If you're an active day trader or a passive investor, you've probably spent a good amount of time researching the companies you invest in. For some, your research includes digging through complex SEC Filings, financial statements, and jargon-filled press releases. For others, you just want to buy the stock because you're an avid consumer & believe in the brand enough to want to share in their future.
While investment potential is the most important thing about investing in the stock market, looking at the perks that companies offer to their shareholders can also factor into your overall investing thesis.
While no one should choose to invest in a company based solely on the shareholder rewards & benefits, if you're already interested in investing, often the perks can be part of the decision process. In some cases, the perks offered to shareholders can save individual investors thousands of dollars on a purchase (like with Ford's shareholder rewards program).
This is a partial list of some of the perks being offered to the shareholders of these companies. Keep in mind that terms of shareholder perks are always subject to change, so it's always a good idea to check with the company directly before making a stock purchase decision.
If you are a stockholder in Berkshire Hathaway, it is possible to qualify for an 8% discount on Geico insurance. Finding the discount can be a bit tricky; you'll need to register on the Geico website under organizations/Berkshire Hathaway. Buying the stock just for the discount might make sense if your insurance bill is high, but Geico is a solid company with high market share and has historically shown potential for profit.
Royal Caribbean Cruises
Royal Caribbean requires shareholders seeking to take advantage of this perk to hold 100 shares of the company, but the discount is a little different. At the time of writing, RCL stockholders can get
- a $250 Onboard Credit per stateroom on sailings of 14 or more nights
- a $100 Onboard Credit per stateroom on sailings of 6 to 13 nights
- a $50 Onboard Credit per stateroom on sailings of 5 nights or less
The discounts are valid on all Royal Caribbean and Celebrity cruises, with the exception of tours to the Galapagos Islands. Shareholders have to fill out a request form and submit it along with proof of ownership of the shares (typically a brokerage statement will do). The credit can be used by anyone on board, but the shareholder has to physically be on the cruise in order to receive the credit.
[Update (6/1/2022): Ford discontinued their ShareholderX Plan, however investors that received their investor PIN before 6/1/2022 can claim their reward through 12/31/2022]
The Shareholder X-Plan Program allows shareholders who have owned 100 shares of Ford stock for at least six months to qualify for the employee discount on any Ford vehicle at a dealership. The benefit has proved to be exceedingly popular, but keep in mind that you will have to show proof of ownership for the shares.
The six-month ownership period was put into place after many investors would purchase 100 shares for a few days while they bought a car, then sell the shares almost immediately afterward. Often, the discount was significant enough to offset any losses that might have been encountered from selling the shares.
Aflac doesn't give a physical benefit to its shareholders, but their time-phased voting is worth mentioning. Shareholders who have owned shares for less than four years get to have one vote per share. After the four-year waiting period, however, shareholders get ten votes per share. While this can seem like a great benefit for shareholders who have owned a part of the company for several years, new investors should be aware that their shares don't have the same voting power as other shareholders.
Shareholders of AMC are placed in a special program called AMC Investor Connect that will periodically send out discounts and coupons for items such as free popcorn, Slurpees, private screenings, early movie releases, and more. The perks seem to be designed to encourage movie attendance, which has seriously lagged in recent years.
AMC is one of few companies that have leaned into their retail investor base, and do a great job engaging with them. In addition to the free perks offered inside the movie theater, AMC also offers other perks to retail investors, including "I Own AMC" and "I Own APE" NFTs. Additionally, in August 2022, AMC created a special dividend for shareholders of record, allowing all AMC Shareholders to receive a special dividend of AMC Preferred Equity that trades under the ticker "APE."
Shareholders who own 100 shares or more of Norwegian stock can take advantage of onboard credits. Currently, the benefits are:
- Sailings of 15 days or more: $250 onboard credit per stateroom
- Sailings of seven to 14 days: $100 onboard credit per stateroom
- Sailings of six days or less: $50 onboard credit per stateroom
Shareholders have to fill out a form in order to register and show proof of ownership of the stock.
The company does not have a formalized shareholder reward program, but periodically gives away gift boxes that are full of 3M products, including office supplies and bandages. Depending on the year, the boxes may require the shareholders to pay shipping and handling, and/or a small fee.
Learn more about the 2022 3M gift box here.
Kimberly-Clark also offers gift boxes to its shareholders. Shipping is usually around $26, and sign-up starts on September 1st of each year. At the present time, investors only need to own a single share of Kimberly-Clark stock to qualify for a gift box. Gift boxes typically contain a wide array of products including tissues, toilet paper, and paper towels.
