Best: Best Buy ( BBY) Reward Zone

Nearly two years ago, when Best Buy was charging an annual fee for its "free" loyalty program, the Reward Zone wasn't such a great place for consumers to be. With no fee and a simplified reward system -- $1:1 point -- there's a lot more incentive for an electronics junkie or a frequent Best Buy browser to get on board.

While consumers can quibble about the generosity of a program that requires them to spend $250 to get back $5, members-only offers and access help make up the difference. This program works best after big purchases, when a plasma television or appliance costing more than $2,500 earns members second-tier perks like free shipping, an extended return policy, free movie-rental downloads and music streaming.

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