Middle Eastern place, which gives you a Turkish Coffee Set for 1,500 points or a trip to Turkey for 5,000 (Yes, that's 1,000 visits.  You can do it!).

Merchants are almost all local businesses that don't have their own program, although 7-Eleven also participates. 


  1. You will be going to Turkey soon right?!!!

  2. I'm hoping so, but I'm not sure there's a way to play this one for a thousand visits! Besides, they'd probably send me coach.

    I'm shooting for the coffee set. Speaking of which, thanks for the BOGO!