The UW has long arranged cost savings on various goods and services for its employees. But that effort is growing tremendously with the new UW Discount Program — and will continue to grow in 2008.
And in the meantime, there are savings available for holiday shopping.
“For years now we’ve had a variety of different discounts, both local and national,” said Randi Shapiro, assistant director of UW Benefits/WorkLife. “But we realized we were missing a big chance to save employees more money by having a real merchant discount program.”
Toward that end, the UW has contracted with a nationwide third-party discount management company called Motivano, which offers a Smart Savings plan to help employees cut costs.
Motivano’s Smart Savings plan offers discounts from more than 400 national merchants on all manner of products and services — including books, clothes, automotive needs, electronics, jewelry, music, travel as well as concert, theater, sports and movie tickets, and much more.
“The big message now is that we have more national merchants available before the holidays,” Shapiro said.
There are local and UW-based savings as well — on computers, fitness clubs, art, groceries and tickets to arts and sports events, with many more to come, Shapiro said.
She said that in January, WorkLife will roll out a variety of additional local merchants, with products for daily living, including restaurants, movie tickets and more. There are also savings at DisneyWorld Resort and other national attractions.
“We’re trying for significant discounts,” Shapiro said, adding that “all vendors have to offer at least a 10 percent discount” on their products or services.
To learn more or join up, visit online at https://www.washington.edu/admin/hr/benefits/saving/discounts/. There you’ll see how to access, via Net ID, the link to Motivano and that company’s range of products. The site is secure, she said, and signing up won’t subject you later to spam advertisement e-mails, a concern of many.
Another plus to the system, Shapiro said, is that you can manage your account with Motivano, creating and monitoring a list of the merchants with whom you most often shop.
Along with the increased offerings in 2008, Shapiro said, the discounts will then be listed on the Motivano site only.
Shapiro noted that many of the UW-based discounts are already available to holders of the UPASS card, but added that not all employees have a UPASS card. In time, she said, the two sets of employee benefits may merge.
But all this is really just a start, she said.
“People are going to want to keep coming back to look at this site regularly,” Shapiro said, “because there will be new things added.”