Willamette Valley Vineyards
The vineyard offers a wide array of benefits for its preferred shareholders who hold at least 100 shares, including:
- a 25% discount off wine bottle purchases
- complimentary VIP winery tours
- priority to purchase limited-production wines, new releases and wines with personalized labels
- discounted admissions to special events
- invitations to Owner-exclusive events
- complimentary wine tasting at any of the winery's locations
Aterian recently launched its shareholder rewards program for shareholders owning at least 100 shares. New perks are announced and offered on a weekly basis, and since the company owns hundreds of brands that offer thousands of products, there is a strong likelihood you'll eventually find something you can use. The majority of Aterian brands are in appliances and home goods.
Shareholders with 4,000 OTC (Over The Counter) or ADR shares and who live in Denmark, Norway, or Sweden can qualify for heavily discounted tickets on selected flights throughout the year. Shareholders who own over 100,000 shares can qualify for the EuroBonus Gold program, and shareholders who own over 1,000,000 shares will qualify for the EuroBonus Diamond program.
The annual meeting for this company is full of entertainment such as steak dinners, 5K races, and an auditorium hall that is full of company products being offered at steep discounts. While you will have to make the trip to Omaha to take advantage of the discounts, many shareholders describe the atmosphere as more of a party than a stockholder meeting, and many people buy shares just to get the opportunity to attend.
[Update (8/5/2022): On August 5th, 2022, Amazon and iRobot Signed an Agreement for Amazon to Acquire iRobot. It is unclear at this time how this acquisition will effect iRobot's shareholder rewards program. Stay tuned for updates.]
iRobot, the technology company best known for its robot vacuum cleaners, offers discounts to shareholders who are thinking about purchasing a new Roomba, and in the past has handed out gift boxes to shareholders that were able to prove they had recently purchased a Roomba or other company product.
Smile Direct Club
Smile Direct Club offers at-home solutions for braces and retainers. Rather than involve a dentist, the company ships clear trays to your home after getting you to send in a mold of your teeth. Right now, shareholders qualify for three retainers for the price of two, or a $200 discount on teeth straightening kits. Investors must own at least 250 shares for more than two months to take advantage of the perk.
The shoe manufacturer owns over a dozen brands including Keds and Stride Rite. Shareholders who own just a single share can qualify for a 30% discount on everything the company sells. With a stock price that hovers around $25 a share, it's worth the investment if you just need one or two pairs of shoes.
This eggs and butter company offers a baseball hat to any shareholder with at least one share who registers for their shareholder engagement program. The company will also send discounts and other promotional items to shareholders who register for their mailing list.
Shareholders who own 10 or more shares qualify for a discount on a rotating catalog of products and merchandise. Brands include Federal, Remington, Camelback, CCI, and Speer. Ammunition is not included, but if you love hunting, this discount is worth researching.
The Walt Disney Company
Long gone are the days when Disney would offer its shareholders discounts on admissions to theme parks and hotels, but they do offer shareholders collectible stock certificates. The certificates are works of art; very suitable for framing or for giving as a gift to the Disney fanatic in your life. You only have to own a single share in order to get one, but you will have to pay shipping and handling for the certificate.
Foreign Companies Offer Shareholder Benefits
Many foreign companies (if you are a US-based investor) also offer shareholder rewards, though residency and direct ownership requirements typically exist.
Intercontinental Hotel Group (IHG)
IHG, one of the world's largest hotel congolomerates, offers a range of discounts across their hotel brands. Typical discounts are 15% on regular hotel room bookings; travel packages and deals with other travel providers are not eligible for the perk.
Irish Continental Group
This travel company owns a number of transportation chains throughout the UK. Shareholders with at least 1,000 shares can qualify for up to a 20% discount on some ferries and passenger cars.
Accor is a hotel management company with more than 5,000 different hotels across 110 countries. Currently, it is offering shareholders a loyalty card. The card offers benefits such as hotel tours and periodic discounts. Those who own at least 50 bearer shares and one registered share are eligible for this benefit.
The British book publishers behind the Harry Potter series offer shareholders a 35% discount on all of their titles. The discount is good on anything from their website, and you only have to own a single share of stock to qualify.
The Switzerland-based company passes out free chocolate to everyone with at least one voting share in the company. Unfortunately, the chocolate is only handed out at their annual meeting (based in Switzerland), and the company won't mail the gift boxes. Also, a single voting share of Lindt tends to hover around $110,000 so you might just do better to buy yourself a snack at your local grocery store.
At ShareClub we're working with dozens of American public companies to offer retail investors shareholder rewards. If you're interested in earning shareholder rewards, go to shareclub.io to join the waitlist. If there's a company you own that doesn't offer a shareholder reward, let us know (by sending us an email: firstname.lastname@example.org) and we'll let them know you want rewards.